We took Sarah to the hospital on Wednesday morning. She had to be there at 6:10. They took us in the pre-op room and I changed her into a hospital gown. We were so nervous. The nurse and doctors came and talked to us and then it was time for her to go to the operating room. Rich went with her until she fell into her magical sleep. They let her chose a flavored chap stick to rub on the mask so that it smelled nice as she breathed. She chose watermelon.
Her surgery ended up taking 8 hours. Rich and I went to a waiting room. I walked in with my mind numb and my eyes hot with tears. I wanted to hide away from the other parents. Rich and I hugged, he was crying, too. He had a hard time leaving Sarah behind and went back to kiss her one more time before he left here there so small and dear.
How did we wait 8 long hours? The time went by so slowly but as I think back on it, it is unclear in my mind how we passed the time. We sat right next to the waiting room phone and I answered it on the first ring every time the nurses called to update the parents. So we heard from the O.R. on a regular basis.
I also walked and walked, through the halls and up and down flights of stairs.
I went to the bathroom over and over…being nervous always makes my heart beat faster and my bladder want to empty more frequently.
Each time I washed my hands, I looked myself in the eyes and spoke words of affirmation to myself. “You are strong, you are so strong.” “Jesus is with you and Sarah is going to be fine.” “Everything is okay.” “Be positive.” It felt good to purposefully replace negative thinking with positive words.
I went into the Meditation room where there was a book to write your words of prayer, and Bibles to read (a Torah, 4 books of Mormon, and a Hebrew Old Testament). I prayed in there with my face in my hands. I wrote in the book the words to “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”
I sat by my husband who was working on his laptop, and colored. There was one other mom in the waiting room who also colored. It helped to keep me calm.
I watched other people.
There was hot chocolate, coffee, and graham crackers in the waiting room. I had no appetite but I forced myself to eat and drink. Rich and I ate lunch in the cafeteria. I don’t remember what I ate…….
And finally she was out of the OR. As we left to speak to the doctor one of the dads said “But who is going to answer the phone for us now?” And we laughed.
Sarah didn’t have three large kidney stones, she had about 10 smaller ones. It took the doctor several hours to remove them. They were so soft that they broke into pieces as she tried to get them out.
They did another test to see if her kidney had any abnormal areas but it was a perfectly normal kidney. We are all mystified about how she ended up with so much stone burden.
Then it was time to see Sarah and I could not wait. The nurse had me get right in bed with her. She was white and groggy, and a little weepy.
We put a cool washcloth on her forehead and helped her eat a bite of slushy which she promptly threw back up. She played a little bit on an iPad with shaky hands. After a while, the entire bed with both of us on it was wheeled down the hall, up the elevator, and into her room where she would end up spending three nights in.
I was so happy that night, the burden of anxiety of several months in anticipating this surgery was gone. I took this picture at 1 in the morning, when Sarah was wide awake watching The Poler Express.
She spent most of the day on Thursday in bed. She was in pain and had a lot of trouble getting to the bathroom. She didn’t want to move and she had no appetite. She was on an IV for fluids, antibiotics, and pain medication. That night she ran a temperature of 103. She was coughing. The euphoria of having the surgery over began to wear off a little.
By the next morning, Friday, we were both emotional messes. Rich had gone home the night before and went to work that day. I was so worried about the fever and just the whole experience in general and plus no sleep……it was so hard to stay cheerful. It broke my heart when Sarah was crying and she said, “Mama, why are you crying?” I felt like my emotions were making her feel worse.
The nurse was so wonderful. She talked to me and said that Sarah needed to get out of bed and that we would both feel better if we got out of the four walls of that room and away from bed and the idea of “sickness”. I hadn’t even thought of that because with Sarah’s pain I didn’t want her to do anything but rest…..which is not what the doctor and nurses wanted their patient doing….I stepped away for a few minutes to clear my head and compose myself. I went down to the cafeteria and ate breakfast (it was after 1o) and I sat and quietly cried as I ate. I made some coffee and took it back upstairs and found a young lady with Sarah, talking to her cheerfully. She was going to wheel Sarah down to Radiology so she could have an X-ray on her abdomen to make sure the stent was in place.
