Saturday, August 14, 2010

These are my people...

...this is where I come from
We're givin' this life everything we got
And then some
It ain't always pretty, but it's real
It's the way we were made, wouldn't have it any other way
These are my people.
Rodney Adkins, "These are my people"

My friend who is Chillin' With Lemonade wrote a few posts about her "life sustainers." These were the people who were there with her during the darkest days of her life and helped - and are still helping - to pull her through. Today, my sustainers paid me a surprise visit to Philly, and I absolutely couldn't have been more surprised or more thrilled to see these amazing women.

They told my folks and Derek that they were coming and apparently it was not presented as an option. It was "We're coming - should we tell Jen or let it be a surprise?" And what an amazing surprise! I came back to the hotel to feed Luke and they were waiting for me in my hotel room with the four best hugs I've ever had. We sat and visited for a few minutes and then they sprang into action: doing my laundry, taking lunch to Derek, taking me out into the sunshine for a walk, insisting I eat and drink when I would have just forgotten. They are currently getting some quality time with Luke so my folks and my mother-in-law can get a good night's sleep. Absolutely amazing.

I spent most of the day away from this ICU room, and the combination of a little distance from words like "amiodarone," a brisk walk to Target in the sunshine, and the love of these wonderful girls has improved my spirits in ways I can't even describe. I love you ladies!

Enough about me - y'all want an update on Jay, I know. He's been very, very steady all day. His rhythm is lovely and we're still getting consistent (though weak) heartbeats. He's liking his comfy new mattress and has tolerated lots of touching and moving without so much as a skipped beat. He was just moving his legs around and now he's currently clamping his mouth shut so the nurse can't suction his breathing tube. We've got our favorite nurse and ECMO specialist on tonight ... they're the clean freaks of the unit and start their shift by wiping down every surface in the room with alcohol wipes. All in all, he's doing great and we're hoping for another smooth, drama-free night.

I'll end this tribute to my people with this story from one of my favorite blogs, Adventures of a Funky Heart (a fantastic resource on congenital heart disease). He was talking about the importance of finding support from other heart moms, and that's hugely important. But whether or not your sustainers have been in your shoes, finding people who will take on your hurts as their own makes your burden bearable.

In the TV series The West Wing Leo tells Josh the story of the guy who fell in the hole. A good support group is like the friend who jumps in the hole with him. Here’s the story:

“This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by – ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me! Can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before… and I know the way out.’”

Thanks, girls, for jumping into the hole with me. I love you!


jeannette said...

Didn't you just love your surprise? Nothing better than your wonderful friends to help ease the burdens of life a bit - your mother is that kind of soul mate to me!! LYTB, AJ

Mindy Marshall said...

I love your girls! Many thanks to them for doing what I would have loved to have done myself, but couldn't quite swing. Glad to hear that the grandparents are getting some rest as well. Love you & miss you.

Amy said...

So glad you had a few happy moments today. I hope the days just keep getting better!

Cara Lynn said...

So glad that you had some time for you today...sounds like you've got some great friends there.
Praying for a quiet night tonight for all of you--don't you just love being able to have someone like the team you have tonight--makes sleeping a little easier.
Know that there'll be a concerted intervention for all of you between 9:45 and noon tomorrow (okay, with Journey it'll be 10!!-- but what we lack in promptness we'll make up in concentrated effort).
Love you all and so relieved with the better reports.
Sleep well,
Cara Lynn

Anonymous said...

We are all thinking about all 4 of you. Hang in there. Here is praying for a stable night.

Bob and Dee

Laura Huneycutt said...

Thank goodness for girlfriends, at times like today they make all the difference. Prayers for you all from China Grove, NC. (Tell Jane hello).

Anonymous said...

Nothing like good friends to help ease the burden you are shouldering right now. I am so glad that they were able to bring you some joy today! Love you!
Jamie (and Jeff)

Sush said...

Hi Jen,
You commented on one of my postings in reference to me and your Mom's 'Gang', "I'm glad you have each other."

Back at you...nothing like the love of friends who get you and support you! In lieu of me being there give your Mom a hug and a kiss from me and tell my 'Touchstone' I miss her.

Here's to another and another and another....healing and good day.

Anonymous said...

Where's the "LIKE: button?

Love you,

Aunt Ali

Emily Erin said...

So glad that you got some refreshing time with friends and some perspective. I'm also celebrating a steady day. Many prayers are going up for all of you. Hugs from here!

Anonymous said...

You all are constantly in our thoughts and prayers! One of my co-workers whose husband went through a surprise (and scary) heart surgery has been praying in addition for Jay's total healing for you to have some rest - a respite and reassurance of sorts. So glad you had a visit from friends!
Becky O.

Joye said...

Thank God for good friends and steady days ... praying for more to come. Sending our love!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you had a good visit; it's important that you take care of yourself as well.

Keep it steady, my boyfriend!

Anonymous said...

Jack was looking at a class picture from ITC yesterday and mentioned Jay. I remembered that Catherine Otto had passed along the link to your blog and I just got through your recent updates. My thoughts and prayers are truly with you all. May Jay get stronger and stronger every day. Many many positive thoughts are traveling up to you from Raleigh!

All the best,
Andrea Young