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  • Sarah Raad

Memories

Here we prayed for my little niece who suffered as she remembered the trauma of her surgery and recovery at only one month of age.


St Jacinta Marto & Lucia Dos Santos of Fatima.
St Jacinta Marto & Lucia Dos Santos of Fatima.

My baby niece had her third bath today. She is one month old. Her first was about a week after birth. Her second was a pre-operative bath during the middle of the night on the night before her open-heart surgery. Her third was today when she turned one month old. Her mother, my sister, was itching to get some soap onto this child and have her squeaky clean. But, like everything with my niece, it was a rather complicated procedure.


You see, my niece suffered greatly following her surgery. Her subconscious remembers her pain. Even at one month old and despite all the medication and treatment, she can feel, and she can think. When my niece is laid on her back with her arms outstretched, she remembers her experience of suffering while recovering from her surgery while her chest was an open wound for a week or so before she was stable enough for them to close her wound.


The doctors and nurses were prepared for this. For my niece to be bathed, she must first be inserted into the water while covered with a blanket, so that she will not be afraid of the possible pain from that position. Then the blanket is slowly replaced with a handtowel, which is laid on her chest to give her some comfort. During this entire procedure, and despite their best efforts, my niece screamed intensely. She screamed for her life. My niece screamed far more than another baby might have done (she has an older brother, so my sister knows what normal baby screaming sounds like).


The nurses and doctors caring for my niece and others like her understand this remembered trauma far more than I ever will. They see it all the time. While my niece was recovering from her surgery during those first early critical days when the doctors were not sure if she would live or die, there was a 14 year old boy in the same ICU room also recovering and he had truly terrible uncooperative attitude, giving all the nurses and doctors in the ICU a very difficult time. My sister asked them to close the curtain when it was safe to do so as she felt that maybe looking at her sick baby was upsetting this boy.

The nurses were full of compassion, caring for this child around the clock despite every insult and bad temper he threw at them. They told my sister that she did not need to worry. They understood why he was so angry. They understood that he was remembering the trauma of his own first open-heart surgery, which had been conducted when he was the same age as my niece. They told her the subconscious will remember the pain and the trauma always, and that their job was to be patient with him and help him recover.


One of the beautiful priests who is praying with us for my niece said, “this is a real blessing for her doctors too. Our Lord is telling them, ‘I was sick, and you visited me’”.


These people do God’s work.


My niece, who is totally innocent is suffering like Christ on the Cross. In reading about St Jacinta of Fatima, it is with great humility and sorrow that I realise that in her 8 years on Earth she did more to please God than I have done in 38 years. What sorrow that is. The miracle of my niece has transformed me. I cannot allow her suffering to go to waste. God who loves us and is merciful, is working miracles through the miracle of my baby niece. I cannot let it go to waste. As such a sinful person, I must try harder and do better. I must follow the example of the Holy Innocents, like St Jacinta, and offer up every sacrifice for the salvation of souls. Please God, let me do your will. Please God save souls, that they may join with us in Heaven, praying for my niece, who will need prayers all the days of her life.


For with sacrifice and prayers for my little niece, we stand on Holy Ground, where everything is clear. Here, at the Foot of the Cross.


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