The surgery is a week away.
An expert surgeon, one of just a few in the country who does this procedure, will sever the membranes in my 15 year old son’s chest from his sides, slide a curved metal bar through the opening, and then flip it, immediately popping his sternum out of his lungs and heart. Sounds simple. Takes just about two-three hours.
Pectus Excavatum Repair, is its name. The “Nuss” procedure is “mildly invasive” compared to the other way of doing it, which has them break a number of ribs and remove cartilage and open up the chest cavity completely. Brutal stuff, either way.
“Mildly invasive” is a relative term… it’s also widely known as “the most painful surgery” done on kids in children’s hospitals across the country.
And this is my second son to have the surgery, but with it, hopefully, he’ll be freed from the chest pain and decreased lung capacity. His heart will cease being squashed and perhaps will be normal again also. His life will be longer.
One week from today.
And this time, I know what we’re getting into. So does he. This is the second child in our family to undergo this operation.
But nothing can prepare a mom for the horrors of watching your child in excruciating pain when a mistake caused him to be without pain medication for several hours. And nothing can prepare you for dealing with a nurse who is trying to steal your son’s pain relief. I will confess, I am not looking forward to the experience, and I’m praying mountains of movement in the heavenlies because I don’t want my boy to suffer.
And I know he’s going to.
It’s safe to say, I’m battling fear.
But I also know the Truth. I know Christ personally. And I know what He did for my first-born during his hospital stay.
At one point, the nurse and I had disagreement about the pain medications. We would be switching off the epidural block to oral narcotics.
The nurse insisted he would be receiving half of what I thought several doctors had told me.
I asked him to check with the doctor again anyway before we started switching. He rolled his eyes at me and said, “Fine,” and left the room.
And my heart caught in my throat with a dreadful realization… “Oh! God, he could just lie to me about checking! And I couldn’t do anything about it! God, what do I do? I need Your help, I don’t know what to do!” Arrow prayers launched skyward, fists clenched, eyes to the ceiling.
I looked down and saw a new doctor walk in. He smiled.
Green scrubs. “Do you need anything? Is there anything I can do for you? I’m Doctor (I don’t remember).” And he shook my hand. It was warm. He was easy on the eyes.
I looked at him and said, “Yes, yes, there is. I thought they were supposed to give him xyz amount of the oral meds, but the nurse is saying it’s half of that. Am I wrong?”
“No, no, you’re right. I’ll see to it immediately. Don’t be afraid, okay?”
He squeezed it with both of his, and I nearly drowned in his deep green eyes. Not attraction, mind you, but something. Then, he smiled, turned, and was gone. I don’t even remember if I thanked him, but I do remember that I felt so very grateful, safe, and, well, just really SAFE when he was there.
Three minutes go by and then the nurse comes in, pointing at his clipboard. “I have new orders, they just faxed them over. Turns out you were right. Your son will start those this afternoon.”
The nurse left.
I walked out into the hall to the nurse’s station.
I asked, “Is this where the faxes come in?”
“Did nurse XYZ receive orders here recently for my son?”
No. Nothing had come through on fax for hours.
“Do all the faxes for patients on this floor come through here?”
Yes they do. “There’s no other place orders would be faxed in for my son?”
Puzzled look. No, there’s not.
“Was Doctor (I don’t remember his name now) by here?”
Who? She hasn’t seen any doctors come by – they’re all together on rounds, but they should be back in an hour or so.
“Have you been here for the last ten minutes?”
Yes. Is there something I needed? A concern I had?
“Yes, I want nurse XYZ be taken off my son’s care team.”
No problem. Knowing nod. Hmmm… Some details worked out. (this was the same nurse that let his epidural run out – I was done here)
Later, I thought about the doctor, the one who “just appeared” the second after I prayed.
The one who should have been on rounds.
The one I never saw before or again after he appeared in my son’s room.
He was the only doctor I ever saw alone – everyone else always came in the group of three to five doctors on rounds during my son’s eight day hospital stay.
The one who held my hand with both of his and I still remember how warm, strong, dry, safe it felt… and his eyes…
He was there exactly when I needed him, then gone.
And so today, as I’m trying hard to focus on marriage and writing, and ministry work, keeping busy to keep fear at bay, I also choose to remember what God has done in the past for me. He is faithful. He is good. He loves. He IS love.
I can remember those things, or I can choose fear. I choose today to follow Philippians 4:8 “Whatever is good, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”
I know pain and hardship is coming, but today I choose to focus on the Creator instead of His creations. I choose worship by taking my thoughts captive, and not giving way to fear.
I’ll probably have to choose this a thousand times a day for the next three weeks, but He who is in me is greater than he who is against me.
And He loves me.
For the Bible tells me so.
Glad we are on the journey together! I found out last week that something like 12K women are doing Respect Dares this summer in groups and online – I’m sorry I didn’t write about marriage for you today, I’m a little distracted with the surgery. It’s therapy for me to write during hard things, so I’ll probably post during the next week in an effort to not feel alone at the hospital with him, and share prayer requests. He’s okay with me doing that, and I hope you are, too.
Love to you,
What about you? Have you had an encounter with someone who may have been an angel? Or witnessed something miraculous that you’d like to share?