The If Game

You think about a lot of things when you are in the hospital. Whether or not you are there for yourself or for someone else. There are only so many things you can talk about, read, search for, scroll past, listen to, and watch. At some point you end up just siting or laying on a chair or couch or bed and you think. There are a lot of things to think about. A lot of worries about the future of course. But a lot of other stuff too. I prayed a lot. That would often be the starting point of my thinking sessions, or when I was trying to go to sleep, I would pray.

Thank you God for everything you have given me. Thank you for my family and friends. Please God help Micah, and Maria, and my wife, and me. God you are the creator and redeemer of the world, may your will be done.

Sometimes more elaborate than that, sometimes more conversation, sometimes more routine. But that is a standard form of prayer. Start by thanking God for what you have, then give God your needs, then end by praising him. It’s an old form of prayer. A lot of people might question why I would be thanking God. I mean, come on, your baby boy is ten feet from you with a breathing tube and about 10 lines going in and out of him, one of which was feeding him the medicine that was keeping him alive. You don’t know if he is going to be alive in twenty four hours. You are in a hospital instead of at home. Why are you thankful. I know those thoughts went through my head.

The reality is though, where we were, at that moment, with my son still alive, in a Children’s Hospital with a “miracle worker” surgeon who performs the type of heart surgeries my son needed, were all do to a series of events whose coincidental nature I highly doubt.

My daughter was born in May of 2013. She was a healthy and happy baby. We lived in Mississippi at that time, roughly six hours from the closest family. Four months after her birth my wife became ill, had to be hospitalized, and had surgery. And it all happened that quickly. We went to the hospital the day after I had worked a nightshift (12 hours). My mother-law came as fast as she could but, like I said, it was six hours before she made it. I was pretty sleep deprived by the time she got to town. Over the next couple of days we took care of my daughter, who was very unhappy that mom was not available to feed her or be with her. I took days with her and my mother in law took nights. My wife came through the surgery fine and recovered fine as well, but that week was pretty terrible. It was then that I started looking for work closer to family.

Because I was focused on finding a job near family it made me consider places in Florida, and not just Texas. Little did I know that FPL which owns a few nuclear plants in Florida was owned by a parent company that owned power plants all over the U.S., including Forney, Texas. While searching their employment website for jobs in Florida I found an opening in Texas and applied, because why not, the worst they can say is no. I would not have found that opening if I had just been focused on finding a job in Texas, it was because I was searching in Florida that I came across it at all. And, strangely enough, the plant in Texas wanted me. So we moved.

But it was piece-meal. I moved first and lived with friends, and the wife and daughter moved out a little later and lived with her parents in Southlake while we put the house up for sale. Once everyone was in the DFW area we started looking for places to rent, but the rental market was crazy. In the mean time, we became pregnant with Micah (a name we finally settled on the day he was born). Since the wife was living in Southlake she found an OB in Southlake. And since they got along well she kept the same doctor through the whole pregnancy even after we moved clear across town to Rockwall. And since she kept the same OB we decided to have Micah on that side of town. So Micah was born at Texas Health Methodist Hospital HEB.

The next day the wife’s OB said she and the baby looked fine and we could go home if we wanted to but there was no pressure. The wife decided we should stay till the next day. It was the next day when the nurse noticed Micah’s color and decided to check on it. It was then that he was diagnosed and because we were there, instead of somewhere closer to Rockwall, we were transported to Cooks, instead of Dallas Children’s. The doctors at Cooks kept him alive and Dr. Tam saved his life, twice.

What if we hadn’t had been at Cooks? I’m sure Dallas Children’s is awesome, but so was Cooks, and Cooks worked for us. What if we hadn’t had had that nurse? What if we had gone home early? Would we have seen the signs, would we have responded in time? These two what ifs specifically have a tendency to reach out and slap me occasionally and grip me with terror at the unknown and thankfulness that things went the way they did. What if we had move immediately to Rockwall? Different OB, different birth hospital, different nurses, different doctors, who knows how it would have gone. We know it went well the way it did go.

And then the big one. What if we had still been in Mississippi? So much would have been different and in the end we still may have ended up in Dallas or Houston. But it would have been so much more difficult, so much more strain and stress, maybe Micah wouldn’t have survived the journey. Maybe, maybe, maybe…

Ultimately, though, we were in the right place, at the right time. Thank God.

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