After two brain surgeries, 4 ultrasounds, 3 CT scans, a series of x-rays, and endless IVs and needle sticks over the past 15 days at the Cedars-Sinai Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Charlie is finally HOME. Whatever your belief system or thoughts about a Higher Power, you have to concede that the human body is an amazing, awe-inspiring regenerative miracle. When I think of where Charlie was at just 48 hours ago, tethered to a bank of medical equipment and monitors, so weak and in pain after major surgery on his little brain and body, it’s almost hard to reconcile that picture with the one of the little boy who waltzed out of Cedars-Sinai early this afternoon and was plopped back into the car seat he last saw on February 12. He took his first steps in two weeks this morning at the hospital and we’ll need to continue with some extra physical therapy until he’s back up to where he was in terms of strength and balance, but overall he’s in incredible shape considering everything he just went through. I know I’ve said this many times, but I’m beyond grateful for the brilliant minds that created and administer the medical science that has enabled Charlie to live a normal life despite the catastrophic circumstances of his birth. As happy as I am to leave Cedars, and as much as I hope to never spend any extended time there again, I feel such love and gratitude for all the people there who cared for Charlie with such expertise and kindness during these past few weeks.
I can already see Charlie becoming stronger by the second even though it will probably take a few weeks to fully get back up to speed. Will we ever have to deal with his new shunt malfunctioning? There’s no way to know that, of course, there are so many factors at play, but just as we have since he was born, we’ll deal with it if we have to.
And now we all begin to resume our regular lives. I look forward to getting back to work—and also taking care of myself again. Is it possible to gain 30 lbs. in two weeks? Sigh. I realized several days in that the tendency in times of extreme stress to shovel comfort foods in your mouth couldn’t go on much longer, but I was never quite able to focus as I should have on what was best for me. Don’t they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first for a reason? Oh well, here’s to a spring dedicated to health all around.
This resurrected blog was a lifeline for my own sanity and I so appreciated every expression of concern that people stated here, on Facebook, and elsewhere. The world may be going to hell, but as far as I'm concerned, people are really great. As he grows up, I will always share with Charlie how people all over the planet were rooting for him in so many ways since the day he was born. It takes a village, right? You are all hereby invited to stop by and play garbage trucks with Charlie any time you’re in the neighborhood!