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After a couple of years of waiting, Faith had her pull through surgery on June 21, 2019. I have written at great length about how this was not an easy decision. And it wasn’t. All the way up to wheeling her off to surgery I questioned myself. I am just now, about 2 ½ months post-op, allowing myself to believe that we made the right decision.
Faith’s surgery was at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, roughly 2 1/2- 3 hours from our home. So, our plan was to leave Wednesday evening and drive to Nashville, spend the night with Faith’s Godparents, and get up for a fun-filled day on Thursday.
We thought about a fun day in the sun at a waterpark in Nashville, or a day at the zoo looking at the animals. But, the weather did not cooperate. The forecast was for rain all day. Then, we knew that Faith was going to have to do a bowel prep for surgery, and that would require that she not eat anything for 24 hours before surgery. 24 hours! UGH! All I could think about was poor baby! Faith loves to eat. And not being able to do so for a whole day was going to be rough…
So, we decided to leave Wednesday after work and stop by Chuck E. Cheese for some pizza and fun that last evening. We had a blast! Faith played and ate and then played some more. I am thankful that we took the time to stop and have a leisurely fun evening. And so was Faith. Later, while she was recovering from surgery, we frequently reminisced about our trip to Chuck E. Cheese and playing games.
Faith’s surgery was scheduled for 9am on Friday. So, to stay within the 24 hour liquid diet, we got up bright and early Thursday morning and hit a breakfast buffet. I must say, that this particular restaurant usually has an awesome breakfast buffet, but that morning, it was subpar. We were so disappointed and were really disappointed knowing that was faith’s last meal before surgery.
The rest of the day was pretty quiet. Remarkably, Faith did not complain as much as I thought she would about not being able to eat all day. She was much better that I was about it. I felt so guilty, sneaking a piece of chicken in the kitchen, while my kiddo sat on the couch with a cup of ice.
But we made it through. And finally it was surgery day.
The Big Day Arrives
If you know Faith, you know she has a mind of her own. She decided that she was going to wear her costume from her dance recital to the hospital for her surgery. After all, she is a princess! But, the day before surgery her Aunt bought her a Doc McStuffins coat, complete with a stethoscope. Of course, Faith decided that she was no ordinary princess, but a doctor princess! So at 6:30 am we headed out with our doctor princess in tow to Vanderbilt Hospital!
The drive, which in reality was about 30 minutes, seemed an eternity. My mind raced while everything else seemed to be in slow motion. We still could back out. On the drive, Faith told me she didn’t want to have the surgery and started to slightly cry. She had been so on board with the idea up until this point. I couldn’t help wonder if this was a sign. Maybe we should cancel. I prayed again for strength and clarity as to what we were supposed to do. The same prayer I had been praying for months. Only slightly, and periodically did the knot in my stomach ease up and give me some relief.
Questions, Questions, and more Questions
Faith was very well aware of what was going on. She knew that she was having the surgery to have her ostomy reversed, and her own list of questions for the doctors. This was a major surgery, and several sets of nurses, and teams of doctors talked to us before the procedure. For each group that came in to talk to us Faith was ready. When the doctor’s finished their spill, and they asked if there were any questions, Faith spoke up! Here are her questions:
- What time will it start?
- What time will it be over?
- When can I go home?
- What tools will you use?
- Can I be awake?
The answer to number 5 tickled the anesthesia team. She asked the doctor this question, after he showed her the needles full of medicine that would be used to put her to sleep. Evidentially, Faith was disappointed with this answer, so she added another question,
6: Can you take pictures?
(and they did!)
Faith’s surgery began at 9am, and we were told it would last approximately 6 hours. The surgical nurse did a great job of keeping us updated on her progress every couple of hours. And at 3:02pm we got the call. The surgery was over and the surgeon was coming out to talk to us. Surprisingly enough, I was much calmer than I thought I would be. Sure, my stomach was full of butterflies, but I had a sense of peace that she would come through the surgery fine. And she did. While this was great news, and some relief, I knew that I could not rest, because the hardest part was yet to come…