Sunday, July 4, 2010

Two years

That's right -- 2 years since the piece of silicone in her neck was removed. A tiny piece of equipment that kept her alive, and created more drama in 2 years than I'd seen in my 40 years.

The sense of relief didn't kick in til much much later. Shock was a more accurate description for B. and I since it wasn't where we'd thought we'd be, nor how we'd expected her decannulation to take place.

Two years ago, we expected Kate would be in the PICU recovering from the long awaited, heavily anticipated LTP (surgical reconstruction of airway with rib graft). Two years and 1 day ago, we hugged and kissed our heavily sedated daughter good bye and let her be wheeled into surgery with a doctor we trusted implicitely, whose intent it was to cut her neck open, and replace scarred tracheal tissue with part of her rib to open her airway and allow her to breathe without that tiny piece of plastic. Two years and 1 day and 1 hour ago, that same doctor came to us in the OR waiting room to tell us that our daughter's body had essentially healed itself - that the LTP he first mentioned when she was a mere 5 months old, need not take place now on her 22 month old body. Two years and 1 day ago and 22 hrs ago, we waited in the PICU for her to be wheeled into her room, with an even tinier piece of plastic in her neck (a downsized trach to prep for decannulation). Two years and 1 day and 18 hrs ago, we watched as an RT placed an even tinier piece of bright red plastic over Kate's trach and absolutely nothing out of the ordinary happened. Two years and 6 hours ago, we arrived in our daughter's room, not having any idea if she'd done ok with the cap and saw a smiley girl who looked just fine. Two years and 5 hours ago, a resident in pediatric otolaryngology removed her trach for the last time and we all held our breath to see what would happen. Two years and 4 hours ago, we exhaled and began the path toward realization that Kate was now "typical" -- with the exception that most 22 mos olds don't have an open hole in their necks.

Two years seems like yesterday.

Two years seems like a lifetime ago.