I may have shared this idea before, but it's come up again: Everyone should have really hard trials so they can feel what it's like to be lifted up through prayer, to be given God's power to do hard things, and to see God working through the earthly angels around you. I keep feeling so happy by all the service being done to us but then I feel guilty being given so much when I know that other moms could use this service too. Maybe the message is we should all serve each other more even if our kids haven't just had surgery. The receiving end of service feels so good.
Day 1 post-op was ok. Evan woke up well, but was still groggy all day. People would come in to check on him and he would say, "I'm going to have surgery and then I'll be in a wheelchair." They would look confused and I would clarify to Evan--You already HAD surgery. That's why you have those casts... He was kept well-stocked with pain meds and didn't have much of an appetite. He seemed to be most bothered by having to keep his legs elevated. He kept scrunching them up near his chest which would push the pillows away and put pressure on his heels. Getting comfortable was tough. He really wanted to be in his wheelchair (which he didn't even have yet). We watched shows, tried (unsuccessfully) to nap, talked to a lot of doctors and nurses, ordered dinner, gave him leg rubs with lotion. Seth had a really hard time being in the room without destroying something or doing something dangerous, so we kept rotating which parent would take him for a walk or go play downstairs while the other stayed with Evan. I don't remember what happened at night to set Evan off, but he was mad and grumpy and uncomfortable and exhausted. Isaiah managed to find a wagon and Evan got to take a quick ride around the floor before bed. Isaiah drew the short straw and stayed with Evan through the night. Seth and I slept like angels. Isaiah sent me videos of Evan singing along to Moana, a little bit happier than when I had left him.
|Note that any smile pictures for the first 48 hours were forced. He was most likely mad before and after the picture was taken.|
2. Remove the drain bags from his legs. After surgery, the injury swells. To ease the swelling, in addition to elevating the legs, the doctor put a little hole in the skin above his incisions and placed a catheter-type tube inside, with a pouch at the end. These pouches were collecting blood that would otherwise be pooling around the incision. It was disgusting, actually, because the bags were just hanging outside of his casts. In the morning the doctor came in and simply pulled the tubes out. They had done their job. Check!
3. We were initially told Evan needed to meet with PT/OT before leaving, but the doctor said they would basically be useless and he didn't need that. Thank you! Check!
4. Get a wheelchair. With having surgery scheduled for over a month, you'd think that getting a rental wheelchair would have already been arranged, right? This was UCSF's error. They didn't reach out to a wheelchair rental place until the day before surgery, which is not enough time to get one delivered to our house. We hoped, then, that they would send us home with a hospital wheelchair. Turns out they didn't have one his size. They better thank their lucky stars that I brought a stroller, anticipating that might happen. Check!
5. Remove IV. Pack up. Head out! We were out of there at 11 am. Earliest discharge we've ever experienced. While I was grateful for this, it did make me start to feel like, "Wait, are you sure you don't need to keep him on monitors a little longer? Are you sure we can take care of him on our own?!"
Seth fell asleep in the car before we pulled out of the UCSF parking lot. Evan took a short nap, but as his pain medicine wore off he started complaining that his legs hurt. It was a bit of a rough drive after that, trying to distract him from the pain. He was mad. He was hurting. And we didn't have anything to give him until we got home. I started thinking, "What did we get ourselves into?!" At home we quickly gave him Tylenol, then picked up Oxycodone at the pharmacy and gave him that as well. Someone from our ward brought dinner that night and we rented Coco. Evan slept like a baby on a trundle bed next to ours.
On Sunday he was a new person. Honestly, if we had a wheelchair I would have taken him to church. We started spacing out his pain meds as needed. We all napped. Someone brought dinner again.
On Monday someone watched the boys so I could go grocery shopping. Our friends came to our house for play group since we couldn't go out without a wheelchair. We started giving Evan short moments without his legs elevated. He laid on the floor and experimented with crawling. I'm starting to get used to this whole people bringing us dinner thing.
On Tuesday someone babysat Seth so he wouldn't get to stir-crazy and so I could spend one-on-one time with Evan. He is still taking daily naps and eating like a bird at this point but he said he's not in pain and so he stopped taking all pain medicine. I was surprised when I went out to check the mail and found a wheelchair delivery truck in front of my house. Finally!!
Wed, Thurs, Fri brought the new experiences of taking the wheelchair to a store, library story time, grocery shopping (I don't recommend doing this without a second adult), a park, and a restaurant.
So far, one week in, things have been overall easier than expected. I think some reasons why are: 1) The casts are below the knee, 2) He is not experiencing pain--at most he says his legs are tickly, 3) Friends have brought crafts, books, activity bags, food, letters, and 4) Fasting and prayer. As far as life in a wheelchair goes, I think it's easier when we know it's temporary, when I can still easily carry Evan in and out of his chair, and when his chair is small enough to pack up and carry on my own. Also, people are really kind and often offer to help.