Monday, December 13, 2010


Today is the fourth anniversary of Benjamin's heart surgery. I have been thinking a lot about those few days we spent in the hospital and just thought I would share a little from what I wrote in my journal (paraphrased) the day of his surgery:

In an attempt to avoid having to drive through the Canyon early in the morning, we spent the night before Benjamin’s surgery at Josh’s Grandparents house. This was also nice because Grandpa could help Josh give Benjamin a Priesthood blessing.
I was not able to sleep at all that night. I worried that I was keeping Josh awake so I got up and sat next to Benjamin. I looked at his innocent little face, sound asleep, completely unaware of what he was going to be going through in the next few days. He looked perfect to me. I started asking myself, “Why did this happen to us? Why does this perfect, innocent, boy who never hurt anybody have to hurt? Why can’t I go through this for him?” I cried. I prayed for peace and comfort for each of us, especially Benjamin.
Finally morning arrived and it was time to leave for the hospital. 
I took this picture of Benjamin waking up. He was so happy, giggling and smiling. I cried a little more.
We got in the car and drove to Salt Lake. It was a long and quiet trip. I hated knowing that the very best thing for my son was probably the most difficult and painful thing he would ever go through. He started to get fussy as we arrived at the hospital. I think this was because he was hungry and we couldn’t feed him prior to the operation.
After getting him checked in, we went into an exam room where I changed him into a gown. A nurse weighed and measured him. He weighed, 6.6 Kilograms. This is significant because he had to weigh more than 6 Kilograms in order to have the surgery.
Soon, way before I was ready, a man came in and explained that he was the anesthesiologist and asked if we had any questions. After answering our questions, he said it was time.  Josh and I, holding Benjamin as tightly as I could without suffocating him, followed this man down a long hallway. We stopped at a large door with a sign indicating that it was the Operating Room. The man turned and said, “This is where you give hugs and kisses.” I kissed my baby, gave him to Josh who hugged and kissed him. I took him again in my arm and then, handed him to the anesthesiologist who took him, turned around, and disappeared through those big doors. I think I would have collapsed on the floor right there if Josh hadn’t caught me. I cried until I could no longer breath. 
After regaining some composure, we headed to the Surgery waiting area. I remember listening to other parents who were waiting for their child to have Ear tubes placed or Tonsils removed. They were laughing and joking. They had no idea what I was going through, what my baby was going through. We waited for 6 hours. Every couple hours someone would come give us an update.
Finally, I looked up to see Dr Curetis coming into the room. He asked us to come with him into a consultation room. He told us that everything had gone well. He explained that Benjamin would be in recovery for an hour and then they would move him to the ICU. We would not be able to see him for about an hour after that. Then the Dr gave me the patch piece of patch that he had cut from to repair Benjamin’s heart. This small scrap of material had a hole cut out of it that was about the size of a dime.
After waiting 2 more hours, we made our way to the Pediatric ICU. They have a phone on the wall just outside the unit. Josh picked it up and explained that we were Benjamin McGee's parents. They opened the door and led us into Benjamin's room. 
As we walked in, I saw my baby laying on a large hospital bed. His skin way a gray/blue color. His whole body was swollen and puffy. He had read marks on his face and stomach from tape. There was a breathing tube in his mouth. Two large chest tubes coming from his tummy. An IV in each hand as well as one in his neck. 
Although he wasn't awake, he was crying. I wanted to hold him and take away his hurt...and at the same time, I wanted to run far, far away and not have to look at him.


  1. wow. i hope that you never have to experience this again. it made me cry.

  2. It made me cry too. This just breaks my heart. I'm sorry you guys had to go through that.

  3. It was pretty tough especially afterwards seeing how sad he was. It was hard when I had to leave the two of you and go back to the Ronald McDonald house. And now four years later, there are times that you want to turn around so you don't have to look at him but for completely different reason (makeup/crayon/poop on the wall, broken lamps, toy boxes, windows, doors, holes in the wall .......)

  4. Thanks for sharing your story. What a miracle!