Posted by: angelnorman | August 19, 2009

one year since surgery.

Today is our one year anniversary of Nick’s (emergency) week-long stint in the hospital. One year ago to-the-day when they told me he was probably “just dehydrated”. Almost one year since my world came to a screeching halt. Don’t know the story? How about a recap?

Basically, Nick and I got really sick right after school started last year. For days we were sneezing and coughing our heads off and then all of the sudden, he worsened. On August 19th, my doctor decided to send us to Vandy’s ER so that they could decide if he needed more than just a few suppositories. Turned out that it was more than just a little dehydration; they suggested that he might need surgery. My world literally fell apart. I know it sounds selfish, really, but I sort of felt (and still feel) like I’ve been through my fair share of parenting horror stories. I had that baby at 27 weeks, remember? I watched him struggle to live once without even being able to so much as hold him and love him and comfort him when he needed someone without wires attached- for two whole months, mind you- and to have to go through it again pretty much made me a little crazy. So I went crazy and Nick had surgery. For the second time in 3 years.

Then began a week of recuperation. Day One was sort of hard. Nicholas struggled to hold anything down- even liquids. Then as the week progressed, my baby started to heal. I found myself listening closely for the sound of breaking wind and being ever-so thankful when I heard it. Oh the life of a parent! Prayers came from every direction. An outpouring of love flooded our hospital room every single day. Friends brought us gifts and sandwiches, dinner for everyone or snacks just for me. Some brought their children so that Nicholas could have a normal life, even attached to his IV. Family visited as much as they could, bearing gifts and necessities and of course, offering help, prayer, and love.  We lived for visits, for a sense of normalcy, and for Avatar: The Last Airbender. Nicholas had his first bowel movement post-surgery, proving his bowels could work again, and thus began our glimmer of hope. The road to recovery was not paved smoothly though and I began my descent into depression— a depression which I still fight on a daily basis. Things quickly started looking up. Then they said the best word in the world, “home”, and we started praying for poop. Nick was allowed solid foods again. Finally, he was better.

So I’m celebrating this year I’ve had with my son today because it means so much to me that we survived that as well as we did.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I’m too sentimental. That it was only one week and the fact that I am still so affected by it enough to celebrate the anniversary of said week is a little pathetic. Well maybe you’re right. Maybe I am overly affected. Maybe I am holding on to this memory a little too tightly. But it wasn’t your child who couldn’t eat for a week, and it wasn’t you who had to pray over your child as they put him to sleep for the second time in his little life. It wasn’t you that watched him lay in pain when what he really wanted to do as a three year old was get up and play. It wasn’t you that couldn’t even find the time to shower because you were afraid to miss a minute of your child, to not be there to attend to him if he needed you, to miss the entourage of doctors coming to tell you how they intended to take care of things and make your poor little baby better again. And it wasn’t you that had to hide in the corner of the room and eat because you were so sad that you couldn’t even feed your child when he was asking for something- anything- to help his thirst and/or hunger. So shutup. You know, if you’re thinking that.

If you’re not thinking that, then you’re probably one of the many friends, friends of friends, or family members that visited/prayed/cooked/bought etc. And you most certainly do not have to shutup. I owe you so much, so much more than I could ever repay you. (The least I can do is to not tell you to shutup.)

See, it’s just that I didn’t walk out of this as healthy as Nick did. Unfortunately for me, it sort of put me in my place and aged me a bit. It filled me with anxiety/worry and so much guilt that I could have keeled over, honestly. It took me by such surprise that I literally could not function at full capacity for months afterwards. Sometimes when I feel that familiar pang of anxiety creeping over me, I think it still affects me. The whole experience made me see that life is so fragile. And the weird part is that this was the second time I had to be taught this lesson, because for some reason, I had forgotten since he was born just how truly fragile he could be. I’d forgotten how all of the sudden, things could go horribly wrong and that we weren’t invincible just because we had survived it once and walked away relatively unscathed. I, really, had forgotten how blessed I was.

The thing is that it felt like a little bit of an attack. Like God had said, “Seriously? Are you really so dense that I have to remind you to be thankful AGAIN?” I know deep down in my heart that God does not make bad things happen to people. However, I couldn’t help but wonder why. Why me? Why again? Hasn’t this child gone through enough to be here? And not to toot my own horn or anything, but in my opinion, Mike and I have been through enough stuff to last a lifetime, and we’ve only been parents for 5 years, 3 at that time. So I honestly felt so lost and confused and scared and… really, I pretty much felt so many emotions that really it can only be described as “craziness”.

But… it also helped me to remember to focus only on that which is important, my sweet little boy and my husband. It helped me to remember that because life is so fragile, we need to make the most of it. And it really helped me to see how truly blessed I am to have such a wonderful man by my side, not to mention all the love and support from people around me, some familiar and some complete strangers.

So this anniversary, really, is for me and Mike as much as it is for Nick. It’s for us to remember how incredibly strong we are to have stood bravely by his bed side day after day and night after night, how amazingly blessed we are to have people in our lives who support us and love us beyond any measure, and how incredible the power of our love really is at the end of the day. It’s also for you. Yes, you. For the prayers you whispered, for the love you shared, for the laughs and the cards and the emails and the support… it’s to honor all of that.

If I could, I’d give you all the money in the world, and still that would not be enough to make me feel less indebted to you for being such good friends and family to us during that hellish nightmare of a week. Thank you. A thousand times, thank you.



  1. Thank YOU for reminding me not to take those little moments for granted! I still can’t believe its been a year! Thinking of you!!!!

  2. *tear* beautifully said!

  3. Has it been a whole year? Wow!
    We sure do love you Normans.

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