A few hours later Dr. Alex came into the waiting room and broke the news. Tracie was scheduled to have a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) implanted in the morning. We knew that this day might come, but we fervently hoped that we could get to transplant before the LVAD became necessary. Dr. Alex explained that he put an impella pump in place and that that would keep her going overnight, until the surgery.
I eventually went home and again explained as best I could to the kids what was going on, and I gave them the option of not going to school. They opted to go to school, my mom came and brought Katie to her house, and I went back to MGH. Tracie's cardiologist, Dr. Moore, tracked me down and explained what would happen. Then it was time to wait.
I went to the Grey Building waiting room, where I lasted about five minutes. What a depressing room. I went out for a walk, answered a few emails, text and phone calls, and tried to eat. Shortly after 1:00 PM, Dr. Moore called me and asked me to meet her at the waiting room. As soon as I saw her, I knew. We sat in a small consultation room and she explained that the surgery wasn't going well and that the surgeon didn't think that Tracie would survive it. She told me to get the kids and bring them over to say good-bye. She also asked if I wanted to tell them. I told her that I couldn't do that to them again, and asked her if she would. I can't imagine how Dr. Moore felt breaking this new to me. For almost 2 years she kept us upbeat and positive, convincing us that things would work out. Now, the end was in sight. Before I left the hospital, Dr. Moore took me to the MGH Chapel, where we prayed.
I wanted to keep what was happening quiet, at least until the kids were told about Tracie's condition. But, I had to call schools to get them released early, and call Jessica's girl scout leader, and Tracy, who was picking Jessica up after scouts. Tracy wound up getting Tommy for me and bringing him to Jessica's school. I managed to get ahold of Eric and he met us at home. I had a few minutes to myself, and I began to pray. I got to "thy will be done," and stopped. I think I finally got it. It wasn't about what I wanted, it was about was best for Tracie. In the biggest test of faith that I have ever had, I put all of my faith and trust in God, praying that He give us what was best for Tracie, and that He give us the strength to live with the outcome.
Good new travels fast, but bad news travels even faster. Through it all, my phone chirped away with calls and texts. I couldn't turn the phone off, but I didn't want to talk to anyone, either. It was comforting to know so many people cared.
I was gone about an hour, and I hustled the kids up to Dr. Moore's office. Dr. Moore introduced the kids to the VAD coordinator, Stephanie, who began to tell them about the LVAD. Dr. Moore took me aside and told me that Tracie was still fighting back, and that the surgeon had hope that he could keep her alive. Things were still not good, but infinitely better than they were an hour ago. We didn't have to tell the kids that mom might die - what a relief!
After a while, the kids went home while I stayed behind. Finally, at about 11:00 PM, the surgeon, Dr. Baker, came out to talk to me. He was beat, physically and emotionally. But, he told me that Tracie would make it. Thank you was nowhere near enough, but it was all I had for him - well, a few tears, also. I saw Tracie briefly, then went home to see the kids.
Some phone calls, texts, and a facebook update later, my worst day became my best day. In a span of just a few hours, I went from planning a funeral to having to go Christmas shopping. I was asked in the time since if Tracie was ever given Last Rites. No, she wasn't, simply because through it all, even on the brink of disaster, I never lost faith that she would live.