One hot July day in Spain (where we were stationed in the Navy) I had my first child, Gino. This was 28 years ago. The women in the hospital were screaming to release pain as this is what their mothers had taught them to do when giving birth. I was scared to death.
After 22 hours of excruciating labor and not being able to dilate past 5, even with medication, they gave me a Caesarean-section. They removed this absolutely beautiful blue-eyed, gold-haired baby boy from me. They cleaned him up and let me hold me when I was with this world. His eyes were right away the bluest eyes in the world and to top it off, they were almost bigger than my eyes! To such such a sight on such a small face was an awesome vision to behold.
They took him away to do tests on him and didn't bring him back for a long time. I asked the nurse when I could see my baby and they said I had a fever so they wanted to keep me in the hospital a little longer. His little yellow clothes still lay on the bottom of my bed, ready to take him home. Even after I put the thermometer in ice when they walked out, they claimed I still I still had a fever.
Soon a NICU pediatriation came to my room to explain to me a problem they thought they had. "A problem!" I wasn't up for any problems here, dude! He explained that they thought Gino was born with a hole in his heart but they couldn't be sure so they were sending us to Frankfurt to do this test on him. So off in a military medical plane to Germany.When we got there they decided we needed to be seen by Lundstahl Hospital in Lundstahl. They did this surgery that back then and over there they called cardio-catheterization. They found he only had two chambers in his heart vs. four like we are suppose to. His pulmonary artery was connected to his aorta and his bad blood was mixing with the good blood. He was lucky that he was born over 11 pounds because his heart was beating so hard just to live, he lost a lot of weight in the early years.
The wanted to keep him on medication and have him seen by a Cardiac Specialist until his heart was big enough to operate on. So they re-assigned us to Bethesda, Md. Gino was seen by Captain Conner (DR.) of the USN. He was one of the best Bethesda had. Dave had to go back to Spain and get our household effects and I didn't know how to take care of a little baby with a heart condition by myself. So my sister, Jo, said that she needed a vacation so that she would come to Bethesda, Md to stay with Gino and I in this temporary transit housing.
This transit housing was a real neat old time building with pillars in the corners, a little beauty shop downstairs, and a desk that reminds you of the movie "Somewhere In Time." The desk had little boxes on the wall for keys and mail, etc. This place housed some transit military that wasn't sure how long they were going to be waiting for The Navy Lodge to become available, and some geriatric folk that had the money to live in such accommodations.
Jo and I got my exquisite big buggy that I had bought in Spain out and went and got Gino. It was great, being with my sister and showing off my little pride and joy.
When we got back in the elevator to go up an old lady was in there smiling at us and the baby. "Take care of him, he is an Angel, you know." the white haired lady told us. We nodded thinking she was just complimenting us. "Can you come to my room because I have something for Gino?" she asked us. Jo and I looked each other questioningly, wondering how this lady knew Gino's name and why would she want us to come to her room. This lady gave off an aura of trust somehow. Something no one feels around normal people they just met in an elevator.
We said okay and followed this lady, (she told us her name then, but its been years!) she opened her door and inside was a comfortable room with old pictures and statues. Like a Grandma that had been shoved in one suite in a big hotel. She disappeared and soon she returned with a large manila envelope. Inside was a picture of Christ laminated onto a piece of wood, and a bunch of prayer cards, some of them duplicates. She told me to put the picture of Christ above his bed while he was sick, and the Lord would take care of him.
We thought this was so nice! We thanked the lady and left. When we got to our room Jo and I decided to walk back down to Pic-n-Save and by her a Thank You card. We did and we went back to her room but no one answered. We decided to wait until morning. In the morning we tried again, no lady. Towards the end of the day we decided to ask the desk to take her card and put it in with her key. The young gentleman at the desk looked at us strangely. Are you sure it was "702"? He asked. I nodded and told him her name. He said; "You couldn't have been up there or seen her yesterday, she passed away two weeks ago. Show me where you were."
We took him upstairs, him with pass key in hand. He opened the door, and it was empty and dusty. Not at all like yesterday. "How did we see her yesterday, then?" we asked. The gentleman laughed. "You must have seen a ghost."
My sister and I think we saw and Angel. Because Gino died when he was two. Every time he would go into heart failure, the Lord took care of him. The last time, the Lord welcomed him back home.