We went to Drumheller for an extended weekend thinking it would be a hot location, if there is one to be had in Alberta, and for some outdoor activities and dinosaur hunting. It's only an hour and half away, but is an area a little like the Grand Canyon, on a smaller scale and known for its dinosaurs. We arrived Thursday and it began to rain. It rained (rephrase... down poured!) for 36 hours almost non-stop. Our tent would have floated away with us atop the air mattresses, calling for rescue. Emphasis on "would have." We called the family we were to camp with and said we thought we would stay at a hotel instead of setting up in the rain so they insisted that we stay with them. In their trailer. With triplet boys Peyton's age. We were so thankful for a dry place to stay, but I am sure we drove them to insanity - two families and four four-year-old boys in a trailer was an adventure that put the dinosaurs in the area to shame! We cut the trip a bit shorter than originally expected and headed out Saturday morning to get home in time to dry out before Monday.
We settled back in after the last drops evaporated to find our rhythm again after all the adventures of the last couple weeks. Drew's tournament was so incredible, it was definitely a highlight of the last couple months and we were beyond thankful for all the participation! We are still working hard to get all the last items wrapped up, totals tallied, and thank-you's out.
Our rhythm was a little stymied by a jig in it the early part of this week. Peyton decided he needed to check back into the hospital just to keep us on top of things. His visit was a short one this time, but it threw us for a pretty good loop. He had his last surgery in April after which he had not really had any problems with his stomach. We noticed he started having a few tummy aches again in the last few weeks, but there was so much going on, it could have been from stress or lack of fluids due to irregular routine. I worried about it a little, but hoped they would subside with better diet management and routine. No. We were back at it again, watching our son writhe in pain and unable to do anything to help other than offer heat packs, kisses and snuggles. The helplessness that had passed with the experiences rushed back in a flood and threatened to overwhelm. Jordan and I looked at each other with disbelief, confusion and discouragement reflected in each other's eyes.
In honesty, the thought went through my mind for the first time, "This could have all been averted if we would have caught the appendix before it burst - why didn't we catch it?!?!" I felt anger. Anger at the medical world. Anger at life. Anger that my son knew more suffering at four than I had ever known. Who was I angry at though? When I put a voice to it, Jordan handled it with tact. He reminded me that there was no way ANY doctor would have known about Peyton's appendix until after the fact due to its location, and that Peyton was going to be ok. He allowed me my anger, and watched as it subsided, turning into resignation and hope. I remembered a conversation from a very recent conversation where I said with conviction, "With every new low we experience, we seem to reach a corresponding new high," and I wondered where this would lead.
Peyton walked into his room in the emergency room, looked around (while clutching his tummy) and commented on the similarity of this room to the one he was in last time he was throwing up so much. He climbed up on the bed like it was his own, circled like a cat before he snuggled in, and asked me to turn the tv on. No fear. Just fact. Ok. He fell asleep right before each procedure - where did I say Murphy was?? Jordan took him for his X-Ray, held him upright in a sitting position while he snored away, and carried him back to his room, all while he slept. Peyton might have continued sleeping had we not decided to poke him to start an IV! I was surprised he had fallen asleep in the first place, in spite of the tummy cramps, but it seemed to help the cramps subside (chicken first, or egg?). We tried to wake him up before poking him, as that seemed altogether too cruel of a way to wake a person, but he was determined to keep sleeping, wet washrag to the face and all! The needle did the job.
If someone woke me with a needle, you'd want to plug your ears. If someone woke Jordan with a needle, there would be someone on the floor, and it wouldn't be him. The nurses placed bets as to whether or not Peyton would wake tearing at things. He woke with a gasp and saucer eyes, ready to scream, but allowed only gasps out, and wondered why he was being invaded. It only took one reminder that staying calm meant they would probably only have to try once, to bring him back to sanity (or to squelch every natural instinct in his poor little body!). He immediately switched tracks and told them calmly but forcefully, "I'm DONE." (translation - get out of here!)
Peyton was amazing to watch. Had you watched from the outside, where you could not determine age, you would have thought he was far older than his four years. Once the IV was started, he maneuvered the line deftly, and sat there playing on Jordan's blackberry with an unnaturally straight left arm like there was nothing wrong, and certainly not something that might cause discomfort to a normal, inexperienced hospital newbie. (I cringed just thinking about it.) The only time he actually showed his age and allowed a window into his mind was when he was uncertain about a possible intervention. We told him he had to do a pee test and he thought he had to get a "pee tube" (catheter). He furrowed his eyebrows and the window into his experiences opened with a whoosh. We quickly clarified and he immediately closed the window again. My son is far more mature than I am in some ways I'm afraid. My dear brave boys. I wish I could take both of their ailments away and make them my own for their sake. Strangely enough, I believe I will always say that I am thankful for these things we have learned through, (though I would take them back if I could) for through these things we have learned what love really is, and how much I would do for my children. I would take on so much if I could just make it better for them... my words - but nothing new to someone so much greater than I. Does He really love me as much as I loved them? I had no concept before our journey. I am sure I still don't, but I know how much I would do for my sons.
More to come on the tournament...