(As she was spiking a fever, she had to have several extra tests to see if she had infection; a urine test, blood test, chest X-ray, and abdomen X-ray)
She pushed Sarah in a wheelchair as I walked along not able to talk because I was still holding back tears and felt so worn out.
After the X-ray, the young lady (I cannot remember her name) took us to see the Family Resource room and that is where Sarah and I both began to cheer up and believe once again that life was worth living. 🙂
There was so much to do in the room, it was clean and bright and very kid-friendly. There was an iPod table, books, computers, and a big beautiful fish tank. Sarah got out of the wheelchair and walked around (slowly, and sort of bent over because her tummy was sore).
She perked up and began chattering just like the Sarah we know and love.
We went back to the room so she could get her next dose of medicine and Rich surprised us by walking into the room….he spent the whole rest of the day with us.
The two of us took Sarah to the cafeteria to eat lunch. She ate a whole taco and it was an absolute joy to watch her eat and say yum over her food again.
And then she did more playing!
That afternoon she also went to an art time on a different floor–her Dad took her while I went for a little walk and then colored in the 6th floor waiting room as an older lady slept in a chair next to me.
And then! Oh joy, I was able to go home to sleep that night and Rich stayed with Sarah.
I went back early on Saturday morning….I was there by 6:30. Rich had to leave to coach wrestling. Sarah had spiked another fever and at first there was talk of having her stay another night.
In the meantime, we had to leave the room again to keep our spirits up. Sarah didn’t go in a wheelchair this time, she walked on her own two feet. The nurse disconnected her from the IV and it was nice to go along without having to push around an iv pole. She insisted on pushing all the buttons for me.
Her poor hair was a rat’s nest. I hadn’t combed it because she was so grumpy in the days after surgery that I knew that she wouldn’t tolerate me messing around with her hair. But as soon as we got back to the family resource room and she was playing on the computer, I sat behind her and oh so very gently combed her hair until it was finally smooth again. It took a long time.
She strung a few beads and then got too tired.
She played with puzzles.
And the giant iPad. We were the only ones in the room.
We went back to our room to rest and the nurse came to take out her “tubes”. She asked if we were ready to leave and go home and we both smiled and said yes, we were. So discharge was underway and as soon as he could, Rich drove back to the hospital to get us.
We left with the knowledge that she would probably spike another fever that night, but we had prescriptions to fill and a phone number to call with any questions. The tests they had done to double check on infection all came back clear…urine, blood, lungs, tummy. The doctor ended up deciding that the fevers were probably from surgery itself, and bacteria going into her system from the stones being disturbed.
The sisters were reunited, we ate ice cream on the way home.
The brothers were happy to have Sarah home again. Caleb had spent some of his own Christmas money on a few little gifts for Sarah and before I knew it, she had gone all the way up the stairs to play in her room with her devoted brother.
She slept in our room that night and although she did wake up upset and confused, she didn’t spike a fever after all.
She had a sponge bath on Sunday morning and it was so good for her to get the hospital smell off and her hair washed good and clean again.
I braided her hair and when I left the room to get something, she turned to her dad and said, “I look pretty…don’t I?” Yes, you do, Sarah.
I took this picture last night when Rich and I were reading in bed.
Today has been good…she’s still moving slow but the pain is getting easier for her to deal with. I left her for an hour with Grace as I went to the store to get milk. I’ve been busy making muffins, cleaning, making tacos for lunch, more cleaning, catching up on so much laundry, all with a peace in my heart that Sarah is okay and getting better again.
She has an appointment tomorrow with urology and the surgeon as a follow up. I know she’s healing nicely but of course I want to know what the urologist says about what we can do for her to hopefully prevent her from getting kidney stones like this again.
Thank you for your prayers!