The Most Intense Day of Our Lives

Thanks so much for all the prayer on our behalf today.  I don’t think I’ve had a more loaded day.  It’s 11:15 and we just got back to the Tiverton guest house after spending some time with Rudy.  The team is very pleased with his status.  It was good to see him back in the room, albeit unsettling.  Trish was pretty wiped out after all of this and we decided she would go back to the room for a rest.  I stretched out on the fold-out chair at the back of Rudy’s room and dozed off intermittently while different members of the team regularly checked on him and made small adjustments here and there.  The rarity of this condition was underscored by how many doctors were coming by to take a look–a Norwood procedure is a big deal.  Even before we were able to get up to see Rudy, I ran into Dr. Satou in the lunchroom and he was well apprised that the procedure was completed–word travels fast. 

It was pretty easy to overlook me behind all the equipment so I picked up a few comments from other doctors lauding Dr. Reemtsen’s skills and was comforted to see him stop in about every 30 minutes to check on things.  The nurse told me later that the last time he came by was about 8pm–he had promised us in our initial meeting that he would be closely supervising Rudy’s care and he is certainly making good on that.  Throughout the afternoon the reports remained consistent–the vital signs and the labs were all coming back right where they wanted them to be.  The one detail of concern is that he isn’t urinating as much as they’d like (indicating that the kidneys have kicked in), so that’s one thing they’re working on.  It really is an incredibly disruptive operation–the body gets chilled down to a point of suspended animation and then put on a bypass machine to circulate blood without using the heart.  It’s not like they can just flip a switch and have everything come on again, so these next two days are very critical as they slowly bring things up to speed together.  One doctor likened it to a tightrope walk, but they liked my own analogy of trying to balance a scale on a wobbly table.  Rudy’s situation both before and after surgery has been one of critical balance, but the team doesn’t feel like they ever had to chase after him because he got so far out of allowable tolerances.  Praise God.

This day had a comforting ending.  I went back to the Tiverton to check on Trish and checked in with the kids by phone on the way.  Poor Olivia is having problems holding it together and was begging us to come home.  Trish was tired and worn down.  Not only was it an exhausting day, but this is about the time postpartum hormonal stuff should be happening on top of it.  We decided to go out and get a quick dinner and then say good night to Rudy up at the hospital.  We ended up spending over an hour up there as the room was so peaceful.  Rudy progress is a comfort, but more than that was the time we were able to sit and visit with Nita, the Cardiologist who will be watching over Rudy tonight.  Another super-gifted doctor and a gracious warm-hearted person who served as a very friendly debrief to our day.  She’s one of many who are patient with repeated questions and her knowledge of what we’re facing puts her in a position to offer unique comfort.  She again reiterated that this is the time for us to sleep–they’ll be in there with Rudy almost non-stop tonight, so we can rest easy and leave him in her and Nurse Monina’s hands.

Thanks again for praying us through the day.

A Quick Stop at Home

We are headed back to Los Angeles today after a quick visit home overnight.  Rolf and I came home yesterday to tie up some loose ends, welcome Oma and Opa who arrived Friday from Texas and attend the Rescue Mission’s annual fundraiser.  It was a full but very good day of seeing friends and storing up hugs for our week ahead.  Rolf and I, the kids and Rolf’s parents will head back down to UCLA this morning and spend the day together with Rudy before his surgery bright and early tomorrow morning.

As many of you know, my parents were planning to come and take the first “child care shift” and then the Geylings were going to relieve them in a few weeks.  Shockingly to us all, my dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor last week and has since met with various doctors in preparation for his surgery on Tuesday!!  Of course, there is great concern and disappointment on all our hearts as Gma Jo and Gpa Dick are now on their own journey of faith and recovery and none of us are able to be with each other to support and love on each other in person.  So, I ask that you add my Dad, Dick Wilson, to your prayer list…especially on Tuesday.  Again, I find myself in a place of complete dependance on God forced to approach life one day at a time.

Rudy’s surgery prep will begin tomorrow morning at 7am and Dr. Reemtsen is estimated to begin his work around 8:30.  He’s explained to us that the Norwood procedure is probably the most risky operation done at UCLA (or any hospital) and there is a critical window where Rudy will be on bypass that can’t exceed 40 minutes.  The entire procedure should last about 2 hours and Rudy should be away from us for about four.  Dr. Reemtsen has warned us that the next week will be a long series of highs and lows for Rudy so we are bracing ourselves and praying for emotional strength.

We are grateful for Rolf’s parents’ willingness to kick into action to be with the children.  We have, however, been thrust into our new lifestyle much faster than we anticipated so it has taken everyone off balance a bit…especially Olivia.  Please pray that the kids will extend an abundance of grace to one another and to Oma and Opa and that the times we do share together in the next couple of weeks will be positive and fun (interpretation: that I will refrain from filling the time with instructions for the kids and details that can wait!)  I’m definitely being challenged in the area of “letting go”.

Rest assured that all the comments on the blog are being read and the phone messages and emails from home are making their way to us eventually.  Thank you for your expressions of love and support and, although, we’re not finding time to return everyone’s calls and messages, we are blessed by them and we will be in touch.  Big hugs to you too,  Trish