2002, March 1 - Everybody kept asking me how I feel now that we are leaving tomorrow, finally. I can’t really answer them. It’s like facing that blank wall again, facing an unknown. I’ve seen many blank walls and, as always, I do not allow myself to feel. I just push head-on, facing whatever there is to face. I admit I am very much afraid; afraid of the pain he will be experiencing, the needles, the knife, the postoperative pain, and the fear. As a doctor I knew the risks. But without this chance in life he wouldn’t have much to live for.
Before, I prayed that Rodin be given a chance at life. What a coincidence that the Gift of Life Foundation should answer that prayer. Coincidence? I think not. Gift, I should call it. God’s gift through the generous people he continually surrounds me with. I can only thank the Lord and pray that I be given the grace to answer the call when my turn comes to return the gift. Risky , yes. Ah, but look at the reward.
March 2 - We woke up at 4:30 a.m., left at 6:20 and arrived at the airport at 7:20 and we left his father, his godfather and cousin at 8:00 to go inside the airport. It wasn’t until 10:00a.m. that Eva Air started checking in the luggages and the passengers so Rodin and I spent the two hours eating, arguing about what he can and cannot do and argued some more. A child could really test the patience of a saint, especially one who doesn’t know his limitations and insists on doing things that will just make things difficult for him. I laughed. I just laughed at his antics, his argumentativeness, his fits of crying, his kisses, his embraces, his tuggings at me. And I savored every minute of it. I was shivering from cold, fear and anxiety at what lies ahead. It was worth it...
I requested a wheelchair and we were sent for medical clearance which the good doctor at the airport cleared us for immediately. Everybody was so helpful. The plane left at 1:00p.m. Rodin promptly went to sleep. Whenever a vehicle starts moving, he immediately goes to sleep. We arrived at Taipei at around 4:30p.m. It was supposed to be a 3-hour stopover but became 4 hours because the plane was delayed. Rodin was getting cranky due to the waiting.
We finally left at around 9p.m. local time. Rodin promptly went to sleep again as the plane was taking off. Since this was a 12-hour ride, this was one that tested both our patience. What is wonderful about Rodin is that he’s an easy and nice child. When he could accommodate a request, he will, as simple as that. For a two-year-old he’s granted a sweet disposition which held less risk for being spoiled.
We arrived at Seattle at past 1p.m. local time. We went through immigration without a hitch, granted 6 months stay and checked in our luggage again.
The flight from Seattle to Newark was short. We arrived at Newark at past 10p.m. with the usual arguing, tantrums, kisses, hugging, laughing, sleeping. There was a flight attendant who liked Rodin. She played with him while we were waiting for the wheelchair. It made the waiting, which made the impatient, lean, mean, perpetaul moving machine hated, bearable.
I immediately saw Ed Densel. He was holding a bunch of flowers and a sign that said: “Gift of Life, Rodin Aguirre”. We said hi and collected the baggage.
It was raining. Ed said it hasn’t rained. The weather was fine, almost like summer. I joked that we seem to have brought the rain with us.
It was an easy 45-min. ride. Rodin promptly went to sleep again when the car started moving. He woke up when we arrived. He did not bother with ceremonies and promptly looked over his surroundings. Ed and Regina took care of him while I was unpacking. Finally it was time for bed. We were in bed, Rodin was lying on my stomach. It was past 3a.m.
March 3 - And he cried. It was one of those heart-breaking cries that he gave. I knew what he was feeling. He misses his father very much. The two of them have never been away from each other even for a night. I guess Rodin was stressed out physically and emotionally. He was bombarded with too much visual and auditory stimuli, too much traveling, and too much loss. He was looking for his father and he was nowhere to be seen, not even heard. I almost cried with him. I was humming the song “Payapang Daigdig” (which translated literally means “Peaceful World”), a Christmas song I can never sing anymore without crying which started when I found out Rodin has a congenital heart disease. I felt his pain which expressed itself in his every hiccup, every deep breath, and the way he held on to me. He finally went to sleep.
