Let The Winds Blow Hard!

12 01 2008

In my last blog, I wrote about my friend Mary’s grandson having difficulties at his birth.  At first, he just had the normal lung problems that a premature baby often has. Yesterday, the baby seemed to have larger problems.  Mary has done very well through all of this duress. Almost four years ago,  my little grandson, Alex, appeared to be healthy upon birth.  Several hours later, he  turned blue–not being able to breathe well.  He was hooked up to all kinds of tubes, just like Mary’s grandson.  Then the word from the doctor came to us  that Alex might have heart problems. There is a certain valve in the heart of each newborn baby that is supposed to close at birth.  However, it doesn’t close in all babies. This is what had happened to Alex. This condition often has to be corrected with surgery.  The other option is to treat the baby with medication.  Alex responded well to medication.  Day by day, he got stronger.  It took several days for Alex to be able to come to the point to breathe on his own.  He was born on a Sunday afternoon.  I think he was home by the following Friday. Those were frightening days for all of us–especially our daughter, Sandy, and her husband, Rob.  I was a student in college at the time.  I had to take some days off to be with my little grandson.  I remember going through a deep depression. 

Yesterday, Mary’s grandson developed pneumonia.  She spent another long day at the hospital.  Somehow, she had the strength to come and visit with me a bit in the early evening. I was amazed at how well she was holding up.  Her tremendous sense of humor was still at work.  About an hour later–she called us to tell us that the baby had heart problems and would be air lifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  I haven’t heard any news this morning.

Mary did have a time of asking questions like:”What did I do wrong?”  “Could I have prayed harder for this baby while my daughter was carrying him?”  We all told her to stop that kind of questioning.  There simply are no answers for why these kinds of tragedies happen.  There was a time in my life– I was more apt to give a theological answer.  Now, as  a Christian Orthodox–I only say:”I don’t know the answer but I know we have a merciful God.” 

When Jim’s aorta dissected a couple of years ago–we had just begun our journey into the Orthodox faith.  I honestly couldn’t have made it through without the tiny beginnings I had gleaned.  I remembered Fr. Stephen from St. Ignatious saying in one of his homilies, that during the Divine Liturgy, the word Mercy is used over a hundred times.  Thus, catching on a bit more to the mercy of God was a tremendous help to me during those long days at the hospital with Jim. 

Judging people and circumstances by appearances has always been a weakness with me. Over and over, I have  talked with our Fr. John about my struggles with judging .  He always tells me to read the Gospels more–especially The Beatitudes.  It has helped me a great deal.  My mind is quicker to think about the Beatitudes these days when I’m dealing with people and circumstances that by appearance–seem hopeless.  I also like to think about some words from one of our morning prayers as I travel through my day: “Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others.”

The winds blew hard on my own life yesterday.  I waited two hours to be seen by my cancer doctor.  When he came in the room–he still didn’t have any paper work from my surgery.  He thought I had my masectomy  done at Vanderbilt Medical Center.  So they had to get papers faxed from my local  surgeon to see what the situation was for treatment.  I told him that I had been given a clean bill of health in my lymph nodes.  The cancer doctor said that according to the paper he was reading –that there was still one lymph node in question. Furthermore, no  tests have been done to see if my tumor was estrogen or progesterine fed.  Now they will have to go back to the sample at Vanderbilt and test that.  It was a dark afternoon for me.  But I had to remember that life isn’t perfect, doctors are not perfect and things get mixed up.  I have a choice to be bitter or let it go.  I’ve made the choice to let it go .  I’ll find out soon enough what my treatment will be. 

Sitting there in the waiting room was another situation to deal with.  It was very crowded. Cancer is a companion to many.  I had to fight againt a bias that now I was among those who had this dreaded disease.  “This really can’t be me–I don’t belong here.  This is a place I never should have become acquainted with.”  I’m sure just to briefly think those thoughts is normal .  To dwell on those types of thoughts will only bring me down. 

