The last few days have been full of roller coaster emotions – up and down, up and down… Just when you think you can’t take it anymore, something changes and it’s okay for a while. Don’t misunderstand, God was with Isabelle and protecting her. We felt His presence and even though you know that you know that you know it will all be okay there is still something so difficult about watching your own child suffer. Immediately you wish that you were the one suffering rather than them. Knowing you cannot, makes it even harder.
Friday morning after only a few hours sleep we loaded Izzy up before daylight to check in for surgery. A double hip reconstruction which involves incisions said to be lined up end to end about a total of 6 feet, released tendons, and a spica cast. The dread was heavy on our shoulders that early morning, but had we known what we were in for, I think we may have stayed home. While in the pre-op room the surgical head nurse asked us our color preference for her cast. We had to say orange! It’s her favorite color. Here is sweet little Izzy ready to go back.
I was allowed to go with Isabelle to the operating room, until she was given gas to put her to sleep. After dressing in a yellow gown and blue hair cap I held her hand and swallowed tears. She was being so brave I couldn’t let her see my fear. I looked around that operating room and thought about what would happen in that room over the next several hours and shuddered. A soft kiss on her sleeping cheek and a whisper, “I love you,” in her ear and off I was escorted to the family waiting area reserved for us.
I must admit, the waiting area we were given was spacious and comforable. It defintely made the next 8 hours more tolerable for our entire family. Matt and I settled in and then mom, Amanda, Emelia, and my dad showed up. A little later Matt’s mom and her husband John came. Miki came by and brought bagels and green tea… Preacher stopped by while we were getting lunch and when he lefts said, “There’s no problem too big for God.” How many times have I heard these words from his mouth, both in passing and from the pulpit. There is no problem too big for God. I agree.
The nurse called the phone in our waiting room hourly to give updates on surgery. We watched the clock for the next update. She mostly said, “She’s doing fine,” and then mentioned what procedure they were working on at the time. Finally we recieved the call she was being casted and that Dr. Herndon, her surgeon, would be stopping in to visit with us soon. He came and joked about her orange cast. Up to this point it was all pretty pleasant for us, not so much for Iz…
(first view of the cast)
Matt and I were allowed in the recovery room. What a place to hang out for 2-3 hours! Children and babies one by one being rolled in screaming and scared. Keeping it together when I first saw iz was really tough. The cast was overwhelming, and her face was swollen. She was crying silently and I wasn’t sure what to do. After they had some tiny issues with oxygen postponing our ride to the 9th floor to her room, we finally left surgery.
The first room we went to was about the size of a small closet. Ha! Since both matt and I planned to sleep in with her we asked if there was a larger room available. (thankful for the suggestion by the recovery room nurse!) A few hours later they took us to a room much bigger and we settled in. They left an epidural delivering a dose of narcotics into Izzy’s back hourly. They mentioned there would be “break through” pain and for that they would give her morphine in her iv every two hours. If there was pain over this they would give her .5 cc morphine every thirty minutes. In addition, valium and benedryl were on her list of medications. We were awake pretty much all of Friday night with bells ringing because her heartrate was high. She was scared, in pain, and not a happy girl. The nurse was helpful and brought in meds when time to deliver them.
Saturday morning she had been given pretty much all the meds listed. She was finally looking restful so Matt and I both relaxed a little and watched her sleep. The pulse ox on the machine started beeping and was going into the 80’s. Normally this is because she is pressing on the sensor or yawns, something simple. I walked over and patted her. It just kept dropping. At 62 I ran to the nurses station. Matt stayed in the room. Nurses ran into the room and worked with her. Matt said he saw the pulse ox go down to 14. She looked green and I cannot describe how terrifying this was. We almost lost her, again. She was finally given a shot of an anti narcotic that brought her “out” pretty much immediately. We crumbled.
After that scare we sat and watched her pulse ox. and watching. and watching. For a moment I seriously thought, “I’m done with this.” Too much to deal with. But then life goes on and Izzy aka the little trooper was fine. Her pulse ox was fine. We stopped the morphine and suddenly the epidural seemed to be enough. Melody stopped by with a trio from the Wedge (my fave!) and some fun goodies like a book about finding what makes you happy 🙂 . Later my brother Mike and Bailey stopped by to visit and took me away to eat for a bit.
When all our visitors left for the night Isabelle began running fever. I was so happy to get her to take some ibuprophen by mouth and watch the temp go away. Matt insisted I leave late Saturday night to sleep at home and take back some things to make room for the rental wheelchair that reclined. After seeing she was doing really well I agreed. Also Emelia was a pretty good little nurse and was insisting she needed to stay. Driving away I felt a mixture of guilt and also freedom, like breaking out of jail! After I got home and had a chat with Amanda, a cold shower (because bailey took a really long hot one right before me!) and then my glorious bed! It seems silly to complain. We spent so many weeks in the hospital with iz after her near drowning accident. This had only been a couple of days, and the biggest reason of all was that she was the one who should be complaining!
This is Emelia’s late night happy helper face 🙂 !
I woke up bright and early and headed back for another day of unknowns at the hospital. Izzy had a good night! Yay. (this was one of the ups) Mom, Dad and the kids came and brought lunch to the hospital. After they left we noticed izzy looked flushed. She was running about 103 temp. (downer!) I gave her ibuprophen again and then sat beside her bed and prayed that her fever would go away and she would be able to eat a little by mouth, knowing that was necessary for her to come home Monday. Sweet April and her son Weston from church stopped by to say hello.
We also figured out that reading to Isabelle calmed her more than pain medicine so whenever her heart rate would increase, Emelia would grab one of the books her sweet teacher Melanie gave her and read until she fell asleep.
We discussed options regarding removal of the epidural and catheter and came up with a plan to turn it off Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m., take catheter out at 10:00 p.m. and then start lortab by mouth as needed. We honestly thought this would be a hard night for Izzy, losing the medicine in the epidural but seriously, she is the toughest little girl I have ever seen and she slept through times to give her the minimum not maximum dose of pain meds. We had another few visitors, Pat and KC and Debbie and her 2 year old twins from church dropped by and prayed for Iz. You know visitors are a nice diversion. After they left we started settling in for the night. Another criteria for leaving was she had to tinkle without the catheter which they said could take 8-10 hours after having it so long. She had a flood of tinkle within an hour of removal! Go Izzy 🙂 !
Monday morning she had the actual epidural taken out of her back which was under the cast. She wasn’t too thrilled about this… not sure if it was the position they put her in or the pain of removal but she did cry a little with her quivering chin. We saw it as one more step home! Discharge papers in place we loaded the car, filled Rx’s and said goodbye to room 9168. What an experience.
In the parking garage after two failed attempts to get her and her cast in the car (and get the door closed) Matt said a prayer of thanks. So thankful to God for bringing us through this weekend, for bringing our sweet girl home, for protecting her from the calamities of the hospital… whew. We were free.
Now sitting beside Izzy writing about the experience seems like a bad dream. The next six weeks will be interesting… figuring out how to handle her with the giant orange cast! How to feed her in a very reclined position… how to position her to keep her comfortable. For now we are just breathing and happy to have at least this leg of the spica journey over.