Sarah made it home.
She is beautiful and well and cheerful. You would have no idea that it was such a difficult week. Of course, to put things in perspective, my darling daughter was blowing kisses to the paramedics on the way to the hospital in the ambulance just after the fall.
Tuesday night I stood in the doorway, with the door wide open waiting for the ambulance, breastfeeding a six month old who was not hungry because I knew she would be later and I would be gone. I walked away from a very upset five year old who stoically fought tears in the arms of a neighbor. It was one of those difficult nights. In retrospect, you wonder how you did it, but in the moment, you simply don't have time to consider how, you just do what you have to do.
The days in between then and now are all a bit blurry. I remember calling my husband from the local hospital to make sure he was coming. She was acting completely normal, so to be perfectly honest, when I walked in I felt a little silly. I thought I was over-reacting! The doctor even thought it would be a CT to clear us and we would be home in hours. I remember the fear when the doctor came back after reading the CT. Fear was all over her face. She did not want me to call my husband to drop off money (as we had planned) she wanted to make sure he was planning to come to Children's. She did not say so, but I got the distinct impression that she thought we should be preparing to say goodbye.
I remember rather foolishly wishing I had not broken my Kindle. How was I supposed to rally our prayer warriors? We needed them!
I remember walking into Children's just as they were about to sedate my darling girl. I shooed them away. She might need sedation, but give me a chance to calm her down. She had ridden in the helicopter! She was restrained because of risks to her spine! She was tired and throwing up and alone in an ER. She needed Mommy. Maybe medicine too, but mommy first.
When we finally made it to the PICU, I remember how she changed. Sarah was so clearly relieved to be there, it was visible. Interesting. Friends (ICU friends- it was way past visiting hours, and we were still medically precarious) came by. Hugs and warmth and pillows. They were ready. They even had my breast pump in the room. It was, I think, the second time I had the experience of an enormous weight being lifted before I was aware of it. I had not realized how scared I was until I was not scared anymore. I hope none of you need an ICU. I pray that if you do, you find the same level of kind and competent care.
Blurry days, with tests and more tests. Unfamiliar residents came in and out to reassure me. Familiar nurses, fellows, therapists and attendings actually did reassure me. (I have no complaints against the residents. I just did not know them, and they did not know me.) The MRI did not show trauma to her spine. Her behavior was normal. Neuro checks every hour (later every two hours) were normal.
Friday, I was sure we would be there until Monday. Saturday Sarah was discharged. Hallelujah!
Sarah is doing very well. The bleed will take some time to reabsorb. Surgery is off the table for a few weeks- and we will do the best we can to keep from being discouraged by that. Sarah expects not to be alone, as she is rarely alone in the hospital, and never at night. So, our bedtime routine just got more difficult, again, as it always does after a hospitalization. The refrigerator is empty. (You don't buy stuff when you have no idea when you'll be home, and by the time you get home all the perishable stuff has generally perished.
But life is good. Back to our noisy normalish chaos. Miss Sarah may even start school next week! God is good.