Tuesday, November 28, 2006

To the pain

The hospital has accommodations for Steph and I. There is a sleep area for parents to rest. It's a few beds in an open bay area, kind of like an old military barracks. 4am and Steph and Quinn are sleeping. Comfortably I hope. I finished another coffee and found that the room Quinn is in has wireless internet. So I've got the mid watch with my new little buddy, and I've got time to update this blog which has sort of morphed into a journal for me.
I'm glad Quinn won't remember these days. Mom hates seeing him in pain without the option to cry. His face is swollen and puffy from fluid build up due to his recent operations.

Upon arriving at Boston children's hospital, it was more needles and incisions waiting for him. Steph did not want to watch him go through any more of his torment, and wouldn't look at him. I told her it was OK, and that I'd watch him. The first thing the doctors wanted to do was insert a line into one of the arteries in his wrist. In providence, this was attempted a few times unsuccessfully. It looks very tricky to try and get a needle point into a tiny newborns artery. Quinn had a scowl. The doctor would spend a few minutes putting the needle into his wrist and move it around to get it into the artery. Each time he retracted and reinserted the needle, Quinn's face would contort and turn red, his hands and feet would clench, but he couldn't make a sound.

After spending about 15-20 minutes on one wrist, the doctor moved to his other wrist for another 15 minutes of the same routine with no success. Watching this was a little more heart wrenching than I imagined. After only a few attempts with the needle, and watching Quinn just have to swallow the pain, my knees got weak and I felt about ready to wet my pants. Talk about being no help to anyone. Steph asked why I watched, and I told her. He's my son, I can't ignore his pain, and I don't want to miss any moment of him impressing me. The doctors never could get the needle into the intended spot, so all the pain and squirming became just another part of his ordeal. Tough break Quinn. The doctors then asked me to step out of the room. They do this anytime they are going to make incisions. Another tube into his groin area, and a replacement of the existing tubes. They do not plan on operating on his heart tomorrow. A separate surgeon took a look at his esophagus and intestinal repairs. He told us the repairs look good and he's still coming along fine. They will run a leak check in a few days to test how well they've healed. They will put a dye in his digestive system and monitoring the flow.

People have been complementing Steph and I on how strong we are being and how well we are handling the situation. I would say one reason is that no one has seen me come apart yet, but that's no accident. That's what bathroom stalls and dark parking lots are for. If you've ever been the parent of a new infant who hasn't gone through an experience like Quinn's, I just can't recommend it. If you gotta take em to Boston, make it a trip to the aquarium or something. Besides, I know things could be a lot worse. I am much more impressed with Steph, who still has yet to hold him. Between her and Quinn showing me so much resiliency, I have two huge blessings right there. Then all the friends and family. Thank you guys. I know I would like the updates if this were happening to someone I cared for, that's why I'm doing this. I will continue to keep you guys up as often as I can. One more day closer to getting Quinn past all this.

Hey Joe. What movie. ~ "He won't cry...So I cry for him." I've been wanting to use that line on Steph but she's not cooperating.


Mary Cherry said...

Dear Steph and Dan,

While my heart ached at thinking of you quickly grabbing your things and heading up to Boston, I feel relief that Quinn is there with such great specialists. I know that they will take good care of Quinn and hope that they are comforting and supportive of you as well. I called all my 'prayer warriers' all over the country (one of the advantages of having been a Navy wife!) and all are praying for Quinn and for two very dear, very brave young parents, you two. My thoughts and prayers are with you day and night,
with love,
Mrs. Cherry

Anonymous said...


My heart goes out to you. Quinn picked the right parents. Let me know what you need. Your a great father for Quinn. I love you all. Call for anything you need.


Anonymous said...

He is Conan, so I cry for him.

Shipmate John said...

Dan and Stephanie,
We've never met but I feel like I know you both, for a couple reasons. First, I work with Dan's father (Al) and he keeps all of us in the office appraised about all of his kids, he's so proud of them all. In this shocking experience, he's filled us in and our sincere sympathy goes out to you both, to your families and to your new-born son. Second, I feel I know you both because I can relate well to your current situation. Our son, first born, arrived two months pre-mature and had several medical complications. My wife and I were the same ages as you both are now. He spent the first two months of his life in the hospital, most of it in an infant critical care unit. We did not have digital cameras back then (he's now 24 years old) but your photo's and reports bring back many memories ... painful as well as happy and thankful. He finally came home from the hospital the week before Christmas, a blessing and tremendous gift, but required around the clock home care for the next several months. Fortunatley, we had a team of medical professionals taking care of him both in the hospital and at home. The advances in medical science since then have been phenomenal. It is situations like these that make a person a true believer in faith and the power of prayer. Or they can confuse and create more questions than answers. There are two potential long-term outcomes, and you don't want to end up taking the route that I unfortunately did for a while - this type of experience can make you a hard and bitter person if you are not careful. The other outcome is one of taking the route of being appreciative, humbled and acknowledging larger powers in the Universe that are at times incomprehensible. At this point, it appears you are still in the "numbness" stage, the reality only now setting in and the cloud of shock beginning to clear. But the best therapy at this point is continuing to do exactly what you have been on this blog-site, sharing your emotions and providing yourself with a release that helps you to deal with all of this. I discussed your situation with my wife last night, and she said a deep, long prayer for Quinton and you both. She has an inside track to the big guy ... having been recently diagnosed with her own medical problems that probably have only one eventual outcome. Have faith, and understand that there are many, many people who are pulling for you, offering support and prayer, individuals who you have not met and may not even be aware of. Please let Al know if there is any other immediate assistance we can help with. And don't hesitate to share your emotions, that is a constructive way to deal with this very painful situation. Life is a long, strange trip. We mere mortals often cannot comprehend the experiences we are confronted with. But in life, if there were no pain then we would not know joy ... for there would be nothing to compare the good times with in order to understand. You are one of the few couples who certainly now understand this, and you will come to realize that every day in the future should be appreciated as a gift, and valued as such. No matter what obstacles you may confront as a family in the future, you will know that you have endured the toughest of all and you can handle anything else life may throw your way. Hang in there, and try to count your blessings each and every day ... despite how gloomy things now seem. Most sincerely, John and Darlene

Jess said...

Dan, thank you so much for the updates. I know that this must be incomprehensible for you, but writing it all down can only help everyone. And just remember that as hard as this is, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and the troops are being rallied to come to your aid (special thanks to my onsite spy Abby :) ). Take care of each other and have faith.
Love, jess

Anonymous said...

Just stopping in to say Hello to you all. I have taken a picture of Quinn and made it into a book mark while I am studying for finals. That way everytime I open my book, I think of him and send a little love in my heart. You guys have been in my thoughts a lot. He is a tough little fellow, I give him so much credit for his strength and you both for your strength.

Lot's of Love,