The Transplant Clinic With Braedon
You may be wondering what the heck does mashed potatoes have to do with perspective but stick with me and I promise to reveal all. Shortly after Braedon was diagnosed with Hepatopulmonary Syndrome we had to take a trip to Halifax for a long week of back to back appointments at the Liver Transplant Clinic as currently transplant is the only known cure for this disease.
We went from one appointment to the next where doctors would talk about how Braedon needed the surgery but how risky it would be. You see Braedon had several complications that made this surgery riskier than normal. He was on oxygen and even with it couldn’t maintain normal oxygen levels, he has low blood clotting time which meant his blood wouldn’t clot fast enough making him bleed faster than normal. He also had a lot of internal scar tissue caused by his first life-threatening illness in 2007. On top of that he was also born with a condition called Portal Vein Thrombosis; which added yet another layer of risk. Braedon had turned 18 shortly after he first showed symptoms so they didn’t hold anything back from him. Instead of being able to get into R rated he was learning in percentages the likelihood of his death. The doctors talked about everything so nonchalantly too. It was as if they were listing off things they needed at the store. Zero compassion and zero empathy.
I had to hold it together in those appointments I told myself; I had to stay strong for him or so I thought. It’s something I have come to regret now. I wish I let those tears out and told him it was ok to cry and feel afraid but that’s a story for another day.
Zapped by a Power-Surge…What?!?!
One morning we were getting ready for our day at the hospital when a power-surge hit our hotel. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. The lightbulbs in the fixtures blew out in our room. I don’t just mean they went out either, they exploded I guess you could say; they glass from the bulbs shattering onto the floor. Before we knew it there a couple of firefighters
showed up at our door to check our room and make sure everything was ok. If this wasn’t enough the power was out and Braedon’s oxygen machine was zapped by the power surge and no longer working. To make matters worse the alarm on the machine was triggered and despite the fact that we unplugged, that piercing alarm ran for hours. We had portable tanks for traveling and getting out to our appointments so he was fine and after just a few calls we found another company to come later that day and bring us a new machine.
Power Outage & Guess What? The Elevators are Out!
The power outage meant the elevators were down and of course, we were on the top floor! 7 floors up, no elevator and a kid on oxygen. The firefighters offered to carry Braedon down but he wanted nothing to do with that. So we hit the stairs. I wheeled his tank and every few steps he had to sit down to catch his breath. Once we got down the basement we had to find another set of stairs and go up a flight to get to the lobby!
The Power of Perspective
It was a rough week to say the least. Heartbreaking hard to hear information. Back to back appointments. Blood tests; we’re talking 20-some vials of blood, then a crazy power-surge. On top of that we ended up driving home through a crazy snow storm . When we got home my husband asked how we made out. Of course he already heard just about everything from me as I was calling him daily to keep him up to date with what was going on. Braedon jumped in though to tell him that it was awesome; which caught me off guard. Which parts were awesome I thought to myself. Before I got a chance to say anything he was blurting out how my hubby’s parents drove down to Halifax to visit us and took us out to dinner and he had the most amazing mashed potatoes he ever had and we played board games. He discovered yahtzee and became a big fan. He really couldn’t stop talking about those mashed potatoes from the Halifax Gahan House though. He always loved mashed potatoes. When he was just a wee boy and we’d go out to eat he’d order mashed potatoes, fries and corn; the waiters always looked at us weird.
As he was rambling away I just paused and took it all in. I’ve always been a positive person; the cheerleader cheering everyone on. Known for looking for the silver lining in every situation and making the best of what I had. I was once even accused of being too optimistic. Now here he was at this really scary time in his life and he was looking at the silver lining; pointing out the best parts of a really tough and awful week.
I just stood there in awe of the young man he was becoming. I was amazed by his ability to keep smiling throughout this very scary time in his life. I was blown away by his willingness to see past all the difficulties that he faced and the ones that still lied ahead of him. He was still willing to look for the best parts in the world around and it was freaking incredible.
If You’re Struggling with Perspective…
I hope that if you are struggling with perspective. If you’re struggling to see all the beauty in the world around you. If you’re struggling to make the most of what you currently have. If you’re stuck and feel like you can’t possibly take one more step, I hope you’ll be reminded of this story. Of Braedon on those stairs with his oxygen mask on pausing every few steps to catch his breath; refusing to be carried. I hope you won’t give up.
Sit down if you must; catch your breath but take another step like he did on those stairs. Be willing to see past the difficulties you are facing and notice the best parts of the world around you; you’re still here after all.
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