Sunday, March 4, 2012

Much More Than a Guardian Angel.

 I'm linking up for two posts for Eden's wild Horses Brigade.
The first had been written in September when it had happened and now this long post of things long ago.   This is about my eldest son's guardian.


 I could not talk about this for many years with out breaking down. I look back now and realise that this was so traumatic that we  should have had help to get over the experience.
  I lost 30 lbs.   Most of that was pregnancy weight gain and then my hair began falling out in handfuls from the stress. My then husband just  drank more!

 This true experience goes back a lot of years when my eldest was 22 months old.

He had the awful habit of chewing dirt. No doctor could give me guidance, except to say that he has something lacking in his diet.
One day I was visiting my mother and he was downstairs with his twin aunt and uncle who were 3 months older!  He had a mouthful of fine stones from the driveway when my very young brother pushed him.      Yes... he is still a bully.
  G. was crying and began wheezing.  I took him to our doctor and told him what happened and that he must have dirt in his lungs.  He said that he just has congestion.  Two more doctors over three weeks with the same diagnoses even after being told the story.
 Three prescriptions that were never filled!

He vomited one night and the next morning I had had enough of the crap they were saying and took him to the Mackay  Base Hospital for definite answers.  I had an answer as soon as the lovely Dr Berry, the female Medical Superintendent listened to me and then to his chest. She ordered an X-ray  which then showed a small stone in his left lung, about the size of little fingernail.

She organised for G. to be admitted to the Royal Children's Hospital in Brisbane for it to be removed by a bronchoscope.   Because I was breast feeding the five month old brother,  it was decided that my mother would take him on the plane and take care of him.   The procedure had to be delayed and the poor little darling's stomach pumped out because some idiot of a nurse gave him orange juice even though there was a " nil by mouth' prominent sign on his bed ..  That is not pleasant experience.

They tried to retrieve it but because it had been in his lung for three weeks,  the body had built a defensive wall around the foreign object.  He began having problems with the anaesthesia so they halted their efforts. He was kept in hospital and given antibiotics for a week to break this wall down.

When they tried again, his heart stopped.

He was given open heart surgery to manually start his heart because every thing else failed.  This was pre  electric shock days.
   The doctor had put his hand into the chest cavity and literally started his heart by squeezing it. Another doctor put in a tracheotomy.

G. was now critcally ill and not expected to live. If he did,   they expected brain damage as he had been dead for four minutes.

My mother didn't phone me or get any one else to phone me.  Why?    I've never been told.

Somehow the message was given to the manager of Hastings Deering where my father was working at the time. Dad was out in the field, out of touch.  The stupid manager came around to the house but never told me a freaking thing when I answered the door.    He told my father that he didn't want to upset me!!!!!   Fucking Wanker!   

My then husband and I flew  the thousand kilometres the next day with our baby,  hoping we would get there in time.      We walked in to the room to see this little boy with a  tube draining  his heart wound,  oxygen, and this horrible tracheotomy contraption in his neck and all this, unconscious  in a steam tent.

We were allowed to stay in the Red Cross rooms as relatives of the critically ill were.  The doctors we talked to gave us no hope and I still appreciate their honesty.   We sat with him around the clock, either together or taking it in shifts, talking to him  and always caressing him.

He kept surviving so we took a room in Brunswick Street within walking distance of the hospital. The owner was a total bitch.  Some Italian lady who was so money hungry that there were even signs to tell you not to use too much toilet paper!

  I would come to the room to feed bub and then  back to G.  We walked any time. day  or night.
I used to sit with my fingers on his pulse all the time,  so very afraid.

After about four days my husband  was reciting some nursery rhyme to him,  it was Three Little Pigs when G. opened his eyes and mouthed the words.  I was there and we both looked at each other and just broke down sobbing.   Was there some hope?

We told the head sister who's desk was in the same room.  She wouldn't believe us and so we did it again and G. mouthed the words.  She put her finger over the hole in the trachy thing that allowed the sound to move through his vocal chords and sure enough.... he was saying the words.
Doctors were phoned,   the Anaesthetist came,   nurses came,  all to see with their own eyes. 

We were told that sometimes there is a rally before final moments and not to get up  false hope.

But it wasn't. It was progress and each day he got better.  I was given medication to help dry up my milk and so then  my mother could  fly  home with the baby being  in a good environment.

 We were told that he would be in hospital a length of time so we both got jobs at the Golden Circle Cannery  due to finances.  I spent most of the time in the sick room due to watching the conveyor belts. Made me so nauseous.     For many years I could not eat pineapple.

Prince Charles Hospital,  Chermside.

The day they removed the tracheotomy breathing tube was huge for us.  The nurses had to come with a suction tube to suck it out nearly hourly and it is a most horrible sound.  He was also being fed through a nasal tube.        G's throat wound was stitched closed and he could speak normally again.

G.  Asked to see the man that helped him.    His words.  We asked him what did he look like. 
He told us and the staff that he had a white dress and had long hair and a beard and a kind face.
He said that he was at the end of his bed.  ( in the theatre )

The head sister said that there wasn't any doctor or staff member who fitted that description and also told us that if they were in theatre they would have been gowned up with hair cover and a mask.

After his recovery with no signs of brain damage we said farewell and we were transported by ambulance to the Chermside Chest Hospital which is now the Prince Charles.  Here he was to be operated on through the back under his shoulder blade to remove the stone.
 He came through this very well as they kept the anaesthetic to the minimum  for his weight.  Wonderful doctors and nursing staff there also.
The doctor kept the stone for us and I had it for years until I handed it over to G. who promptly lost it.
We were allowed to bring him home after a week and had been told by both doctors to treat him as though nothing had happened to him, which we did.   His personality had changed.
He was very outgoing before it all happened and now he was shy and introverted.   We built up his confidence by sending him on little errands to buy things when we went somewhere or got him to talk to people.  Now, he's an extrovert with no fear!

One day about two months later G. and I were walking along a street in Mackay.

We were passing a newsagents window when he got excited and said,  Mum, there's the man. There's the man".  I looked around expecting to see a friend walking near us.

He stopped and very happily pointed to the shop window,  'there's the man!'

There was a  picture of Jesus with the bleeding heart!