Difficult Times

It’s been a while since I have sat down and bitten the blogging bullet, I haven’t had time and to be completely honest, I haven’t known what to say. These past few weeks have been difficult, more so than I originally thought. Our little family has struggled but with the help of my lovely friend and amazing family we’ve got through the worst of it, honestly I don’t know where I would have been without them.

I’m not usually a lovey dovey person and public displays of affection are generally kept to a bare minimum but I am ever so grateful for the help and support I have received from my family these past few weeks.

 

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After a lovely and well needed holiday at the start of the month we didn’t really expect our month to end in the chaotic style that it did. We had been waiting for the Mr to receive his date for surgery since the start of the year but hoped that it would be put off until we had our fmaily holiday. Low and behold the phone call came, it was ok we were expecting it to happen but we had hoped that we would have had more time to prepare. The Mr was born with congenital heart problems, pulmonary stenosis, he required surgery to repair/replace the valves in his heart. After speaking to his surgeon, scans and tests it was discovered that a little more work was required that we originally thought but still we had known this was a possibility since it had been a long time since his last surgical repair. When the call came, we were told that his surgery had been scheduled for the next working day, I guess we were lucky that the phone call came on a Friday of the bank holiday weekend. That gave us two days to prepare, you can do a lot in a couple of days but prepare for something that will change your lives and routines for the next few months wasn’t really possible.

How could we explain to Isabelle that daddy would be going away for a couple of weeks? As adults we were prepared and knew that we would be spending time apart but the little one, well she wouldn’t understand. Instead I came up with a cunning plan, each day she would be told her daddy was doing something different, like safari, deep sea diving and even excavating for dinosaurs, just so that we could have something to talk about and what daddy would be doing. Okay it was a lie but I couldn’t bring myself to tell her daddy was having major surgery and that her relationship after would be different.

I coped perfectly fine saying goodbye when he left for the hospital, his surgery was required, it’s not something that could be left. I knew that I would be spending a minimum of a week without him at home, some of you may laugh that a week in the grand scheme of things is nothing, I have friends whose partners are away for months at a time for work but for us, a week is a long time, especially when you consider that your partner is going to have major surgery.

Tuesday morning arrived and I knew he would be wheeled down to theatre first thing, all I could do was wait and keep myself busy for the day. Eight gruelling hours in surgery seemed like a lifetime, especially when waiting for  the surgeon to call me with updates, it was probably the most helpless I have felt in my lifetime but I kept it together. That massive rush of relief came when I received the phone call, the surgery went well, there were a few complications and a few unexpected problems that they had repaired but he was stable. He was taken to intensive care post surgery but I could visit the following day. It had only been two days since I saw him last but there was a feeling of overwhelming joy when I knew that I could see him. Being a healthy young chap it seemed silly to worry about things going wrong, he had youth on his side but you cant help but worry in those situations.  I carried on with my day and phoned the hospital a couple of times to see how he was doing, I even managed to speak to him before bed, he was groggy, confused and barely coherent but I expected that, it was just amazing to hear his voice.

My trip to the hospital was joined with a spring in my step, a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I arrived on intensive care with a bag of goodies for him to be greeted by nursing staff that they would need just a few minutes with him before I could go in. Those few minutes turned into hours and through my persistence I discovered that he was in trouble. Doctors came and went, but I wasn’t given much information just to wait in the family room. I’d been there before in that very room, the same room when we were told my mum hadn’t made it through surgery. Right there and then I crumbled, I felt like I had had the wind knocked right out of me. It’s the waiting and not knowing, again I was helpless and my thoughts turned to my little girl at home, oblivious to everything and enjoying her day with my friend as they played with crafts and made cards for daddy. The Mr and little legs are my world and in that moment, I could not breathe, what if he wasn’t coming home? It had to be serious, the nursing staff on duty either gave me a pitiful look or would not look me in the eye. They were low times just sat waiting, my aunt came to stay with me, she understood and knew what I was going through, how traumatising it was to be there in that situation again, I’ve never been so thankful to see her.

Eventually I was called in, I could see him after I had spoken to the doctor that was in charge of his care. He apologised profusely about the lack of contact, I was understanding and grateful that his main priority was stabilising the Mr. He explained to me that the Mr had taken a setback just before I had arrived to see him. Through nobody’s fault, his lungs had collapsed and his obs had plummeted. His heart was struggling to find its own rhythm and keep up, he was fitted with pacing wires and a drain was fitted to released the build up of air that was causing his lungs to collapse. I had expected lots for drains, wires, tubes and cannulas but seeing him was a shock, machines everywhere monitoring everything, bleeping and alerting every minute. They were still working around him when I was told I could sit down, a nurse was collecting samples of blood from the central venous line that emerged from his neck and I could see his obs dropping as he struggled to breathe but in all of that he turned to me and smiled, he knew I was there and he reached out his hand to grasp mine. He nodded and squeezed my hand, that moment I knew he was there and he would fight. Each day following that there were setbacks but he became stronger and was soon able to leave intensive care and continue the rest of his stay on the cardiac ward.

Being a trooper he was out of bed, pottering around a few times a day in-between sleeping and resting. I spent my days with him until I had to leave at the end of visiting hours each day, he needed me there with him, even when he slept, he just wanted me there.

Each day I would have to leave my daughter with my family to visit him, she was confused and her routine was broken. Not only was she missing daddy, she only had a couple of hours each day with mummy to and that took its toll on her. Each day when I would collect her on my way home it was a case of putting her straight to bed, I felt truly awful…neglectful even. I broke down one evening when trying to to put her to bed when she stopped me and said “no bed mummy, just cuddles for longer” she was clearly exhausted and so was I but she clung onto me and we stayed like that for over an hour.

Over the next few days he had improved enough to be released home but then we were faced with another battle, infection. His temperature was rocketing throughout the day and he was not allowed to come home until he had been free from a temperature for 24 hours. It was a daily battle each day was filled with disappointment when we were told ‘tomorrow’.

When the day came we realised that this was the main part of the the whole process that we were concerned about, the recovery period at home. He would not be able to hold or cuddle his little girl, he wouldn’t be able to work, help out around the home or even play with his little girl in case he caused any damage to his healing chest and chest bone, we didn’t want to add to his hospital stay. She doesn’t understand this and it’s heart-breaking as he cannot give her the attention that she wants. He can’t drive, he spends his day drifting in and out of sleep, he can’t walk far, he can’t lift, bend down or open doors, even getting up the stairs is a struggle. It’s going to be a long process and it’s taking some getting used to.

Throughout this whole ordeal I am so grateful for my family being there for us, they’ve been a huge godsend, taking care of Isabelle, helping out when they can, taking me to visit the Mr, taking us shopping, taking the Mr to appointments, they call to ask how we are doing and if there is anything that they can do. I know I never give my family enough credit but these past few weeks I cannot thank them enough and I know that I would not have coped without them.

So this is the reason why I have been so quiet on the blog lately, it hasn’t been intended and I certainly haven’t lost interest, it’s just that right now my little family need me more.

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