Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Our grandson is still in the special care nursery because his respiration is too fast and his heart rate is too high. This, they tell us, is nothing serious. The respiration will slow down when there is no more fluid in his lungs, a condition that affects many newborns. His parents just have to wait until it happens to take him home.

Mom was released last night at midnight but is permitted to continue to use the room like a hotel as long as the baby is still a patient. Both parents are staying at the hospital.

I spent part of yesterday in the lymphedema clinic at another hospital to start addressing my swollen arm. The therapy of choice is a type of bandage that looks like an ACE bandage wrapped around my hand and all the way up my arm to my armpit. This is then covered with a second bandage of similar material. Since my arm is already one-and-a-half times normal size, it has caused my sleeves to be tight. Add two thick bandages to that and there isn't a chance I can wear my clothes with it on. And then there is the baby issue. I can't bend it with the bandages on. We won't even talk about the heat it generates, especially when the temperature is in the high 80s and humid. I took one look at it, thought about holding a baby and about my promise to help my daughter when she comes home, and said there was no way it would work. On to plan B.

Plan B is an elastic sleeve and a glove that can be taken off and put on. I wore the sleeve yesterday and the glove as much as possible, but going into the special care nursery requires hand scrubbing every time. Add to that the fact that my chemo requires I drink lots of water which of course means lots of trips to let it out, which means the glove comes off. By the end of the day my hand resembled one of those rubber gloves blown up like a balloon. It has never swelled this much before. This process is going to be interesting.

In order to get into the special nursery at the hospital, grandparents are given a hospital-type name band which can't be taken off until the baby comes home. The attendant in the parking lot took one look at my husband's band, concluded he was an escaped patient, and for a moment wasn't going to let us out of the parking lot.

As I look at my new grandson the thought of late-term abortion so often comes to mind. How do mothers do it, especially considering the horrible way the infants are murdered? This precious little child embodies an eternity of hope for all of us who love him. The world looks new again as I look into his eyes. There is no thrill greater than to see him turn his head at the sound of my voice. His every whimper is a source of sheer delight that nothing else the world has to offer can duplicate. People--young people--trade in the miracle of a baby for the tawdry baubles of a world gone mad with gadgets and miss the only thing that makes getting up in the morning worth the trouble. They can't see that when life winds down those baubles will seem empty and worthless. When all of life is completed we must leave the stuff behind, but those we love can stay with us forever.

I thought I knew this baby before he was born. I talked to him, and now it almost seems as though he knows my voice. He calms down when I rub his head. Nothing I've ever done has given me greater joy than that.

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