All in Lessons I've Learned
It was during the second session of developmental language group that I realized another layer of complexity because of Nathaniel's inability to produce any audible noise with this vocal cords.
He can not scream to protect himself from others or get help.
We share a middle name. I did not expect that. Nor I did expect how quick and unannounced grandmother tears come. They showed up first in the shower the morning I knew my daughter was in labor and again standing by the sink in her kitchen a dozen hours later as my husband washed birth off his granddaughter's head.
"Can Dad wash her hair before you leave?" our daughter asked. She has watched her daddy bathe babies for two and a half decades. While she closed her eyes and rested deep on her pillow, her father showed her husband how to wash a little girl's hair. And I wiped tears.
After Nathaniel's Laryngotracheal Separation in February, our Cincinnati ENT told us that Nathaniel's new breathing stoma was big enough that we could stand across the room, throw the trach tube, and get it in. We all laughed. That is an impossibility of course, but we now know that with Nathaniel in the back seat, a six foot one inch lanky Daddy can get the tube in from the front seat.
A few people have asked me why Nathaniel's airway is safer - how did surgery provide that? Before we got home, Rich and I had started discussing what was different from previous accidents. There were multiple things working together.
I came home from the hospital last night and noticed the two trachesotomy tubes sitting on my windowsill. Both, one from two weeks ago and one from Friday night, are waiting to be cleaned and sterilized. Seeing them reminded me of the first time my younger brother came to visit us after Nathaniel came home. We keep two trachs, one the same size and one smaller sealed in bags after sterilization, near Nathaniel's bed. At the time of Clint's visit, one of the tubes was stored in a bio-hazard bag; it had probably last been sterilized at the hospital. Bio-hazard baggies are what the nurses use even though the item inside is going home intended to be reused. When talking about Nathaniel that night with my brother, I made a dismissive comment about the intensity of his care. "You have a bio-hazard bag hanging in your son's bedroom," Clint said with some strong emotion. "For crying out loud, this is beyond medically complex. This is life and death."