This week brought us to some painful conclusions, but God was ever so faithful to bring worthwhile lessons right alongside.
On Monday we went to PT, and I told Lynette, “I think her right hip is all the way out.” She checked it and answered, “Although only films could tell us for sure, it does seem that way..but, it seems to be coming forward, which is really strange since hips usually dislocate to the rear.”
I, illogically perhaps, feel that as a veteran of this journey, I now should be beyond the grasp of sleep-stealing sadness. But, that night I again felt the heart of the Psalmist who wrote about his “couch swimming with tears.” I realized that hip surgery was now not optional, and that most likely Abbie is in pain.
Maria came to see Abbie the next morning, and I told her of my suspicions about the hip. As she unfastened Abbie’s diapers to take a look, her eyes welled with tears. It was obvious that Abbie’s right hip looked different, and she said, “but it has come forward, and that is so strange.” She worked on Abbie for three hours, and was able to get the femur back into the socket. So, it looked much better, and it seemed that Abbie felt much better. But, it was just a temporary solution. Abbie’s hip problems are being caused by a misalignment of her knee joints as a result of the tension of some muscles on the outside of her leg and the atrophy of those same muscles on the inside of her leg. Maria agreed, after hearing about the need to reconstruct the right hip socket, that it is time to do the surgery, and to get the baclofen pump.
Although it hurt to hear it, in some ways it was the validation I needed, to have someone who has tried so valiantly to help Abbie avoid surgery say she needs it. We must do it not only to help her today, but to help her as she grows since growth will only compound her current challenges.
Maria responded to my regrets about waiting for the surgery by saying, “I think you’ve waited for just the right time. She is SO much stronger now than when I met her in January. She is in a much different place.” I later reflected on the fact that since we delayed the surgery in late November, Abbie has proven to the world she can read…that is such a precious accomplishment, and will be concrete proof to whichever professionals work with us through this process that not only is she “in there”, but that she is a a very smart little girl who merits their respect and compassion.
We will begin making phone calls tomorrow morning to set everything in motion. Please, pray mightily for our wisdom, for the right team, and for Abbie’s strength and comfort. I must selfishly ask you to pray that I can stay focused on the possibilities of a great outcome, and not be emotionally derailed by the enormity of the surgery or the difficulty of the rehabilitation.
God’s already begun a work in that regard. On Wednesday I was marvelling at the ingenuity, daring and precision of the rescue of the FARC hostages in Columbia. I thought about them, walking toward the helicopters as hostages, thinking they were just being moved to yet another jungle camp. I wondered how they reacted as they became airborne and the weapons suddenly pointed at their long-time captors, and the false FARC members announced, “We’re the Columbian Army. You are free.” The weapons of the enemy turned, and gave them freedom. The weapons of the enemy turned…. and gave them freedom.
I rolled that phrase around in my head a hundred times before a hope suddenly emerged from the fearful fog in my mind, that our enemies, the hip surgery and pump, will give Abbie freedom. So, we will walk toward the helicopter (or OR in our case), with that hidden hope in our hearts.
Freedom remained a theme this week, of course. Abbie and I stood at the end of a cul-de-sac and watched a terrific fireworks display. With each “boom” I would whisper “We’re free!” I would imagine the fireworks being the initial signal of long-awaited freedom, of a battle finally won. Looking at it anew, as new, made it clear that next to salvation our freedom is the most sacred gift God could ever have bestowed upon us — how shall we steward it? Driving home I looked at every flag, and wondered how we would feel if each one of them had been thrust into the ground as a defiant proclamation of liberty, rather than as a holiday decoration.
What these reflections stirred in my heart was righteous defiance – knowing that battles hurt, but must be fought when freedom is at stake. And, when it comes to freeing my daughter from the chains that are holding her — well, is anyone foolish enough to take on a Mama Bear when her cub is at risk? So, one day we will celebrate Abbie’s freedom. But, for this day, we commit to doing what we must, come what may, to one day hear, “My name is Abbie. I am free.”