Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy Heart Anniversary Malkolm

It seems I'm on the quarterly update plan. I think I'm really on the fly by the seat of my pants update plan, if there is such a thing.

I'm actually starting a new blog here pretty soon -- so I don't know how much longer I will be posting here, if at all. Part of me wants to take all this down, but every time I go back to read it, I remember. And I think it is important to remember because time has a way of stealing details that are important and meaningful, and that need to stick around.

As far as Malkolm taking over the blog, I think I'm going to have to chalk that up to an idea who's time has passed -- because although he says he wants to, he really doesn't seem all that interested in taking it over anymore. But that's really okay by me.

I gotta say, it was a bit of a strain for him (and all of us), last year toward the end of our TV interviews and such. When the media started to be more concerned about how our story related to "health care" politics and not about a kid who with unwavering faith, was more concerned about helping others with helping himself.

Ahh, well. All that aside ... Today is the day. One year ago, my young 9-year-old son had open heart surgery. We were sitting in that room ... the room with the colors once so bright, now with a more muted palette and hazy edges as age takes it's toll on the clarity of my memory.

So much as happened since that day. So many life things, so many little miracles and big blessings ... so many amazing memories I want to etch in my heart forever -- I just can't even begin to describe my feelings about all of it (I know, that's a miracle in itself, eh?).

This now 10-year-old does battle his old habits of inactivity, and does struggle still at times, though not because of his heart, but moreso because of him not being in great shape. I keep reminding him that he is now going through stuff that many kids went through years earlier so it won't necessarily be an easy road ahead. Ironically, as he's learning how to participate in P.E. and other activity-types of things, he's realizing how he is unable to participate in P.E. and other activity-types of things just yet.

It's clear to me that he does need to stay hydrated, and he doesn't do a great job of drinking water all the time. It's clear to me that he really needs to exercise more and get into the habit of doing this at least 4-5 times per week, for the rest of his life, but he doesn't do as much exercise as he should. Right now, we're lucky to get two days per week in. Can't say that I set the best example in that regard.

However, things are definitely progressing in the right direction. And I'm okay with that.

Right now, Malkolm is actually sick -- he's not happy about having to miss school tomorrow, but it seems he's got pneumonia, so it won't just be tomorrow, it will probably be at least till next week. He's been working on a video project for his class, and he was supposed to present it on Friday, but I think he'll be missing that presentation. I don't know. We shall see I guess -- I was thinking there is a possibility I could take him to school to present and watch the other kids' presentations, but it just depends on how he's feeling. Going to play it by ear.

Once he's totally done with the video, I'll try to post it here, but I'm just not sure how big it is. I think it's about three minutes long.

For now, I just have to say that I'm just happy he's here. That all my kids are here. That my husband is here and that I get to benefit from all of that because I'm here too and we're together. And I mushy gushy love all of them. Thank you God for my family. Thank you for allowing me to feel this amazing unending waterfall of love and joy that you have provided through them to me. You ROCK.

What a year. What a year indeed.



Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Song of a Spoon and an Escalator

Wow -- has it really been since October since I posted? So much has happened -- most of which, I'm happy to say, has been general every-day life stuff. You know, us getting busy with the kids at school, me very busy finding more and more creative ways to miss dentist appointments, eye appointments and generally just lose my mind altogether.

Someone told me today that you give up a little part of your brain every time you have another child. Oh golly do I believe that!

I remember when I was young, my mom would do something like tell me to get a spoon. As I would make my way to the silverwear drawer, my mom would start to sing her command -- "a spooon a spoooon, get me a spooon dear, a spoooon and spooon, a pretty little silver spoooooon" and I remember thinking that was so funny. She would just sort of space out with her little song for a while until I arrived with the spoon and then she'd thank me and that was it. Song was over, unacknowledged. For a long time, even as a teen, that was one of my favorite stories to share about my mother ... not so much because I was a self-centered youth and thought my mother was off her rocker, but moreso because I just thought she was so funny and nice.

