We got the green light from the pediatrician on Wednesday, so the surgery is set for Monday at 0730. My approach with Abbie in all of this is honesty. She deserves to know what is going on, what is being planned, and why. Of course, I tell her in terms that a 7-year-old can understand. Once in a while, though, she lets me know I’m not being thorough.
I was explaining to her doctor exactly what the surgery will entail, when I noticed a look of deep concern on Abbie’s face. Oops! I’d forgotten to tell her one very important detail. “Abbie,” I said, “You are going to be asleep during all of this. You are not going to feel anything. Uncle Bill and Uncle Rob, Auntie Lynette and Auntie Jayna, AND Mr. Bear are all going to be right there with you. Daddy and I will be waiting for you when you wake up, OK?” All better…worry lines gone. You’d have thought I would have mentioned that part to her a long time ago!
So, we are just about ready. Mr Bear (a beany baby) had a bath yesterday, her new nightgowns are stacked, and most importantly her lungs are perfectly clear. RJ’s class was scheduled to have their much-anticipated week long camp beginning Monday, but late Friday evening we got an email that the camp was double-booked, so the trip would be postponed. A couple of tears of disappointment and frustration slid down his cheek, but his whole countenance changed when I reminded him that now he could be here for Abbie while she’s in the hospital –something he’s been very concerned about missing. So concerned, in fact, that he’s been insisting that he will go to the hospital with us at 5am on Monday, and then walk the 2 blocks to school. He is not as overt in his affection and concern, but his love for his sister runs DEEP.
Ray and I are at complete peace with this surgery, and are confident that all will be well. As I began pulling everything together this evening I thought, “I didn’t get advance notice the last time we went to the PICU on a far different Monday. I sure like this way better!” Part of the reason I like it better is that we can PRAY ahead of time. Here are some specific things you can help us cover in prayer:
— Peace and security for Abbie, the bravest one among us
— No anesthesia problems, clear lungs, extubation in the OR or recovery room
— No blood transfusion: The surgeon says she will definitely need one, but I’m still praying. If she does need blood, we are praying it is clean, healthy blood, and praying that God would bless the giver.
— For the team: surgeons, anesthesiologist, nurses, techs: that God would give them wisdom, precision, skill and flow, that things would just “click” in the OR
— Abbie’s two PTs, Lynette and Jayna, will be in the OR to observe, but in a way they will also be my hands and presence. I
don’t think I could stand to be in the OR, even if allowed, so these two will be there as professionals, but also as my
proxy. Pray that Abbie will sense their presence and support, and that they will benefit from being in there.
— Complete surgical success: The hips are in a position where they don’t like to go back into the sockets. Please pray they’ll be willing. The surgeons will also rebuild the right socket using bony material taken from the femurs when they are shortened. In addition, three muscle release or lengthenings are planned: her adductors (inner thigh), the rectus femoris right above the knee, and some tendons on the outside of her ankle. Please pray that each procedure would go smoothly and produce the best outcome possible.
— Aggressive pain control. Abbie will have an epidural for the first couple of days, so this should really help. My goal is to not let her suffer one more ounce than is absolutely necessary.
— Quick recovery: even more than pain control, I am praying for pain abatement. Please pray that she would not have muscle spasms, since this will be the major source of pain after the immediate post-op period.
— Joy! We went to the lab for pre-op blood work on Wednesday. It is in the basement near the OR. As we were leaving, I saw an OR tech pushing an empty gurney. My stomach turned as I imagined putting Abbie’s little body on that very white sheet, and I wondered whether all our confidence is a mirage that is going to evaporate on Monday morning. Are we really ready? Then, I realized I was looking at it all wrong. Thank the Lord that we live in a place where my girl can have a surgery to fix her legs — how blessed we are! So, I am praying to hold on the right perspective, no matter what happens. We will count it all joy.
Abbie’s OT recently lent me a copy of “The Shack”, which I read in 2 days. What a preparatory blessing, to catch a sidelong glimpse at just how big God is, and how much more is going on than we can see. Every morning I stretch Abbie out on the massage table. Her favorite exercise is stretching her neck (she smiles at just the mention of it.) I call her my “swan-necked girl”, and make up silly songs about that while envisioning the two of us dancing in meadow…her body moving freely, her curls blowing in a breeze and her voice sweetly carrying the tune with a giggle. For a moment, she and I escape together, as our spirits go to the meadow. The book made me realize I think God smiles at that, and perhaps even hums along.
As I come back to the massage table, and look out at the pool, I also realize that it looks much different to Abbie than it does to us. For a long time it looked like a cemetery to me…the place where our “happily ever after” died. These days I can watch the boys splash and play with friends without sadness gripping my heart – so perhaps we’re back to neutral. But, for Abbie, I think she looks at it as the beautiful turquoise door that lead to her grand adventure with God. I’m so glad she came back to take the rest of us along with her!
I will try to post as soon as I can after the surgery. Your prayers are powerful and sustain us more than you know!