"True courage is not the absence of fear
but the willingness to proceed in spite of it."
It's Friday, May 24, and we have arrived at Texas Children's Hospital. It's 3 o'clock.
We didn't have to wait too long before they called our name and we are now waiting for the vascular access team to come in and find a large enough vein in his leg that can handle the pressure of the contrast, the dye that will allow them to see his coronary arteries and the arteries that lead to his kidneys.
And here they are, complete with an ultrasound machine. It's pretty fascinating to watch them find the vein they want to use this way, and just like that they're finished and he has an IV in his calf. The tech says there is one person in front us and we are next. Yes!
There is not a clock in the room, but I'm pretty sure I hear one ticking . . . it's been almost an hour and a half and I'm getting really nervous because my daughter has her very last, ever, choir pop show at 7:00 - she is a senior. And of all the visits here, today is the day I don't bring anything to read?
It almost feels like someone just forgot us in here . . .I haven't seen anyone in a while, a long while. I have to go into the hallway and pace for a moment, and breathe, because this is stressful enough without having to tell my daughter we will most likely miss her show. I'm on the verge of tears . . .but as I'm standing there and walking back and forth I realize this hallway is right next to the ER. I can hear a young child crying and they are wheeling two children, one just an infant, on gurneys to the elevators . . . they are being admitted. I feel like Alice in Wonderland, and every where I turn the hallways seem to shrink. There is a sense of panic for all these sick children.
I go back into the room and thankfully someone comes in . . . they are about to put an IV in a child behind the curtain next to us. She is young and she really doesn't want that IV and it breaks your heart to hear her plead to not have it. I ask the tech about how much longer and explain my sense of urgency.
Finally after an over two hour wait, it's our turn and we walk around the corner to the CT room. And my son lays on the table and they try to flush his IV and it goes into his vein and just stops. The IV has gone bad and we now have to go back to the other room and wait for the VAT team again. They assured us we would not lose our spot. They try the other leg and after a long attempt the tech just can't get the right angle and he has to try the foot. There is concern that this vein may not be large enough to handle the pressure from the contrast and there is a possibility it could rupture.
We go back into the CT room just to be told that the doctor overseeing this test had to run to a meeting because it took so long to finally get the IV. BACK to the other room . . . we are never going to make my daughters show . . . it's now 6 p.m. But thankfully only a few minutes later they came back and said the doctor had returned.
They do a test flush of his IV and it is still intact. We want to stay in the room with him so one of the tech's brings us each a vest to put on and we stand against a row of cabinets. Another tech, a woman, stays with Sam and keeps her hand on his foot to feel the vein even though they are monitoring the pressure in the other room.
You can hear them firing up the machine, it sounds like an engine, and the doctor comes over to talk to us. He tells us this test will tell us a few things . . . if this is an asymptomatic anomaly, if there will be an exercise reduction or if he will need surgery. We knew based on a certain outcome that surgery might be an option, but his is the first time someone has actually said it to us out loud. He is just 15!
The doctor returns to the room behind the glass and you can see serious discussion going on in there. I wish I read lips . . .they inject the contrast into his vein . . . his pulse shoots from 77 to 99 and as soon as she gives the thumbs up that the vein is okay, his pulse plummets. My husband grabs my hand and I see a tear out of the corner of his eye. I close my eyes and begin to pray . . . Lord, I wouldn't at all be opposed to a miracle here today, thank you . . . Amen.
The test only takes a few minutes . . . it's done. The doctor had told us before the test that he would bring us back to see the pictures. It was only about 20 feet from where we were standing, but it sure felt like it took a long time to get there. I feel so hesitant, like when you are watching a scary movie hiding your eyes behind your hands. He begins by showing us the left coronary artery . . . and then . . . there it is, his right coronary artery right where it is supposed to be! And his arteries to his kidneys . . . no stenosis (narrowing).
We walk out into the hallway, my son goes to the bathroom, my husband and I . . . weep in an embrace in the hallway. Such a huge weight has been lifted.
We even made it before the intermission was over to the second half of our daughter's pop show!
Through all of this, my son has shown us what true courage is.
And P.S.- Today I'm over at Focusing on life (click here) - Have you ever waited for inspiration to hit only to be waiting? Something I realized in the last few months is that even though I haven't necessarily felt inspired, I picked up my camera anyway. . . turns out it's the action that inspires.Come join me as I share some thoughts on this.