It is three weeks to the day since the last time me and Lisa have seen Jackman awake. There have actually been a couple of moments where the drugs were wearing off and he began to blink his eyes, and once he even opened them, but he has not been awake. It has been a long, long, 21 days.
Just to explain, the whole reason he is being kept asleep is because of the surgery he had three weeks ago. Jackman had a surgery to place stitches inside his chest, on each end of the two sections of his esophagus, to pull on them and "coach" them into growing longer. He has to be kept very still to keep from accidently tearing his stitches loose. Also, they tighten the stitches daily, which causes discomfort, and possibly pain for him. Because of that Jackman is always on pain medicine. This stretching process is tough on him... but he's tough too.
Well, we didn't have church tonight, so I got to go visit Jackman with Lisa. Normally, she goes by herself because she has to get home early to get to bed. I usually go up after church. For the past 3 weeks we haven't had many very long visits. He's always motionless, and if he does move, the immediately sedate him. It really does make it awkward, and hard to visit when the nurses are constantly attending him. But we love to see him and be with him, and we still look forward to getting up there every day.
This evening we parking in the deck, walked in, got on the elevator, buzzed into NICU, and scrubbed in like we have done everyday (for almost 4 months). We had no expectations for tonight other than to watch Jackman sleep. But as we rounded the corner to his bed space, he looked a little different than he had lately. He was moving.
When we got to him, he was wide awake. I'm not talking about laying there in a medicated stupor with his eyes half open... I mean he was awake. We were so happy to see his big little eyes looking back at us that we hardly realized this was unusual. He wasn't crying, or in pain, or any discomfort. He was just awake, and had been for over a half an hour already!
To fully appreciate this, you have to remember he is on a ventilator. The ventilator is a breathing tube that goes into his mouth, down the back of his throat, and into his windpipe, all the way down to where it branches off to each lung. It's what keeps him breathing when he is too sedated to do it on his own. It would be about as comfortable as someone sticking a section of garden hose down the back of your throat down to your lungs.
He was being so good. The only reason the nurse hadn't put him back under was because he was being still and calm. He was in a good mood... I would even say happy. I just don't see how. Even the nurses were surprised, and coming to get a look at "their baby".
We talked to him and stared at him. We were almost pushing each other out of the way to get a closer look. He was fully alert, and as peaceful as peaceful can be. I bet I said "hey bud, we missed you" about 200 times. To look at us with him, you would have thought he was born yesterday. It was so nice to spend time with him instead of just near him. It seemed like everything in the entire world was made right for me and Lisa both tonight.
God is getting all the credit for this one. He made us very happy tonight, and we recognize that He made this possible. Any other Sunday night, I would have been at church, and missed this. I would have died if I knew I missed this. But I didn't miss it, because God set this up just for us. He's that good.