Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it?
I have had this feeling several times in my short life but I would have to pick the helplessness I felt with my son’s Isolation…
It had been a just two days into chemo, and the doctors tried to prepare us that our son could get sick. But that morning on day 9 of his life when his counts (white cells for fighting infection) were at zero and they had moved him into an isolation room, no germs and an air exchanger. Here we had to put on gowns, gloves and masks just to see him. There he laid in the little glass bassinet with iv, monitors, and wires. He was so little and had been though the first round of chemo on day 7 and 8 of his life after coming through a surgery on his 5th day of life (biopsy) and also they tried to put in a port line for chemo on day 6 and that failed due to his size, his arteries and veins so small, he was so little, so much alone time. The next 5 days were the toughest we had ever been though, we did not know if his white counts would ever come back and neither did the doctors. I felt the worst helplessness that I could ever do, parents are supposed to protect their children, we are supposed to be able to fix things, or at least comfort his crying, but there was nothing we could do. We just had to rely on what we knew, God blessed us with this little one, we needed to love on him as best we could for as long as we had him.
Mark and I felt alone, and much like our son in isolation. We had friends, family but they could not be there with us every day, we had our girls but they had school, so for a long 2 plus weeks it was Mark, and I and our son Cole. Nothing else mattered, the hospital 90 minutes away did not stop us from being parents to our girls either. So for those two+ weeks we made a long isolated drive to Fargo and back home. As I need some sleep (coming off a c-section) I now had put my son in front of my own healing (as any parent would do) and broke open my incision, but I was too busy with Cole to have myself checked so out of a phone call to a friend (nurse) and checking with the nurses that helped Cole I learned how to pack my own incision and watch for infection. I felt wiped out, exhausted both physical and emotional.
Helpless to aid my son in any way to make it better, helpless to explain to our girls why we could not bring their baby brother home, helpless to my husband who did all the driving and he was not sleeping either. By the time our son got to come home for the first time since he was born it had been almost 3 weeks. (we would have 4 more stays in the hospital) My physical strength just kept going, I don’t have a clue how I kept going, my emotional strain I did know what helped, reading Gods promises, praying, logging in my journal (no Caring Bridge then it was just coming out)
Helplessness was waking up in the morning kissing our girls goodbye as they got a ride from my parents to school, then Mark and I would make the 90 minute drive to Fargo, we would walk into neonatal and scrub up, walk by Cole’s door, gown, glove and mask up to be with him 2 hours then go down to cafeteria have something to eat, grab a candy bar for later and soda. Then back up to Cole’s room, scrub, gown, glove, mask up to leave by 6 pm or 6:30 pm so we could drive back home and be with our girls an hour before they went to bed. On the weekends the girls came with if they wanted we never forced them to come as it was hard because he was limited in how many could be in his room at a time. So either Mark or I would wait with the other girl in the waiting room. Long days turned into long weeks, turned into long months, then on Feb 22, 2001 just a short four months (seemed like a lifetime) since Cole was born, Cole was wheeled down to surgery to remove the remaining part of the tumor. Then another long week of healing in the hospital and tests to make sure they had removed all the tumor. Finally we could go home and start our life with our son and daughters like we had wanted to do back in Nov. God puts things in our path we do not see why at the time, why he lets us suffer so much, but we know it was to draw us more toward Him, to rely on Him as there was nothing we could do, we were totally helpless and just had to be faithful. We knew if we brought our son home we were blessed we also knew that if we did not bring him home we were blessed. Why you ask, because Cole would become our walking miracle. And if we didn’t he was still our miracle because the doctor (oncologist) learned from Cole’s case, how much medicine to give a newborn, how much would be enough to kill the cancer yet not kill the patient. Cole is still in a case study for long-term effects of chemo on a baby. But those days of feeling so helpless have led us to knowing we are powerful and not helpless no matter if we are used at that very moment to help or not we know that our plan for our life is not our own.
We know there are families we have met on Facebook and others on websites, then there are those that we have connected at our local Relay for Life. These are people we would not even have looked at or maybe even became friends with had it not been for Cole, so if you are arguing why did He ever let it happen in the first place – God is not the ruler of this Earth, his is the next one to rule the Earth that comes in Revelation.