Saturday, April 22, 2006

Quality of life

So I was thinking today about the possibility of having another child and I realized, I don't want another child. I want Alex. I love my 5 living children dearly, but no other child in the world is as special as Alex was and even if we have 20, there will always just be this special person who isn't with us. It isn't that i wanted a sick child, that I wanted to have to worry every day of my childs life that it might be his last, but we were so willing to take on whatever God had planned for us with him. I remember after his second surgery one of the cardiologists came to talk to us about the fact that they found the 2 small bleeds in his brain and that there was no way of knowing what this meant for him long term, I remember thinking "so what?! He's ALIVE" and even said so much to her, in a nicer way. She said it was a good thing that we had that outlook on it.

I'm reading a book right now called "Walk on Water". It's about a pediatric cardiac surgery center that specializes in CHD. It's a tough read, simply because so many of the scenarios that play out in the book we either dealt with ourselves, or were played out behind the closed doors of the OR with our son. It's very sad, some of these kids really do have terrible quality of life in the realest sense. I mean I've always said that we aren't capable of judging what someone else's quality of life is, but still.

And it makes me think about Alex.

We knew he would have had continued surgeries on that conduit, the tissue wouldn't have grown with him.

We definitely had another surgery this summer, an even more complex surgery than he went through initially. To further complicate an already complicated surgery, scar tissue building up in the heart area is a surgeons nightmare.

His right ventricle didn't work that great which affected his lungs. Probably would hve been on oxygen at home.

He was in acute renal failure, which may or may not have resolved, possibly would have made him need a kidney transplant, which he honestly might not have even been eligable for with a "bad heart".

He had those brain bleeds so he could have been impaired neurologically, to what degree who knows

He could very well have had significant hearing loss from the rounds of Vancomycin he was on for suspected or proven infections.

He would have needed extensive speech and language therapy because of the long term ventilator use. As well as physical therapy because his hips were stuck in the "frog legs" position and his mucles had atrophied so much from laying there all those weeks.

And that's just getting started. So what would his "quality of life" been? Of course don't think for an instant we wouldn't have gladly accepted him in any way shape or form he came, if we weren't willing to do that we wouldn't have worked so hard to get him the help he needed from the get-go. But if I'm honest with myself........ What kind of a way to live is that? To know that you are always going to be cut open, poked, prodded. To have to hand him off to the OR team time and time again while he cried. To have to watch him try to play with his friends and get winded and have to see him sad that he couldn't do this or that?

Of course from day one I was certain I was going to have that kid who amazed everyone. Who was a medical miracle in every sense of the word. But although Alex was a miracle, instead of doing things quickly and easily he tended to be a rather difficult little stinker.

I don't mean to offend or upset anyone with this. If Alex were still here laying in that room on unit 5C I wouldn't even be thinking this, but I need to come to grips with what his reality would have been, and what our reality would have been so that I can fully let him go, so that I can find some comfort within myself that he really is in a better place. Free of pain, "cant's", what-if's. And someday, I will get my perfect body too and get to spend the rest of my life with him and learn even more from him.

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