After finding out that Stephan is going to need surgery to temporarily help his heart heal as much as it can, we had to start planning the “Groot trek” (big move).
The Doctors who are able to perform Stephan’s surgery are based at a different hospital which means that he needs to be transferred via ambulance.
This entire experience has taken a lot from our family, the first time his grandparents got to meet him was on video calls, we missed his first bath, his first nail clipping, his first cry. I never thought small things like this would bother me, until I realized that when they rolled him out of the hospital and into the ambulance, that was the first time my son saw the sun, and he was a month old at the time. Getting into the ambulance with him made me realize that the first time he would ride in a car would not be when we drove him home like most parents, but at the back of an ambulance on his way to a hospital quite far away from home in fact.
I felt like there was a brick in my throat as I sat at the back of the ambulance with him thinking about this. He looked so peaceful, fast asleep the whole way, not a care in the world, and there I was, worried sick, fighting the urge to bawl my eyes out in front of the paramedic sitting next to me. Fighting the urge to highjack this ambulance and drive into the distance with my son. Another first missed with you my boy. Another memory that was supposed to be shared with you, me and daddy.
One day when you are older, we’ll take a long drive down to the coast, sun in your eyes and wind in your hair. And we’ll remake this memory with you. That will be our first.
After arriving at the hospital and filling out a mountain of paperwork we went downstairs to see our boy in his new room. (I cannot stress this enough people; your Doctors have the ability to write motivational letters to help getting co-payments waivered! Use it! We would’ve had to pay R10 000 just to have Stephan admitted to the hospital if our Doctor didn’t help.)
After spending a month at one hospital, getting used to the new hospital’s rules and routines was not easy. This new hospital was much bigger, much louder and much stricter with their visiting policies during COVID-19. Soon after we arrived, we were told that visiting hours was only 3pm-4pm daily, and only one parent can visit per day. I was gob smacked. One parent a day??? Do you mean to tell me I now only get to see him every second day after he has had heart surgery??? I almost removed my rubber glove and swept it across the nurses’ face when she told us this, and not in the “gentleman’s dual” kind of way you would like to imagine!
We were told that Stephan would have a recovery time of 7-10 days after surgery. That means we only have 12 days in this fresh hell before he can come home to us.
Let the countdown begin!