Today, we celebrate our country’s independence. We celebrate our freedoms, our triumphs, our patriotism. But Gracie and I are having a different sort of celebration. We are celebrating the beginning of healing from infection.
Gracie is still in the hospital and we’ll be here at least two more days. Yesterday was the first day she showed improvement (instead of worsening) and had no fevers. She will need one more day of fever-free improvement before we can try transitioning her from IV antibiotics to orals. If she handles the transition to orals well, we can go home next week – probably Monday or Tuesday.
We are going to miss the fireworks tonight. Our city has a great fireworks display, and I’m a little sad that we’ll miss it. BUT, no fireworks display is worth risking Gracie’s health, and I’d rather be stuck here in the hospital with her than home worrying about whether she’s going to be okay. She is where she needs to be. I want her to stay here until there is no doubt the oral antibiotics are working – if that means we’re here a month, so be it. (Not that I think we will be here a month, but if that’s what it takes I’m in for the long haul.)
The infectious disease doctor just came in the room while I was writing this. He thinks she has more going on with her knee than “just” cellulitis. He thinks she has prepatellar bursitis, or an infection of the bursa in her knee, and he told me it could take weeks to resolve. Maybe my estimate of a month wasn’t as far off as I hoped… I spoke to him about making sure she does well on orals before we leave and he agreed. *WHEW* – thank goodness for good doctors who listen to the patients and their parents.
But enough boring hospital talk. Today is a day for celebration, for grilling out, for watching chemical explosions in the sky. My heart aches to be with my son – holidays are for family and ours is divided. I hope that he has fun today without us. I hope he can enjoy himself and not yield to the heartache I know he feels too. I hope he’s enjoying the long-awaited visit from his paternal grandparents, and I hope they’re spoiling him. Siblings of special needs kids are silent victims. Everyone worries about the kid in the hospital, and with good reason, of course!, but not many people remember the siblings at home, separated from their family and worried about their sibling and perhaps too young to have good coping skills for this sort of deep-down stress.
Thinking about Jackson reminds me that all over the country, families are divided today. Children are in the hospital undergoing treatments and therapies while their healthy family members wait and worry at home. Babies are in the NICU while perhaps their parents steal a few guilty moments to join the holiday festivities, all the time worrying about their baby in the hospital. Parents are in the hospital while their children grow up at home without them. I am sorry for these families. Love longs for unity.
Today, we celebrate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And those of us who will spend the holiday in the hospital celebrate small victories – no fevers, stable infections, a chance to speak to a relative on the phone, and whatever cause célèbre we might have. We celebrate the freedoms we have. To all the families in the hospital and not, Happy Fourth of July.