The doctors, nurses, specialists, “life-skills” coordinator, Titia, and I all surrounded her bed. All the while Nicole clinched tight to her stuffed bunny. They wheeled her off, mom walking closely behind the bed, while I watched. I half expected Nicole to cry or go into some sort of hysteria, but the opposite occurred. It was like she went into self-preservation mode (almost stoic) as they prepped her for surgery. This continued all the way into the operating room. Not a sound. They put the mask on her and she did not make a peep during the 20 seconds she waited to drift off. Her eyes rolled back in her head as she began the almost 3 ½ hour surgery.
3 ½ hours; the longest 3 ½ hours of my life as we waited patiently in the waiting room. We knew there were risks. The doctor had warned us that because of her kidney there could be complications, especially with maintaining her blood pressure. The nurses asked us ahead of time about the possibility of a blood transfusion. This would severely complicate the kidney transplant preparations. We prayed that none of this would be required. Thank God is wasn’t. Everything was fine.
They first removed her tonsils, then her adenoids, followed by the ear tags, ear pits, branchial cyst, and finally the insertion of tubes in her ears. The surgical team stated that she had “thick, thick” fluid on her ears (the words of the docs). She is hearing noticeably better already. That is a big Praise the Lord! Her branchial cyst did not extend all the way up into her throat and that made the removal a little simpler. The ear pits were also not that deep. So the surgery went quite well. As good as could be expected. It was still a very long time!
When we finally got the call that she was done and ready to see us we were delighted to see her clutching a popsicle in her hand…but she was not smiling. As we approached the bed she whimpered as if to say, “Why did you let this happen to me?”. I don’t seriously think that is what she was thinking, but it was what I was feeling nonetheless. I could not help it. It is hard to intentionally send your little princess into a situation where pain is going to be the result, even if that is what is best or necessary in a situation. (I had a twinge of guilt. I don’t really know why. It just is what it is. I presume there is going to be more of this to come. Oh well, I guess I had better get accustomed to it.) She quickly fell back to sleep, still holding her popsicle as it dripped down her arm and onto the bed sheets. 30 minutes later she was in her room.
She recovered well that first night, at least until the administration of some necessary medicine. She threw it up. Then they had to check her kidney function and a “pokey” was required which resulted in her getting completely worked up and throwing up her medicine again. The surgery took its toll on her kidney function. Her creatinine levels increased from 1.8 to 2.0 during the course of the surgery. This was most likely due to being dehydrated, or at least low on fluids. It was not altogether unexpected, but the reality is that if these levels do not bounce back it will only accelerate the necessity of the kidney transplant. Another pokey in the morning reconfirmed that her kidney functions remained in the weakened condition. They pushed fluids through her IV to no avail. We shall see if the levels returns to their prior surgery levels. I pray they do.
Nicole is now home recovering. She is starting to eat a little better and return to some sense of normalcy after getting some much needed rest. It has been a hard week…one of many hard weeks for Nicole and us, I am afraid. Tiring. Very, very tired. Especially Titia. Isn’t this the beauty of having children though? You give of yourself for the good of your children and in doing this you learn that it is “more blessed to give than receive”. After all, if you are the one giving then it means that you have something to give. That is the blessed position to be in. I will repeat that:
...it is “more blessed to give than receive”. After all, if you are the one giving then it means that you have something to give. That is the blessed position to be in.
If you are the one receiving it means that you are most likely in the position of weakness. This is not the enviable position, though sometimes necessary. It is the ebb and flow of life. Sometimes we can give, and should. Sometimes we must receive. Let us receive with thankfulness. Better late than never in learning some of life’s valuable lessons. Thank goodness the Lord is patient with my/our incessant selfishness!
Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. It helped sustain us during this week and your continued prayers will be coveted as we press forward.
For His Glory,