It is 3:30 in the morning and I wish I could explain why I am unable to sleep, because my body would really love that. Drew had his 2nd surgery in 9 months today and it has been a really long day. For those unaware of his condition, I will explain while also trying to be brief. It began with an abnormal result from a school hearing test and escalated to visits with the Pediatrician followed by more tests and a CT Scan at the hands of a Pediatric ENT. We discovered that Drew had what is called a congenital cholesteatoma, a benign growth within his ear that required a mandatory surgery to remove it. That was back in August, when the 2-3 hour scheduled operation took nearly 6 hours. We knew that we would be coming back for a 2nd surgery within 6-9 months to make sure it had not grown back, which they tend to do. Hence today’s surgery.
There’s nothing quite as difficult as seeing your child miserable, and so round 1 of this surgery took a significant toll on my emotional resources. I have to say that round 2 (today) was a little better since the sights and sounds of that environment were a little more familiar. Still, there’s nothing quite like a Children’s Hospital to make you realize how good you have it. One observation: I floundered a bit when trying to find my way to the cafeteria while other parents seemed to breeze through the hallways, pushing their kids in their wheelchairs and navigating a place that was all too familiar. Another observation: As a parent I have been known to point out en exciting thing or two from the car window such as, “Hey look! Hot air balloons!” or, “Check it out guys! A purple car with painted flames!” So I was humbled a little today as I watched a couple wheel their son to the window and with similar animation exclaim, “Look! Trees!”
But the action that took place in our waiting area trumped it all, and teetered on the edges of both uncomfortable and touching. It was impossible not to notice the huge black pastor who sat across from us reading his Bible and balancing a footlong wooden cross on his shoulder. He seemed to be counseling a woman who sat next to him, and I tried to respect as much privacy as exists in a large waiting room. But with James Earl Jones voice quality, I was unable to avoid hearing what this man had to say and soon learned that a member of his congregation, a YOUNG member of his congregation, had been hit by a train that morning and they were in the process of amputating one of the boys limbs. Oy. I heard him counsel another woman who appeared, with a small golden cross dangling from the corner of her glasses, not to talk to the press. Then slowly but surely, more and more members of this congregation started to show up to offer support. Each time a new member arrived, the pastor greeted them with a hug and began to cry into their shoulder.
Soon after a small gathering had assembled, this pastor asked another woman to lead them in prayer, offering her counsel before doing so. (At least I think that’s what he was doing, but I was pretty busy giving them their privacy. Heh.) But not until he set up the “altar” (he put the cross on the coffee table and laid the open scriptures in front of it) did the prayer begin. They all held hands, and chanted their prayer out loud.
The doctor came out to give them an update, and I gasped a little in horror when he mentioned “getting [the boy] back on his feet”. I turned to Cory and said, “Oh my gosh, did he just say that?” Cory explained that they had been talking about a prosthetic leg, and then I felt better. I guess I had missed that part when I was busy giving them their privacy. Anyway, by the time we left an entire section of this waiting room was holding only members from this congregation who came to offer prayer and support. Again, I was touched by the love and concern they seemed to have for one another.
At the end of the day we got the best case scenario outcome that we had hoped for with Drew – no more cholesteatoma grew back, which means they were able to implant the prosthesis of inner ear bones that had to be removed the first time, stitch him up and call it good. We were very happy. Drew is home and we are taking good care of him. Now I just have to worry about the NO PHYSICAL ACTIVITY he is supposed to endure for the next six weeks. Have I mentioned his love of all things lightsabers? Keep the prayers comin’, it's not over yet.