When I explain to anyone Eva’s medical issues, as soon as I mention heart surgery, the expression on their face seems to get more despondent . There is so much of a respect and fear for the heart that people tend to understand immediately how serious your child’s condition is if you mention they have a heart issue. With that being said, I don’t think people know how common it is for children to be diagnosed with a heart condition. For example I have 2 childhood friends that both have children who also had complicated heart surgeries (one just a few days ago) at a young age. Because of the complex properties of the heart, all three of our children have had different interventions and thank God all three of them are doing well.
As I was driving today to visit one of those friends (mentioned previously) at the hospital so I could finally meet their little one after he just had open heart surgery, I almost turned around a few times because my anxiety of it all almost took control of me. The emotions I felt were taking me back to when Eva was having heart surgery herself and my sadness overcame me. It was overwhelming, but I followed through and I am so glad I did. It was nice to see how incredible her son was doing and to put a face with the many, many, many prayers I sent up for him. I was also reminded how much I want to go to nursing school. I don’t think I ever felt so passionately about a career choice than this.
Watching my friend, a new mom, experience something that most parents will never have to deal with, (i.e. the extended hospital stay, cords tangling, monitors beeping, Doctors and nurses being obnoxiously loud in the room where your baby is trying to nap through the pain, X-rays, echos, sutures from a fresh open wound) makes me realize how truly hand picked we are for these very difficult times. We have to hand over our child to a surgeon to cut them open and repair a heart you grew yourself, you have to let nurses watch over your child and hope they don’t miss any red flags and we have to trust God that his plan is one that shows mercy to your child. After an experience like that you learn to appreciate your boring, repetitive life at home, as ridiculous as it sounds.
As I left the hospital I went into an elevator with a kid (maybe in his 20’s) that had a artificial heart in a backpack. Want to talk about putting things into perspective. I wanted so badly to talk to him because I am 100% sure most people are intimidated by his situation but all I got out of my mouth was, “have a good day”. I was so disappointed in myself because I wanted to tell him how amazing and special he is because he lives in an time where his unusual circumstances allows him to walk, talk and live! All I can think is God has such a purpose for him and all of our children. Especially our children that require medical attention who also live in a time where these medical advances have allowed them to live a longer life, and they wouldn’t necessarily have had that option, just 50 years ago.
I am so grateful for Eva and her experiences, because while she went through them physically, I went through the same experiences but on an emotional level and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. I have become stronger, more aggressive (especially in situations where I need to be for my children) and at the same time softer. I have adapted to situations where some people think is impossible to overcome. You never know what you can survive from until after the dust settles.