Friday, June 01, 2007

This Old Aunt

I was talking to Jen this afternoon about my nephew - about how it hurt me to see my boy so weak and feeble, in pain and all hooked up. My comment: "It breaks this old aunt's heart to see her boy this way."

Later on, I was talking to my Aunt Dorie, telling her about the day and I realized that she says that to us - I heard her speaking from my mouth! We laughed a bit about that. Then she went on to tell me that she felt for us kids - having dealt with dad's death and now worrying over my nephew. We had to hang up, I was pulling into Red Robin with Max and Emma and Jacob. I dropped them off at the front door, pulled around the building, parked the van and just sobbed and sobbed. I suppose I had wanted to do that all day, but never really found the time or the place. I was alone, just me and God and I let loose.

I watched my little (not so much - but 5 years younger) brother worry over his son and watched his wife try to remain normal while all they could do was think about their firstborn with his heart on a bypass pump. The room that we were waiting in seemed to get smaller and smaller and began to close in around us as time passed and no message from the surgery team.

Max and I took a walk ... and when we returned, the news was good, he was off the bypass machine and they were preparing to sew him back up. All had gone well. Whew. Max and I ate some lunch in the cafeteria, hung out for awhile with Emma and Jake when they showed up and then went up to the ICU waiting room. We were able to go in pretty regularly to see Matt. I just wanted to hold his hand and let him know how much I loved him. So, I did. Emma didn't want to leave him ... she held on pretty tight.

As we moved in and out (4 in the room at one time), things began to relax. Janet and I were in there together for awhile and she began reminiscing about his birth. That day was the beginning of their family and a point of extreme joy in my life. There is nothing like spending your 30th birthday holding a brand new life in your arms. I had the best 30th birthday party! And here we are - nearly 18 years later - I'm so thankful that he has had many birthdays with me and that we'll be able to celebrate a restoration of life to him with this surgery.

They replaced an aortic valve today with a porcine (pig) valve. These valves are to have 3 flaps which open and close as the blood passes through. The 3 flaps stop blood from flowing backwards. He only had 2 flaps and the doctors say that the valve was also quite distorted. His heart and his body isn't going to know what to do with a normal valve. He will finally be able to push his body and expect the stamina and endurance to be there. Matt has done amazingly well for someone who couldn't do many endurance type things because of this heart problem. He's looking forward to fall and a chance to maybe even play football!

I'm so thankful for my family. I am thankful for the fact that we are so close I can feel like my nephew is part of my heart and soul. I am thankful that I could be there to love my brother and sister in law while they were stressed. I am thankful that the 3 of us kids grew up as we did so that whether things are good or bad, we remain a family.

God has been good to us ... even when things seem to be falling apart ... God's love finds ways to shine through and remind us that He is sovereign.


Alison said...

I was just about to call for an update on the surgery. Give Matt a squeeze for me.

Love ya!

Jacqniel said...

So happy that the surgery is over and was a success. A close family is a blessing. Hugs, Jacque