Today my little family moved up to the Surgical Inpatient floor and out of ICU. This was such a huge step, and I have finally exhaled. As if we weren't freaked out enough after our mediastenitis conversation with Dr. Ray-of-Sunshine the other day, the surgeon who removed the battery from Hazel the night we came to Children's (one million years ago) came by to visit her. He told us then how scared he had been when we first walked in, how he didn't think that she would make it, and how this sort of scenario is the one that he dreads. I'm sure glad that he didn't tell us that before now.
Leaving ICU was very hard for me. I'm so conflicted, feeling so joyous and blessed that we are able to walk out with our Hazel at our side, but I'm so sad about leaving all those other babies behind in there. I wish we could all walk out together. There was one room I walked by every time I went in or out of the unit. The baby in the bed was so tiny that you couldn't really see her underneath the pile of blankets and tubes. I only glanced in a couple of times before I quickly looked back at the floor, ashamed that I violated someones privacy like that. I have no idea who this little girl was, why she was there, or what her prognosis was. I can only speculate that it was not good. She was intubated when we arrived and her whole room was already decorated with all of the comforts of home. When we left, she was in exactly the same place. She was often alone in her room, as I'm sure her parents had to continue working and perhaps caring for other siblings. Sometimes a woman was sitting there by her bedside, but she was unable to hold her. The thing that kills me is that even though she was this tiny baby, under a year, she was in a bed instead of a crib. I can only take that to mean that there was no chance of her waking up and becoming more ambulatory anytime soon. Today on my way back from the bathroom I looked for the hundredth time at the paper letters that someone had taped to the door of her room. It said, "ALOHA". It was only this morning as we left ICU behind that I realized that aloha means both hello and goodbye. I have cried so many tears for that little girl and her family today. I don't know that I will ever forget her, as she is forever tied to Hazel's life.