When the staff at the hospital first recommended that we drive from Birmingham to Baltimore since we would be staying so long, that sounded outrageous to me. I searched the distance online and it estimated 12 hours for the drive. I made a plan that we would break it up over 2 days in 3 hour increments each day. That sounded much more doable. The first day was a piece of cake. We stopped halfway for lunch, and when we arrived at the hotel that evening, I was wishing I had not already made the reservation because we could have continued another couple of hours. The second day was not so great. I don’t know how long we ended up being in the car, but it felt more like 12 hours than 6. We did make the decision to stop for some photo ops in Washington DC since we were so close. Honestly, at that point, Jian was exhausted and in a horrible mood, but I think she ended up being excited when she saw the White House and the Lincoln Memorial, which she had learned about in school.
Packing and preparing anything we may need for the next 2 months was also quite an undertaking. I kept placing items and bags next to our front door, and it quickly filled up the entrance to our house. I was waiting for Daniel to see all of the stuff and get irritated and tell me that we didn’t need it and that it wouldn’t all fit into the car. Instead, he didn’t say a word. He just quietly made trip after trip out to the car and got it all loaded up.
We arrived and got unpacked and settled in. Our pre-op appointment was the following morning. The clinic itself seemed much more quiet than the time before when we came. When it was our turn, though, in came our surgeon with about 7 other doctors tagging behind. Very unexpected and overwhelming to Jian. One was a very smart doctor who was here all the way from New Zealand. Our doctor and Jian promptly asked him and the others to exit the room, though. Our doctor completed another exam of Jian’s mobility and started explaining everything again to me and Daniel and answering our questions about the procedure. All of this information put Jian on overload, and she understandably started down the road to complete panic. A man with a camera came bouncing into the room announcing that he needed to take pre-op photos of her legs while standing. He could quickly see that this was not about to happen. We asked for Ms. Marilyn, the patient liason that we met on our last visit. She worked her magic and was able to get Jian to calm down, choose a color for her cast and take a tour of the physical therapy facilities. She even got her to go back to the camera guy and take her photos by posing with Jian doing various silly body builder poses together! They are all quite impressed with her upper body strength!
We got back to the house, and while Jian had some quiet time, I did what any normal mother would do in a stressful situation: I threw myself on the ground and stood back up as fast as I could about a hundred times. Yes, I visited a CrossFit gym who happened to start the workout with 7 minutes of burpees. When I got back, we all had a relaxing evening watching a movie together. We plan on getting out and doing a little sight seeing in Baltimore today and visiting the aquarium.
We are scheduled to check in for surgery at 6am tomorrow. She is the only patient scheduled for the whole day. Besides praying for Jian’s peace of mind, I am specifically praying for wisdom and clarity of mind for our surgeon. Even though he has a wealth of experience, no 2 patients are alike. There are several possible techniques that he could do tomorrow, but he won’t really know which ones would be best until he gets started. Best case scenario, he would only need to release soft tissue and not cut through any bone. In this case, she would only need the cast for 2 weeks and could immediately stand and start physical therapy while wearing the cast. Even though this sounds very appealing, I am mostly praying for the procedures that will produce the best long term results. I am determined not to leave here until she can walk out to our car without her crutches. As always, I know that so many of you are praying with us, and as the doctor said yesterday, “Keep the prayers coming!”