Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We arrived safely and soundly in Omaha Monday night. Mike and I were so tired after our long trip! Thank goodness we were greeted by Owen's aunts, who were so happy to watch him while we took a little nap. Tuesday was filled with finishing up the last minute details for Christmas. Shopping, cooking, and wrapping! We also got to see some good friends and spend time with the Walsh's. Wednesday morning, I got together with a good friend from college for coffee. When I got home, we celebrated Christmas with Mike's family. We had such a nice time and received lots of nice presents. Because Mimi had just watched Owen the week before, she knew just what he wanted... Elmo and Choo Choo's. Don't you just love Owen's gift bow headband?
While we were opening presents, my mom and sister both called to let me know my youngest brother, Sam, was admitted to the hospital. He had been sick with mono for two weeks and had been steadily getting sicker (despite 4 doctors visits in the meantime.) They didn't know what was wrong with him but he had been having back/ side pain for the last several days and could barely walk. The doctors were guessing he had pneumonia or pyelonephritis or something like that, but weren't sure. How horrible, to be so sick, and even worse, to be in the hospital on Christmas Eve. My parents said he was going to be ok, so we packed up and went to Charter Oak, IA with Mike's family to spend the night at his grandparent's house.

We went to Mass and in their small town and it only lasted about 35 min, which was about the perfect amount of time for Owen. Afterwards, we went back to their house to cook dinner.

Mike's aunt and uncle and cousins arrived awhile later and we ate and exchanged gifts. All the while, we keep hearing worse news about Sam. The pulmonologist has reviewed the cat scan it showed his right lung to be 2/3 full of puss and abcesses. Gross! (Sorry, Sam!) He would need a thoracotomy (a surgery in which they open up your lung.) They eventually decided it would be on Christmas day around 2 pm.
Christmas morning we packed up and were on the road before 8 am. We had an uneventful drive, except for the loss of our only remaining pacifier. Owen threw it somewhere in the back and we stopped and dug and hunted, but we couldn't find it. Big bummer! He eventually cried himself out and fell asleep.
We made it to the hospital around noon and Sam looked pretty rough. We visited for awhile before heading to the Schieber house to unload the car and drop Lola off with the other dogs. We changed Owen and headed back to the hospital. They let us all go see him in the pre-op area (even Owen) before his surgery. I don't know if they normally do that, but it was Christmas, and he was the only patient. His surgery lasted about 2.5 hours which was what the surgeon told us was the best case scenario. Also, they were able to extubate him while he was in the operating room which was a good sign. After surgery, we got to see him in the recovery room again. He was really sleepy but when he saw my brother Alex, he said "What's up dude?" It was pretty funny! And a sign that he was going to be okay. He spent the night in ICU and Mike, Owen, and I went back to my parent's house.

The next morning we went back and he was quickly transferred to the CCU or step-down unit. More good signs! Later that day we celebrated Christmas with my family at home and then again with Sam in the hospital. We received lots of nice gifts, but we all felt bad because Sam wasn't there.

We ended up staying through Monday morning. Mike and Owen were both troopers, spending lots of time in various hospital lounges and waiting rooms and occasionally making the long trek over to the kids play area by the hospital cafeteria, as well as alone at my parent's house.

Owen was great on the car ride home. We got him a strawberry milkshake at DQ and he was in heaven. He drank half of it without coming up for air! Christmas was very strange this year, but it was nice that we all got to be together. It really made me appreciate all of the hospital staff who worked on Christmas. I always grumble about working on the holidays, but after this year, I know I'll try harder to focus on feeling bad for the patients who are stuck there on the holidays instead of feeling sorry for myself. Sam got to go home from the hospital Tuesday night. He is doing well, other than having a hard time staying comfortable on the pain medication, which I guess is more or less to be expected, but too bad.