The Gifts

It seems that we, as humans, are quite adaptable. Certainly this changes a bit as we get older, more set in our ways. Life happens, whatever it may look like, and we adapt, we absorb, we deal. But not all the time, I suppose. In theory, this would be our innate reaction: fight or flight.

The ability, whether by intention or not, to go into battle with both guns blazin’ or to flee and run for cover.

Admittedly, I seem to do both.

Sometimes I jump into the ring of fire, feeling that flow of adrenaline, ready to take on the world. Other times, it’s as if all the strength in my body is drained and even finding the will to flee is a chore. I simply melt.

This is normal right?

Normal…who determines that definition anyway? Lately, two air quotes accompany the word “normal” when I speak it because I’m not really sure what that is…what it means.

I digress.

My lovely friend, Annie, gifted me with a book recently and notably I have had a little time on my hands to soak in the sentences. It is called “One Thousand Gifts”. While I am not finished with it, I am absolutely moved by it. Challenged and inspired.

The author essentially starts keeping a list. Not a wish list for an upcoming birthday or a bucket list of things to do or places to visit, instead a list of things she is thankful for. Some would call these: blessings. And not a few…ONE THOUSAND. That may not sound like a huge deal until you try it.

This reworking of her brain, of the way she thinks, changes her for good…for the better. She starts seeing the world differently. Not in a slightly-annoying-somewhat-unrealistic-this-won’t-last kind of way, but deep down to her core her sense of gratitude took precedence in her life.

As I read the book, I wonder to myself how often I jump quickly to worst case scenario, glass half empty feelings. Sometimes I may try to trick my mind into thinking I’m just a realistic person who likes to be prepared. But if I am honest with myself, perhaps I am currently wired that way…seeing the negative first. Perhaps I must start my own “list” to really be aware of how much there is to be thankful for.

Today, I tested it out a bit. And now, at the end of this day, I feel better than I have in a while. Did everything go perfectly today? No. Did I bounce around with a toothy grin all day? Nope. But I sure saw things a little softer, in less of a harsh light. Of course I felt all the emotions I have most other days, but it is how I feel tonight that I want more of. More peaceful.

Audrey had another blood transfusion today. Normally, I might worry what that means and need to know exactly what her blood gas numbers were. Not today, I didn’t ask that question because it really doesn’t matter to me. I trust that if she needed blood, she needed blood.

Her surgeon carefully and precisely removed two of her tubes today. Her left chest tube and her PD Catheter. This is a step in the right direction, the fewer tubes, the better. Her right lung continues to have a pneumothorax in the lower area and some build up in the upper area. So, they watch this lung. When it is ready, the tube will be pulled from that side as well. All in due time.

Her arterial line is shot really. She needs a new one and has for at least a couple of days now. The team made a valiant effort to place a new line but, similar to other line placements in her short life, it was unsuccessful. We are awaiting a decision on how they will move forward.

She continues to eliminate fluid and does so hour by hour. She still has about a pound of excess fluid to lose, but she’ll get there.

She’s getting milk continuously every hour through a nasal tube at 5mL every hour.

She remains on the heavy sedatives/pain medication to keep her comfortable. The weaning process at a later time will be just that, a process. But they are trained and prepared for handling withdrawals in infants.

Physical therapy will be evaluating her body tomorrow, Friday. There is a bit of a concern with her arms and wrists and how she is naturally holding them while sedated. She may have to wear splints to help position them better to avoid a shortening of her muscles and a lack of full range of motion.

She does have cycles of activity, she’ll sleep heavily and soundly most of the time but occasionally she’ll be repositioned or something will stir her and she’ll move her little arms and legs, squirm her head and peek open her eyes. It is so good to know she’s in there.

I could go on and on about her status, but overall, an upward trend continues. For this, we are grateful.

The path is long and there is no Google Map to guide us through. We roll with it. Look for the gifts. Adapt. That is good for today. Tomorrow, it starts again. We fight. She fights.

I’m not sure how many sets of eyes will read these words, but one thing I know for sure, each one of you would be a number on my own “one thousand gifts”.

Love and hugs,
R

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17 thoughts on “The Gifts

  1. These eyes have read this. As I do with each precious post. Thank you for sharing this journey with all of us who love all of you so much.

    When I have a problem, I go to the Thinking Pond–a special place on the ranch. I absorb all of the beauty of the earth around me, then start counting my blessings. By the time I get to the problem that needs to be solved, it has diminished in magnitude in relation to the blessings.

    I also carry with me a handwritten list of 100 things I personally love (blessings) and I read and reread them . I carry this with me everywhere. And so, I love what you are reading. Yes. Focus on the blessings. The energy from that “heart focus” will provide strength and hope.

    Much love to you.

    Cathy

  2. Through my spectacles, my eyes continue to read this, and all of your beautiful messages. I look for them, everyday, and continue to pray for sweet baby Audrey and her amazing mother.

  3. These eyes have read, tho I have never met you, only worked with your dad for many years. I have heard stories of you kids growing up. I have prayed for Audrey and all of the family, I will continue to read and pray. I hope you have good 4th of July.

  4. I, too, continue to read and follow your journey. I am there with you in spirit. I only wish I could lighten your burden in some way. Prayers continue and you have always been and continue to be one of my gifts in life.

  5. Your precious Audrey Bunny is changing and challenging me daily. Her fight and resilience have strengthened me. Praying for numerous times through the had brought my relationship with God even closer. She had made me thankful! She is in there sweet Rachel! Love and prayers to you all.

  6. Beautifully written! Your words continue to move and inspire me, as I’m positive they do to all who read them. Continued prayers for all involved and thoughts of many things to be thankful for.

  7. These eyes have read your words too…and how beautiful they are! I look forward to your posts every morning with hope in my heart. I light a candle for Audrey every day and send strength your way. Hugs to you and your family!!

  8. We continue every day to pray for baby Audrey and your family. Your sweet angel has touched so many in her short brave life. We continue to pray for strength for her and for all of you.

  9. beautiful thoughts. Love that this book has blessed you! It totally changed my perspective too. You are a warrior and I am so challenged by the way that you fight against discouragement and keep believing for sweet Audrey!

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