Friday, June 6, 2014

Reese's Journey Home

I still remember the text that I got from Grace Liu, our medical director, a few days after Reese's incredible through-the-night liver transplant. Everything had happened so quickly... the call that a liver was potentially available, the rush to pack a hospital bag and head to the hospital with Reese to see if this indeed would be "it," and then the anxious wait during his long 12-hour operation. The text read something like, "Reese is still on the breathing machine. They tried to take it off but he couldn't breathe on his own... possible infection... the doctors say this complication is life-threatening."

I still remember reading those words, "life-threatening." They scared me. Reese had just had his transplant - he was supposed to be living and breathing and thriving! Everyone at New Day was worried, and as the days turned into weeks and Reese was still unable to be extubated, we struggled to keep hoping.

Finally a light began to shine from the far end of the figurative "tunnel" of Reese's recovery. He had a tracheotomy to help him breath. Extubation trials from the ventilator had caused Reese to code twice before, but finally, after the trach procedure, Reese was able to be taken off of the ventilator.

We thought that maybe he would come home in April, in time for his first birthday. But healing isn't always a fast and easy process. In fact, for a little guy with a body as beaten and broken as Reese's was, it took a long time. More issues came up... complications were resolved and medications adjusted. The nannies staying 24/7 by Reese's side as soon as he transferred out of ICU did a wonderful job of caring for him. The hospital staff where Reese was staying is excellent. But we wanted Reese home.

Reese got his birthday present delivered to the hospital!
Finally - today, Reese was released from the hospital.

It's been a long time coming, a really long time coming. After four long months, Reese is home.

 As I'm sure you can imagine... there was quite a crowd gathered to greet him. Everyone - nannies, management staff, PR, education, medical, volunteers... no one wanted to miss this moment! Was Reese shocked by all of this attention?

It doesn't look like it. Probably because, for the two long months that Reese was in ICU, he managed to become the most popular patient. And this little guy has remained a star. Whenever we went to the hospital to visit him and Albert (who is still recovering from his own liver transplant a few months ago), Albert would burst into tears upon seeing the camera, while Reese just stared at it, not fazed in the least by the attention. 

Welcome home, buddy. We promise to love you, play with you, help you continue to heal and grow strong... and above all, spoil you as much as is physically possible

Because, little man, seeing you happy and breathing and in the arms of those you love you at New Day, is one of the greatest miracles that we have ever witnessed. It's certainly been a journey, one of exciting highs and heart-breaking, soul-shaking lows... but you came through. 

Welcome home, Reese. It's good to have you back.

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