We’re now 24 hours post-op and I am in mild shock at how wonderfully everything has gone. I could not get on the internet in the PICU last night, but wrote some notes on my laptop so I wouldn’t forget anything. As I looked back at those notes I realized I had pretty much written an update, which is helpful since I don’t have much time right now.
Bottom line up front: Abbie was in surgery for 8 hours, had eleven procedures done: osteotomies on both femurs (they were cut, and pieces removed from each), head of femurs replaced in hip sockets, right hip socket reconstructed with bony material taken from femurs, adductors (inner thigh muscles) released, IT band (on outside of upper leg) released, gluteal muscles released, quadriceps tendons above knee released, peroneal tendons (outside of ankle) release, and achilles tendons released.
The breathing tube had already been removed by the time we saw her in the recovery room, and we were so relieved at how good her color was and how strong she looked. Today they did a chest Xray that was junky on the right side…but is is mucous not pneumonia. Abbie is getting treatments with “The Vest”, a band that goes around her chest and thumps her hard enough to shake the whole bed. I cannot imagine what this must feel like with broken bones…but, thankfully she still has the epidural in.
Here’s the update I wrote last night:
“First Verse read in PICU…opened to Psalm 18:16-19, while looking for Psalm 20.
“He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy
And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my stay.
He brought me forth also into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me.”
How appropriate for Miss Abbie! For, I know the Lord surely does delight in her, even more than I do, and I am truly amazed by her. He DID rescue her that day. Finding out recently from RJ that she was face up in the pool…looking toward Heaven…I know she was never alone, and that what the enemy meant for evil God has used for so, so much good and glory.
She is overwhelmingly beautiful as I look at her sleeping peacefully, with rosy cheeks. The post-op evidence of trauma I expected to see on her face is not there. Perhaps it will come later when the epidural comes out, but for now she looks just like herself, only heavily accessorized!
I am surprised out how high the cast comes up around her waist. Getting to the G-tube is tricky, and I only hope she doesn’t end up with a sore from the cast compressing the tube onto her body. Purple it is! Bright and bold, regal and royal..and legs positioned like a Chinese gymnast in training…yikes! This is going to be an interesting month (yep, 4 weeks instead of 3) of trying to change diapers and find comfortable positions with this behemoth swaddling her entire lower half.
But…we are through it! We did it, and she came through beautifully! I cannot yet fathom that all the dread we’ve endured for the last three years about this surgery is over! Of course, she is still heavily medicated, and I think there are probably going to be some difficult days ahead, but the truly terrifying part is over! We can finally breathe and look ahead to all the exciting things Abbie will be able to do with flexible legs and strong hips!
I am overwhelmed at the faithfulness, kindness, and perseverance of our friends. Bonnie Sutton praying down the list for 2 hours!!! So many calls and emails. Katie coming for a 2 hour lunch (with Ilisha…nothing like a beautiful baby to make the heart sing)
As I got a really positive update while sitting in the cafeteria, I turned to Katie and said, “There were so many days, sitting in the cafeteria, looking out these windows, when our prayers weren’t answered…it is so great to get YESes today!!’
Another big difference…Abbie complaining loudly in the PICU when her pain got a little out of control. I was so very glad to be with the kid making a commotion! The nights of envy I had, sitting by a silent bedside, listening to other kids recover enough to throw fits, ask for Mommy and popsicles…tonight it is us! That feels soooo good!
How completely blessed we were to have Bill and Rob do the surgery, Alan do the anesthesia, Lynette and Jayna observe (with Lynette talking Abbie to sleep as they put her under.) She was never left alone with strangers, and had the best of the best in every aspect.
ANSWERED prayers still amaze me in their specificity: NO blood transfusion!! Abbie shocked the surgeons at how little blood she lost..”even in places where she should have bled a lot, she didn’t bleed!!” She was extubated before we even saw her, breathing room air before we left the recovery room. NO anesthesia excitement at all during the 8-hour surgery. They are being very aggressive and timely in dealing with pain…keeping Abbie comfortable and me confident. Bill and Rob were very pleased with what they were able to accomplish, and feel the hips went in very well once the adductors were released. 6 weeks from now Abbie and I should be back to our sunrise running date – something we will both look forward to.
Seeing the hearts of her brothers revealed. They ALL insisted on getting up at 4:30am and going with us to the hospital. At first I thought this was a bad idea on a school morning, but I was so thankful they persisted. It was an amazing blessing to have our whole family together, soaking in precious time with Abbie, each praying before they had to leave for school. Having each of them call more than once during the surgery to see how it was going and ask when she would be done. Having them come straight here as soon as she was out, wanting to go the recovery room (not a place for a parade of 6 people). Waiting patiently in the hall and craning their necks for a glimpse each time the door would open. Kisses and “Hey Abbie” as we wheeled her to the elevator; delaying the entry to the PICU so they could catch up and kiss her again. None of us have been in this place with Abbie for a long time (four and half years), so this episode has resurfaced family bonds, loyalty, and affection that sometimes get buried in the daily chaos of a busy household.
The last time we came to the PICU it was also on a Monday. Dr. Chang was the intensivist on duty that Monday as well. Tonight I went to the bathroom next to the waiting room to change clothes and brush my teeth. I looked into that same mirror…the one into which I often silently gazed so long ago, wondering what had happened to my old life, and how I could survive my new one. I didn’t see the same person tonight. You don’t realize changes day by day, especially in yourself. But looking in that mirror that had reflected such grief and bewilderment, tonight I saw joy, calm, and the accumulation of all the lessons we’ve learned, love we’ve received, and wisdom we’ve gained. Tonight, I smiled at that mirror.”
So, thank you , thank you, thank you for praying so fervently and specifically — it had a powerful, documented impact! She will need your continued support in the days and weeks to come, primarily in regards to muscle spasms. When we first saw the surgeons they explained that after the initial post-op pain subsides, muscle spasm could cause pretty extreme pain for up to a month. I answered that the same people who prayed for no blood transfusion would be praying for no muscle spasms!!
I cannot use my cell phone in the PICU, so communication is really limited. I will try to keep the updates timely, however.
We are relieved. We are blessed!!