Monday, February 7, 2011

Defying Odds

(Trail to 2nd Beach, La Push, WA)

The day after surgery was full of activity.

Morning brought another xray, more tests.  The morning nurse traded out Giovanni's crib for a full-sized bed so that Antonio or I could lie with him instead of sitting in rocking chairs all night.

The Infectious Disease doctor with her nurse practitioner arrived.  They would be using two different antibiotics because they were unsure of the strain of bacteria.  The cultures from the surgery didn't yield any clues.

They suspected pneumo-strep because he had the double ear infection before getting the pneumonia.  The Prevnar vaccine only covers 90% of known strains, and pneumo-strep is known for being deadly aggressive.  Because Staph is always a possibility in Austin, they decided to treat him for that, too.  (A nurse who had transferred here from California joked that everything grows in Austin from bacteria to cedar trees.)

Antonio  brought the mini-9 laptop his dad had just given him for Christmas so that I could e-mail some girlfriends and also so that we could have some music.  My voice was getting tired from singing!

Then I heard a mother screaming and sobbing in the afternoon.  She was taken outside so that she wouldn't disturb the other patients.  Although I was four stories up, I could still hear her heartbreaking screams and rants in the courtyard below.  She had lost her baby.  Her heart had been ripped apart.   I knew I was no better than she was, and I knew I didn't deserve the gift of holding my baby in my arms. It was haunting.

In the evening, friends from church came by with snacks and well wishes.  Only those who were robed and masked could come into the room, so they talked to me as they stood outside the door.  It was very sweet for us, and they seemed delighted to see Giovanni sitting up in bed listening to Third Day and Switchfoot, twirling his feet to the beat.  He was a bit drugged by the morphine, but he was able to tell me when he wanted me to repeat a song or skip a song. 

We were warned that the second night after surgery would be worse than the first. Despite that, we decided that it was best that Antonio gather up the older children and stay with them at home for the night.  The sooner we could get some sort of normalcy for them, the better.

Not long after my husband left, Giovanni's fever started threatening, again. It was slowly rising, and his pain began to increase. Thankfully one of my friends surprised with a visit and more snacks.  She put on a robe and mask and sat with me for awhile, listened to me, and encouraged me while I held him.

She left, and I snuggled into the hospital bed with my little boy. After such a great day, he was still so fragile. I was terrified of what would happen if the fever came soaring back as it had the first night. My son would sometimes wince or moan in pain, but he was getting all the morphine that he could have.

There was always the threat that the antibiotics wouldn't work or that he'd have an allergic reaction. Even after three days of intravenous, heavy duty antibiotics, his ears were still bright red with infection. I feared they were doing no good at all.

I held him close to my heart and wept.

© 2009-2015 Emily Woodham


  1. This post made me tear up in more ways than one. Thank you for the update. So glad Joe is doing better! Yes, all glory to God!

  2. Thank you, Petra! :) I saw your post from Thomas Watson, and it was so good to read!

    It's hard to believe that it's taken me two years to put it all into words, but I'm grateful to write about it. I never want anyone in our family, especially Joe, to forget God's gracious mercies. :)