What Goes Through a Parent’s Mind When You Find Out Your Kid Needs a Trach.


Hi, Friends!
It’s been a while. Sorry. Busy trying to be mom, wife, project manager, farmers market vendor… all that fun stuff. You know how I roll.

A year ago today, an ENT specialist (that’s Ear, Nose, and Throat in case you’re like me and forget medical acronyms because you work in agriculture and you’re fresh out of acronym memory) came into Callie’s room on her first full day at CHOP, after a trip to the OR (Operating Room) to tell us our daughter would, in fact, need a tracheostomy. They drew pictures and showed us pictures of why it was needed and we understood. I mean, this kid needed another 14 weeks to full grow before she was supposed to make her appearance. We were lucky beyond measure that the only thing she needed was a tracheostomy  (and a feeding tube, but that’s so minor it’s crazy). We thanked the surgeon and he left.

So, it was me, Lee, and a sedated Callie, hanging out in her NICU room at CHOP. I’m pretty sure all 3 of us at that point looked at each other in sheer horror thinking to ourselves the same thing, “how in the world are we going to do this?! We (you) are NOT qualified for this deal!”

There’s not much that enduces an extra special heaping dose of self-doubt quite like finding out your “medically fragile” kid is going to require a breathing tube through her neck and 24 hour care for a while. First, you’re a relatively new parent. You have no IDEA what you’re doing in the first place, and now you all but need a medical degree to help your kid live.

You are going to spend the next few years of your life relying on a stupid piece of velcro. A stupid piece of velcro that holds your kid’s airway open so she can breathe.

And if you think that’s scary, wait until later in life when you learn just how important that stupid piece of velcro is because you get to watch your kid turn blue. 3 different times. Before she turns one.

Let’s just agree ignorance is surely bliss at this point, shall we?

But here we are. A year later. About 15 pounds heavier. A hell of a lot smarter. A whole lot more tired. And a ridiculous amount more appreciative of a rubber tube with a metal spring in it, and a stupid piece of velcro.


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