Saturday, October 27, 2012

Looking back...

We have always tried to prepare SS in advance for potentially upsetting events. But life is not scripted and sometimes you have to fly by the seat of your pants. On October 18, 2009, we said goodbye to Nana and Min in San Jose. We had a great weekend, were able to visit a crude version of our beloved Halloween Haunt (first year at Great America, lots of growing pains), JJ and his friend Tyler joined us. P reconnected with Nana and Grand Min, Sula visited a Children's Museum, P and I had alone time. It was an amazing time. Eleven days later I was wheeled to the OR with my precious guardian angel on the gurney with me. Diverticulitis, I was going to have a colon resection, a colostomy. The surgeon explained that the CT SCAN showed a tiny colon perforation, It would be an easy surgery, I would have a colostomy bag for a while. It would be OK. I recall P asking many questions, because that is P. But the one that cracked his voice was when he asked if it was permanent. The surgeon reassured him that it would not be, as that type of surgery occurs later in life. Lucky me, I managed to excell at getting violently ill.

I knew P was scared when he called Abuela. Calling his parents was perfectly normal, as for moral support. Abuela? If I was not in so much pain, worrying about SS and JJ, it would have alarmed me. When the surgeon explained the procedure, I just nodded. I'm thankful P is incredibly well versed in my medical woes. The surgeon could have said he was going to amputate my limbs, and I would have agreed, as long as it stopped the pain.   I signed every required form, after P, the one with his faculties intact, read and approved. 

Through all of this, SS was there, scared, wondering what was going on. I was angry at myself for the timing. There is no good timing for emergency surgery, but not on October 27, 2009. On that date, we reached a very important milestone.  It was our crossover date, SS had spent more days with us, than without us. I was looking forward to a yummy dinner, reminiscing, then lots of cuddles in bed. Instead, this was our reality...

Not that anyone cares, but there are posts in our archives about this. I was in pain I could not recall feeling before. But my guardian angel was with me. It was like having Mami and Papi watch over me and tell me it would be OK.  My angel stayed with me up to the OR. 

It was rough, like nothing we had ever experienced. I grew up walking through hospital and clinic halls, so this moment did not seem as out of place as it does now.  I think the caption on the post said that my smile was courtesy of Mr. Morphine Drip. It really was... We were saddened that SS's second Halloween would be spent in a hospital. But P made the best of it, he got SS's horns out, got her skull tutu on, and really made the best of our situation. 

It lead to SS's first stay in a US hospital. Glad that I was afflicted, not her.

SS wanted me to post this picture, no idea why.

SS's second Halloween home. Picture just outside the main entrance to the hospital.

Two of my three babies snoozing next to me.

That same night, draped by the Halloween blanket P gave me. She needed it more than me.

This is how I came home, with an open wound starting at my sternum and ending at my pubic bone. It hurt like nothing I've ever felt. But again, thanks to SS I had a lovely distraction.

Another distraction was my wound vac, and I so hated that contraption. When Abuela left and I was fending for myself with SS, I resented this thing. I crawled around to meet SS's needs. Not proud of that, but too much pain, and that stupid thing weighed me down. But that's the thing, less than humane circumstances but WE made it. I got around to meet SS's needs. We did it, my girl and I.

For the reversal surgery we had the gift of forethought, and prepared SS the best way we could. We talked abut how good it would be for Mama to have that bag gone and stoma closed.  We ordered the cutest scrubs and white coat with Dr. S embroidered. We did our best to let SS know that it was going to be OK.

Cutest doctor ever.

Before check in, P dropped by his work, because his co workers wanted to see Dr. S and her Baba. P is wearing his lab coat. I so love this picture. 

Dr. S used her working stethoscope to double check the intake nurse's vital assessments. I was so well cared for that day.

Then the nurse turned on a cartoon show and Dr. SS had to have a break.  

Same window, six months later, my baby and I.

Dr. S wearing her Snoopy scrubs, drinking juice, and watching a DVD on the bed next to Mama.

She spent the night and had her own breakfast plate the next morning.

My guardian angel was with me both times, and that has led to a lot of thinking. The thing about my surgeries is that they have lessened in terms of risk. The first one was awful, I was left opened until my surgeon could get help. Darn, no wonder it hurt so much. The second one entailed less, but still required a hospital stay. But now, my surgery is akin to having wisdom teeth pulled, simple outpatient, even with general anesthesia.

Then why are we preparing for this like it was serious? SS was there with me both times, going in, coming out, then recovery. We are blessed to have relatives and help, but I'm wondering about SS. Since this is so minor, what message are we sending by not having her before and after? SS is already showing signs of distress, why add to that? It is a simple outpatient surgery. SS can see me in at 6:00 a.m. (surgery at 8), go to school. and come back after school. I did not realize until today, that dropping me off at the hospital, picking me up after school, then coming home may be the best thing to do. It will be a sweet closure, we as a family come back home. Not sure P will be pleased, but I need my guardian angel as much as she needs me.

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