Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Exception.

Unless you're new around these parts, you'd know that I don't usually post on weekends. Weekends are my off days for both work and blogging. The time I spend actually having a life away from the computer. The weekend isn't even over yet, but I feel like this post is necessary after all the "living" I've been doing over the past 24 hours.

After publishing my #icant + #iknowican post Friday, I received a phone call while I was at work telling me that Aniyah and Trace had crashed on the new little 4-wheeler he had gotten on Thursday for his birthday. I had no real idea what was going on and I didn't drive to work so I couldn't just up and leave to go and see them since they had spent the day at their grandparents house. Luckily, Joey worked nearer to his parents so he was able to go down.

I was basically just trying not to go insane with worry and panic while I waited for an update from them. I didn't know all of the details, only that they accidentally fell down a 4-5' ditch with it. Aniyah was fine and suffered only minor scrapes and bruises but Trace had busted his lip open and his mouth was pretty banged up and had to be taken to the ER.

Let me be the first to tell you that seeing your child in pain and not being able to help them is one of the worst feelings in the world. I wanted to scream and cry and punch someone in the face all at the same time but I knew that none of those actions would help me or help Trace. Instead, I took a deep breath and pretended that everything was normal and that it was just like a trip to the clinic. He lay there helplessly, and slowly turned his face to me and reached for my hand. My heart just dropped.

I was about to lose it at that moment. But his eyes were searching my face for comfort so I bit back my tears and told him that everything would be okay and it would be over soon. The doctor came in and I left the room while the doctor stitched his lip and chin. No xrays were taken before they sewed him up. It was pretty quick and it seemed as though he'd be able to walk out with just a few stitches, but as we were walking out, the doctor called us back to have "one more look".

He pressed around Trace's swollen cheeks and chin area and concluded that we would have to do xrays just to make sure that nothing was broken. Joey and I were irritated that he waived it off at first saying that it wasn't necessary. I'm not a doctor, but just by looking at Trace's mouth, you could tell something was wrong.

In case you didn't know, there is only ONE hospital on Guam that is open to the public. ONE. And it is horrible. The facility is dirty and overcrowded due to the limited space and high volume of patients. We got there at around 5:30pm. He was stitched up and told to get xrays by 6:30. At the end of it all, we left the hospital at 11:30pm. Those 5 hours from the time he was stitched to the time we left was spent waiting to get his xray taken and then waiting for the results. Five fucking hours.

The xray results were bad. He had fractured his tiny little jaw in three places. We were on the verge of a break down. The other bad news, as if it wasn't bad enough, was that there was no specialist on Guam who could fix it besides one doctor, who was a military doctor and therefore could not take civilian patients. The doctor told us that he would see if Trace could be an exception and just to wait for news. My heart broke into a million pieces while my mind went into overdrive planning a trip back to Hawaii so that he could be taken care of.

After about 30 minutes of waiting, the doctor came back with the good news that the Naval Hospital would be able to make an exception and treat Trace. We waited (again) for a copy of the X-rays and scans they took to bring with us and then rushed straight over there.

As soon as we got to Naval Hospital, Trace was immediately attended to. The care and attention he received just in the ER was phenomenal. There were at least 3 nurses attending to him at a time and when the doctor got there, he brought another doctor in as well to help him assess Trace's case so he could get the best possible treatment and give us the best options for treatment.

Everyone was anxious to get started but after viewing the X-ray images on the disc given to us by GMH, the doctors were baffled to find someone else's images. By that time I had already lost count of how many fuck ups GMH had done that evening. Thankfully, we were able to get the correct disc but not without the inconvenience of an already-pissed-off Joey having to drive back to GMH to switch the discs and drive back to Naval Hospital.

Once the doctors looked over the scans (which were horrible quality), they went over a few options of treatment with us and ultimately we went with the third and most recommended option of using a titanium plate and screws to hold his jaw together temporarily until his bones heal on their own. Because it was almost midnight, the doctor suggested that he wait until the following morning to operate so that we could all get a (much needed) good night's sleep.

The two girls were taken in by Joey's sister so Joey and I were both able to stay overnight in the hospital with Trace. The newly built facility is immaculate. The rooms are private and big enough to accommodate lots of visitors, and we had about 20. Joey and I think the hospital rooms here at the Naval Hospital are similar to the rooms we had 5 years ago at Kaiser Hospital in Hawaii - where I gave birth to Trace. Funny how that goes.

This morning (Saturday) we woke up feeling a little more refreshed and when The doctor came, he set Trace up to get a quick X-ray just to get a better idea of how it looks before going in to operate. The X-ray took all of 2 minutes. Literally. I timed it from the time we left his hospital room to the time the X-Ray was taken and printed. Why couldn't it have been that quick and easy at GMH?