We had plans to go to church at 10a.m. I let him sleep...
Rodin woke up at around 10a.m. Typically, he explored the house with much gusto. Then we went shopping. He liked driving around. We hung around the house until it was time to head for the church for the 7p.m. mass (we missed the 1a.m. one because Rodin slept late). We went to the church and there’s no one there! Apparently they changed the schedule and the latest they had was for 5p.m.
One thing that struck me again was the name of the Parish. It was Our Lady of Perpetual Help. First, the chance at life and the Gift of Life. Now, the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish. Ash Wednesday, because of the special celebration, we were able to participate in the novena of Our Lady of Perpetual help at the Most Holy Trinity Parish back home. Immediately, I received an email from Erica that Rodin’s admission date was moved up from May 28 (which I was having trouble with) to March 5. These are coincidences too many. Regina summed it up exactly. She said that Rodin’s treatment has already been planned long before and God only wanted Rodin to have it now. I love that. My blank wall was slowly revealing what is written on it.
March 4 - Rodin woke up at 12:30 dawn. He never slept again. We alternated from going to the other room with the T.V., to the kitchen and pigging out (which mostly I did because after a few bites Rodin would just leave it), and going to bed. I alternated to dozing off, to singing to him, to playing with him. He cried for his father 3 times. My heart broke because his heart broke. His father is not around, he can’t understand why and he just wants his father. Through it all I almost sobbed with him. His heart is not well and I don’t want it to hurt anymore than it should. We went for a walk at around 7a.m. It was so cold outside so we went home. It was around 10 C, I think. I can’t breathe normally and I kept wondering how Rodin was faring with the cold. By 8 a.m. Rodin was throwing tantrums left and right. I know he’s probably sleepy. He fell asleep at around 10:00 a.m., his head lying on my shoulders while I was sitting in front of the dining table. I slept 4 hours because I have to do some chores. He slept 6 hours. We ate dinner and took a bath. Rodin fell asleep at around 10p.m. I was praying that he stayed asleep until tomorrow. I fought the urge to lie down beside him because I was doing the laundry.
March 5 - Rodin woke up a little past 12 midnight. I never dozed off and let things be quiet with him so he never got to dwell on his longings for his father. All this time I have been mentioning only his father. But Rodin is constant. He kept a rollcall of the 3 persons who came with us to the airport: his father, his cousin, Jay, and his godfather.
We were going to and fro, from the room to the kitchen, the room to the front door, up until around 6 a.m. when Regina came down. I think Rodin knows something is going to happen today. He's so restless, not wanting to stay in one place only. He has completeley made Ed and Regina part of his circle and even his rollcall. I am thankful that they have a very accommodating disposition. I am thankful already just because we have them, accommodating disposition or no. Finally we were able to leave at around 7:45a.m. It was a busy day. Rodin fell asleep during the trip to New York City. Everybody who saw him immediately noted his cuteness and his smiling, sunny disposition.
We finally met Dr. Issenberg. We did not have the 2D Echocardiogram. Rodin won't lie down. We were admitted first so that the doctor can order chloral hydrate to sedate him. After much crying, fuss and more crying (with my heart breaking everytime a tear falls from Rodin's eyes), he was finally sedated and the 2D Echocardiogram went without a glitch. Dr. Issenberg told me that he does not expect any surprises since the case looked straightforward enough. That's one great reassurance to a mother.
Rodin slept and he had the chest x-ray. He was hooked up on a fiber-glass contraption (which made me think of a torture chamber). He cried because of the bother but fell asleep again, being sedated still. EKG was a breeze. Then came the part which I hated the most: needles. He cried because of the pain, told the doctor "no" in our language, and slept alternately. Our day passed just hanging about the hospital, playing at the playroom, being stuck with needles, poked and prodded.
