My son, Gabe (Gabriel), is not feeling his very best.
Don't blame him: he had open heart surgery on Thursday. He's more aware today, but he's in an awful lot of pain and discomfort. It is especially apparent when he coughs: he doesn't want to cough, as it hurts, but the doctors and nurses want Gabe to cough, so he doesn't end up getting pneumonia, which would only complicate matters.
Upon awakening, Gabe was grouchy from the get go. He cried when the nurses changed his dressing (the area where he had his surgery was still angry looking, but it was not infected, according to the doctor, who came in to examine the area), and he cried when they tried to get him to cough. It only caused him more pain. My heart broke for him.
Gabe is only eight years old, just a little boy, I kept thinking: no child should have to ever be subjected to this kind of torture, but unfortunately for him, Gabe had no choice: he was born with significant heart problems that required corrective surgery. He had his first heart surgery at just a few days of age. His second one was performed when he was three; this latest surgery (done nearly four days ago) was his third (and hopefully his last).
Because of his health, Gabe was kept from doing a lot of the things little boys love doing: sports, running around, climbing trees. He was forced to engage in quiet activities like reading, playing with his computer, swimming (as long as it wasn't detrimental to his health), drawing, or writing stories.
Gabe accepted his lot in life, though the surgeries (and the recovery periods themselves) were rough. He had gotten though the first two without incident; why wouldn't he be able to do so again this time? I kept thinking. Gabe had been through so much in his eight years; he was my big, brave warrior: courage personified in a tiny body.
All I could do was sit by Gabe's bedside and hold his hand. I wanted to kiss him, but didn't want to dislodge the tubes and wires hooked up to him. I also could pray to God, asking Him to ease my son's pain and discomfort and knowing that each day would bring more healing and less pain.
Each day would bring Gabe one step closer to claiming the normal life he never had. All I could do was lean on God and trust Him, even in this season of suffering in my child's life.