It has been several days now and I'm still processing the events of Sunday. I think that my mind deals with it in little pieces. I can't bear to be away from Nate for any period of time. He is still sleeping at night snuggled up next to me on my bed. The other night, he rolled over and hugged my neck in his sleep. He is a smart little one and has caught on to the fact that I have a hard time putting any limits on him right now. He received a candy bouquet from our children's pastor at church yesterday. It was so cute to see him open it. When he was tearing open the packaging and caught sight of what was in it, his little hands started shaking with excitement. It's hard to tell him "No, you can't eat candy all day long".
Nate's request in the hospital was that we eat his favorite foods when he got home. When shopping yesterday, I asked him what foods he wanted. He said "You know, hospital food!" I don't think that request is frequently heard. So, for dinner, we had a unique assortment of foods. On the menu, Kix, Chocolate milk, cheese pizza, and jello. I can not begin to say enough about Children's Mercy. I know that I'm a little biased since I used to work there but the staff was so caring and kid-oriented. The ER staff was very open with what they were seeing as they did his initial assessment. His nurse, Lisa, allowed me to hold Nate as long as he didn't develop any respiratory problems. I remember picking him up in my arms and thinking how limp he was. He was still so weak that even as he started to regain consciousness, he couldn't hold up his head on his own. When I asked him yesterday about what he remembered when he first woke up, he said he felt "floppy". The nurses on 2Henson/Burn Unit were also so sweet. They always were very honest with him and spoke to him on his level. His least favorite thing was getting his IV flushed with saline because it stung but they would encourage him through it. He loved watching cartoon after cartoon but I finally encouraged him to go to the playroom and then he didn't want to leave! He got to do crafts with child life and later played in there when his cousin came up to visit.
Last night, we invited our small group over to give us all a time to talk and so that they could see just how active Nate is. My biggest concern related to all of this has been the impact on our children. To be honest, when it was all happening, I only remember seeing Bella briefly as she was walking toward me while we were still working on Nate. One of our friends quickly scooped her up. As we talked more about what other people saw and experienced last night, it was heart-warming to hear that as the children and other adults were gathered, some of the children were spontaneously calling on the name of Lord and praying for our little Nate. There seems to be no fear from what they saw. When our own children saw Nate for the first time after it happened late on Sunday night, they were just filled with joy. I think they are doing well. I let the three older girls read my blog yesterday and was unsure of what their reaction would be. They really took it all in stride and only had a few questions. I think that the full impact may not surface for a little while. Our five year old has been acting out a little more but he presents a unique challenge anyway. As we were shopping today, Nate asked me if we could have another party. I was confused and mentioned that we were going to get some supplies for his 12-year old sister's birthday. He said he wanted another party to celebrate his coming home from the hospital. He thought that everyone had come over to our house to celebrate his release from the hospital which is, of course, partially true. We were there for something much more meaningful though, we were celebrating his very life.
I feel like such a changed person. To be honest, I have been struggling with feeling depressed and kind of down for almost a year now. When it first started, I was coming up on my 40th birthday and I thought I was just not looking forward to it. As my birthday passed though, the feelings didn't go away. At the time, I was exercising more than I ever have and in good shape. I was sleeping as well as you can when you have seven children, homeschool 4 children and work part-time. I didn't know what else I could do to feel better. I felt kind of bad because I didn't feel like I had much of a personal relationship with the Lord. I would pray but not really seek to learn more about Him and what His will was for me. My husband summed it up when he said that it seemed like I had lost my joy. I couldn't deny it, I felt like I was just going through the motions and living day to day. My perspective on life was changed in just a few short minutes that at the time seemed to last forever. How can I not be joyful and thankful for every minute that I get to spend with each of my precious children, my husband, my friends, my co-workers.
Even while grocery shopping, I feel like I want to stop people and explain to them what a miracle my Nate is. I feel like the physical signs of what transpired on Sunday are fading. After having compressions performed on him and the violent vomiting as the fluids were expelled from his body, there were little hemorrhages on his face called petechaia. Those are now gone. He says his throat still hurts, maybe from the force of the fluids or the bile as it burned its way out. His back just bears a small abrasion that will also soon be gone. My prayer though is that the events of that night and the miracle that was witnessed will never be far from my mind. I still get tearful at unpredictable times but I can tell you that my outlook on life can never be the same. I have a joy and a confidence in what I believe. I feel like I have been given an unimaginable gift and can't wait to share it and give others hope.
This is the song that I referred to in my initial post. This is the song that we sang at church just hours before my world was turned upside down.