A Date Carved into Memory

October 6th will never be “just another day” for us.  Even if Rudy’s birthday didn’t come just before to remind us, it will still be a long time before I don’t shudder a bit upon hearing this date.  Ever since last year.  Hard to believe it’s already been a year since this and this.  It’s amazing how reading through the posts can bring us right back to the day of Rudy’s surgery with such vividness.

As it turned out, it was quite easy to feel like we were back at UCLA again…because we were.  In some conversations we had last week regarding planning for the Glenn, the team thought it wise to have a consult with a pulmonologist.  Thanks to Rudy’s friends in high places, it all came together very quickly and they were able to fit us in today.

So there we were with our recollections furthered by being in the very place it all took place.  Up very early like we were a year ago.  The streets, sidewalks and hallways so familiar we didn’t even need to look for signs and room numbers.  Same parking lot.  Same patio of uneasy people.

I recall how scared I was.  But it was quickly replaced by reminders of how far we’ve come.  It was really hard to stay down when one of the first people we came across was our hero:


That’s right folks…THE ONE AND ONLY CESAR!!!!!  Providentially, the first person we saw when we walked into the building was Enrique (Cesar’s Dad) as they were there for follow-ups.  As we each had our own slate of appointments we didn’t have long to visit with Cesar, Enrique and Maria, but it was such a blessing to see them.  Glad Rudy has tough guys like him to look up to!

On the medical side, we were very encouraged by our appointment with Dr. Pornchai Tirakitsoontorn.  We don’t include every doctor’s name, but when you get one with a name as cool as Pornchai Tirakitsoontorn, you’ll risk melting down your spell checker and throw it around a bit.  Dr. Rick insisted that Rudy get the best and, while I feel sorry for you if you have to call his name when you’ve fallen into a well, if you need a pulmonologist, Pornchai Tirakitsoontorn (the Clinical Director of Pediatric Pulmonology at UCLA) is your guy.  Pornchai Tirakitsoontorn.  It sounds just like it’s spelled, dummy.  I know–y0u’re wondering how many times I’m going to type “Pornchai Tirakitsoontorn”.  It took me awhile to master it, but now that I do it kind of rolls off the keys…

OK, so I am a bit giddy over the time with Dr. T.  We’ve found that consultations with new specialists can be unsettling, but this one wasn’t.  Rudy’s lungs have been a point of concern (they couldn’t extubate him and had to resort to the trach), and pulmonary function is a big issue when it comes to the Glenn, so we were eager to have a thorough analysis.  Dr. T came in clearly knowledgeable of Rudy’s history and then spent over an hour with us going over details, conducting his own exam and then sending us for a chest Xray.  Bottom line, he feels that Rudy is doing great.  The lungs are strong and clear–much better than he thought they would be from going over Rudy’s history.  The chest Xray today looks much better than the ones from his hospitalization 5 months ago.  Dr. T said that, if he didn’t know the Glenn was coming up, his recommendation would be to move toward eliminating the trach!

This is such great news.  All along we’ve been operating under the hopeful assumption that the trach was an intermediate step to get Rudy breathing on his own and not a permanent need.  We feared coming out of that office with some tough news, but the assessment was that Rudy has gotten bigger and stronger and is breathing better.  No timelines for how it will all come about yet (the Glenn comes first); but we’re very happy.

After leaving Dr. Pornchai Tirakitsoontorn (sorry, one last time), we finally got to make the walk up to the main hospital and to our former home on the 5th floor.  We were visitors not patients.  So many spots brought back feelings of weariness and fatigue.  I don’t think we’ve seen the last of that, but today it was fun to confuse Roger as we buzzed our way into the unit.  So great to see everyone there and enjoy such a warm welcome.  Again, I’m amazed by the ability these remarkable people have to be warm and enthusiastic over our return and focused on the pitched battles going on in those little bodies in all those rooms.  I’m so glad we got to see so many of you all in the midst of the important things you do.  We didn’t get many pictures, but here’s a couple:

Sara and Roger
Sara and Roger
Anita and Dr. Robert
Anita and Dr. Robert

It’s hard to put into words what you feel when you’re with the people who saved your child’s life, but it was rich.  Thanks everyone.  It was great to see you.  Thinking back on our day, I can’t say October 6th hasn’t passed without any tears shed but this time they weren’t those of fear and uncertainty, but gratitude and awe over what’s been overcome.

16 thoughts on “A Date Carved into Memory

  1. Hallelujah! Great news on the pulmonary function! Thanks Dr. Pornchai Tirakitsoontorn (ok, I confess, I used Cut & Paste!) for such a wonderfully encouraging report. And thanks be to God for His healing hand continuing to be on Rudy!

