Friday, February 19, 2010

Hospital Life

Einstein is known for E=mc2 to explain the theory of relativity, the relationship between mass, the speed of light, and energy. With this theory we can say things like a person traveling 20 years at the speed of light would not age as fast as someone living on earth for 20 years. Well, here is my theory of hospital relativity - TiH = .0001ToH. That is - Time in Hospital is equal to 1/1000th of the time out of Hospital. Time runs vveeerrryyyy slow as you sit and pass time inside a hospital room. About 1000 times slower than time outside of the hospital room. So the last 4 weeks we have spent in the hospital with Sara are equivalent to 4 minutes of real life outside of the hospital. (If that makes no sense, just shake it off and keep reading).

Jennifer and I decided several months ago that if Sara ended up in the hospital we would simply take turns staying with her. It is least disruptive to the most people. So every 24 hours we switch. Except on Sundays when I have to be at church to preach, etc.. So in a weeks time Jennifer spends not quite 4 days and I spend a little more than 3 total days with Sara. Thank goodness for the doc who has allowed us to do this. Thank goodness for the hospital room with a bathroom. Thank goodness for the fold out chair/bed, well kind of thank goodness. I won't know for sure to be thankful until I finish 6 months at the chiropractor.

It's been an adventure, that we are being told will be over Wednesday. That will be one full month. Jennifer and I have texted (almost 3,000 messages between us, I'm a nerd at heart I had to look), talked, hugged and kissed by the elevators as we have switched kids and are doing great. In an odd way we feel closer. There have been some reprieves. A few Fridays when Jenn's parents were here, we have spent part of the day together in Sara's room. The recent snow day in North Louisiana. I was at the hospital the night before and woke up to the winter wonderland and called Jennifer - "Honey, Sara has to be alone for a while because we have to play in the snow" So the four of us frolicked until Emma Grace couldn't walk and then back to hospital. And of course during three surgical procedures we got some time to hang out with the girls hanging out with their aunt and cousins.

Other than those short times together, our life has consisted of shuffling between two worlds, and it was such a strange contrast. You run like crazy with our 2 older girls - homeschooling, horse lessons, piano lessons, library, Homeschool Co-op (that would be a several dozen families who get together weekly to teach a variety of classes to all of our kids), church, grocery shopping, meals, bedtime and bath time. And then you enter hospital world - 24 hours, one room, one view, doctors, nurses, sleeping in spurts, and looking forward to meals like a teenager grounded to their room. The strange thing is at the end of your shift you couldn't wait to experience the other world.

One thing Jennifer and I discovered is that the cafeteria has a repeating menu for each meal each week. Since we are there at the same times each week, we get the same meals. So during her last shunt surgery we had a great conversation comparing meals and who got the better menu. Jennifer stated her case and started strong - fried chicken (Sunday lunch), cheeseburger (Sat supper), pork chop (Monday supper), and croissant sandwich (Wed supper). But I think I nudged her though through the strength of my breakfasts - Fried fish (Friday lunch), Rotisserie chicken (Thurs supper), chicken fried steak (Wed lunch), biscuit and sausage (Mon and Wed breakfast), and bacon and grits (Friday breakfast). Plus she got points deducted for mystery meatloaf for Sunday supper (can you say vending machine).

We've gotten to more and more interact with Sara. More and more hold her. Especially now after the shunt surgery, she doesn't have the externalized shunt and so we don't have tubing coming out of her stomach hooked to a large plastic bag. Glad that is gone! One of our favorite things to do is read her books. She is really beginning to look and pay attention. But I have to take issue with one of her books, a nursery rhyme book. Can anyone explain why this is a song we sing to our kids - Rock a bye baby - in the tree top - when the wind blows - the cradle will rock - when the bough breaks - the cradle will fall - down will come baby - cradle and all. It just struck me how odd that song is. Should we write a song about a baby dying in a car crash also. Maybe being bitten by animal. And this is supposed to be sung before bed. I don't get it.

One other thing we have noticed about Sara - she is about to get a tooth. She's been teething for a while and we can feel it close to the surface. As soon as we get home we will get to start fruits and vegetables. That should be fun.

All of this to say - God has been gracious to help us turn a situation we feared into a time of growth and memory making experiences. We have dreaded the day we might have to go back in the hospital. But, in a way that we can only attribute to God working in our hearts, we have not been bitter but grown better. We have laughed, prayed, and really enjoyed the time we had. Either in the hospital where we get to take care of Sara and have long times of reading while she slept, or with the Emma Grace and Abigail who have been awesome through all of this. I can say for sure we won't live with the same dread of hospital time that we have had. God really does not leave you nor forsake you, and He gives the grace you need at the time you need it to walk through anything. For that we are grateful.


  1. Just reading your comments touches my heart.
    I cannot imagine the emotional roller coaster that you struggle with daily. Nor can I imagine the scheduling difficulties or the struggle to maintain some type of normalcy in your daily life. I believe the grace of God is evident and He has lead you to the place you are today.

  2. You are such an inspiration!! I'll be so glad to hear you are all home and under one roof again soon!! God is really good, isn't He? Even under difficult circumstances we can see Him working!!

  3. Abigail and Emma Grace are awesome! It was so sweet Sunday when Abigail came back to give her dad a kiss on the cheek. There is a song called "Ride Out Your Storm" that I often think of when I think of ya'll. So happy Sara is better and can't wait to see her again.
    Luke 1:37