Calming the Storm
Jian has been very calm about her second surgery as it has been approaching. She has also begun a habit of reading in bed every night for a few minutes in order to wind down and fall asleep. Last night, she tossed and turned, repositioned her cast, read a book, watched cartoons, and repeated this cycle until 4:00am. She was worried about the surgery and simply could not sleep. Which meant that I didn’t either. I tried every trick that has worked in the past to no avail.
This morning started off a bit rocky as a result of anxiety and sleep deprivation. When the anesthesiologist came in, we told him that last time she had a horrible experience with throwing up repeatedly for 2 days after surgery. He went ahead and gave her an anti-nausea patch, which I think also helped to loosen her up. A man came in to start her IV. She asked about his credentials and wondered aloud whether she may need to ask for the lady that she had last time. She decided that she could trust this guy, who happened to be exceptional at his job. A nurse came in briefly, and when she left, Jian asked the Tech who that woman was. He said that she was one of the nurses. She said, “Uh huh. And is she a hard worker?” She ended up deciding that she could trust her too.
Finally the surgeon came in to go over the game plan again. The goal for today was to get everything in the left leg lined up from the knee down. He wouldn’t really know what would be involved until he began the procedure. Things that we discussed were: derotating the bottom end of the femur; releasing the flexion contracture behind the knee; correcting the position of the patella; correcting a rotation of the tibia. This may require multiple plates. It possibly would be that he could only correct the upper portion today, and we would have to come back for yet another surgery at a later date to finish. Everyone told us that we could expect today to take several hours and that they would just keep us updated as they made progress in the OR. When he asked, “Do you have any questions for me?” Jian looked straight at him and quietly but confidently asked, “Did you eat breakfast?” He laughed and said, “Yes, we can get you some breakfast a little later today after you’re feeling better.” “No, did YOU eat breakfast? And what did you eat?” She was dead serious. She wanted to know that she was in the hands of someone who had fueled himself properly for the difficult task ahead. He was able to satisfy her with his answer, and then she went back to the OR.
Shortly afterwards they called and said that things were underway. It took a little while to remove her cast and assess how her hip was healing. Then they called and said that he had actually begun the surgery. Again, we were told that this would probably be slow going and that we could feel free to go back across the street to where we were staying instead of sitting in the waiting room all day. They would continue to call and give us updates periodically. I hate to admit this, but when we walked over to our room to take a short break, I couldn’t help but fall asleep. I had gotten maybe 2 hours of sleep the night before, and I knew that last time I was up all night with her after the surgery, so I decided to sit down and rest for a few minutes. An hour later, I heard Daniel answering the phone. He said that they were closing her up and that we needed to go over and talk to the doctor. I was quite confused and disoriented, but I saw that it had only been an hour since our last update. For a brief moment I wondered if something had gone wrong. Maybe he wasn’t going to be able to complete everything right now. He came in with a big smile and said that everything had gone great. He did a single osteotomy to the femur, and then “everything else just fell into place.” No other work was required!
In the recovery room, Jian was just as confused. She woke up and asked when they were going to do her surgery. I told her it was super easy, and they were already done. She said that she had asked God to be with her and that she was so happy. She continued to question the Recovery Nurse, asking her, “Who is the boss here?” Everyone was getting a kick out of her because last time she was so sick and nauseous that she really didn’t talk much. She has not had a bit of pain or nausea and has been eating a regular diet tonight. She is currently sleeping like a baby.
I know that people have orthopedic surgeries every day, but for us, this trip has been a major life event. We decided to go “all in,” and the future of my daughter’s mobility hinged on these surgeries. So how was I able to fall asleep in the middle it? Of all people, I am not one known for ever sitting down or taking a rest or a nap. The answer of course is because I had put all of my trust in the One who can calm the seas.
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”