It’s that time again. Time for Maggi’s rod lengthening. As usual, we’re excited that Maggi’s back will get a little straighter, but at the same time, we’re still worried.
It never gets easier to watch your child roll away into an operating room. We KNOW that Dr. Devito and the rest of his team are going to do their very best… we KNOW they’ll take good care of Maggi… and we KNOW that there’s a 99.9% chance that everything will be alright. But that .1% just gnaws at us.
It’s really more a fact of knowing your child – special needs or not – is about to “go under the knife.” …..again….. Honestly, it’s a bit terrifying. What if she doesn’t handle the anesthesia well? What if the rod fails while he’s working on it? What if….?
But that’s when our faith kicks-in, and we leave it in God’s hands. We know God will do exactly what he deems necessary when it is to be done, and we’ve come to peace with it.
Usually, the whole thing goes a little like this:
- A month or so before surgery, we take Maggi to the pulmonologist to get her cleared for surgery. They ask us a few questions about how Maggi’s been breathing and such, take a listen to her, and clear her for surgery.
- A couple of weeks before, we’ve quarantined Maggi — she hasn’t been around anybody outside the home at all. Her teachers stop coming, the boys can’t come over, and Maggi doesn’t go anywhere at all. This is to make sure Maggi doesn’t get sick prior to surgery. If Maggi gets sick, surgery gets postponed.
- A couple of days before the “big event,” we go into “nesting mode” — we start getting everything ready. We clean every little part of the house… wash any dirty clothes… get all of Maggi’s bandages, medical tape, towels, creams and ointments together (to make sure changing her bandage is easier)… get the van ready including gassing-up, washing and vacuuming it out, changing the oil (if it’s about time), checking the air in the tires, and making sure Maggi’s car seat is strapped-in tight and her window shades are in place.
- Get our money together — toll booths, parking decks and food all require money. (We usually eat a little something at the hospital because Maggi can’t eat before surgery, and we think it’s cruel to eat in front of her if she can’t.) We also take a little extra “just in case.”
- Get Maggi’s bag ready – diapers, wipes, vaseline, thermometer, alcohol wipes, a bib, hand towels/burp cloths… the standard stuff.
- Make sure the suction machine is ready – charge the battery, get the hoses and suction ends together, and a few towels. Sometimes Maggi gets a little sick after surgery, and if we’re on the way home, and she gets sick, we want to be prepared.
- The day-of, we get up, everyone gets dressed, we pack-up the van, and we’re off.
- We get to the hospital, get checked in, and within 30 minutes or so, we eventually get called back.
- The nurse takes Maggi’s vitals, gives her a breathing treatment and some “goofy juice” to help keep her calm.
- Then they roll her back… this is the tougest part of all. Luckily, within an hour, Dr. Devito is walking into the room shaking our hands and telling us how great Maggi did.
- Within another hour, the recovery nurse is rolling Maggi back into the room.
- They let us give Maggi a little something to drink, and after about another hour, if Maggi’s doing ok, we’re getting ready to go home.
- The next couple of days are spend watching her like a hawk to make sure she’s ok, no fevers, no unusual stuff going on…
- Then a couple more weeks of quarantine – while she’s recovering from surgery, her body is focused on healing. Her already comprimised immune system is focused on the repairs, so if she were to get sick, it would hit her even harder than usual, and she’s end up right back in the hospital.
So there you have it. A full month devoted to one surgery. When you figure that she has this done typically every 4-6 months, then you’ve actually got 2 solid months a year of quarantine time. Imagine that, if you can. Two whole months where you don’t do ANYTHING. Your child is stuck in the house, doesn’t go anywhere, and nobody is allowed to come over.
This is why we’re constantly asking for prayer around surgery time. It’s stressful… not only for Maggi, but for us as well. We’re so scared she’s going to get sick and surgery will be postponed… then when she doesn’t, everything is alright and we take her in for surgery… then we’re worried something’s going to happen at the hospital (Maggi HAS gotten sick while at the hospital for surgery before)… then when nothing bad hapens, we bring her home and worry that something is going to happen and we’ll have to take her BACK to the hospital because she’s sick, the incision site is infected, or something of that nature… then when nothing happens, we can finally relax.
God takes care of us. The entire time, he’s saying “don’t worry, I can handle it.” …and he always does. We know that, but as parents, sometimes we worry anyway.