I'm sure that most of you are aware of the MckMama situation and are probably praying for their sweet baby, Stellan. She had a post here that started me thinking this morning. Or maybe remembering and thinking.
Several years ago, my daughter had a rather complicated surgery on her spine. At the time, I thought I was reasonably prepared for whatever life was bringing on our doorstep.
Until I got the letter from her doctor telling me exactly what they were going to do during the surgery. (something about cutting through her rib cage, moving a bunch of her organs out of the way and so forth and so on. Of course, he also felt it necessary to tell me what damage might occur to these organs as a part of this particular surgery. gee, thanks doc.) So, I re-prepared myself. Josh was unable to be at the hospital with me because he had major surgery two weeks prior to Jessi's surgery. So it was just me and her.
Anyway, after her surgery, they told me they were moving her to ICU. Um...excuse me, but no where in my preparations was the ICU mentioned. I was somewhat perturbed to say the least. And frightened. Distressed. Upset. Fill in the trauma induced descriptor here. They told me that once they had her ready, I could stay in the ICU area with her. The only thing was, it was taking sooooo long. And I was worried. And maybe just a bit traumatized by the word ICU.
After a bunch of time passed, I began asking nurses when I could go back to see my baby.
And I was told....that a child was dying and the nurses were helping the family.
Oh, my heart stopped.
And my eyes opened to what was going on around me.
There was a grandmother waiting in the waiting area with me. She had a toddler with her. She said that her new grandbaby had stopped breathing the day before and the doctors were saying that she had no brain activity. (did I mention that this was the day after Christmas?)
Once I finally got back to Jessi's bed, I learned other stories. While we spent our 24 hours in ICU (as a precaution), I got to know the mom of the baby in the bed next to us. He was 18 months old and had already had 5 surgeries. He would be having more.
During the night, a three year old girl was brought in with head and body injuries caused by one of her parents. Social services took custody of her in the ICU.
Days passed. While Jessi recovered, I met another mom whose daughter was waiting for surgery. Apparently the doctor's office had called before they got home from their appointment. There was a message on their answering machine saying that they needed to go straight to the hospital. The dad had lost his job recently and the mom was the only one working but her daughter wanted her there to stay with her. The mom didn't know what she was going to do.
I learned something that week. While Jessi's surgery was a "big deal" and was complicated by several factors, she was going to heal. She had a family at home that loved her and cared for her. Her life would return to normal. Life would go on for us.
But life is so much bigger than that.
There are hurting families in need of prayer all around us. And yet sometimes we miss it because our eyes are focused on ourselves. More than likely, I will never know the outcome of any of the stories that touched our lives that December. But I like to think that they made me a better person. One that sees beyond herself. So while I'm praying for Stellan today, I'll be praying for the other children that Jennifer mentioned that are sharing the PICU with them.