Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hospital food for the soul (A Dan post)

I like those bumper stickers that start “I’d Rather Be…” You see them most when stuck in traffic and realize the frustrated driver in front of you would rather be golfing. Maybe you let your mind wander for a few moments visualizing a beautiful golf course in Jamaica with thick green grass and a gentle ocean breeze. Right now I’d rather be anywhere than in this hospital. Obviously I am gratefully doing anything possible to ensure the full and complete recovery of my beautiful daughter, Danica, but I have always had the tendency to avoid hospitals at all costs. Hospitals are for the sick and injured. The food is mostly bland and simple. The continuous beeping of all the monitoring equipment is the worst. My heart jumps in my throat every time the little beeping noise changes its constant monotone beat. Then there’s the parent complex which means the parents opinion overrules any doctor or nurse opinion. If my daughter wants to remove her IV because she simply “doesn’t like it,” then let’s remove it people. Most often a patient may get several medical diagnoses that differ from one another. For example, several years ago I drove myself to the ER complaining of severe stomach cramps. I reported to the admin that I had been playing golf in the hot sun all day drinking a few beers along the way. Without hesitation I was diagnosed with dehydration and set up with an IV for fluids. After about an hour writhing in pain, they finally sent me to X-rays to discover kidney stones. Thanks. It just seems that every visit to a hospital is an unpleasant experience. Time heals all wounds and I think my current visit to a hospital in Cincinnati may be a life changing experience.

Danica seems to be doing well at this early stage in recovery. Infection is still a huge concern over the next ten days. She has significant pain and is extremely uncomfortable in her new brace. The two surgeons, each with their own professional approach, pre-planned their procedures with expert precision reducing the overall surgery to around 5 hours. Both doctors claim great success with this highly complex operation and we hope with Danica’s complete recovery other kids with similar diagnoses will get help. The P-ICU staff has been incredibly caring and helpful. Danica had several violent combative reactions trying to remove her brace and pull out all her IVs but the nursing staff remained calm and reassured us that they have seen this before and took the means to help alleviate Danica’s struggles. I am more calm and more helpful to my wife than during Danica’s first surgery where everything during recovery was unknown and unfamiliar. I’m looking at Danica as I type these words, lying in her hospital bed in her confined brace, “cheech” blanket strewn across her legs and “Poots” pillow at her side, and when I look at her angelic little face I can only smile knowing that if we can get her home in a few weeks, her “new” neck will help keep her safe during her childhood. This little girl is so brave.

As I walk the hospital halls running errands for my incredibly strong wife, I am also taking time to accept the pain and suffering around me. There are many parents and families here that are having a far more difficult time than we are and even though I can never fully understand their plight, I can at least put our experiences in perspective. We have humbly and gratefully accepted an offer to stay at the Ronald McDonald House and within this huge complex is a quiet room which houses a special lamp. When the lamp is on, it signals the loss of a child whose parents are staying at the house. I may be here for another week and everytime I walk into the house, I think about that lamp and hope I never see it on. Just thinking about it makes me teary eyed. I must say that the Ronald McDonald House is an incredible establishment.

Sitting here in the P-ICU room watching “Little Bill” and seeing my 3-year old rest comfortably with her mother, I’m filled with a calm I have not experienced in a hospital. We still have a difficult road ahead, but the support for Danica through prayer, facebook and via the website has been overwhelming. Thank you to all who have contributed to Team Danica. You all are amazing. Of course I’d rather be somewhere else, playing with my girls or maybe even playing a round of golf someday, but the hospital food here ain’t too bad. You have to try the cheese pizza.


  1. Praying for you ALL, for peace and strength, for grace and hope. God is so evident in all of you. Praying for continued calm and for each footprint you leave as you travel this difficult road. And praying you will never see that light on! Much love to you...

  2. Thanks for the update, Dan! We are praying for all of you...Delaney, too. :)

  3. God bless your precious family; healing and freedom from the pain for Danica and comfort, peace and a bold witness(without saying a word) for Mommy and Daddy. I don't even know you, but we are related in the family of God and my heart is full and yet aches for all you've gone and will go through in the days to come. We lift you up high to the Father Ps:28:7

  4. keeping you all, and esp. Danica, in my daily prayers. Praying for peace and comfort for Danica and for strength for the rest of you.

    Love to yo all!

    Becky Leung

  5. Praying for your entire family. Sometimes our own sence of calm is all we have under our own controle. Sometimes situations around us that we can not controle try to take over and we loose focus, then I remember to breath. Keep breathing,close your eyes then one breath in and then one breath out. After a few open and look at your baby and your focus and calm will will be there. Take care of you so you can continue to care for them. With a full heart and love....

  6. I could feel the calm in your writing. Praying for you ALL.

  7. I love you all so much. I wish I could be there to sit with you through all this, as hard as that would be. I just want you to know how often you are in my thoughts.

  8. She's a beautiful girl and reminds me of my own.
    Your all very brave and are facing the fears that us as parents often think about when our child arrives into the world.
    Helpless and dependant on us, we grow too love them so deaply and when a tragity such as this happens, it makes us see that we are now helpless and dependant.
    God bless you! Praying for your girl.

  9. Oh, that little picture brings back so many memories of my girls. God bless you and hold little Danica in his arms and give you strength. Hope you can get some rest. Your sweet girl is precious!