What I remember the most about the recovery room was how cold and empty it seemed. There was one nurse tending to Justin, another doing paperwork in the hall, Darin and myself. We were scared, we had never seen any of our kids so sick and lifeless looking.
There was one defining moment that changed a lot of things about us. In Darin's profession he has seen and will see more than most of us could ever handle or should have to see. He has always amazed me with his ability to handle the experiences of trauma and death he has witnessed. In that room, in a flash, all of reasoning was gone. He looked at Justin and saw not our little boy but another boy that he had given CPR to a few months before. At the time I didn't know what was going on, but I looked at Darin and could see he was not there with us, I was so scared he knew something about Justin that I could not see. It would be several days before I would know what Darin had seen this night; it would be several months before we could talk about the depth his experiences have affected him.
Justin was gray, sweaty, and restless; he had three open incisions, two had drain tubes coming out of him. He was still under anesthesia and they had given him morphine. His body was fighting a battle we did not fully understand.
We were finally taken to a hospital room around 4:00 a.m. Justin was incredibly unsettled, trying to pull the tubes out and get out of bed. That morning would start the routine of the hospital staff taking blood, checking the i.v., temperature, blood pressure, oxygen , tube drainage monitoring and pain medication. This first night we didn't sleep, by mid-morning Justin had finally settled and was in a medicated sleep. The day had started for us, as we had family and friends to keep updated, kids to keep organized, medical staff to talk to and Justin to pray with.
Our first discussions with the doctors were general information; mostly what a normal appendectomy surgery and recovery look like; a short surgery, small incision, possible hospital stay. So far we had not experienced any of that. The discussions would always end with a "but we are watching him closely because the appendix did rupture, let's see how his blood work is" The seriousness had not set in yet.
Sometime during that first morning I realized how lost we felt because Dr. Warner (our doctor for the last 19 years) had moved in December. Dr. Hourigan, who is in the same clinic has been Darin's physician, had agreed to take our entire family; little did he know what our first interaction would be like.