The Surgery

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It snowed all day Monday, the day before the surgery.  My boy and I kept busy shoveling the driveway, three times before the night was through.  Not only was this great exercise and a blast of fresh air to clear the mind, but also a much needed distraction from what was to follow on Tuesday.

Mamas, whether they like to admit it or not, carry grocery loads of worry some days when they press into life, all gears ready to shift as needed, with each new day, each new experience lived out with their dear ones.

But she was all bravery and confidence, still giggling with her sister the morning of, then happily playing on the  new iPod, creating hair-dos and fashion designs as we waited for the surgeon to appear.

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Knowing mama was going to blog the day, she sigh-ing-ly agreed to the first (of many) photo-ops while we waited to be called in the first waiting room area of Pre-Op.

Many of us were called at once, following what seemed more like a museum tour guide with clip board in hand–though one wearing scrubs and a hospital hat.  As all the families filed down the corridor after him he pointed to the family waiting room on the right where we all stared at the nervous families behind glass awaiting that phone call to the room saying their loved one was out of surgery.  We ditched all the extra family members here and carried on with the two people per patient stipulation further down the hall.  We then split one more time, adults having surgery to the right, children to the left.  By this time we were left with only one couple and their cutie-pa-tootie babe in arms.

The doors parted and there stood the nicest Grandpa-like volunteer all ready to serve our needs pre-surgery.  I was handed a rather forensic medicine type outfit to wear, along with the nifty blue paper shoes and hat.  Would have much preferred the scrubs the doctors and nurses got to wear, but hey, this was at least the closest I got to looking medical.

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The anesthetist came out to talk to us about the surgery and what he would be doing.  Then our wonderful surgeon, who addresses our dear one as “Love-y”, came out, not to do any talking about the surgery, but rather to take each ankle in her hand and draw something “Love-y” likes on each one.  The nurse then came to guess what the surgeon drew.  Music notes were easy enough, but the paint brush eluded her.

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The doors slid open and our dear Grandpa volunteer (who works two full days and one half day a week in the operating area) walked us through the back hallways of the operating corridors– one place we’d yet to see in our past year spent getting to know our local hospital.  The surgeon was excited we were getting to use the brand new operating room number 4.

Everyone awaited us, donning their scrubs and masks, ready to go.  It’s almost electric, the feeling in the room, something like athletes must feel right before their game. They were all full of the task ahead and seemed to be moving about a lot, energizing the room and pumped to get started.

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I asked if someone would take our photo in the operating room (much to the embarrassment of Love-y).  The nurse was wiling, and I think amused.  Love-y was shimmied up on the table for the shot and then they set to explaining the mask she was to hold over her face.   Watermelon was the flavour of choice for the smell running through the mask to begin with before the stinky stuff came.  And all the while, dear Grandpa held our iPod and sweater, and unbeknownst to us, took another shot of Love-y getting the anesthetic with forensic science mummy looking down on her suddenly frightened face as the clear head began to change to a muddled one and the strange feeling took over her body.  The second she was out someone called out, “okay mum, kiss her cheek and off you go.”

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Grandpa walked me back to the exit and we talked of his time serving at the hospital and his one year old grand-daughter he babysits every Thursday.  And I went off, through the doors (oh yes, first unzipping the fashionable forensic outfit) to walk the hospital halls, visit the Ronald McDonald family room cafe for lunch, all the while clinging to my pager they handed out (just like the ones you get at restaurants to tell you your table is ready).

I was told two and a half hours but my pager went off somewhere between the gift shop and red elevators in the main lobby I’d say around the two hour mark.  Of course my feet couldn’t take me fast enough past the crowded line-up at the yellow elevators (always) and down the secret back hallway I had never spotted before, to the operating family room.

I searched the faces of those in the room to see if anyone was going to be kind enough to say, “they came looking for you.”  Everyone sat in silence. There wasn’t a volunteer at the station to answer the phone so when it rang, a jolly brave man got up and answered it, laughing and saying to the voice from the recovery room on the other end that no, he wasn’t the volunteer. But then he searched the room and said, “Love-ys mum?” Oh yay! I sprang off my seat, gathered the gear (and I had a lot with me), thanked the jolly brave man for being the stand-in volunteer, and rushed down the hall.

Love-y was already awake when I got to her in recovery.  Seems the surgeon had come looking for me herself instead of sending the volunteer.  She was extremely pleased with how the surgery went and would check up with us the following morning.

Love-y sucked away at her popsicle still in groggy mode.  About an hour later they had us up in the ward and ready to start the first day of many towards healing and walking again.

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Beanie boos are Love-y’s absolute favourite stuffies.  Some dear pals, along with her little sister, bought her two new ones to snuggle up with in hospital. But her all time favourite, Sophie bunny, came too as a taste of home to share the hospital bed with her.

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After the noisy arrival of another family behind the curtain, arriving at 11p.m., (though I suspect it must have only seemed like 11 a.m. to their internal clocks for the adrenaline they were running on for that day and all they’d been through), we had a sleepless (and dark-less) night. Surgeon arrived at 7:30 a.m. promptly greeting the room with a “good morning Love-y!” and giving us the news she’d get things all in place for us to head home a.s.a.p.

We snapped a crisp, sunny morning shot from her window (-16 C!) while waiting for breakfast and physio staff to arrive.

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After a brief visit from the hospital physiotherapist, and already having had Love-y bear some weight on the casts, she sent us off with some groovy pancake cast shoes.  They’re all the rage, you know!

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So here we are now, resting up at home, catching up on sleep, figuring out the best ways to lift without pulling backs, hurting the operated ankles, or dropping dear Love-y.  We’re well taken care of with our Phsyio and Occupational Therapist, our surgeon, and all the other fantastic medical staff at a gift of a hospital right here in our home town, not to mention also being well fed with some home-cooked meals courtesy of dear sister and mum.

Thanks to everyone for all your love, support, and prayers!

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