Tuesday, January 5, 2010

First kisses - Cameron's Story

Some of you know the story of our son, Cameron who was diagnosed at 3 days old with a congenital heart defect. Cam underwent three open heart surgeries all before his 6th birthday. The scariest of which was an emergency surgery at 7 months old. Cameron woke up coughing in the middle of the night, when we turned on the light to check on him his skin was gray. We rushed him to the nearest ER, about 5 minutes from our home at the time. The triage nurse checked his O2 stats and they werecritical at 20%, normal is 95-100% .  I usually pride myself on being able to hold it together when faced with a difficult situation, my tendency is to fall apart afterwards. In this case however, I lost it. I cried, could not stop shaking, at one point I ran down the hall to the nearest bathroom and was physically ill.  After screaming at the doctors' mutiple times they eventually they did call his doctor, adminstered meds, and stabilized him enough to lifeflight him to Phoenix Children's Hospital. The helicopter ride seemed so long, I felt so helpless,  all I could do was pray he survived the flight.

Upon arriving at PCH, Cam was rushed into a room in their pediatric heart unit. Nurses tried several times in vain to insert an IV, instead a doctor would wind up sewing a central line into the jugular in his neck. It was ugly, awful, I still can't recall the memories without tears. When the cardiologist on call arrived, he performed an echo on Cam and announced he would need emergency surgery to have any chance of surviving. My baby was attached to so many tubes and wires, intubated, sedated. His full repair was already scheduled for 6 weeks later and I thought I had time to mentally prepare myself for what lie ahead. Instead, I stood in a hospital room with my critically ill child. I held his hand, sent him off to surgery not knowing if he would come back. not knowing if I would ever see his sparkling eyes again or hear his sweet voice again.

The evening before Cameron had given us his first kisses, slobbery faces full of drool and sheer joy. I couldn't help, but wonder if those would be the only kisses he ever gave us. I couldn't help recalling my emergency C-Section with Cam, the spinal that didn't work, the anesthesia I endured to bring my son into this world. I missed his first moments, first cry. I wasn't the first one to see his face, touch his soft skin, comfort him. I was however the first one to ever give him a kiss. When I came out of recovery, my dad came over with one of the nurses who was holding my son, my boy, my Cameron. As the nurse held him up to my face, my father said "None of us kissed him yet, we left the first kiss for you". My first memory of my son is that kiss. It seemed at that moment at the hospital, sending Cam off to the unknown I couldn't help wondering if the kisses he gave me the night prior might be his first and last.

Instead, Cam showed his strength that day as he has many days since. He survived that surgery, came through with flying colors in fact, and was released from the hospital three days later. Two more surgeries have come and gone, I always get the last kiss before he goes off to surgery and the first one when it is over. Each time, I leave my sweet boy or send him off somewhere, whether it be school or his first heart canp, I always get a kiss from him. It is still as sweet as the first one...

A couple of the kisses we have shared over the years.

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