Thursday, the day before the neurosurgery, was busy for all three of us. I hadn’t planned it that way, but I was glad for it. It gave me less time to worry. John had office work and an afternoon meeting. I worked with Eli doing some last minute physical therapy and I rushed around the house doing laundry and other “important” stuff. We met up with John for a late afternoon appointment with Eli’s neurologist. John and Eli then went home to put the frozen pizzas in the oven for dinner and I went to JCPenney for the pair of jeans that I’ve desperately been trying to avoid having to buy.
Finally, after the pizzas were eaten and we were all ready to crash, I told Eli to climb into his bed. I told him that I had something I wanted to share with him. Throughout the day we had been receiving e-mails and comments on our website and Facebook. As I was able, I would copy them and put them into a Word document. By the end of the day I had compiled three pages, and that was only a portion of them! I printed the three sheets and brought them to Eli’s room. John and Eli listened as I read the encouraging words. So many people praying! Our day had been a whirlwind, but it ended with a beautiful time of peace. I will never forget it. Eli smiled and seemed to forget his worries.
We left the house Friday morning at 5:15 am and it sort of felt like we were heading into battle. But, we were heavily armed. The e-mails, texts, and comments continued to come in and lift us up! Even as we prayed, we knew that other people were praying as well! I knew that it was covered!
We arrived at the hospital and they were waiting for us! Without wasting any time, they took us back and got Eli ready for surgery. Dr. Ward came in to say hello and he asked Eli how he was feeling. Eli said he was a little nervous. Dr. Ward said, “I am too!” We all laughed. Ironically, we spent a lot of time laughing during that pre-surgery time. Our dear friends, Gwen and Shelton came in, and it was like a little party. Various medical people were in and out asking Eli questions. Eli had brought one of his stuffed Mickey Mouse toys with him and he told every person he talked to how he has been to Disney World three times. Everyone who came in contact with Eli knew all about it!
Eventually, it was time to say our “see you laters” and let Eli go. It was really nice to have our friends and Eli’s grandparents there. The hospital had given us a buzzer, like you get when waiting to be seated at restaurants, so that they could let us know when they had an update. When the surgery was over, John and I were allowed to go to the recovery area and be with him because they didn’t have a room ready for him yet. I couldn’t wait to see him! Walking through that hospital and seeing the things that I saw certainly brought back memories of our more traumatic time there in 2003. I was determined to keep those thoughts away. This was different, I kept telling myself. And it was. Eli was groggy, but awake. He didn’t feel much like talking, but we could see that he was ok. John and I hugged him and loved on him a bit and then sat down to wait with him until he could go to his room. Eventually, a doctor who had been in the operating room came and talked to us. He told us that 2 of the 3 shunt parts had been clogged. They were able to replace them and everything went really well. Finally, I felt like I was able to breathe again. It was as if I had been “holding my breath” ever since we found out he needed the surgery. I told John that I wanted to go outside and just scream to release it!
Once in his room and reunited with his grandparents, Eli was pretty alert and ready to be done with it all. He enjoyed having a few visitors and rested for a little while. His primary focus was on having the required head CT (to check that everything looked good) and then being released on Saturday. He watched the clock on the wall. A lot. This is not unusual for him, but it prevented him (and me) from sleeping much at all on Friday night. Sleeping (or not sleeping) overnight in the hospital really brought back the memories. I’m so thankful, it was only one night! The original plan that had been shared with us was that Eli would have the CT done in the morning and be released by noon. It became obvious that that was not going to happen and we repeatedly had to explain to Eli that hospital time is just different. Poor guy just could not rest or do anything because he was entirely focused on getting out of there. In retrospect, we might have been better off telling him that he might be there for several days and then letting him be pleasantly surprised by getting released early! Despite his dislike of “hospital time”, he continued to delight all of the nurses and doctors who worked with him. He even had an impact on his roommate, Vincent, and his mom.
It was late afternoon when the CT finally happened. “Shortly” afterwards we received word that Eli was going to be released just as we had hoped! Eli’s words: “Finally!!!” So, by dinnertime we were back home and Eli wanted to get in his bed and arrange his stuffed animals adding in some new additions. I think he was then able to breathe his sigh of relief. For him, it wasn’t over until he got home.
Next week will be interesting as we have follow-up appointments and hopefully see some of the effects of the successful surgery start to show. We were told that it may take a few days to a week for all of the excess fluid that had built up in his brain to completely drain out.
Words cannot express our gratitude for your prayers. They work. We felt them. And we are forever grateful.
If you would, please continue to pray that recovery goes well and that the new shunt would function properly. This morning, Eli had a headache which resulted in some vomiting, but by lunchtime he seemed to have recovered.
But as for me, I will sing about Your power. I will shout with joy each morning because of Your unfailing love. For You have been my refuge, a place of safety in the day of distress. O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. – Psalm 59:16-17