They were not able to insert an IV line earlier so when 11p.m. came, they came and took him because he will be put on NPO (nothing per orem, which means he cannot eat or drink anything) for the cardiac catheterization tomorrow and he must have fluids or he'll grow weak.
Rodin came back all wet with perspiration and was hiccupping. He never cried that much and ended hiccupping that much. Never. That was why I probably felt angry, so angry. I was being irrational, I know but the feeling cannot be suppressed. It’s like the doctor and the mother in me is warring. I know what is happening and I know he needed it but I continued to be the doctor, suggesting this and that, and being the mother, getting angry at them because they were hurting my baby. Then and there I decided to be a mother only, giving comfort always, extending my patience and knowing no limits for it, being reasonable, and maintaining a clear head. It’s not an easy thing to do. I have had only 15 hours of sleep for the past 144 hours, and that I'm having my motherly period and that I can't eat properly so I have nowhere to draw strength from.
We went for a stroller ride around the ward and he fell asleep at around 1:30a.m. I followed after 30 minutes. He came awake at 4:00 a.m. We stalked the wards again until 5:30a.m. until he was taken to bed to receive the local anesthetic. Lidocaine topical cream was applied on both his inguinal (groin) area. He slept after crying at around 7a.m. and received his sedative, intramuscularly at the right thigh. He fell asleep in my arms again and we went down to the 2nd floor of the old building for his cardiac catheterization.
He was awake when I saw him again an hour later. Awake but groggy. Dopey was the word. He is such a bright, brave, good boy. He followed everything I asked him to do, put on the oxygen mask, lie down, and was generally quiet. He was groggy and dopey the rest of the afternoon, sleeping but standing from his crib, lying on top of me, embracing me. I finally had to have him lie down on the couch beside me that's why he fell asleep, a continuous one, on the couch. I cannot hold him much longer also that's why Nurse Nancy placed him beside me on the couch. My body is asking for sleep and I can't deny it much longer.
We woke up at around 7p.m. The doctors came. First, Monique, the social worker, as a preliminary and explained things to me and told me what to expect. Then the anesthesiologist, I didn't quite get his name, a pediatrician lady, Dr. Jeanna Scholnik and two medical students.
It was a harrowing night. First, when Regina and Ed came Rodin wakened fully. He cried a lot when they left. Then his IV line was busted. He cried when Nurse Sally took it off. Well, this time he cried whenever a person he doesn't know approaches. He will cry and say "don't" in our dialect. He did not eat at all, aside from a few sips of juice, a drop of milk and a few Kellogs corn flakes. Then they have to put the IV line again and he came back all sweaty and hiccupping and blue.
Thu, 7 Mar 2002 11:08:13 +1300 From Maribel's friend Angelica, from the Philippines but currently based in New Zealand:
"I've spoken to Maribel 5:00 this morning (NZ time). Bondin just has his cardiac cauterization. Maribel told me that she will email both of you soon with regards to her diary. She has also taken pictures and just looking for an available scanner. They are both doing well. Surgery will be tomorrow morning Thursday at 7 am (NY time).
Salamat ng marami (Thank you very much) :)"
March 7 - Rodin’s Surgery Day. He got hungry promptly after 12 midnight and cried a lot for his bottle. He cried for about 20 minutes and was even screaming. I finally distracted him by taking him for a stroll when he dozed off and slept. I ate while he slept. It was 3a.m. My last meal was 7p.m. While I ate he came awake again. This time he screamed for food. He remembered the jelly he had and the refrigerator from which it came from and he kept saying “ly” for jelly. He saw the bag of food we brought to the hospital and the food there and he kept pointing at it and making for it saying “Yun”, which means “That one”. I almost sobbed. Such a simple request, a basic need, “food, please”, he says, and I can’t even give it to him. He cried for a long time. I distracted him again with Pooh’s television show and the rollercoaster toy. He was really hungry because he was constantly crying. When he got exhausted he fell asleep.
