The monitor is beeping in the room of the ICU. They are in the process of moving the 6-day-old newborn from the next bed who had surgery yesterday. They roll everything out to get sterilized. Metal castor-wheels clank everywhere. In the midst of a family laughing loudly the incubator is ready to be relocated. The cleaning lady is already hard at work, cleans around us too, with the mop banging against Vince’s bed, and from the outside the nurses’ boisterous laughter can be heard. During all of this Vince is sleeping peacefully. After several hours he finally managed to calm down from all the pain that was caused by his chest surgery yesterday. I am looking at the monitor, checking that he could wake up at any moment from the noise of the nurses packing or the cleaning, since he just fell asleep. I am seeing things from the outside; I am sitting on the bed and just like a symphony orchestra around me, all the instruments begin at once, the mop clicks on the floor, the monitor blips melodically, and in the meantime Vince is resting in such a blessed way that is impossible to humanly create.
We decided to get Vince’s chest surgery done, because his left lung was in danger the deformity was so severe. He was still in my belly when his left arm got stuck in front of his ribs, and since he couldn’t move around, he developed in a way that left a dent in his chest cavity. By now this had become so deep that there wasn’t even a 0.4 inch distance between the spine and the ribs. The Altona Children’s Hospital in Hamburg was the one to undertake the surgery, and they placed two metal rods in front of his ribs to increase the breathing space.
It goes without saying that I wasn’t up to this trip at all; we did this whole procedure six months ago, when they corrected his severe scoliosis with a magnetic rod (Magec Rod). Twelve hours on the road, two weeks of hospital, Vince’s body with all kinds of tubes, machines that beep night and day, sleeping on hospital beds with swollen feet by the end of the day, etc… What can you do at times like this? You give yourself over to God and you pray that His will may be done.
A lot of people prayed for Vince in connection with his surgery this time as well. I knew that it was going to be a difficult round, but I trusted in God’s blessings and grace. He had showed his power so many times since Vince’s birth. And today I was laughing out loud and was crying at the same time because he gave us so many gifts I wouldn’t have even dared to dream about.
Here is a little taste of the blessings during and after the surgery:
- Vince was rolled into the operating room, we had been waiting outside for more than an hour, and we knew they were still only doing the preparations. The chief chest specialist arrived, came over to us and asked for our cell phone number, saying he would call us when he was done. He said it wasn’t good to sit on the couch and worry for hours; we should go and let out some steam. I thought about it: after a 4-hour surgery, his patient between life and death, and after all that, like a kind customer service representative, informs us that the service we ordered is ready. Of course he didn’t fake the kindness; he was filled with human sympathy and a whole lot of live!
- During the operation we had the chance to go back to my husband’s hospital accommodations which is run by a foundation. That was the first time I went there, and I was shocked to see that they keep a small hotel to allow parents rest whose children go through difficult surgeries. It is called Oasis. I wouldn’t have thought that while my son was in the operating room I would be able to sleep for an hour in a hotel room in a soft bed. SLEEP! Well, that was a blessing indeed!
- We knew there were going to be difficulties since Vince’s circulation stopped at his last spinal surgery, and then the 5-hour surgery turned into 7 and a half. This time we received such grace that his surgery was only 3 and half hours instead of the planned 4, and Vince didn’t need either extra blood or oxygen after the operation. The pulmonologist here in Hungary said that this was simply impossible.
- The ICU symphony that I started out with was so harmonious today that I had to laugh and cry at the same time I was so happy. Vince’s ribs were broken yesterday, so every breath is a new struggle and pain. He must feel like someone who’s had a motorcycle accident and got all his ribs broken. And he lies here peacefully, the hospital room turns upside down around him, I listen to audio material in my headphones, sit at the end of the bed and I marvel at God’s grace. I feel His presence and that He never leaves me.
I could keep listing all the small blessings that we received that day and have been receiving since, but these would only be words. It is difficult to write about God’s presence, this needs to be felt and believed, and everyone can only do it by turning to Him with a prayer coming from the heart.