Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A Tale of Two Days.

I remember it was very hot that August night. Somewhere along the road from Galway to Dublin, Saturday had turned into Sunday. My neck was sore from staring at the car wing mirror for 3 hours. I was straining to catch the blue flashing lights as the neonatal ambulance carrying our 2 day old son sped passed. I never saw the lights. We arrived long before them. My apprehension intensified. The ICU staff were surprised but welcoming. We were led to the parents' room down a corridor into a foreign land. Machines beeped, whooshed and pumped. Kids were plugged in and zoned out. Parents keeping a vigil by their beds. Staff were calm, in control but very serious. We were in big trouble, I knew we wouldn't leave this foreign country for a very long time, and when we did, our lives would never be the same again.

The ambulance team arrived about an hour later. They assured us all was well. Rory handled the journey and was reconnected to the ventilator in the adjoining room. It was time to let the staff do their job, someone asked if we wanted to see a priest. I declined. Tests on tiny babies take time, a lot of time. At 3.15 am a very kind consultant urologist knocked gently on the door and introduced himself. First names only, no room for titles or white coats here. He was shaking his head, not in despair, but in disbelief. It had never been seen before. No kidneys but, as he put it, lungs in pretty good nick. This was one hell of a fighter we had. We're not sure though, it's never been seen, we need more expertise. They'll be here in the morning. So we were asked to wait.

I've learned a lot about waiting since then. At that stage, I was still a novice; I didn't cope very well. 12 hours of wondering would we have to steal a last look, kiss him goodbye and turn off a whooshing machine. 12 hours of hell. I couldn't sleep and, having just given birth; sitting was still a challenge. So I walked, I walked every corridor in Crumlin hospital, railed at every holy statue and blessed virgin mocking me with their benign, trust in Us eyes. For those of you lucky enough not to have darkened the doors of that hospital, believe me that's a lot of eyes!

The night stretched into day, the morning bled into afternoon before we were released. His lungs came up trumps. The risk was worth it. It would be tough, there would be a lot of time spent in hospital, there were no guarantees, but he was given good odds. We grasped that chance with both hands and ran like hell! In the space of an hour we had re-ordered our lives, secured a house to live in, plotted our move to Dublin and remembered how to breathe in and out.

Today was just as hot as that August night, but today, he walked into his new classroom, smiled at his junior infant class mates, turned to me and said 'see ya later chickenlicken'.

What a difference a day makes.


Tuesday, 9 June 2009

These Are Good Days

It's been a great few weeks. The sun had it's best millinery out, and we basked in sumptuous sunshine. We ate in the garden most nights, swam in the chilly bay and ate ice cream till we felt sick.

It all started with Jess' communion - a really memorable day, not for any blingtastic bashes, but just for the fact that we had a celebration. I realised as our neighbours joined us for tea, cake and the odd drop of something stronger, that we had never had the occasion to invite them in before. We've been literally firefighting for almost 6 years. It was lovely to kick back and share a laugh.
It also gave us a long overdue chance to say thank you to all of you amazing people out there, who have opened your hearts, houses and arms to us during the dark days. Look how far we've come, now take a bow all of you, because we couldn't have done it without your support.

We can even report progress on the psychology second opinion. We had our first session last week with the new psychologist, and there's another tomorrow. So far, she appears to be of the non furry, string operated variety, but we will reserve all judgement till the final report. Just the old superstition of chicken counting and eggs hatching, you know how it is.

Plans for Rory's launch into full time education in Sept are gathering pace. So far, we seem to have dodged the cut backs and it looks like he will be approved for a Special Needs Assistant. Again caution is advised on chicken head counts here also. But fools that we are; we live in hope.

I've been busy trying to keep fit - remember those new years resolutions? In an effort to put my money where my cake hole is, I signed up for a sponsored swim (well two actually; but more about that anon). So far we have raised a tidy sum for the Ian Daly Swim a Mile with a smile for Barretstown. Feel free to log on and donate to this wonderful cause. I nearly had to be hospitalized and it cost me a fortune in physio, but I did it. I was not alone; auntie Mags, complete with dodgy arm was one of our star swimmers. A huge thanks must also go to Orla, Jen and Damien in the Ardilaun leisure club, who, bless them, didn't need any coercion to get involved. So we're all feeling nauseatingly smug at the moment!

The twists and turns of this journey will always catch me off guard. This blogging business has become such a major part of my life. I am now involved in the lives of people I've never even met. I worry about their kids, their desire to have kids and their on going health issues. They, in turn come and visit here, to leave messages of support and encouragement. But today, I was literally blown away by two posts.

Steph is facing some major surgery, but with an optimism and chutzpah that just takes the floor from under me. She is an inspiration. The other major news is that Xbox is going to be a Dad.Big sissy that I am, I wept with joy reading that post this morning.

Of course I've heard nothing back from Enable Ireland, but honestly, did you expect anything?

These are good days; so lets not waste them.