As much as I hate to admit this, I have definitely sung my fair share of spoon songs, and just recently, I heard Malkolm singing one of his own (sorry kiddo! LOL!!). Although, I gotta say it's pretty amazing how things look different from different angles and different places. Looking back at my mom's spoon songs now, I can see the genuine joy that she had when she was dealing with us. How she gave and gave and gave and never really asked for anything in return. I can see now that is sort of embodied the innocence of her singing; the contentment she had in caring for us. As a child, I was mostly blind to that, I just had this wonderful mom whom I loved and whom I knew loved me, even if we argued or even though I got spanked sometimes.

I know my siblings and I were not the most well-behaved children ever. When I think about some of the stuff we used to do and say when we were young and I just feel like I need to call my mother every day and apologize for being such an unruly child! But the one thing we always knew is that mom loved us and the joy she exhibited when talking about us or even singing her spoon songs was pure.

In that sense, I am looking back at Malkolm's surgery. I just read this blog tonight from start to finish. (I decided sleep is overrated anyway) And I just realized that is the first time since the surgery that I have read through this whole thing. In a way, I can see how writing all of this down helped me so much to understand the feelings I was dealing with at the time, but mostly, I'm happy to have it as a reminder of where we were and what we went through and more importantly the faith that Malkolm had and has, and how much I have personally grown in my own faith since then. Looking at it here, about nine months later, I can remember the emotions and fear and not sign for those packages, and I know things are just as they should be.

Malkolm is having some issues with arrhythmias - nothing dramatic, but there is a possibility he may have to go back on his meds to keep things at bay.

I begrudgingly admit that did have a "freak out" moment in December when Malkolm was having chest pains. The surgery was so successful and his recovery has been SO great, I just don't think I even thought that anything could go wrong at this point. To be honest, I didn't really think about it anymore. Sometimes I even forgot he had heart surgery except when I noticed his increased energy levels and of course those gigantonormous scars he's got on his chest.

Anyway, his school had called and said he was sent to the nurse's office with chest pains. When I got the call and she explained to me what was going on, the moment I hung up the phone, I 100% panicked. The baby had just pooped, I had to change her diaper before I could get out the door, I wasn't even dressed, needed to get dressed and call the doctor. I called Sia and he didn't answer and I completely lost it. I needed to call the doctor. Oh my word the doctor. What was his name again?! Oh where did I put that folder with all the contact information? What doctor do I call -- the rhythm specialist in Atlanta or the group of doctors that comes from Augusta -- oh my word what are their names? I don't even know their numbers!!! Breathe, breathe - oh my gosh has anyone seen the wet wipes?!!!!

I changed the baby, got dressed and started looking through the contacts on my phone, trying to see through the tears leaking out of the corners of my eyes -- Malkolm had to have had at least five different doctors, any of whom I could have called at that point but I could not remember a single name. Finally, I stumbled across a name that looked familiar and I called the number, explained what was going on -- trying not to think that my son might be having a heart attack at school while I am running around at home trying to figure out how to re-attach my head. The doctor was very calm and collected and boy did he do a good job of talking me down (Thank you for that, Dr. Lutin). After I got off the phone with him I felt a little more sane and capable of running a motor vehicle.

I called my older sister and we prayed together on the phone for Malkolm as I made my way to his school to pick him up and take him to the Emergency Room. I got off the phone with her and then called the school to let them know I was on my way and would be there in just a couple minutes.

Long story short, Malkolm is growing. His bones are growing and still healing from the surgery and his heart and chest is growing around this piece of metal safety net that records every thing that happens with his heart, every minute of every day. These things are not going to be comfortable and sometimes they will hurt. Just the nature of the beast. *sigh* I can handle that.

I just keep thinking how stupid I was not to have all the contact information handy, and I am completely floored at how I just totally flipped out; it was like I went back to square one with my faith. What in the world happened?! How could I get so far away from the peace that I had become so accustomed to?

Just like the metaphor goes, life is like an escalator. At the top is the Lord. The escalator is moving downward. When you're walking up toward God, you're actually staying in one place, not really making any progress. When you stand still, you are actually moving away from the Lord. In order to make headway up the escalator, you have to move faster. You have to run. It seems I had gotten comfortable and stopped running. I now look back at this blog here in the wee hours of Saturday morning and I remember what it feels like to run and I am running again. I'm tired, but I will keep running.

Thank you Lord for another day with my baby. I love being a mom, spoon songs and all.