You will have significant experiences.
I hope that you will write them down and keep a record of
them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh
your memory of these meaningful and significant things.
Some may be funny. Some may be significant only to you.
Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some
may build upon another until they represent a lifetime of
special experiences.
- Gordon B Hinckley

Thursday, May 19, 2011

CHLA Bound...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy December to all of you!  I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was full of family, togetherness, and a multitude of blessings.  We spent our holiday at my parents' house, celebrating and giving thanks for Everett and for our family.  It was a wonderful day…one that last year, we thought we might never get to enjoy.  I searched high and low for a special outfit for Everett to wear and I finally found the PERFECT one.  A picture is attached and as you will see, his shirt reads “Everyone Is Thankful For Me” :-)  Yes, we are thankful for our precious Everett and for all the blessings and answered prayers we’ve received over this past year.  We are so blessed!!!

Now that we’ve come into December, our focus has shifted toward Everett’s upcoming surgery, which is scheduled for Wednesday, December 15th at 7am.  We will be the first case of the day because Everett will likely be their youngest patient.  The procedure will take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours depending upon whether the surgeon revises his scar.  After that, he will be transferred to the Recovery Room and then onto the Med/Surg unit for an overnight stay.  I plan to stay the night with him in the hospital (something neither Zac nor I were ever given the opportunity to do in the NICU).  If all goes according to plan, we will head home on Thursday afternoon, after he is discharged. 

So how are Zac and I feeling about this surgery?  In a word…TERRIFIED!  You’d think we’d be old-pros at this surgery thing, but it seems that the more we undergo, the more we realize the huge risks involved and thus the more nervous we get.  In my quiet moments, I often wonder if we’ve already used up our “quota” for blessings and sometimes I feel like there is no way we will get so lucky again.  The fact that Everett has done so well since his second surgery and discharge is truly a miracle.  I’m sure part of that feeling is related to this time last year, when our journey took a dramatic turn for the worse (actually, Everett’s first surgery took place a year ago tomorrow) and is also part of the PTSD that I know Zac and I are suffering from.  I guess we are always wondering if the other shoe is going to drop (because it did when we least expected it).  So, as I’m sure most NICU parents do, we’ve taken the “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” approach.  There is palpable tension in our house.  I can feel all my emotions from being at CHLA creeping back into my heart.  What can I say…I’m ready for a fight…because the last time we were there, I had to fight for Everett’s life.  But, when these emotions take over, I try to remind myself that things are so different now, that Everett is healthy and that what happened before was our past and will not dictate our future.  But of course having Everett at home this time makes handing him over to the surgeons that much harder.  Lord, give me the strength!!!   

Zac and I are also trying to cope with the fact that taking Everett back to CHLA goes entirely against every parental instinct we have.  We’ve been working so hard for these past nine months, since Everett’s been home, to keep him out of the hospital.  We’ve found the balance between socializing and health, normalcy and caution.  We take GREAT pride in the fact that we’ve been able to keep our precious boy so healthy.  And now to take him back, to put him through surgery, it really just tears at our hearts.  But all this is the emotional side of things, and the rational side tells us that we have to do this, that this surgery will make him even healthier.  And so we go back and forth all day…our brains are like a circus of emotions.  We haven’t even had the surgery yet and we are already exhausted from it! 

We have cancelled Everett’s therapy for six weeks following the surgery.  This will allow his body to rest and heal.  Once his therapy starts up again, we expect Everett to have regressed a little in his development.  For instance, he might not crawl or sleep through the night or babble as much.  But this is a common reaction to stress in children.  His therapists assure us that given enough time to process everything, Everett will return to his normal self.  Again, it is hard for Zac and I to have this surgery knowing that this will cause Everett more setbacks, especially after he has worked so hard to acquire every skill that he has, but again, we repeat to ourselves that this will make him healthier. 

In this week before his surgery, I ask you, Everett’s prayer warriors, to include Everett in your prayers.  Most specifically, can you pray for (I know this list is long…but it includes everything):

1.       For a complication-free surgery and recovery

2.       For no side effects (specifically oral aversion) from Everett’s intubation

3.       For adequate pain management

4.       That Everett will quickly return to his happy, giggly self

5.       That Everett will not remember any of this experience

6.       For our parents, who worry just as much, if not MORE, than we do.  Help them to know our family will be okay, no matter what life throws at us, as long as we have each other

7.       For Zac and I to know that we are making the right decisions for Everett

8.       Give thanks for Everett’s health, answered prayers, and Christmas-time blessings

Our thanks go out to each of you!  Your prayers work miracles and Zac and I feel more confident knowing that you are all standing beside us in prayer.  I know it is a busy time of year and that all of you are concerned with your own families and holiday plans, but please know that we are touched that you take time out of your day to think of our son.  We continue to be humbled by your love and steadfastness :-)

With Love,

The Bollinger Family

Our family refers to this as Everett’s prayer :-)

Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me; for my soul trusteth in yee; yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.  PSALM 57:1

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