Justin was starting to stay awake for longer periods of time. He was obviously uncomfortable. The incision was left open, a gauze pad covered it. The drain tubes were taped to his stomach. Everything hurt, the surgery had involved moving all his internal organs and flushing out as much infection as they could. The inflammation was everywhere. He had no appetite. He cried when the lab techs would come into the room, he yelled for me when the x-ray machine loomed in the doorway. He could not get up to use the bathroom. He was scared. He would ask for the pain medicine himself. He would turn his head to the side when people were in the room. He would stare blankly at the tv when the doctors would come in to talk to us. His mom or dad was always in the room with him, he was not getting better.
Dr. Murray, boots and all, came in to check the incision. It would be the first time we had seen it. We failed Justin in preparing him for the sight, we were not prepared ourselves. We cried as they were pulling the tape off, Justin was trying to push them away. At first we see the drain tubes coming out of his stomach, three 10"-12" tubes with clear, plastic bulbs on the end. A thick yellow/pink fluid filled the tubes. They would need to take out the gauze that was in the opening; I had pictured in my mind the small roll the dentist has you bite on when you get a tooth pulled, I was wrong. The gauze that was stuffed inside Justin looked like two pairs of rolled up tube socks. Dr. Murray is touching, peering and says "It looks really good." I do not believe the gaping slash in his stomach looks good. Justin looks down. Horrified, he yells at the doctor, "that's not good, YOU CUT ME!"
*Note to parents: six year olds do not know what the word "incision" means*
They would leave the wounds open to heal from the inside out, letting the infection escape. Through all of this, Justin would only have one stitch. After seeing this and without the gauze, Justin was more timid in his movements. The tubes were still in, three tubes 6"-8" each wrapped up inside of him, irritated and tugged with his every movement.
Dr. Murray, was directing us from the surgeon's standpoint. "Try to get Justin up more, have him sit in a chair, have him walk, get him to eat." Dr. Hourigan, was cautious from the family doctor standpoint. "Don't get your hopes up, we are not out of the woods, I am concerned about his weight loss, hang in there." We were still hoping to go home Sunday. Justin still did not have a fever; his white blood count was elevated but not spiking, he still showed signs of inflammation, he was still on morphine and he had no appetite.
Each day of that week was also filled with many visitors, calls, texts and scheduling shifts to go home for a shower, a few moments of quiet, and some much needed time with our kids. Lane continued to sleep with one of his sisters, Dani was keeping things running, and the grandma's were at our call for anything we needed. We would see the sadness on people's faces when they would visit Justin; I would listen to the beeping of the machines so I wouldn't break down during those times. Darin had to witness the saddest littlest visitor of all. Justin's buddy, Jett and his mom came to visit. Hospitals are intimidating to a lot of people, for wild, rambunctious boys they are haunting. Jett came in and like so many others was overcome by sadness, words escaped him. He held on to his mama, tears filled the room.