Vida. It means “life.” I found this “Vida” sticker on my banana the other day and knew I needed to add it to our ICU decor. The ventilator seemed like the best place, given that it has been keeping G alive for the last 11 days. As soon as I stuck it on, I saw this blue bag directly behind the vent, the bag that had kept him alive 10 days ago when the only thing breathing for him was taken away. I have looked at this machine and the sticker of life every day countless times as I have been counting down the days till today—the day that G would have surgery to get his spiffy new airway, the tracheostomy tube. Today was the day, and all went incredibly well. Our Surgery Survival Songs playlist guided our way as “Eye of the Tiger” got us pumped up while I put on my OR gear and got over my PTSD of that blue bag when they unplugged him from the ventilator and used that bag to provide breaths of life for the long walk to the OR. During our stroll, “Lean on Me,” was next as the doctors commented on his choice of music and his scarf, my favorite floral scarf that has been a huge source of comfort for him. He has held it in his hands instead of pulling at his tube, kept it close to his face to have my scent nearby, shaded his eyes from the bright light, and covered his ears during the long days and nights that we kept a fan going to cool his feverish body. It has left his person only briefly for me to get my tiger mama scent back on it to cover his sweaty boy smell. As I watched them continue to offer breaths with the blue bag and give him drugs to put him into a deep sleep for surgery, “Stronger” was up next in the music shuffle. Those words: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” could not be more true for this guy. He has endured so much and the road to recovery is long, but I believe that he will come out of this all with a new life—a “vida” in which he not only survives, but THRIVES. #surgerysurvivor #myvidaprospera💚 #iculife #tigermama #tigercub