New to This Mommy’s Heart? Check out my story from the beginning here – My PPCM Story
It’s December 15th and I’m still in the CTICU, getting home for the holidays seems unlikely. So, what do you do? Wrap Christmas gifts in your hospital bed! Luckily, I had already finished all the Christmas shopping for my kids before I had my daughter so wrapping them was all I had left. I’m sure if I didn’t feel like wrapping the gifts someone else would have done it for me but this was important. I wasn’t going to let PPCM or the loss of my heart prevent me from enjoying the holidays.
Even though I was stuck in the hospital, there were still a lot of fun Christmas things I got to do. One day Santa came to my room while my kids and nephew were there. He gave them some candy canes and we got to take pictures. Santa was 10 years post heart transplant. There were other former patients that came around and left little gifts for the current patients. One young girl that I met was an artist that had gone blind due to complications while getting an LVAD. She made these really cute heart ornaments with the word warrior on them. We will definitely always hang this special ornament on our tree each year.
I also couldn’t forget about my new baby. We picked out her My First Christmas ornament and I was able to help make her hand and footprint clay ornaments with her dad. It was crazy to think about how I was making those exact same ornaments two years earlier for her brother in such different circumstances.
Luckily, at least health-wise, the holidays weren’t too exciting. I believe this was a much needed breather for all of us and a great time to just enjoy the holidays. My husband’s parents, siblings and their families all came out to Washington to celebrate Christmas. I felt bad making everyone be all cooped up in my hospital room but I was happy for the continued family support. My son definitely enjoyed his cousins being around and getting to play with them. The hospital is a pretty boring place for a toddler.
On the 20th, I was transferred out of the CTICU to the main floor. Even though the rooms are significantly smaller, being on the main floor is way better if you are trying to get some decent sleep. In the CTICU they have to come check your vitals all of the time, including at night, plus there are daily crack of dawn chest x-rays. There are still some night checks on the main floor but way less and no daily chest x-rays.
Physically, I kept getting stronger and stronger. I was able to walk longer distances and take fewer breaks. I went from a cardiac walker to a regular walker to walking with an IV pole to finally walking with no assistance. I could now go to the bathroom by myself (woohoo!) and my husband was cleared to unplug and plug my TAH while pushing it to the bathroom for me. I still couldn’t shut the door when I went to the bathroom (not enough room for me and the TAH) but it was something and made hospital life just a bit more bearable.
Before we knew it, it was December 24th and time for holiday festivities. My husband brought up all of the gifts and we stuffed them in my shower. I watched a Christmas movie with my son (one of our traditions), prepped stockings and got everything ready for Christmas. Before bed we Skyped with my husband’s family and then got some sleep for the next day.
When we woke up on Christmas day, we Skyped with the kids and watched them open their big gifts. I really missed not actually getting to be there with them when they woke up but you really have to appreciate technology nowadays. Getting to see and hear and talk to my kids made the tough moment so much better.
Once everyone made it to the hospital, we opened the stockings and all of the other gifts. While we opened presents we Skyped with my siblings and everyone enjoyed watching the kids play with their new toys.
On the 26th, we got to do it all over again after my husband’s parents flew into town. They got an awesome spread of food and we opened even more gifts. This is the day I received a very precious gift, a Mother’s ring. Unbeknownst to me, my husband had asked his mom to have a Mother’s ring created for me with my children’s birthstones and she brought it with her when she came to Washington. It is an extremely beautiful, unique ring with two citrines in the middle and diamonds going down each side. I don’t wear much jewelry but this piece has now joined my staples that I wear daily.
Me: Whew, all of that craziness we went through and we managed to successfully make it through Christmas!
My body: You’re welcome but Christmas over. Let’s make things a little more interesting.
And then I had a stroke.