Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Broken Hearted"

Dear Little Angel,

As I reflect on the events of the day, I find myself struggling to understand why today was so difficult for me to face.  In past months, many hours have been spent walking the halls of Shriner's Hospital, but today my thoughts and emotions cut deeper than ever before.

The day began like any other trip to Shriner's.  As parents, we were so prepared for this surgery.  Every detail had been carefully planned, bags packed, and even the colors of your cast had been selected.  The usual scheduled review of operation procedures with doctors and anesthesiologist proceeded as normal as the clock made it's final ticks, counting down the minutes until surgery time.  As the hour advanced, the standard medicine was dosed out into a prepared syringe and handed to us in hopes we could convince you to swallow the medication quickly.  Upon seeing the syringe, you sharply scolded the nurse, "I don't want that!  It is icky!" Even with trying Mary Poppins advice, the sugar did not make the medicine go down.  Holding your cheeks, I forced a little into the side of your mouth.  This technique worked so well the last surgery.  Now a year later, new skills have once again been learned. Closing your lips to take a quick breath through your nose, you forced the medicine out like the Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone.  The red colored medicine was now dripping from my glasses and face.  Repeated attempts were met with the same outcome only now both you and I were covered in the sticky red syrup.  As a result of being unwilling to take the medicine, the doctor was left with no other choice.  A new medicine was brought in with needle attached. Turning your head so you would not see it, the needle was forced into your shoulder and delivered along with the screaming and scolding from you, our daughter.  Much different then the happy juice, our daughter did not slowly become happier and more playful to be taken out of the room smiling.  Instead, your eyes slowly lost movement, as your little body in your mother's arms went limp.  As the surgeon opened a blanket across her shoulder, your mother slowly passed the lifeless body with eyes wide open into her waiting arms.  The image of your eyes wide open as they blankly stared at the ceiling combined with your seemingly lifeless body, broke my heart.  For the first time, I was unable to hold back the tears as my daughter was carried through the doors and we exited out the other side into the quiet halls of the hospital.

Within minutes, your surgeon followed offering hugs of support and comfort.  We sat down on a close by couch discussing the effects of the medicine.  Your surgeon related her experience with her own child using the same drug.  At the conclusion of the dosing of medicine, her husband who is an anesthesiologist was found lying on the floor, passed out after witnessing the effects on his child.  We thanked her for her time as she returned to assist with your surgery.

The hours slowly passed by as every two hours my cell phone rang, providing updates on the progress of your hips.  The first call confirmed the hardware had been removed.  The second call, the right hip had been completed and the final call, paged us to our room were we met with the surgeon as she reviewed your x-rays.  Pictures of your hardware legs were compared to a new image of nearly perfect hips.  Dark silhouettes highlighted the new donor bones' positions with in your hip sockets. A total of seven hours had passed since we last saw our daughter.  Finally, the long wait came to an end as your hospital bed was rolled through the open door of your room.

The remaining hours of the day was filled with a mix of silent sleeping or conscious crying from the pain in your leg.  At the end of the night we finally got you to play happily, although you still complained about the pain in your legs.

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