The new X-ray image confirmed that the only fracture that needed treatment was the main fracture, right in the front of his mouth where his bottom jaw was basically split in two - you could already see the bones when he opened his mouth. We went straight to pre-op and stood by Trace's bedside as the nurses prepped him for surgery. By the way, did I mention how strong this kid is? I know it may sound like I'm talking him up, but even I was surprised at how calm and unaffected he seemed by it all. He wasn't given any pain medication at all besides the initial numbing medicine they gave him before stitching him up at GMH, but he did not complain one bit. The only time he cried out of the whole time he'd been in and out of the hospitals was when they put the IV in. Even I'm still amazed at his strength.

He did tear up a bit when it was time for him to go into the operating room because we weren't able to go with him. We fought back our own tears and reassured him that everything would be alright and that he'd be done and home soon. He wiped his tears and nodded his head in understanding as the wheeled him off. Instead of waiting around for two hours at the hospital, Joey and I took the time to go home and clean ourselves up. I had gone straight to the hospital from work the day before so I don't need to tell you how badly I needed a shower.

Once back at the hospital, we were greeted by our family with FOOD. I probably forgot to mention that I hadn't eaten a real meal since Thursday evening and had only eaten a bowl of Wakame (seaweed) soup for lunch on Friday afternoon. Thankfully the waiting area was pretty empty besides us, so I had no shame in shoving my face into the plate of hot wings, fried rice, and corn.

The entire surgery took about 3 hours. The doctor said that everything had gone really well, so well that he was even able to take out, clean up, and re-stitch the crude job that GMH had done. We were beyond grateful to him.

We were supposed to have Trace's birthday party today, but after the accident we knew it wasn't going to happen. He was so badly looking forward to it (he even said he still wanted to have his party and that he'd wear a mask on his face so that he can still play water war) that we got his decorations from the house and set them up in his room to surprise him when he woke up.

Once again we were in awe of Trace's strength and badassness. Within hours of coming coming out of surgery, he was smiling and joking, playing games and apps, and giving cut eye to everyone who made a lame joke or comment. He still looks pretty rough, but his spirit is still very lively.

He'll have the plates in for about 4-6 weeks and he can only be fed liquids through a straw, but he's still alive and well, walking and talking - and even singing! - so we couldn't be happier. I'll update again soon. He's wanting the iPad back now.


  1. Oh my goodness! I am sooo sorry this happened, especially when he was supposed to have his party. Thank God he was able to be seen by the Naval doctors. He looks like a strong little man. :) That's awesome you guys still brought his decorations in. I hope he recovers quickly!


  2. Oh my!!!! Such a sweet little face.. I hope he gets better quickly! Thank goodness for that Dr.

  3. Oh my goodness! Im so sorry that happened to Trace. I'm also happy to hear that he's on the mend and I hope the recovery is quick and as painless as possible. Fill him up with hugs and kisses - they're almost better than medicine :)

  4. Oh my gosh!! I'm so sorry this happened!! Sending well wishes your way! Hope he gets better soon.. What a tough little boy!!


  5. am SO glad he's ok in the sense like you said,alive and well.

  6. what a little trooper! I'm so glad the Naval hospital mad an exception + I hope he has a speedy recovery!

  7. Oh my Im glad he is recovering and the naval doctor helped him out. Happy bday Trace I hope you feel better soon!

  8. So scary! I'm glad everything turned out okay and the military hospital was able to make an exception. I had no idea Guam had only one hospital!

  9. Oh poor thing! I'm so sorry about Trace. How scary! I hope he gets better soon.

  10. Oh my gosh, what an ordeal! He's such a strong kid (they are amazing!). I can't believe he needed surgery but so glad he pulled through and has a good outlook. Hope it heals well and he can be back playing in the dirt again.

  11. I'm so glad my handsome boy is doing well and even more excited that he was still able to FaceTime with us right after surgery.

    You should file a complaint against GMH and the doctors for their incompetence not to mention release of someone else's medical records. Don't you know that GMH stands for "Get Me to Hawaii"? I was ready to have dad send for Trace to come here for treatment but thankfully Naval Hospital was able and willing to accommodate my handsome and brave grandson.

  12. Oh, girl- he is one strong little man! So sorry that you and your family had to go through all of that.

    GMH reminds me of the ONE hospital on Maui. When I was pregnant I had to fly back for my cousin's wedding and I told my doctor at Queen's that if anything were to happen I want to be medivac'd back to Honolulu. If we move home to Maui and have more kids, I'd rather give birth in my car than at that hospital. I was so angry for you while reading!!! Such carelessness!

    I hope you are also able to find some rest in all this craziness. I'll be keeping your family in my prayers ♥

  13. Awww. Poor baby! I'll be praying for his speedy recovery. Stay strong, Mommy! x

  14. Oh my goodness!!! Poor baby! I am glad he is ok. Having to deal with hospitals and doctors can be a nightmare sometimes. I cant imagine only having one hospital as a choice unless exceptions are made. I cant even!


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