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A Prayer for the Heart (3)

As soon as I had saved yesterday’s post, A Prayer for the Heart (2), Johannes started to move. I flew out of the chair I was sitting in, almost throwing my laptop to the floor. I wanted to make sure his wish was honored, that Angelica or I would be there when he woke up.

As he tried to move a part of his left arm, slowly, slowly, Johannes reminded me of a groggy and pale ol’ drunkard. His speech was foggy and remained unclear throughout the whole night, of course, with all those drugs in his body. Still, in my eyes, he was so… beautiful. Tonight, beauty was in a tiny movement, like the raising of an eye brow, or twitching of a finger. Any sign of life was welcome. And although I was never really worried, it still made me happy to see Johannes make the effort to energize himself in those tiny, little steps. (Just think how small things can make you so happy.)

I ended up staying at Johannes’ side all night, catching no more than two hours of sleep in a chair next to him. But I didn’t mind. How could I? It was great to see him becoming his old self again so quickly. He even talked a lot, just as always. This he started to do as soon as the ICU personnel had pulled the respirator out of his throat. A moment later he shocked the nurses when he verbatim repeated the instructions given to him from the physical therapist three days earlier, on how they should help him cough up his phlegm. I just smiled and thought, Yep, that’s my Johannes alright… but how could he recollect that at a time like this. It was truly a good sign.

Throughout the night he continued in the same tracks; with a body in limbo, but a mind racing full speed ahead, asking questions and making comments, soaking in every impression. For the first time it struck me that maybe he would be a great doctor one day, instead of an artist, as he’s often dreaming of. We’ll see… maybe both?

A million dollar moment arrived when the nurses prepared to leave their shift. I wished Angelica could have been there. It was one of those make-your-mother-proud-moments. Johannes carefully raised his arm and grabbed each nurse by the hand and said, while locking his focus deep in their eyes: “Thank you so much… for everything!” Simultaneously they let out an “ahhhhhh”, and one of them added: “No one has ever said that to us before.” I was awestruck. This was not like Johannes. I mean, sure he’s learned how to be cordial and nice to people, but that has worked sometimes more, sometimes less, just like for most children, I suppose. But this time there was something different. He didn’t say those words just to be socially correct. He truly meant every word he said. He was grateful – for everything. The nurses had not only helped him with many practical things; they were also there when he opened his eyes; and they were there to help him start breathing again. This night, at that very moment, to this child, it had meant the world to him. It was everything.

As the night turned to morning, the doctors went on their early rounds, visiting Johannes. They could only agree with what the rest of us had seen, that Johannes was improving at a good rate. And before they left they decided to release Johannes from the two drainage tubes which were injected into his bowels during surgery.

After that I returned to our room at The Ronald McDonald home next to the hospital, and took care of Clara and Isak, while Angelica went to Johannes. And so we have taken turns today. Besides that, the only other news is that Johannes has been taken down from ICU (Intensive Care Unit) to the regular Heart Day Care Center. There he has been sleeping practically all day, as seen below.


Isak came with us to stay all afternoon with Johannes. He knew Johannes needed to sleep a lot, but he still wanted to be near. And besides, there is always somebody nice at the hospital who can play with him. Like Nurse Erik, for example…


Now and then Johannes wakes up, and then we turn him over or something. Here I give him his first treat – ice cream. He enjoyed it… I think.


Tonight it’s Angelica’s turn to stay at Johannes’ side. I pray they both will have a good night’s rest.

Brother Louis

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