Saturday, August 25, 2007

Where's your mama gone?

To San Franciso for a day trip to meet Auntie Anne-Marie and cousin Aurora from the UK who will now make their way down to Los Angeles via the stunning national parks that grace the glorious South West with their incomparable splendour. Call me bad. I needed a break to recharge and bring back a rejeuvenated mama to Reuben.

We've been sleeping at the hospital for the last week, so I leave Reuben at 4am on Thursday morning, to return on Friday afternoon and thus keeping our joint promise to see him every day. It's a testament to his overwhelming inner strength that Jason has accomplished this without fail. I sit on the plane next to the empty seat that had been booked for Jason what seems a lifetime ago, back in February when the rosy book of Have Baby Will Travel sat happily in my lap. And yet my lap is empty.

It was perhaps too early after the surgery, but Reuben failed the extubation on Friday after successfully being weened low on the vent. Jason was with him and it's not easy watching your baby struggle for life's basic necessity. We take heart that the issue was not believed to be related to his oral airway (mind jumps here from granuloma surgery again and possible tracheostomy if the airway is floppy), it's that his heart needs a little longer to recover. Reuben may have been the most stable kid on the CTICU (cardio thoracic intensive care unit) block, and "kicked out already!"back to the PICU as I say to the charge nurse, an expression he takes to heart, insisting we're not being kicked out, but I say it in gest. Some things get lost in translation across the Big Pond.
Yet that aside, come on, let's give Reuben a break. Only 5 days before, his breastbone was opened up, his heart fixed, his breastbone bolted back together with stainless steel and his incision glued. The pacemaker and the final remnant, the leads, are now gone, his heart is beating regularly by itself albeit rather slowly (doesn't that denote great potential for athleticism?) and his blood pressure is lowering. His electrolytes, calcium and potassium are normalising. His bowel sounds are reflecting that the trains are starting to arrive at the station, albeit that they're backed up. He's in that curious realm of "critically stable". We have made miraculous progress this week. I have so many people to thank. Everyone reading this now and following this blog which I have to say, is turning into a beast that is difficult to control and must be tamed, or perhaps, a child itself whom I've grown to love, as it tugs on my dress for attention.
And I thank too the greater powers that be that have guided our journey in the darkest hours.

I arrive back and Reuben's eyes are wide and alert for the first time since Monday morning before the surgery when I ritualistically scrubed him up and watched him being wheeled away by the anaesthesiologist, blissfully, thankfully unaware.

He stares up at me for a long, long time, quizzical and yet seemingly with a deep understanding, and with the deep eye contact you have when you're falling in love. Such a long, long stare. Yet if he'd spoken after these 5 long days under sedation and my day away from his bedside, I think his first words would have been "So where the hell have you been, mama?".


yp said...

Oh Catherine- from your words I feel you have truly found that place within that no person or condition could harm your love and your joy. I am overflowing with joy for you. Bless Reuben's magnificence - he is doing so very well - failed extubation and all. Best to you and your boys (Jason and Reu) and thank you for the lovely post - to fill my heart and head with images conjured by your words- taking me back and forth, weaving in and out of the lovely details of your journey. with love, y

skeybunny said...


I'm glad to read Reuben is recovering well, despite the failed extubation (but it's only 5 days post-op for a surgery that's about as big as they get). I think of you often & love reading your blog.

Sarah, Jeremy, and Evan

Dipesh said...

Catherine and Jason, I'm so happy to hear that the operation went well and that Reuben is doing good. He's very strong like his parents.
All the best wishes for you all.

Kristi said...

Catherine -
I am so very glad to read that Reuben is doing so well - - despite the failed extubation... and let's face it, the little man has a right to some rest! He's been through the wringer... as have you. I also happy to hear that you let yourself have a break to recharge... so important, so needed and so good for your health, Reuben's and Jason's! A revitalized Mommy is a good mommy!
Can't wait for more posts... your blog is a beautiful work of art!
(Between sporadic cell service with my texts, work firewalls blocking me entirely from any blog viewing and the repair to our wireless connection at home, I have been sick with worry and have thoroughly missed my access to your blog. My heart jumped with joy to read the lastest news!
You speak of the blog as though it has a life of it's own... In the same way that it tugs at you, you have drawn me in with your beautiful prose and photos. Thank you for letting us all share in such a personal piece of you! It's an honor.)