Those 7 days outside the ICU…

My 6 year old daughter recently underwent a major heart surgery due to a heart condition which she had by birth. By the Grace of God, the surgery was successful and she is now out of the hospital and recuperating well. However the surgery was more complicated than expected and took almost 6 hours. After that she was in ICU for 7 days. Those 7 days were the toughest in my life. and were worse than the actual surgery.

During those 7 days, I broke several times. When I saw my baby for the first time after the surgery with so many tubes and wires connected to her. When she spoke to me for the first time after regaining consciousness, hearing her weak voice. When I had to refuse something as basic as water to relieve her parched throat. When she was howling and crying for me but I was not able to be with her when she needed me the most. When I saw her lying on the bed quiet and subdued, in pain but not uttering a single complaint out of fear. The lowest point was when she had to be supplied with blood to boost her dipped haemoglobin. I just could not stop the tears.

Each day we were hopeful that the drainage tube connected to her lungs would be removed and each day our hopes were crushed when we were informed that we had to wait another day. Though doctors assured us that she is stable, each day brought some new challenge that stressed us out. Each day we would pray fervently that she be moved out of the ICU.

In those 7 days my husband and I were functioning on auto pilot mode. We slept fitfully, ate only as a necessity and payed no heed to our aching bodies. We were just mechanically going with the flow. The physical exertion was nothing compared to the mental stress. Either one of us would continuously be by our daughter’s side with a fake smile on our face putting up a brave front just for her sake.

During those 7 days I broke down many times and was comforted by total strangers, right from relatives of other patients in the ICU to the nurses and even the guards outside the ICU. In those 7 days I really understood what being helpless feels. No amount of money, power or connections can help. All one can do is plead with God.

In the end I think the collective prayers of family, friends and even the strangers we met outside the ICU worked. When the feeding tube connected to her nose and supplementary oxygen line was taken off , I was overjoyed. When doctors said the drainage tube connected to her lungs could be removed , I shed tears of relief. The day she was shifted out of the ICU, I felt like celebrating. And the day she was released from the hospital I couldn’t thank God enough.

Finally the ordeal ended, but those 7 days will always be the worst days in my life.

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