Mary just called to tell me that her grandson is stable and doing well.  They had a medical team waiting for the baby last night.  His EKG and his echo cardiogram were fine.  The regular doctor making the rounds this morning thought that probably everyone panicked at our local hospital.  The cardiologist will examine this little one this afternoon.  Mary and her daughter are doing fine.  Mary seemed particularly at peace with the situation.

The winds blow hard on each of us  at certain times. We have a choice to become bitter or to work towards our own inner peace.  I want to inspire people.  I want to laugh and sing in my troubles.  How about you?  What kinds of choices are you making today?

God bless each of you!




5 responses

13 01 2008

I hope your friends grandson is still doing fine. My little girl was born premmie in 2006 and also had the heart condition you speak about its called a PDA. Its amazing that we all have this little duct but only some babies it doesn’t close on both premature and fullterm. Airlie was born at 27weeks and weigh only 861grams or 1lb 14ozs. She was medicated but we do know babies that had the op on their tiny heart only the size of a grape and survived and have gone on to grow into amazing little people.
I love your ‘the winds blow hard on us’ they do and its all about how you handle the situation. After my little girl was born I decided to help others by supporting them through the ordeal.I set up a website called Moment by Moment http://www.momentbymoment.com.au I have searched for information and products to share with families of premmie babies. I also have a blogging community called Cafe Prem which is a very important blogging community to me as I wish to support families espically mothers and fathers and siblings of premature birth and premmie babies. I started a journal for my own daughter on another site and had always wanted to have a site dedicated to premature babies. Finally I have and I hope it helps many families in the years to come. Please send my best to your friends family I hope the little boy continues to grow and is able to go home with his family very soon.

take care



13 01 2008

Dear Fiona,
Thank you for your wonderful sharing about your little one. I’m happy to have your websites now to share with others. I’ll be checking in with you also. Yesterday afternoon, after I posted this blog–I got a call that the cardiologist said that the baby will be fine. He will stay at Vanderbilt until he is able to be off all of his tubes. Thanks again for writing.


13 01 2008
Brent WC


I am sorry to hear that you have incomplete information about the lymph node in question. However, since 4 of the five were negative, the odds are probably in your favor.

I know the despair of having a little one born battling as has been the case for Abigail from day one. I don’t think I’ve evr felt so helpless in my life as I have since her premature birth. Recently, she was again hospitalized for pneumonia and released. Anger accompanies the despair on occasion, but I know that God has purpose in all events, although it’s hard for us to comprehend through apague vision.

My youngest son was jumped the other day at a bus stop by two hooligans and beaten severely. He was taken to the emergency room and examined, then released. His face is very swollen with a horrible black eye, but he is a resilient young man, and will probably be fine.

Learning to be thankful for each day and living in it has been a difficult lesson for me as well. I inherited the sin of worry and anxiety from our dear Mother. At times it seems to consume my soul outright. “Sufficient unto the day, is the evil thereof”, (Jesus Christ). How truly these words resonate in my selfish being.

There is no security in this present world, only illusions of such a state that can truly deceive us.

God is with us.


13 01 2008

Little Brother,
The cold winds beat on us all, indeed. I’m so sorry to hear that Abigail had pneumonia. I pray for her and her family each day. I can’t believe your youngest was beaten up. You know I pray for you and yours each day.

Yes, mom was a worrier but we have to fight against that and grow strong from the trials that are in our lives. I just have to tell myself that I can only live this day. I will do my best and meet tomorrow when it comes.


14 01 2008

Dear Nichole,

I am glad to read your blog and see that the little boy is doing fine. Its a little bit of a habit be it good or bad I don’t know but I worry about each and every baby I hear about in these situations.
I am sure he will be home before they know it and this experience will have only enrich their lives and will have a positive effect on their lives in the long run. It may take some time but I am sure it will. I look at Airlie’s early arrival as an Unexpected early arrival filled with beautiful and amazing people. Although stressful it has only opened our lives to bigger and better people and experiences. Being filled with gratitude and love to those who have saved your babies life and your own can only be a positive thing I feel.

take care


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