Some things are better left unknown beforehand. I had little idea how painful Marlie’s leg surgery would be. What we’d imagined to be an outpatient morning experience turned into two full days and two difficult nights in the hospital. It is alarming to see your child screaming in pain and not be able to do anything about it. Foreknowledge of this type of experience would only ruin the calm that comes before it and not really prepare us for its reality.
The day before the surgery, it was moved from the surgery center at the orthopedic office to St. Charles Hospital. The nurse who called didn’t know why it was moved. Although we made some vague guesses, it didn’t occur to us that it was because the surgeon wanted us to be able to stay in-patient to get the pain under control. Turns out it was a good move, but I’m glad we didn’t know.
We’re home now, after two nights in the hospital. It’s a little crazy to see our 11-year-old child given Morphine, Fentanyl, Vicodin, Valium, and Percocet. (Not all at the same time, of course.) And, still be screaming. It was the muscle spasms that were the problem, sort of a charlie horse mixed with broken, scraped out, grafted, and repaired bones. She is better now; still on pain meds, but getting around well, a big relief to her. As our friend Berge said the other day, “Trying to keep Marlie laying down resting would be like putting the Tasmanian Devil in a can. You might be able to do it, but something’s gonna get shredded.”
I mentioned in the last post that her surgeon, Dr. Ryan, had made a trip around the world with his wife, before children. And, he is thinking about taking his kids, who are close in age to ours, on a trip around the world. Then, the anesthesiologist arrived before the surgery, and who should it be but Dr. Parton, dad from another Bend family who made a trip around the world while we were kicking around Europe. (http://www.dearfamily.typepad.com/ ) His wife and I have compared notes and talked gear, packing, and cameras over coffees. We were surrounded by fellow wanderers.
We’ve re-scheduled our departure for the first week of December, making room here for follow up appointments and to be sure we’re beyond the big risk of infection. We’ll finish up with follow up x-rays and taking off the cast in South Africa. We’ll need to figure out some other things, like how to schlep all of our luggage with two fewer hands and one less back to carry things. Although there are many things we will not know before we get there, at least this did not happen on safari in a developing African nation like Tanzania.