Six weeks ago I got that dreaded call. It was time for Joaquin’s Fontan. We knew it was coming. We’ve known since Joaquin was still in my belly. And I would like to think I was prepared…but I wasn’t. I cried when the hospital gave me the date. And the memories started flooding back. Oh, the memories. Unlike my first born, Joaquin’s childhood memories have included plenty of tears. From the time I found out about one of his defects up until Friday night when my nightmare left me crying and begging my husband to check Joaquin to make sure he was breathing. He reassured me he was and then told me, “Walking into that hospital is making you stress”. Stress?? Amidst the tears, I couldn’t comprehend what he meant. Yes, I broke out in painful hives four weeks ago. Sure, everyone contributes my painful gas to stress. But how I could be stressed? I was at peace with everything. Much more so than I was two weeks ago. I had changed my way of praying and it had made a difference. Or had it?
Could the hospital really have made my subconscious bring back those memories? What could have triggered it? Was it the smell of the soap in the hospital bathrooms? Was it the cardiac nurses that I have grown close to? Was it the way my husband and I were just way too familiar with the routine? That’s the part I hate the most. He and I know what the routine is. But Joaquin doesn’t. He doesn’t remember the times I cried when he went into respiratory distress. He doesn’t remember us trying to bring his fever down with washcloths. He doesn’t remember having an IV started in his head because his veins were shot to hell. He can’t possibly remember how at one point, I dropped to my knees because the worst thing was happening. I felt my faith slipping away. Without my faith, I knew I couldn’t function. He can’t remember. And I’m he doesn’t. But as we prepare for today’s heart cath and tomorrows Fontan, I’ll start sharing those memories with him.
And as we prepare, I’ll make sure to point out the best of our not so good situation. Like, the fact that we have tons of people praying for him. Or the fact that he’ll get lots of toys in his hospital room. Or how about the fact that all he needs to do is smile at his nurses and they’ll treat him like a king. I won’t bring up the fact that the McDonald’s in the lobby has the worst food ever. Or that mommy lives on so much coffee but still manages to pass out the minute her head hits a pillow. I won’t mention that I miss his big brother terribly. I won’t tell him that I’ll gain 10 more pounds from eating at that same McDonald’s in the lobby. Or that the nurses will have to convince me to go shower (do I offend??).
He’s been down this journey before but for the first time ever, we’ll be able to recall the memories together. And I can’t think of a better person to share them with.