Waiting for the Miracle
By Rose Ann Sinay
I am a private person, though you might not know it if you’ve read any of my stories. My family has been both irritated and moved by my public recollections of our lives. Writing allows me to find joy in small moments as well as big ones, dissect and digest what I don’t understand, and remember seemingly insignificant moments in-between. I try to find the upside to my serious subject matter, so my writing is cathartic for me. I’ve become my own therapist.
Recently, I discovered that some things cannot be fixed or understood by writing about it. I am stuck trying to find the words to illuminate that proverbial dark tunnel. But, I will keep plugging along until it comes to me.
If you have followed my stories, you know about my baby granddaughter’s difficult journey through emergency open heart surgery and our anxious wait for the second, more complicated operation to repair Mila’s heart. We were desperate to circle a date on the calendar, as if that marked the end of the “scary problem” and the beginning of “happy normal.” Of course, nothing is that simple.
The day of the surgery finally arrived. My husband and I were back in North Carolina after a two month stay with my daughter, but all our thoughts were centered in that New York hospital. Our optimism was perforated as fear started to creep in. The waiting had to be the worst of it, we thought.
After thirteen hours in the operating room, the surgery was a success. There were smiles and collective sighs of relief, both here and there. Our little girl was going to be all right. The reprieve lasted a day or two.
Then came fevers, irregular heartbeat, a delay in coming out of the coma, taking her off the ventilator–putting her back on the ventilator, possible repercussion from six hours on the heart-lung machine and powerful medications. Our emotions peaked and plummeted. The shininess of that circled date had dulled.
“It’s so hard to see her with all the tubes and wires stuck in her body,” my strong, exhausted daughter cried over the phone. I knew not to say that Mila was going to be just fine. Nothing was fine. “We will do what we have to do, one day at a time,” I said, instead.
Mila is not the first child or the last child to have a difficult beginning, but she’s ours and each complication has taken its toll. My daughter and her husband are consumed with the expected and the unexpected. There are good days and bad days. There is the reality of getting back to work, taking care of the dogs, sorting through bills and fighting with the insurance company who never seems to have the correct information or codes.” Just write another appeal,” they say to an emotional, over-stressed mother.
Fortunately, there are the special days when a nurse stays past her shift to personally get Mila through a rough patch, urging Kailey and Ryan to get some sleep. The day a volunteer made our baby an adorable hat with a bow almost bigger than she is – the silliness turned into precious. Or, the times a busy doctor has sat down with Mila’s parents in the hospital cafeteria when he could’ve been taking a much needed break.
Last week, a hand-crocheted baby blanket appeared in her crib, the sweet crafter unknown. I hope the volunteer who made it (and that wonderful hat) will read this so they know how much it touched us. I want them to know it will be with Mila forever, and passed down to her daughter as a part of her story.
Many friends have called and left messages of support. It’s physically and emotionally impossible to return each call, so my daughter has written updates on Facebook to keep this wonderful group of concerned people informed. Tip of the iceberg information that doesn’t include their minute to minute worries . . . the ifs, ands and buts. Kailey tries to end each update on a positive note.
Day nine in the hospital was the day from hell. Something was wrong, and the doctors weren’t sure what was causing the problem. It was a wait and see condition. Kailey posted her “not so positive” update, but at the end she wrote: “Mila’s heart is pumping strong and she’s starting to get her feisty personality back. Even smiling now. She kept the nurse and me up all night pulling out her nasal oxygen tube and laughing. I’ll take that!” Those four sentences made it okay; not good, but okay. We could take a breath. The power of writing it down. Seeing it on paper. Believing it.
When Mila was born, my husband and I spent a lot of time in the waiting room while her parents sat by her crib in the NICU (only two people allowed inside at once). We strained to overhear the conversations of the physicians that passed by us hoping to hear our granddaughter’s name and any information connected to it. I noticed other parents and grandparents doing the same thing. We were groups of people together in our circumstance; yet separate as we juggled our own worries, fears and hopes.
A young woman sat down across from me. She was crying. “My son is so sick,” she blurted out. I was embarrassed that I hadn’t reached out to her first. I switched my seat next to hers. I covered her hand with mine. Neither of us spoke. There was just too much. The doctor came in and called her into the room. I wish I knew how her little boy is doing. I wish I had given her a hug.
Fifteen days later, Mila is still in the hospital with no release date to circle on the calendar. But, she’s improving. She’s where she needs to be. We will keep on keeping on, just like all the others who wait for their own sweet miracle.
About this writer
- Rose Ann Sinay is a freelance writer typing away in sunny North Carolina. Her articles/stories have been published in The Carolinas Today, The Oddville Press and The Brunswick Beacon.
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