He awakened at 6:30a.m. when an attendant came for us. He is really brave and one for adventure because when I left him on the crib he cried but when it started moving, seeing that I will be going with him and that I stayed near, he stopped crying and looked about him. We were finally at PACU/OR and it was as if we were two lovers wrenched apart for a long time, only more. We immediately sought each others’ embrace. We are flesh and blood, one being finding our missing pieces when we finally embraced again. He fell asleep in my arms. I cried, I don’t know why. I was sitting beside his crib, holding him and thinking how innocently and trustingly he snuggled up to me not knowing it was I who was giving him to more pain. It’s the thought of all that pain and risks that was terrifying me. He’s still small and if I could only take his place I would. I cried some more.
They finally came for us at around 7:30a.m. They gave me something to wear inside the operating room. I changed then took him in my arms again. This time he was already groggy from the sedative they gave him but he can still recognize me. Inside the theater, they gave him ketamine, and another, intravenously, and the inhalational anesthetic through the face mask. He finally fell asleep. I went out and returned to our ward (after having 2 trips up and down), and cleaned our things. I ate breakfast with Antonia, our roommate whose 6-day-old son was suspected of having an infection. We had a great talk and laughed a lot. I cannot forget all the kindness. A nursing attendant even embraced me (and I did not even get to know her name), and everybody wished me luck. I don’t know how I looked to them but when I finally looked in the mirror, I looked a wreck, a walking zombie. I really didn’t care.
I went back to the PACU/OR family waiting room and waited, alternating between dozing off, being dizzy (because I never got to sleep), and waiting anxiously for any word.
I lost my baby! Or rather, he lost me. By the time I got the strength to get off the chair (because I was really dizzy and almost convulsive with drowsiness) and ask for my baby, it was close to 5:00p.m. Apparently they put me in the wrong waiting room. I should have been in the third floor Pediatrics waiting room area. They told me he arrived at the PICU on the 10th floor a little past 1p.m. Aaaaargh! He was already extubated, that is, breathing on his own, when I arrived. The dismaying thing is he’s awake and wanted to move because he was tired of lying flat on his back.
My tears started falling. I saw his nailbeds and lips pink. Finally, my wish and fervent prayer came true. He was also pale because he lost a lot of blood.
This is the crazy part. Crazy because from this moment on I alternated between smiling and crying. I’m so happy yet I’m aching because I knew he must be in pain although he’s not feeling it much because of the drugs. I finally sobbed my eyes out at the corner of the room. Nurse Suzanne Knowlton was very helpful, understanding, and protective.
Then came the news that Rodin was bleeding. They took another chest x-ray and saw that the pericardial area, the area around the heart, has widened. His blood pressure was low, hematocrit was low. After Dr. Crooke saw the repeat chest x-ray, he decided to take a second-look surgery. Rodin was finally ready to be wheeled into the operating room after a blood transfusion which raised his diastolic blood pressure to 48 mmHg, from 37. I did not plan on coming with but as he was continually anxious I decided to come with them and they told me to go too. It was me, Dr. Susanna Scafidi, and Nurse Jenina and an orderly who came with him. I went back to the room, arranged the bed, and was surprised by Nurse Dothy Pasabilla who gave me supper.
They brought Rodin back at around 11:30p.m. while I was talking on the phone with my husband, Rick. He was sleeping and intubated. He also had rashes, probably from all the blood products he has received, the fresh frozen plasma, cryoprecipitate, packed red blood cells (all 500 ml of it), and others. I hung about a bit but completely siged off later, just losing consciousness, while Nurse Jenina was cleaning him up. They gave him something, and Benadryl, for the rash, and before I slept, it has subsided a little.
March 8 - I got up at around 3:00a.m. and saw that Nurse Jenina did a great job of cleaning him up. Sleeping so peacefully, Rodin looked more like my baby again. Signed out again after taking a picture of him, Nurse Jenina, and a doctor (forgot to get his name).
