THE GHOST IN YOU (Psychedelic Furs)

I’m sitting in an armchair with Cole sleeping next to me in 27 lbs of traction, nursing a cold.  The last thing we need is a cold or illness of any sort but weeks in hospital in December are hardly the best circumstances to prevent illness!  Nurses and other kids all have the same little cough that he has.  Who knows where it came from – there are so many people coming in and out of the wing…So we’re doing all we can to keep it from getting worse. The surgery is scheduled for December 24th, which gives a week.

The traction process seems to be going well.  Cole’s spine is responding favorably to the slow stretching and from the last x-rays his ribcage is shifting back into place.  He sits so much straighter which gives us an idea of how he will sit following the surgery.  It’s really positive and he says he’s more comfortable even in the traction – and how can he not be?  His pelvis is straighter so he sits better and it’s also no longer touching his rib cage.  With his rib cage straighter, his lungs are no longer impacted so his breathing is better and simply sitting straighter really has an impact on his overall image – he looks more mature and present.

We’re now two full weeks into this incredibly weird existence.  I feel like a ghost in my life.  I spend about 75% of my time at the hospital, returning home every other night to cuddle our lonely, confused dog, do a load of laundry, sleep, shower and return to the hospital the next morning.  I can tell my husband has been there but we’ve not been in the house together for two weeks.  We spend time at the hospital together but with Cole and visitors and nurses, aides, doctors…endless comings and goings at all hours.

It’s hard to know what to do with myself when I’m home.  I’ve wrapped all of our gifts, though I’m not sure why.  We do have stuff we’ll pass along to my family for their celebrations and we shipped to family out of state but what of our celebration?  How do you celebrate when you know you’ll be spending Christmas Eve waiting with worry while your son undergoes a ten hour surgery with a couple of hours of pre and post op on either side of that ten hours?  How do you celebrate Christmas when your son will be in the PICU on Christmas and likely Boxing Day? We’ve considered doing something before with Cole but we can only have two visitors so we can’t even do something with the just my brother and his family and my mom, who is coming down from Oregon.  The reality is it doesn’t matter much to my husband and I, but it does matter to Cole, whose favorite holiday is Christmas.

None of this matters except getting him back to full health before surgery and then getting him through the surgery and the next month of recovery.  We’ll have to create a new holiday after all this is but a memory so that he can celebrate his recovery, bravery, and grace that he’s shown throughout these weeks.

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