Monday, February 4, 2013

Surgery on Tuesday

Well... maybe, the Doctors have told us numerous times not to be surprised by scheduling changes, so hopefully- Tuesday. Gabriel has been stable the last two days, which is part of the reason they plan to operate on Tuesday, the Docs like the patient as healthy as possible. We glean onto every little positive we can find, yesterday we were fortunate enough to be present when the nurse was changing his cpap.

 Not only did we see his face, Beth got a first kiss!
The staff are amazing and include us in everything possible. Nurse Theresa allowed Beth to feed Gabriel (lot's of additional steps to feeding this little guy).

 Yesterday Beth was finally able to hold him.
 I think they both enjoyed it!
 We try and find solace and humor wherever we can. This one cracked us up. Gabriel's  Boise pediatric cardiologist, Dr Michael Womack wears red Converse Chuck Taylor's (high-tops). When I found these socks I was thrilled! (if anyone does find red ones let me know).

 Beth also commented on his "perfect nail beds." These were lost on me until she pointed them out.

Tuesday Gabriel will undergo the Norwood Procedure, the first of 3 surgeries. This link from UCSF is probably the most concise description I've found (a paragraph per procedure). Grandma Lois and Gabriel.

 Several of the Nurses and Doctors have commented on how calm we are and how well we are taking things (we feel pretty strung out but I guess we're doing better than most). I think our keel is a wonderful support network of people and the perspective to try and view things in context. Our super supporters are without a doubt my folks, Lois and Gary Swope! They drove out with us in December and returned last week with their RV to  watch the kids while all of this unraveled. The kids have enjoyed seeing Grandma and Grandpa and are camping with them right now.  I'm so proud of our kids Powell and Isabella coping with everything so well. We've tried to make this an adventure for them but can't amuse them at all times. I was a little irritated the other day when they pulled me away from taking care of some "important" paper work and then immediately felt like a huge schmuck when they took me to the art gallery (which most people crassly refer to as a "closet"). The exhibit showcased Isabella's contemporary sculpture at the top and Powell's mixed media piece on the bottom, he liked the title "Untitled 1."

Our other local familial support have been cousins Bill and Sergio in SF and Amaya right here in Stanford. We've been blessed by so many of you; warm thoughts and prayers, care packages from my cousin Erin and our good friends Wendy and Eric Stansell, cards and gifts from so many others let us know we are supported. Thank-you, these gestures mean so much! Our other huge support group are my Fire Department Brothers and Sisters, WOW! I am still amazed at the amount of support, they've covered me for 3 months and the union has sent us several checks to help with expenses! 

I received a text the other day from one of those guys, my friend Andy. They were conducting ice dive training, he included this photo to display the support of the Boise Fire Dept. Dive Team for Gabriel. He also included this text (which he said I could use); "Congratulations on Gabriel's arrival Swope clan! Earle, as I was gearing up today, I noticed I had your old pony bottle and com unit. I was sitting on the edge of the ice having a little pre-dive panic when I was overwhelmed by yours and Beth's amazing reactions to life's shxxstorms. I knew then it would be ok.... it was... and it will be for Gabriel, he just landed in the best possible hands."  His sentiment was pretty moving for me and I had to find an alcove in the hospital to dry my eyes. These storms are starting to get a bit tiring but we are weathering them with all of your help. Maybe it helps to have gone through something similar in the past? The circumstances are vastly different but the emotional and psychological roller coaster is similar. Maybe we're just getting acclimated to the ride? Last time it almost ripped us apart, several times one of us left the house and we investigated divorce a few times. I'll give all the credit to Beth and her strength of character and resolve for averting that possibility. I was a mess and she helped keep things together, with the help from a lot of you. Now it's my turn. She's doing OK but is post-partum with lots of hormones and a broken little boy she carried in her belly for 9 months. Perspective helps but it is still so personal that it is hard not to allow self pity to grasp control.  Although, being at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital will slap the self-pity right out of you. My Mother was sitting in a lounge area speaking with another Grandmother and comparing notes on Grand-baby conditions. The other child was born 1 lb. 3 oz with cardiac and pulmonary issues and a cleft palate. Makes us sound like whiners.  As a Firefighter I've had many opportunities to see first hand what can happen to you and your loved ones at no fault of your own. So many things in this world are so far beyond our grasp, the control we think we have is a ruse. If Gabriel had been born just about anywhere else in the world, this would have been a death sentence. We are so lucky we were born in this 1st world nation and that Gabriel was born to us and we were referred to this University hospital staffed by awesome Doctors. We are blessed, we have Gabriel and he has a chance!


Norma from Idaho said...

Courageous hearts--that is what your family has. Tears in my eyes and a prayer in my heart--that is what I have.


Sharon Brumfield said...

I will be praying for you all. May the peace of God guard your hearts and minds. Praying also for wisdom and knowledge for the doctors and nurses.
Hugs from family :)

Brooke Cassinelli said...

Precious boy! Will be continuing to keep you in our prayers... Glad that your older kiddos are getting some fun "grandparent" time. Give Beth a hug from me!

Anonymous said...

Earl & Beth- we will be praying for Gabriel tomorrow as he undergoes the surgery. He is in Gods hands and that is a great place to be. Also praying for you both that God's peace that surpasses all understanding will be yours tomorrow and the days ahead.

Pamela Arrendale said...

Looking at your blog brought the song of Casting Crowns to my mind, called" Praise You in this Storm".The choruse says, "I'll praise You in this storm, and I will lift my hands. For You are who You are no matter where I am. Every tear I cried, You hold in Your hand. You never left my side. And though my heart is torn, I will praise You in this storm. Praying for your family.

Tom said...

We've been thinking about all of you and our prayers are with you. Can't imagine the highs & lows you must be going through. You guys all look great. Give all a hug for us (dont forget Gary & Lois). You have my number if there's anything we can do for you up here.
Randy said it when he says we're all in God's hands. Don't forget to lean heavily on him (he can take it).
Love & hugs all around.