When I walked into that hospital room and saw my little angel lying there on the bed looking so vulnerable, I just wanted to cry. But I couldn’t cry, not there and not then, because I needed to be strong for her, but I still barely controlled myself and smiled instead. It was the least I could for for her when my heart was breaking into so many little pieces. And to think that just yesterday morning she called me after art class and told me everything was fine, that she was coming home shortly, and that she loved me. So I foolishly allowed myself to believe her cheery voice, until my wife called twenty minutes later and said they were going to the emergency room and I had to meet them there. My heart dropped.
And now, merely a day later, we have learned that her left lung has collapsed, brought about by excess buildup of what may be mucous or may have been caused by the aspiration of some small food that had sat there and caused damage. It’s just so much to process, and we are both doing what we can to stay strong, but it’s hard right now. When we thought it was just coughing spells, that she would get over it. When we went to the doctor and he just prescribed us antibiotics. And when we finally went to get the x-rays and they said we should try alternative ways to get out whatever was in that lung. Now this.
The CT scan slides were the worst part, seeing that really healthy right lung, and not even being able to see the left lung on the scan because it is so filled with whatever is filling it. So, we are set up for the surgery tomorrow mid-morning where they are going to go in with the scope and attempt to clean out everything that is in that lung. Our best outcome is for them to clear out all the junk and the lung begins to work again similarly to how it was originally designed. But even in that best outcome, the lung has been damaged enough in this time period that it will never work again at 100%. We are hoping, though, that it can somehow regain at least 50% of its function. We don’t even want to think about the worse case scenario, but there is one big positive.
One of the biggest reasons the doctors didn’t realize early on that it was this serious was that Alexa’s right lung has been operating strong enough for both lungs, and is currently helping her to breathe at an 85% clip, which is solidly in the normal range. That is singularly amazing, that one lung can handle the capacity of two, and that she hasn’t been as uncomfortable as she could have been. But now is the time we need to take action, and she has to be so strong. I am humbled by the fortitude of my own child, by the strength she has shown in pressing ahead when it has to be really painful. And now she must wait another day for the surgery that could restore at least partial function to her left lung.
We are hoping, and we are praying, for a recovery of her lung, so that she won’t be in any more pain. It is the worst thing for a parent to watch their child going through that kind of pain, fighting hard to breathe. When I saw my little girl in that hospital bed looking so small, I felt so small. But no longer. I feel strong because of the support that we have been given from everyone, from near and far. And we truly appreciate it. Now, on to the surgery, and beyond. All I know is that through this all I have learned a valuable lesson from my seven-year old who told me today, “Daddy, it’s all going to be okay.” And I know she’s right. We will be okay, no matter the outcome.