They called it the Singer (Zinger?) sign. He did it yesterday while he was bleeding and they were all so happy about it especially Nurse Jenina. They said its a good sign and that it means he's doing great. The Singer sign? Its just that he crossed his left foot over his right knee. And he was doing it often today. I was woken up at 6:30a.m. by an x-ray technician. Rodin was doing great. I received news that they stopped the Fentanyl drip, his pain medication and sedative. I was reassured by Dr. Susanna Scafidi that its to wean him off the respirator.
Rodin wakes on and off. By 10:30a.m. they have extubated him. It was a relief because he was gagging from the tube. He was wide awake enough that I was able to talk to him and he answered right back. We had the usual conversation, the fart, the two times, no only one, disarranging his hair, and the please don"t, and the duck. It was a nonsense conversation but it reassured me that there was no neurological damage when it came to his higher mental functions. I sang to him when he was dozing off again.
Dr. Crooke came in around 11:00 a.m. while Rodin was still awake and told me that he could probably remove the tubes tomorrow and that we will probably be discharged by Sunday or Monday. That's great news:
8:00p.m., Rodin was still looking good. He alternated from sleeping and waking up.
March 9 - I never got a good sleep. Throughout the night Rodin kept waking up and crying for me. Just as his pain medication, morphine, given intravenously via his central venous line, was given every two hours, he was right on the clock, awake every 2 hours. When they reduced it to every 3 hours, he woke up every 3 hours, too. I don't know whether to be happy about it or despair because I cannot rest properly.
At around 2a.m. Nurse Dothy came and made Rodin smile, his first since the operation, while he was drinking juice from his bottle. She also promised to give him a balloon if he would just cough. We wanted him to cough because he had secretions that must be removed. And Rodin did. It was an old man's cough. Rodin alternated between dozing and crying so I really cannot go to sleep. I read a pocketbook, tried to grab some shut eye but never did. Dr. Scholnik came to visit us at around 8a.m. It lifted me up. She's so nice and concerned. Next came Dr. Crroke at around 10a.m. and he removed the tubes. That was a cruel sight for a mother to watch. When the tubes were pulled, Rodin almost came off the bed. He felt it and cried silently despite the morphine.
Rodin never went to sleep again. He put on this sad face. I cannot risk embracing him yet because he might be in pain or I might do something to the wound (which they told me not to clean nor put anything on). No simplet feat that. Rodin is used to falling asleep in my arms and I cannot get enough of him so I really wanted to embrace him too. Rodin is traumatized. I hope not for life. Whenever a person happened to just pass by outside our room or someone has to enter to clean our room or the nurses will just check his vital signs, he will cry immediately.
Dr. Issenberg also visited us during the day. He listened to Rodin's chest then told me Dr. Crooke might probably discharge us tomorrow, Sunday. Regina came at around 11a.m. Ed was at home working. So far the couple have been very supportive and accommodating. They were always there taking care of Rodin for awhile while I took care of personal things, playing with him, entertaining him whenever Rodin and I got bored with each other, and being patient with him.
This April 14 they will be married for 19 years. That's a good number of years to be together. Regina is a pharmacist and works for the state of New Jersey inspecting different nursing homes, whether they fit the standards. Ed has his own business selling carpets. He gets contracts like carpeting a whole office building, and others. Ed has been a member of the Rotary Club for 12 years now, was president during his 6th year as a member, and is still active in it. He's also active in the church and other clubs. Regina does not belong in any club but is always there for her husband. She tags along at dinners, participates in the activities of the clubs and helps at fund-raising campaigns of the club.
God could not have chosen an ideal host family for us. They may not have children but the affection and patience they have shown to my son is enough proof that they could have been great parents. They are close to their families, both sides of them, and cares for each other very much. Regina stayed with us until 4p.m. She waited until Rodin was sleeping so that he would not cry. She knew how Rodin had gotten attached to them and that he always wanted everybody near him.
