The hospital is quiet, but not empty on Christmas eve. There are only 3 CTICU patients and the rest of the East PICU has been cleared out and patients consolidated on the West. Elective surgeries are scaled back during the holidays leaving only the patients who have no choice but to be here. As lonely as it sounds, we know just about everyone working today and appreciate them deeply so spending Christmas with them isn’t so bad. We arrived en masse this morning with all of the kids and commandeered use of the room next door, so we’ve got a bedroom and a den. As most holidays involve sitting around in close quarters with too many people, it’s not really much of a departure.
Rudy continues to do well, but Dr. Kelly is interested in getting a closer look at his chest as there seems to be a blockage on the right lung–perhaps something post-op from the pleurodesis. So, they will take him downstairs for a CAT scan at some point, but with the holiday staffing we don’t know exactly when that will be. When they have him there, they’ll also take a look at the left side where they still see a bit of an effusion (fluid) that they’re watching, but not acutely concerned about yet. His kidneys are functioning smoothly–producing lots of urine (the other kids think our fixation on this is gross), and all the numbers are getting to be exactly where they need to be. His nutrition is going smoothly thusfar (up to 3ccs of formula per hour) and most importantly, the prealbumin level (which is the key indicator of nutrition) is at 20–right where it needs to be. Not surprising as from the looks of it, one would suspect he’s sneaking some donuts when we’re not looking (TPN and steroids make one pretty puffy).
So this is our Christmas and, the more I think about it, it’s all very appropriate. As I’ve shared in a few settings over the past few weeks, we tend to associate Christmas with preparation and organization. We shop, plan, decorate, dress and clean up. All this to commemorate an instance that was anything but. Mary and Joseph had no time to make plans and prepare but found themselves caught in a setting that bordered on deplorable. A birth in a cold, stinking stable. A baby placed in a crib that was far from cozy, sterile or hypoallergenic. No, a manger coated with dried spittle and decaying bits of cud from the livestock that dined there. Had they even the opportunity for the slightest bit of planning it would have seen them far away from anything like this. Yet it’s into this dirty setting, populated by frazzled and unprepared people, that God comes bringing life and hope. And that’s a tremendous comfort to us here in Room 5439 because it means that Christmas will come to us, regardless of how much we’ve prepared for it. Not to say we haven’t done a bit of planning, but our primary wish was to be together as a family. With this in place, we’ll let the celebrating begin.