It has often amazed me how dismissive some people can be of their adult children. It certainly never was our goal to allow our children to become attached by our apron strings and never let go...we strongly desired that our children grow into strong, independent, capable adults, and, thankfully, they are! Despite our many parenting errors, because, let's face it, everyone makes them, they are all doing well. They don't always make choices that we agree with, but they are all strong, independent, and capable adults.
However, my mommy-mode kicked into gear this week as we faced our daughter's neck surgery.
When I first heard from the emergency room doctor that her neck was broke in two places the tears welled up in my eyes. He quickly sought to reassure me that these were not the kind we really needed to worry about and that with a stable neck for a few weeks, would heal on it's own. I felt reassured and we went on our way, waiting to hear from an orthopedic doctor to help us determine the type of neck brace she needed.
When she finally heard from them they couldn't get her in to be seen until the following Friday, a full week out from her accident. I was not happy about that, but what could we do. In this crazy world of health care bureaucracy there really was little hope of getting anything changed so we waited. I was concerned because she was still having quite a bit of pain and tingling and the brace that she was given really did not fit her and seemed to be causing even more problems.
She made it through the week and we headed to the orthopedic doctor with the hopes that we would just get a better neck brace and the all clear that she could go to work. However, it was not to be. The doctor was actually upset that the situation had been under-described to him and he said that she required surgery. We were shocked and K was even angry. It meant losing more work time and possibly school time and she has had such good momentum where school was concerned.
We left, still unsure of when the surgery would be...another wonderful consequence of the messed-up health care system we have, and began to get all the other things lined up...her pre-op check-up, school, and work.
We kind of moved through the weekend in stunned wait mode. Several people asked how I was doing and told me they were praying not only for K, but also for me. I really didn't feel much anxiety or fear, but I also knew it would come and was very thankful for dear friends willing to pray me through it.
When they first scheduled her surgery it was set for 2:30 in the afternoon! We were shocked. We had never heard of a surgery scheduled for that time and it seemed like the wait we would be even longer. Thankfully, about halfway through Monday she heard from the nurse at the hospital and the doctor had requested that her surgery be moved up to 7:30. He told her that he wanted "fresh hands" which both reassured and somewhat terrified me! It was reassuring that he was paying attention to his day and that he knew her surgery was more delicate than his others and it was terrifying because it affirmed to us that her surgery was delicate. I was still feeling a wonderful peace that could only come from God, though, and that was truly a blessing!
That night, as I tried to drift off to sleep, she and her surgery weighed heavy on my mind, but it the weight wasn't just about my daughter...my daughter-in-law's grandfather weighed heavy. He is facing his final days, having just found out a few weeks ago that he has liver cancer that has spread. One of our dear friend's weighed heavy...he had an accident a few weeks ago that has left him with a 4-inch x 6 inch open hole in his skull. Until the swelling goes down he won't be able to have a plate inserted and even if the swelling is down, he will still have to wait until there is a spot to fit him into surgery (thank you crazy health care system!). Our landlord weighed heavy...he was diagnosed with stomach cancer earlier this summer and is fighting a long, hard battle. Other things weighed heavy on my mind...it seemed that there was a never-ending list of sadness, hurt, and pain that rolled through my thoughts that night. I prayed for each, individually.
Despite the sadness that I felt for all the struggle that seems to be going on, I had a deep peace. I knew it was all in God's hands and I never doubted His plan. No matter what we see from our human eyes and feel with our human hearts, God knows the truest truth. He knows the outcome He is seeking and how that outcome will be achieved. I can trust Him.
The next morning began at zero dark thirty as my military son says. We got to the hospital and we were ready to take on the day. Our pastor, along with my mom and pops, joined us around 6 am. K was already being prepped for the surgery. Our pastor's prayer was what all of us needed, there was a hush, a peace, and wonderful knowledge that God was in control. It was just what we needed.
After he left we heard from the obligatory folks involved in her surgery...the anesthesiologist, the surgeon, the nurse who would be with her throughout the morning. Before long the nurse told us it was time to love on her and head to the waiting room.
At that point, the mommy in me pulled at my emotions. My baby was going in to surgery and this was far more extensive than the 9 sets of ear tubes and tonsillectomy she had as a child. Those were 15 minutes and were really non-invasive. This surgery meant an incision in the front of the neck. It meant placing a bone as well as a plate. It meant messing with her nerve. The top risk, beyond death, was paralysis. Despite my baby being nearly 29, I just wanted to hold her and tell her it would be alright. Besides this accident and surgery, she has been through so much this year. My mommy heart just wants to fix it all for her, not make her go through it, kiss the owie and make it all better. But, I can't. The majority of things are beyond my control and this surgery was certainly one of those things. I had to trust that God would guide the surgeon's hands and that no matter the outcome, He was in control and it was for K's good in some way, shape or form.
We kissed her good-bye and headed for the waiting room.
The morning wore on. Thankfully they have an RN who checks on all the surgeries and reports to the waiting families and friends. Her surgery had started late. Finally about 2 1/2 hours later we got the news that all went well and she was in recovery. Praise God!! They told us that we had some time to get lunch and relax, they still didn't have a room for her and she needed to stay overnight. We were once again reminded of the craziness of our current health care system and the ridiculousness of it all!
She is now home and recovering nicely. She will have a nasty scar on her neck, but that scar will be a reminder that she is still with us, still is not paralyzed. God was gracious to her and what could have so much worse He had his hand on and, once again, showed His protection and mercy to.
No matter how old my children or grandchildren get I think I will always have that deep, intense desire to keep them safe, kiss their boo-boos, and love them like they are brand-new. I don't ever want to become a parent who isn't deeply committed to loving and nurturing my children, no matter how old they are. I won't step in and try to change their situations or keep them from dealing with the consequences of their own choices, but I will love them through their challenges and their victories. I will love them in their pain and in their joy. I won't protect them from the truths of this fallen world, but I will pray for God's protection in their life and we will face this world together.
I am who I am because of all that I have been through, good and bad. I don't want to steal any of that from them. It will make them who God intends them to be, too. I am so very thankful to God for coming alongside all of us and being our All in All so that we can be who He intends.