Sunday, February 24, 2013

Malia's 1st Surgery

We knew it would be a difficult day.  And it was.  But, we felt God's peace and your prayers every second of the day.  I cannot say enough wonderful things about Shriner's.  Every single person that we came into contact with was so helpful, kind, and encouraging.  The receptionists, the nurses, the cafeteria workers, the doctors, everyone was amazing.  They made it okay for me to hand over my baby and go sit in the surgical waiting room. 

When we checked in at 7am the first nurse that we encountered made me think we were going to have some trouble.  You see, Malia is still very wary of Asian women...and I was afraid she was going to flip out.  The nurse was just as sweet as she could be and fortunately, Malia didn't seem to mind her.  She let her check her heart and blood pressure and didn't hide her face in my shoulder.  Then we got her all gowned up.  Boy, are those little bitty hospital gowns cute!  Malia then passed the time playing with an ipad that they have available to the patients.  She was pretty pleased.

After a while a male nurse came to get us to show take us down to pre-op.  This was great, because Malia usually prefers guys.  I was able to ask him who would be with her when she started to wake up and he told me the name of the nurse...then I had to ask him a question and explain myself quickly so that he wouldn't think I was terribly racist.  I figured that given Malia's nervousness about Asian women that I'd better be sure that the first person she saw waking up from surgery did not resemble orphanage staff complete with white coat!  He was so kind and understanding and assured me that the nurses working today were not Asian. 

Malia got to choose the color of her casts.  The nurse thought she might be too young to pick, but when she saw the samples she pointed right at the purple!  We were not allowed to go back into the surgical suite to be with her when they put her under.  However, they gave her a sedative so that she'd be all loopy, goofy, and not remember.  She was sooooo silly.  We couldn't put her down because she couldn't have walked if her life depended on it...not that she agreed with us on that matter!  Daddy put her on his shoulders to distract her. 

Dr. Moran came in and went over the procedure with us and answered any questions that we had.  He marked her with a purple pen so that there'd be no question as to which limbs they'd be operating on.  This doctor has a wonderful bedside manner.  He was great with Tim and I as well as Malia.  It made it easier to hand her over knowing that the best of the best was working on her.  In fact, I had to tell Tyler this the night before.  He was pretty worried about his baby sister.  The great big crocodile tears broke my heart. He asked me, "What if the doctor messes up? Or doesn't do a good job?"  It was really nice to be able to say with confidence that Dr. Moran was a VERY, VERY good doctor and if he wasn't, I wouldn't let him touch Malia. 

When we were finished talking to the doctor and had signed all of the paperwork it was time to say goodbye. We hugged and kissed our baby and told her we loved her and handed her off to her nurse.   Did I mention how much I loved the nurses?  This woman took her and started pointing out the animal painting all over the walls she turned her around while we walked out the door.  Malia didn't even notice we were gone as we peeked at her disappearing down the corridor.  The same nurse told me she held her until she was completely asleep and that she never shed a tear.  It was hard to walk out of the room and down to the waiting room.  But, I did it.  And I held it together.  The only way I did was by God's grace.

Tim handled the wait the way engineers do.  He sat there and read a very boring book on management with highlighter in hand!  I on the other hand, was too keyed up to concentrate and stalked facebook.  Surgery lasted about 3 hrs, and Dr. Moran came to tell us how she did.  He was very pleased with how it all went.  He repaired half of the band on her leg as planned.  He removed the nubbin from her right hand and he also deepened the space between her thumb and index finger to give her a better thumb grip.  He was able to separated her middle finger from her ring finger on her left hand.  The best part of all of this was that he was able to take extra skin from her leg band and use it for grafting on her hands rather than taking extra grafts from her groin as originally planned.  One less ouchie. 

About 20 minutes later the nurse came to get us and took us to recovery.  She was just starting to open her eyes.  THIS was the hard part.  She saw us and started to cry.  Pathetic little wimpering cries.  They got all of her cords and tubes situated and handed her to me in the rocking chair.  Then the real crying began.  Her little voice was all scratchy and dry from having been intubated.  And the crying was a word...OW!  Hearing this from a child with a high tolerance for pain nearly did us in.  Both of us joined in with the crying.  She was so brave but, so little and helpless!  The nurses acted quickly, though.  Malia was given morphine in her I.V. immediately and she began to relax a bit again.  We gave her some sips of water and that helped a little.  She cried and refused the orange popsicle. 

After a while we were allowed to carry her back to her room.  I climbed into the bed and held her in my arms.  It was lunchtime and we were all starving.  The nurses got us all settled and told us that we were welcome to put Malia in the wagon and take her down to the lunch room to get our food and bring it back up.  They got the wagon all padded up and situated Malia with a pillow and her pink kitty blankie and we headed down the hall.  The nurses were wise.  Malia did not care for her room.  She was much more relaxed and at ease walking the halls in her wagon.  She ate half a cup of homemade chicken noodle soup for us.  By the time we'd finished she was upset again and we put her back in her "chariot" to go for a ride.  This is how we passed the rest of the afternoon, roaming the halls. 

Before we left, Dr. Moran came back to check on us.  He also shocked us by saying that we could let Malia WALK on her cast!  He wasn't concerned about the tension on her leg, and that she couldn't hurt herself.  Our drive home was peaceful and she slept the whole way.  When we walked in the house, the big kids swarmed around her to give kisses and hugs.  They were relieved that she was home and alright.  However, they didn't get the SMILE out of her...that was for Grammy :)  It was so good to see her smile after such a rough day!  And Grammy was a welcome sight to mommy after such a difficult day as well.  She had cleaned up everything and done ALL of the laundry, AND had dinner in the oven!  Then our friends, the Timperlys, from church showed up with a homemade lasagna for us to pop in the oven later in the week.  We are so blessed to have such awesome friends and family.

The first couple days, we gave Malia her pain medication every 4 hours.  We set alarms during the night so that we could stay ahead of the pain. I also slept on an extra twin mattress on the floor next to her bed for  couple of nights.  She was a handful during the day...she was crabby, antsy, and extremely frustrated with the casts on her arms and leg.  She kept telling us, "Off!" as she pointed at the casts.  She wanted her pop beads opened to play with and then she cried when she realized that she couldn't put them together with her hands wrapped.  She perked up a bit when I made her some necklaces to put on. 


By the second day after surgery, Grandpa came to town.  Grammy and I left for the afternoon to find some cast friendly clothing for Malia.  When we came back, Malia was walking all over the place.  Mommy was paranoid about letting her do so...I would've waited a while.  But, daddy's brain works differently than mine.  His take on it was, "The doctor that works at a CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, said that she would not hurt herself."  So, he and Grandpa kept an eye on her and let her start walking slowly.  It turned out to be a very good decision.  She was so much happier being able to move! 

We are now 5 days post surgery and Malia is nearly back to normal.  She isn't even needing the pain meds that often! In fact she didn't need anything until 6pm today!  She is sleeping fairly well.  She is walking, climbing, and running.  Her appetite is huge. You'd be amazed at what she can do with her ring finger and pink sticking out of her cast!  The biggest challenge we are facing right now is keeping her off of the stairs.  Nothing stops her.  She is one tough cookie.  We are so thankful that God orchestrated Malia's adoption and her medical treatment.  She is a miracle and an incredible gift.  Thank you so much for all of the prayers, concern, and support.

1 comment:

Jan said...

Hi Hilary. We haven;t "talked" in a while. I am so glad Malia's surgery went so well. She has really filled out and is just precious. We are thru translation and hope to have LOA in March - early March please!!! Can't wait to have little Jun/ Dawson in my arms.