At 5:00 in the morning the alarm goes off and I’m up. Not that I had been sleeping well anyway. I get up, get my coffee, and shower. I don’t shed a single tear.
I run into my husband in the kitchen, we share a brief hug and get on about the business of getting out of the house. As a way to handle his nerves he has made an appointment to take his truck into the shop about three blocks from the hospital while we are waiting. So we both take a car to the hospital. He takes Georgia, so I drive alone and cry the whole time.
We arrive right on time and check in at 6:00 am on the dot. There are Mothers and Father with children in footy pajamas everywhere. I find this equally sad and comforting. The staff is incredibly nice, one of the many perks of being at a Children’s Hospital. Not only are they great with children they are great with nervous parents. They hand hold us through the process of checking in and someone is with us nearly the whole time we wait. The registrar walks us up to the nurses station of the Children’s Day Surgery hall and from there our Nurse is ours and just ours. And Georgia is fascinated by her. Laughing and cooing and letting her do anything she needed to do with no fussing.
The little teeny tiny green hospital gown is ridiculously cute. Georgia acts like she knows it too as she smiles and talks and makes friends with anyone she can, including our beautiful 11 month old roommate who was there to get tubes put in her ears. Then all of the sudden the paperwork is done, the waiting is over and they walk us down to the OR waiting room. They let me carry my girl who is starting to notice that she’s getting hungry. Then at 7:30 on the nose the nurse comes to take her out of our my arms. With blurry eyes, I throw back her blanket and pull up her tiny green gown and kiss her pudgy little legs for the last time for 9 weeks. Then she takes her into her own arms, talking gently and friendly, and I say “I love you” with a shaky voice and she disappears behind the ‘magic’ doors that open and close on their own. As I fight the tears that are trying to stream down my face another lovely nurse walks us to the waiting area where all of the other nervous parents are waiting.
I sit with my three magazines and flip mindlessly through them, trying to focus on Oscar gowns and who is dating who to pass the time. When what I am really doing is counting the minutes on the waiting room clock. I need this procedure to last more than an hour, nearly an hour and a half really, in order to ensure that they are able to cast her. If they bring me back a child with no pink cast that means surgery. If my doctor walks into that room any sooner than an hour we will be back here in 3 months waiting for an open reduction to be done, and I am praying with my whole heart that this isn’t today’s outcome. My body is so wound up and nervous that I can’t even drink a cup of coffee in the waiting room.
One hour and twenty minutes later Dr. A comes bursting into the room in his normal busy and authoritative way. I am up on my feet before he calls out “Georgia?”. He has three filmy pieces of paper in his hands and says to the volunteer managing the place “Can we use this room?” My heart sinks a little bit as I walk right in leaving Daren to gather all of our stuff and take the second chair. The one bit of comfort I already have is that Daren is also a doctor and I know he will be able to see exactly what is on the pictures that we are about to see. Dr. A relieves us immediately but saying “We got her into a cast…”
First sigh of relief.
He then goes on to show us the pictures of her blue dye stained hip joints and gives the whole procedure an “OK”. He tells us that it is not the most satisfying reduction and that her hips didn’t give him that great clunk that he was hoping for. So we will head back to the Children’s Hospital for a CT scan on Wednesday to see how her hips are doing inside of her hot pink cast and that will finally give us the definitive answer to the surgery question.
He is still talking to Daren about the technicalities of the procedure when a nurse pops her head in and says “Would Georgia’s mom like to come back?” Again, I’m on my feet in a heartbeat and Daren and Dr. A both laugh. As we near the recovery room door I can hear Georgia throwing a massive fit. “That’s her!” I say with a smile.
In the recovery room she is placing all of the blame of what is happening to her squarely on the shoulders of the nurse who is trying to feed her a sugar water bottle. This is when I get my first peek and her hot pink accessory and its cute. I sit down in the rocking chair and try to nurse my baby who is as pissed off as we’ve ever seen her. The cast is heavy and awkward but manageable right from the start. She came out of anesthesia fighting mad. Mad like a tiger or a crazy women who’s just lost her shopping cart. And she was mad at the nurse.
We finally get her to take a bottle of breast milk and she doesn’t take her eyes off of the nurse, nor does she remove her scowl. Every time the nurse leans in to make eye contact or even just say “hi” Georgia screams at her. We all find this hysterical and the recovery room nurses make a competition out of who can make friends with our fiery little lady in pink.
They move us up to the pediatric floor where we are admitted. Georgia finishes her bottle while sitting in her Fathers lap, makes eye contact with me and smiles.
I exhale for the first time in days and I smile back. Daren and I smile at each other and the three of us know that we are going to be OK.
We are discharged at little after 6:00p m and head home.
This family is exhausted.
We all crash into sleep, for an hour an half at a time.