Hill was sleepy, but surprisingly not hungry. They called us back to meet with the anesthesiologist, everyone was so busy getting their normal daily routine kicked into gear. This wasn't routine for us, but the nurses made everything ok. We were taken back to a room where I held Hill close and Chip held me close. I was thankful Hill decided to take a nap as I held him, that made it easier to pass him to the nurse that took him behind the double doors for surgery. My little man never even knew I wasn't holding him.
I remember meeting Dr. Shell in the hallway after surgery. We still hadn't seen Hill, but Dr. Shell said all went well. I thinked I even hugged him as we stood in the middle of the clean beige institutionalized looking wing.
We were taken back to the recovery area where everything was so open. We could see all the children coming out of surgery and out of anesthesia. I felt fortunate that Hill still hadn't woken up and we were able to be there as he came out of the fog to comfort him. He didn't cry. He was a little irritable, but visibly doped up on pain meds. He was responsive to our voices and had wires hooked up to him everywhere. His arms were out straight from his body with braces on. It was a sad sight. His lip was swollen, but looked fantastic. He was being well tended to, as all the children were. I was reading a bulletin on the wall about what all the intercom codes were. If they said "Paiging Dr. Brown" it meant something like we were on lock down. I can't recall what the code was for a fire, but 2 seconds after I read that bulletin I heard the page for a fire. Why was noone in a panic? Then they cancelled the fire page. What would we have done had there been a fire and had to evacuate? An hour or two after surgery we were taken up to a hospital room.
The days in the hospital were a blur. I don't really remember anything but an achy back and all three of us sleeping in his room. I remember Joseph, a little boy having kidney surgery. He was around Hill's age and his parents and family kept us company during Hill's surgery. We emailed back and forth a couple times after we all got home; and I tried to email them a couple months ago because they were weighing on my mind. I haven't heard from them. The nurses showed us how to syringe feed, it was awful. It was hard, tedious and not much fun for anyone. I don't want to be a Debbie Downer about it because cleft moms that may be reading this may panic. My only advice is to not use a syringe, but a big medicine dropper. It will save you a lot of heartache...and headaches.
Once we got home I thought Hill was probably in severe pain so at any whimper I'd give him Tylenol with codine. Little did I know he was whimpering because his stomach hurt from all the Tylenol with codine! We made many many trips back and forth to Memphis. When we did our taxes a couple months ago I counted up mileage and we made 9 trips back and forth to Memphis in 2010. I'll have to get back to you on total miles in 2010 for doctor visits from New Orleans, to Jackson, to Memphis. I added it up and it's obscene.
A year ago today was an emotional day. It was scary, humbling, gut punching, wonderful, nerve wracking, happy tears, sad tears, and heart warming. What a diverse ray of emotions. Seems like an oxymoron, but it's true. Your prayers were felt that day. As we prepare for another surgery on May 20th my heart is warmed by knowing what to expect and knowing I have my prayer warriors out there praying for the most loved little boy I've ever known. Yesterday LeBonheur called to confirm payments for the surgery and it became a little more real to me. I'm still ok and ready, but just talking to them made it factual, for a lack of better words.
April 21, 2010 changed my little boys life for the better. The previous year, April 21, 2009 he was just about to be a glimmer in my eye. Today, April 21, 2011 Chip and I went to his school and celebrated Easter with his class. To me that seemed so fitting. It's Holy Week. The time that our Lord, Jesus Christ, died for us to receive a new life...a new beautiful life after death.
Happy Easter to everyone.
May you and your family count your blessings and give thanks to Him for them!