Monday, April 11, 2011


About a month ago, one of Ethan's former PCICU roommates was back at Duke recovering from her 3rd open heart surgery. This particular day also happened to be Jordyn's 2nd birthday and I knew I wanted to go visit her.

(Side note: Jordyn's mom was actually two hours away, at a hospital in Wilmington, having just given birth to twins! She is, without a doubt, one of my heroes!)

I sent a message to Jordyn's grandma expressing our desire to stop by for a visit, and we began to work out the details. When I got the message explaining what room they were in, I felt my eyes swell with tears and a lump formed in my throat.


My first reaction was, "no way". I thought to myself, "I cannot go back to that room." I called Jeramie and asked if he thought I could do this, if I was ready. We decided that, together, we could, and I warned Jordyn's grandma that tears might ensue.

You see, 5324 is the room that became our home away from home. It is the room we were scheduled to be discharged from, and it is the room that sent Ethan back to the ICU.

Ethan's heart stopped in room 5324 and I just knew I would never be able to step across its threshold again.

In fact, during some recent mentor training through the advisory council I'm a part of, I named room 5324 as my "trigger". At that time, it was the thing I wouldn't be able to get past in order to meet with families. Even on recent visits to the 5th floor, just looking down the long hallway towards its doorway put knots in my stomach.

However, visiting Jordyn was important to me and I felt God nudging... "You think you can't do this, but you can. You can." With a few deep breaths and a knowing glance in each others' direction, Jeramie and I approached the room, trusting that God would calm our hearts.

And, y'all know what?

I felt peace, peace that passes all understanding, wash over me. It wasn't the war zone that was still burned into my memory. There weren't empty syringes laying in every corner of the room. Ethan's blue and white striped gown wasn't thrown haphazardly on the floor. There weren't forty people in the room, and no one was doing chest compressions.

Instead, there were two vibrant, beautiful, miraculous toddlers sharing chalk, blowing bubbles, and playing "doctor". There was health reflected in Jordyn's pink lips, and there was healing as I watched Ethan climb up into the bed on which his body was brought back to life.

It was one of the most ordained moments of my life. I found myself in awe when Jordyn's nurse came in to check on her. I had never met her before but, as soon as we were introduced, she said, "Oh, wow. This was a tough room for you guys. I was in here the night he coded. But, man ... look at him now!" It blew me away, but I couldn't have said it better myself.

Yup. Just look at him now. Look at them now.

Now I have new memories of 5324. Although I will never forget what happened in that room on April 22, 2009, I do not have to be afraid of it anymore. I do not have to shy away from it and let it keep me from meeting with families, as I know I'm being called to do. I have sweet, sweet victory over that room.

And Ethan? Victory at its finest. He left 5324 on the brink of death, and walked back into it full of life. God has protected his mind and restored his heart, and it just doesn't get much better than that.

Man, oh man, just look at him now.


Kim Smith said...

I've been wondering when you were going to post about this since I know that you've been wanting to. God had a plan bringing you back into that room, Joye. Maybe it was his way of reminding you that He is good!

Jen Foster said...

Very proud of you!

mossfamily said...

This brought tears to my eyes. Wonderfully worded as usual. It is amazing how God works sometimes (all the time, really) and He has most definitely worked a miracle in Ethan. Such a bright little fighter. And God knew exactly who his mama should be..... She is a fighter too! So glad you worked through your trigger to find peace!

Stefenie said...

What a great post Joye. It is hard trying to muster the courage to conquer the things that are our triggers. I know it all too well. Glad that God allowed you to be led to overcome yours and walk away with a sense of peace. Ethan is an incredible miracle! Look at him now, indeed!!

The Smith's said...

Beautiful God moment that will be with you always. Thank you for sharing!

Carolina Carters said...

God is GOOD! :)

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