It's not very often that one actually looks forward to a doctor's appointment, but today was different. Today was Drew's final post-op appointment. The one where the doctor looks in his ear, examines the healing process of the incision, and concludes with en emphatic mandate to the effect of, "You're now free to swim, jump, bounce, swing your lightsabers with kick-butt-jedi-force, and move mountains if you wish! You're healed! And here's your Spider Man stickers for the trouble."
Ever since Drew left the hospital he has inquired about this day. "What day is my appointment? How many more days until my appointment? When I'm done with that appointment am I good to go (his actual words)? After my appointment can we go to Water World? To the pool? Can I play swords with my friends? Can I run in the sprinklers? Can I FINALLY take karate?" We've had a lot riding on this appointment. He has sat out for twelve weeks of recess this year because of his two surgeries. He has attended two birthday parties in the last couple of weeks where he obediently declined participation in certain activities because he is aware of what is at stake if he pushes too far. He has worried more than a 7-year-old should have to.
So yes, we were excited about today. Ever since receiving the good news from his last surgery that no cholesteatoma had grown back, this was potentially our last "real" visit. The doctor came in, Drew smiled a knowing smile at this doctor he now shares a rapport with, and after smiling back and joking with him a little he got out his tools and set about the routine of inspection before granting my son his well deserved freedom. "Let's get a closer look under the microscope," he suggested. I tensed, but rationally reserved any concerns. He was quiet while utilizing the microscope and then he sat back, raised his eyes to mine and announced, somewhat defeatedly, "There's a hole in his eardrum." I stared at him with a look that begged for elaboration and then he continued, "And it's going to require another surgery to fix it." I didn't hear anything after that. I tried to ask the right questions, but all I could think of was the little boy behind me who had buried his head into the low of my back, trying to hold in his cries but giving it away with the jolt of his torso at each attempt.
It's been a few hours now, and he seems to have adjusted to the idea. I wish I could say the same for me.