This is Eli

A blog about Eli. A blog about survival – and by that, I mean life!

Whew, the little guy caught a break today.

Doctors were concerned Eli’s large intestine, aka colon, could have been sealed shut in one spot or more. That’s a problem that would have required surgeons to remove the closed parts and rebuild the darn thing.

Well, that’s not what was wrong with little man’s big gut. It is open all the way through, from the spot where the opening now sits on his belly — thanks to his first surgery — down to his bum. Did I mention I’m going to be writing a lot about my child’s rear end?

Surgeons today flushed out his large intestine, I believe, with a drug called Gastrogaffin, but it could have been the foul-smelling Mucomyst. I’m not actually sure at this point.

All I know is that his large intestine was plugged with mucus, which looks as awesome as it sounds. They flushed it out and he left us a fun piece of goo in his diaper today. Doctors consider this the “optimal” scenario for whatever was plugging his large intestine. His large intestine has never actually worked properly.

Sweet, my gut's unplugged!

Sweet, my gut’s unplugged!

Now, we’re going to try and train it to squeeze. Starting today, the nurses will actually suction poo out of the bag on his tummy that ends at an opening of his small intestine. The opening of his large intestine, which also sits on his tummy, a few inches away, will then get an injection of this poo. Via the magic of the human body, even if his large gut has never worked right, it will remember how. It will grow and learn to squeeze. Then in a few weeks, he’ll get a surgery to connect the small and large intestine inside his body again.

Christmas. Christmas was magical. Christmas was strange.

The morning was magical, because Christmas is magical for my daughter, who is 2.5 and obsessed with Santa. Her aunt, uncle and two cousins added to that happiness. I went to the NICU for myself for a while because I miss my little boy and want to see him for a large portion of any given day. I was happy to see him but the hours were bittersweet, because we’re still stuck there. I got to thinking while my baby slept amid machines and medical supplies and got a little – or a lot – jealous of the world of people out there who seem to live perfect lives. Then I remembered — I was in good company. There are around 70 babies in neonatal intensive care with all sorts of complicated, stressful problems and mommies who cry sometimes because they are scared and this new world feels uncertain. Dad is there, dad is absent, dad never finished high school. Dad can’t come to the NICU because he works in the oil field, just got a raise and can’t ask for time off. Grandma looks 32 and her kid’s 16 and a mom of a preemie. All kinds of babies with all kinds of mommies and daddies and lives and problems and triumphs and tragedies ahead.

I couldn’t shake the worry on Christmas that something more complicated was wrong with Eli’s large intestine. Doctors had scheduled a procedure for the day after. Any time he is about to have something done, my stress goes through the roof. As competent as I believe his doctors and surgical team are, when they try explaining something new to me I still feel like I’m going to fall over. Luckily, today, the day after Christmas, we got the news Eli was just a little plugged up.

Later Christmas day, our crew got Chinese food at the Golden Phoenix here in OKC. This is an amazing restaurant that serves Vietnamese, Chinese and perhaps other Asian varieties of food among its hundreds of menu items. We were in good spirits at dinner, even though the staff started pushing us out the door the moment we stepped foot in the restaurant. We got there at 6 p.m. and were told to hurry up and order because they closed at 6:30. We found this more hilarious than annoying and rushed through the meal, sucking down our dishes, which were prepared in about five minutes. Clearly, these people wanted to get us the hell out of the restaurant and get home. They were putting chairs on the tables when we finished at approximately 6:34 p.m. This did not deplete the tastiness of my orange chicken.

Then on the way home, out-of-tune Christmas songs in the minivan to drown out the sound of whiny, overstimulated children. Silenced temporarily (frightened, perhaps?) the little ones joined our renditions of patchy lyrics and loud, questionable notes.

Magic.

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