Friday, November 27, 2009

A Year of Thanksgiving...and Soul Searching


Some refer to today as Black Friday, but since my days as a retail clerk, I refuse to participate in the shopping extravaganza.  So, to me, today is the day after Thanksgiving - or leftovers day!  I am choosing today to start this blog because I have a lot to be thankful this year - and I feel like I could spend a whole year saying thanks.  So, this starts my year of Thanksgiving...
My daughter is just over nine months old, and four and a half months ago, she received the greatest gift that she will receive in her life - a new heart.  She was suffering with Dilated Cardiomyopathy and she was in cardiogenic shock, ventilated and barely awake (to keep her from pulling out the ventilator and to let her heart rest).  We spent almost three months in a Ronald McDonald house before getting to come home a little over a month ago.  Needless to say, our lives have been turned upside down.  We have to give Bean medications three times a day.  We have to flush a broviac line (something like a semi-permanent IV) each day.  She has a lot of doctors appointments that are about three and a half hours away from our home.  We also have to take precautions not to expose her to germs - she is immune-suppressed and the Swine Flu has added a whole new layer to that worry.  My husband (pictured with Bean) has had to give up one of his two jobs, meaning we are extremely low on money. Although our lives are changed forever, we are incredibly thankful - for Bean's new heart, for the wonderful care she received from the Doctors and Nurses at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital, for the availability of a room at the Ronald McDonald House Stanford for only $10/night during our stay, for the incredible generosity and love of friends and family during our time at the hospital...the list goes on and on.
But, even as we are thankful, we also have to realize that there will be serious challenges.  We will need to figure out additional forms of income.  We will have to get our lives more organized in order to get done what we need to get done while still dealing with additional medical responsibilities for Bean.  We will need to deal with insurance debacles that are threatening to put accounts into collections.  We will need to become aware of medical issues that come with Bean's medications and treatments.  And because of the experience we have had during this, we will need to find a way to give back - to make sure that others going through this or similar things will have resources they need available to them.  Whether that be through charity fund-raising, sharing information on this blog, or doing speaking for the causes close to our hearts, I haven't figured out yet.  But, I do know that I HAVE to find a way to give back.
So, welcome to A Second Heart.  I hope you will find something that is helpful to you!

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