Tougher than Steel

Katie Manning’s dad continues to use her blog to work through his feelings after losing Katie, and he’s been writing some great stuff lately. He recently discovered a fact that I hadn’t even really thought about… all these “tough guys” he sees as he goes through life don’t have a clue. Compared to a Congenital Heart Defect family, those “tough guys” are wimps.

Heart Families are tougher than most. Yes, the pressure and stress of a major illness does tear some families apart, but those families built on a strong foundation are brought closer together. They stand strong, and they stand together. You just can’t shake them. They’ll go to the ends of the earth for their Cardiac Kid, and if they have to, they’ll tie a rope and drag the earth along behind them.

There is a scene in the movie Apollo 13 that sums up the type of determination Heart Moms and Dads usually have: An engineer walks into a room and dumps a box of gear on the table in front of his team. “We’ve got to figure out a way to make this (Holds up a square piece of equipment) fit into this (Holds up a round piece of equipment) using nothing but that.” And before the deadline, they’ve figured out how to do it!

I was having trouble with my surgical wound healing after my third operation, and the eventual answer was packing the incision with Dakin’s Solution. Dakin’s Solution is a diluted antiseptic, strong enough to knock out germs but gentle enough to be used on exposed tissue. But it doesn’t keep well, and you have to make it as needed. So I was faced with staying in the hospital for a while while the Dakin’s did its job. My dad is experienced in Chemistry, and convinced the doctors that he could make the formula at home (it really is pretty simple). So that was the deal: We could go home if someone would repack my wound twice a day with gauze dipped in Dakin’s Solution.

Dad is not a fan of blood and guts. Oh, he knows the stuff on TV is mainly ketchup, but real tissue and body fluids… no way. Ain’t happening. But he took a deep breath, steeled himself, and repacked that incision twice a day for six weeks.

You do what needs to be done.


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One Response to “Tougher than Steel”

  1. Kelly Says:

    Great posts Steve. I’m digesting all the events of DC too. You ‘elder’ survivors were the greatest inspiration…the real tough guys. I was more winded than you at the Metro!
    I love the fight in your family. Perhaps those of us with all the new info would be better served to know less! James had a rough time today with a nurse that really needs a new vocation (please God remove her from pediatrics) and we came home to find the well stocked fridge/freezer kaput. As I scrubbed the floor and threw out all the spoiled food and medication…I had a very simple thought…God’s either in charge or He isn’t. I believe He is and maybe the meds were mixed wrong and his way of protecting JB was to burn out the fridge. We will fight on tomorrow! I’m going to now spend 20 minutes sending emails to the DCers… that we’re all unified…..they won’t know what hit them!!! Fight on Steve.

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