    You know, this is also the first anniversary of Dad’s brain surgery and Praise God, we will be running (well, sort of) in a 5K race on the 24th! The blessings of the past year are many despite the challenges!

    Love to all the SB Geylings!

  2. Fun Fun! I bet the hospital personale that knew Rudy prior to his “release” were blown away at the change in him! Glad to hear the punkin is doing well….

  3. what a great way to end the day, reading about Rudy’s good check-up, prayers for many more, Nick’s Grandma

  4. We share your gratitude to the wonderful folks at UCLA.
    Love the “shoes” Rudy………way to wow them!

    Katie’s Nana

  5. HI Guys!

    Wow, what a touching and awesome day you had at UCLA! And Rudy looks just GREAT! He IS getting bigger and stronger….it is evident from his pictures!

    I’m so glad y’all are in such good hands! It is so obvious that you are all very loved and cared for by the tremendous staff down there!!

    Love and prayers!!

  6. Yay, Rudy! We’re so proud of you. And, I just have to say, as an expert on 1st grade literature, “Tikki tikki tembo, no sa rembo, chari bari ruchi, pip peri pembo!” I read that book every year on the first day of school, so that well joke just made me laugh hard. Glad to know about Dr. T and his good news.

  7. Wow it’s hard to believe that a year has past already. It almost seems so long ago and yet the reality of everything that has happened is so fresh. I’m glad you guys were in and out this time and we able to see some of the most important people to you while you were there. It’s amazing how a total stranger can become family so quickly. Im glad in the uneasiest of places you find the comfort of familier faces. (i didn’t mean to rhyme) I am also glad you saw Ceaser and his family they are so awesome. We are coming up on our 1 year anniversary of the surgery ourselves. Yesterday was the anniversary of the diagnosis. As you said tears were shed in the awe of it all. Im sure more are to follow on the 9th. Love to you all and so glad to hear all is going well. xoxoxo Go Rudy Go!!!

  8. Praise God for all his blessings flow!!! This Rudy journey continues to amaze me at how God has brought so many wonderful people to his life. Again, what a testimony he is going to have for so many young kids going through that same journey. Keep on keeping on Rudy!!!

    Tanya Obregon

  9. All I have to say is:


    Actually, I’m not sure if that’s spelled correctly, and not even sure exactly what it means… I’m sure that you recognize it (if not, ask Wilson, Max, or possibly even Livvy… they will TOTALLY know what I’m yapping on about, dudes.) ((( I think it’s some kind of Marine yelp of joy ))) And just as you dare not try spell checking Pornchai Tirakitsoontorn, I’m not even gonna THINK of spell checking BOO-YAH!!!! (I copied and pasted…)
    O.K… gotta put a sock in it or I’ll type on forever. GREEEEAAAAT news, congrats, and I’m happy for you!

  10. I can’t begin to express the joy it is to read about where we are today with Rudy. What a miracle. The determination and will to fight on has been so apparent in the Geyling family…and what a special family you are. It brought tears to my eyes when I got to hold Rudy for the first time. I will never foget that. I was never so greatful that we had to knock on your door for some “white out” because we knew Trish would have some!!! The feeling of that sweet precious bundle of love in my arms made my day and I’ve carried that joy with me. Thank you for being such an incredible example of strength.
    God bless each of you.


  11. Oh what news! God truly has paved yours’ and Rudy’s way. Rudy’s picture with Sara and Roger makes him a striking resemblance of you, Trish. What a blessing that is. (Sorry Rolf, not that you aren’t a handsome Dude). Also such good news about Rudy’s pulmonary check up. Maybe soon you can replace the trach with a cute bow tie! Hugs to you all.

  12. We are back from our trip to Quinter (my hometown and home of pole vault Olympian Scott Huffman, historic Castle Rock on the old Butterfield Trail, and filled with “dear hearts and gentle people” who are descendants of the pioneers who tamed the plains.) It always warms my heart to visit there. The landscape along I-70 is amazing to view as we pass through native grassland of the Flint Hills and miles and miles of grain fields, oil wells, and now wind farms — the “fruited plains” of America The Beautiiful are worth seeing. Rudy, we are looking forward to the day when you can drive that route with us and learn about your grandparents, great grandparents, great,-great grandparents and great-great-great grandparents. You have an amazing heritage of strong folks who had their own challenges but overcame them — just as you are doing. We will share the stories with you so you will know how God has provided for and blessed all of us. Stay strong and courageous, little one. Grandpa and I love you.

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