March 10 - Rodin's habit never changed. We stalked the corridors in the wee hours of the morning, drank sips of juice and water, and stalked some more. I was glad I took out the Kellog's rice crispies. Rodin asked to eat it and he was allowed.
At around 9a.m. Dr. Crooke came to look at Rodin's wounds and told us we will be discharged today. What joy! Ed Densel called and I told him the good news. The CVP (central venous pressure) line was disconnected, our papers processed, prescription for Lasix and potassium chloride given. The last to go was his intravenous line. Finally we were all set and permitted to go home. Bags in hand, Rodin being carried by Ed, we waved goodbye to the people, the floor, and we went home.
During the ride home, Rodin and I held hands. It was wonderful to have my baby back, albeit worn a little, patched and parched. I was singing in my heart with prayers of thanksgiving and praise. In God's time, He makes all things beautiful...
That was a great ending, no? However, reality is not like that. God uses time so I have to make real that it really takes time to heal. Following are some notes on our progress. They are not full diaries as before.
Mon, 11 Mar 2002 18:39:05 EST. From Rotary GOL's secretary Erica Topp:
"Rodin is doing well, I was in to see him and mom Maribel on Friday. Rodin had had a small setback when they had to bring him back in to the operating room at 9 pm on the day of his surgery to re-suture due to exessive bleeding. But he is well now an expected to be discharged either on Sunday or Monday. Maribel seem to be situated in very well."
March 11-12, 2000, Monday and Tuesday
Rodin has not been eating, nor been drinking well still. Whenever he drank, he coughs and it sounded like an old man's cough. He was also hoarse. His exuberance was still lacking but at least his enthusiasm wasn't. He played and explored the house during the wee hours of the morning. We hung about the house, drove somewheres, got to meet people and rested. Tuesday night we went to the Rotary club meeting with Ed and Reg. This Rotary Club has been established 50 years ago and included Franklin Lakes and Oakland. They currently have 35 members, 23 of which are very active.
They were very nice to us, we ate dinner, and went home. It was a beautiful night, not too cold, with beautiful lights (I love lights) around, and not so dark a night.
March 13, 2002 Wednesday
Today was our follow up with the doctors. Rodin was still coughing but his voice was better. He had a chest x-ray and a 2D Echo. The waiting was the hardest part. No child probably could stand waiting and Rodin was no exception. Its a good thing he had such a good turn of disposition. He made do with what he had, playing when he saw there was nowhere he could go, chatting us up in his baby talk, and slept because he got tired crying.
We were not told that he was permitted to travel and go home. Instead we were advised to come back on Friday.
March 14 - We went to the Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty Island ferry boat cruise. Rodin hated it. He was not one for sight-seeing. We proceeded to the Liberty Science Center. It is a great place to see.
Rodin is gaining his strength and appetite. His cough is also getting "younger", that is, he did not sound like an old man whenever he coughs. His voice is also returning. It's not yet back to his old one but its getting better. I just wished he would sleep better. He kept crying every hour of his sleep. I also wished he would adapt to the time here. He would sleep at 6p.m., wake up at 2, 3, 4 a.m., and there goes my sleep. Hay.
March 15 - We arrived at Dr. Issenberg's office on time. He did another 2D Echocardiogram. It was today that I learned that they did not give us the go-signal to go home because there was fluid around his lungs and his heart. That was why he was being given Lasix 1.5cc 2x a day for. The potassium chloride was to supplement the potassium that he loses because of the diuretic.
Dr. Issenberg compared the one done on Wednesday last and the one done today. We were relieved to hear the fluid around the lungs was not there anymore and that those around the heart has lessened. Lasix will do the job of making it go to the physiological level. Also, since Dr, Crooke opted to retain the pulmonic valve and that he just made it so that there is just a bit of stenosis but no insufficiency, Dr. Issenberg told us straightforwardly that they are hoping that Rodin will outgrow the stenosis. I am hoping, praying and believing that God will heal him completely.
