Both Pat and I had a sense of eerie calm as we headed out on the hour drive to the hospital at 5:15am this morning. Upon arrival, we were issued badges and took our place in line at the all ready booming hospital, still feeling calm and collected.
Escorted back to the pre-op room, we were handed a package of sterile wipes and a gown and slippers that were about 4 sizes too big. It is then that the suspicious thought occurred to me, if this is a Children's Hospital, then why do they not have properly fitting hospital garb.? It was a fleeting thought, as about 4 nurses came in and showed us the highest level of care and concern for our Treya, who by this time seemed to be realizing that something was going on.
Once the nurses and anesthesiologist learned of our story and concern for having known Treya only a little over a month before having to submit her to this, a true betrayal in our trust, they took over in ways that made our stay today the best experience ever. To begin with, Treya turned on the charm, winning them over with blown kisses and bowing with the sign of namaste to them all. Then they had me give her a tasty medicine that instantly relaxed her, eventually moving through a happy state of drunk to near sleeping. They typically don't give this as they try to avoid extra medications and this particular one can make waking up in recovery take longer. We were also faced with a bit more risk, as we have no medical history to know how Treya responds to medications. In the end, they claim it erases her memory from the time she started to relax until we were joined after the procedure, which was worth the extra time and effort.
Handing over our precious bundle brought the first welling of tears from both Pat and I. Every fiber of my being is saying that we're doing the right thing, but still the emotional upheaval was about more than we could bare. Our last glimpse of her as the walked toward the operating room, reminded us of that stare we saw at our first meeting and in most of the photos we have accumulated during our wait - a cute child, yes, but wearing that look of lifelessness with empty eyes and a stressed brow, which is so different than the child we have come to know in the last month.
We found our place in a peaceful area for the two hour wait, spending our time playing Scrabble on the ipad. Concentration being less than par, we could only come up with words like "God" and "Hope", while appropriate, they do not score very high toward one's overall score. Soon the BZZZZ of our hospital pager was sounding letting us know that the procedure was over and we could talk with the doctor.
Body language telling the whole story, Dr. Freidrick arrived 20 minutes later wearing a smile and looking rather fresh, not even a drop of perspiration on his scrubs. That is when he gave us the good news and the bad news. The good news is that when releasing her pinky he found way more finger there than expected. The two middle fingers had pulled that pinky inward making it impossible to know how long it would be. To our surprise, her new finger is nearly as long as her index finger. With the length comes a need for more skin grafting, making the separation of the two inner fingers too risky at this time...the bad news. Dr. Freidrick felt that the blood supply to the inner two fingers would be compromised had he released them today, but is hopeful that they too, will become significant digits for her when we complete this procedure, hopefully in a couple of months. For now, she has her 'border" digits, which is a huge improvement.
Soon thereafter, we spotted our tiny jelly bean, snoozing away on the rolling baby gurney in her folded body position, sporting a cast from fingertip to armpit - green for St. Patrick's Day and a patch on her belly where the skin to cover her new finger was harvested. They encouraged her to open her eyes and once she saw me standing there she reached out her arms, heavy with sleep and called for momma!
At two, she has never been a huge cuddle bug, so I drank in the weight of her heavily drugged and groggy body into my chest, synchronizing the rise and fall of our breaths. We were draped with a warm blanket and although the nursing staff encouraged us to slowly wake her, I could have stayed right there all day, again becoming overwhelmed with emotion. Eventually, she managed to drink in a cup of water and sucked down her first Popsicle, staining her dry lips dark purple from the sweet juices enhancing it's grape flavor.
Once somewhat alert, we began to get Treya dressed. It is then that we realized the size of her cast would not fit into any of the outfits I had hoped would work. I am still at a loss as to how we are going to clothe her, but we manged to send her home partially dressed, which was of no concern to her in her sluggish state. At home, the couch was home to Trey for the next several hours as she snoozed away - the most still I've ever seen her for any length of time.
Now with a full belly, an outfit that fits and pain meds on board, she is sleeping soundly again, hopefully for the night. This came, not without much complaining (screaming) because we would not take the cast off, and a rare opportunity to rock-me-until-I-fall-asleep. As I held her in the darkness of my bedroom tonight, awaiting slumber to take over, I could see how much this girl has given into her fate, receiving us as her parents. It is an amazing feeling. Today that little girl gained a finger, and that is pretty darned cool! Thanks, Children's Hospital.
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