This is probably going to be one of the hardest posts we've done. Both to write and to read.
When we decided to start this blog, we agreed that it was important to not only accurately describe the things that Nathan has gone through, but to also accurately describe the things that we have gone through as well. We figured the best way to help people who may be going through the same or similar things that we have gone through was to put as much "realness" as possible into this. So that's what we've tried to do. We've tried really hard to explain the medical things that Nathan was going through, some of which we really didn't understand all that well at the time he was dealing with them. We've also tried really hard explain what life was like dealing with everything that was going on too.
But the hardest things to really get into and explain from this time are our feelings. It's really not easy to express your feelings, especially when some of those feelings are really tender. But in order for us to be as honest as possible, we have to talk about things that were going on, how we tried to deal with them, how we coped, etc, even when some of those things are unpleasant to talk about. If we don't do that, then we are short-changing not only ourselves, but also all those who really need to know what we did to overcome the adversities of life's situations.
As a word of warning, some of our emotions (at times) will be really raw and hard to write, and thus probably hard to read, too, especially for those of you who know us now, and even harder for some of you who knew us back then. This is likely to be one of those times.
So grab a Kleenex (or two) and keep reading...
This marked the 4th time that Nathan had been admitted to the hospital, including when he was admitted to the NICU at birth. And, for us, it was by far the hardest admission since the NICU.
We were trying so, so hard to be optimistic and hopeful that Nathan would get better. With each shunt problem, we really, really wanted to believe that it was going to be our last hospitalization. But it was so hard to be optimistic, only to turn around and feel like you've been slapped in the face. Throw in the ambulance rides, the long, late night ER visits, and all of the traveling between home and the hospital, and we were just plain exhausted -- both physically and emotionally.
At this point, I began counting the days Nathan had been in the hospital against the days he'd been at home: 140 days in, 79 days out. The in was still 2 months more than the out. And at the rate we were going, there was no telling when the out would catch up.
In addition, we felt that Nathan wasn't having the opportunity to progress and develop because he was always stuck on his back in a hospital bed.
Additionally, it was so frustrating to have to call the hospital every night to get a report on how Nathan was doing instead of just walking down the hallway to check on him.
Was this ever going to end? Were we ever going to just keep Nathan at home? Were these blasted shunt problems ever going to just go away? Were we ever going to be able to not worry excessively about Nathan's health...and more importantly, his life?
Really, it's hard to say what weighed more on our minds and hearts: the frustration or the disappointment.
Also, it was really hard trying to figure out how to continue to be strong. After being emotionally beaten up so much, it becomes harder and harder to bounce back with the same enthusiasm that you had before.
For that reason, I was really worried about Bekah. Truth be told, she was fighting depression. And sometimes the depression would win. There were times when she would just break down and cry. And I didn't know really how to help her. And she didn't really know how to ask for help either. Honestly, I thought she needed some type of counseling. But when I brought it up, she only replied that she needed to have more faith. Which made it that much harder to know how to help her.
I, on the other hand, when I wasn't worrying myself sick over Bekah and Nathan, was fighting against anger and loneliness.
We were very, very grateful and appreciative for the members of our local congregation who would bring us dinners every once in a while. On some days, especially those long, hard days, it was really a lifesaver. It was one less thing to worry about. And some people were really nice and would ask how Nathan was doing almost every Sunday at church.
But outside of Sundays, we felt that we didn't have many friends. Or at least any friends that lived closed by. All we wanted were friends. Real friends. Someone to come over to our apartment, sit down, talk to us, ask us how we were doing. Someone to share our burdens and sorrows and pains with. Someone who would care during the week and not just on Sunday. But no one ever came.
And I became increasingly more frustrated and angry. And Bekah worried about me. That the anger would eat me up inside and destroy me spiritually. And she didn't know how to help me, either.
And so we struggled. Both separately and together. Having only each other, but not really knowing how to help each other. But we did try. We loved each other. And we loved our boy. And sometimes those were the only two things that kept us going.
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