Dr. Issenberg gave us the go-signal to go home! Yehey! I think Rodin knew what was happening. During the whole length of our stay so far, he has not asked to go home. He just looked and asked for his father. This time, during the ride home, he actually asked to go home to his father. Well, we got to stay for another whole week because when we asked to rebook our flight, the only and earliest flight that could accommodate us was the 24th of March. That is such a long time for me to endure roll-calls of his father, cousin and godfather. Whatever happens, nothing can compare to what he and I experienced these past weeks. So we will meet everything head on, with a prayer in our hearts, and a smile on our lips.
Through all this experience, from the moment Rodin was born, until the time came to leave Ed and Regina, I will remember love. Love was what brought Rodin into this world, love and nurturing that made him healthy and able to survive as long as he has, and love that brought healing, love of the people whom we don't but cared enough for that one gift of the Lord to my husband and I. I will remember sacrifice. Sacrifice of a mother who must work and leave her husband and child for a week and see them for 2 days of the week only, sacrifice of a husband who cannot be with his wife and of a father who cannot do his share of earning a living but must care for a precious child; the sacrifice of two people who accommodated us, gave us their time, effort, patience, and everything so that we will be comfortable. They both were willing to be parents to Rodin and they knew it was a sacrifice but they were still willing to do it. Sacrifice of doctors, nurses and staff who are willing to give their care and time without compensation, happy and content just knowing and seeing that their patient is doing well.
And I will remember strength. I knew before that I am a strong person and woman. I never knew how strong until that time without my husband, just me and Rodin. I went days without sleep, hours without eating properly, days of emotional fatigue, and two year, three months, and three days of worrying, terror, and despair. I have to battle my own needs and think of my son alone which was no easy task. I don't know that I can draw such tremendous strength within myself until this time. I felt invincible because God sent me enough small miracles that I survived. I survived my period, which usually leaves me debilitated and good for resting in bed only, with no pain nor physical discomfort. I survived sleep deprivation enough for me to watch out for important things and slept only when nobody needed me. I survived hunger with body stores of food and much kindness from other people who fed me when I needed it the most.
I will never forget a child's, Rodin's, strength. He was strong enough emotionally to endure his father's absence even without knowing nor understanding why, smiling again after being made to cry, continued loving, and loving some more despite the pain. He was physically strong enough that despite not eating nor drinking much he survived surgery and other procedures he must undergo. Combining the strength of mother and child, with the strong bond of love made us invincible. I was despairing of seeing him in pain and very sad when he would suddenly smile at me and hug me. He was sad, or crying, and I would discover what would make him smile and laugh again. We gave and received comfort from each other.
These are the things that I will remember through the coming days, through the ups and downs, and through whatever and wherever the Lord will take us. I just pray that the Lord will never let us lose sight of what is important, that is, Him, and nothing else., for we never could have been, nothing at all, without him.
This diary is not complete without mentioning or acknowledgement of the people, through their most sincere "yes" to God's call, has made all these possible. The order of the names do not represent amount or measure of what they gave because they all gave of themselves what was needed of them. It was more than enough for this great miracle: a chance at life...
The Gift of Life Foundation
Rev. and Mrs. Andrew J. Topp
Bo Eric Sandberg
Jennifer So Montojo
Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, N.Y.
Dr. Jeanna Scholnik
Dr. Henry J. Issenberg
Dr. Gregory Crooke
Dr. Clara Giambrini
Dr. Susanna Scafidi
Nurse Suzanne Knowlton
Karen (of Portobello's)
Nurse Dothy Pasabilla
Oakland and Franklin Lakes Rotary Club
Edward and Regina Densel
Irene Erandio Mondragon
Family of Servando
Family of Aguirre
Medical Index Department, Innodata, Manila
Dr. Emerenciana Cruz Collado
Mr. and Mrs. Dwight Generoso
The Gift of Life mothers / The Internet L