July 10, 2012

I've never felt called to be any type of medical care giver.  When I was little, the smell of hospitals literally made me throw up.  I panicked any time I thought I might have to visit a relative who was in the hospital.  Well, it's funny how life works out.  I spent lots and lots of years avoiding them, but motherhood forced me to face my irrational hospital fears. Aside from the typical maternity stay, we spent 17 days with Molly in the NICU after her birth, one week with her just before she turned one due to an ugly UTI and rotavirus, she's had lots of outpatient procedures, five days with her Chiari Decompression, and now we're on day two of another weeklong stay as she has the MACE procedure done in the morning.  We've also spent time in hospitals due to the kidney transplant and Lilah's accident last fall.  It might be interesting to tally up the total number of days, but I am certainly aware that many, many families spend months at a time confined to inpatient facilities.  I'm not complaining!

If you've never experienced a stay at Arkansas Children's Hospital, let me just share with you that the staff here is comprised of angels.  I'm not kidding. After Molly was born, I saw nursing in a completely different light.  These nurses know what the doctor is going to do before he or she does it.  They do not get rushed or stressed.  They take their time.  They educate patients.  They speak softly.  They work well together.  They are the top professionals in their field and we are blessed by them every time we are here.  This level of care giving goes beyond the nursing staff and includes patient care techs, lab folks, radiology staff, the clerical workers, and even the cafeteria and custodial staff. 

This visit is no different.  Molly's surgery isn't until tomorrow morning, but we had to check in Monday to go through a serious bowel prep.  She is empty!  There is nothing left!  As you might imagine, that was messy business.  She was never made to feel that she had inconvenienced a nurse or tech.  In fact, they anticipated what she would need (this isn't their first rodeo!) and prepared us both.  Molly has been a trooper.  She is now finished with the emptying, but she can't have anything to eat or drink other than clears.  Jello and Sprite it is and that's getting old.

I know some of my blog readers are here because you've found us as you searched for others with spina bifida.  Tomorrow's surgery may be something you are faced with at some point.  The MACE procedure will basically create a hole or stoma that goes through Molly's bellybutton (hopefully) to her appendix and connects it to her large intestine.  This will allow her to flush fluid through her large intestine to empty it and have somewhat normal bowel movements.  It's sort of like an enema, but since it will push things along in the right direction, it's much more effective.  Molly has had to deal with constipation (which causes more UTIs) and occasional accidents her entire life.  Our hope is that this surgery gives her greater continence that will lead to more confidence!  It's a constant worry of hers and mine any time we swim or do something phyiscally strenuous.  Even eating certain foods will prompt problems and, though we've learned what those are we avoid them, baby girl sure does miss eating popcorn and corn on the cob.

Molly's surgery also happens to be on the same day as a special, sweet boy's.  My first friend I made when I began teaching at Alma was Angie.  She has since moved, but not before we became quite close.  Her girls babysat mine and her oldest cuts our hair.  We love them all very much.  Well, since I met her I've known Angie felt a calling to adopt a Down's Syndrome child.  Just over a month ago that calling came to fruition.  Angie and her husband (who we also love) have adopted a newborn with Down's named James Michael.  He will be having surgery on his heart tomorrow.  If you are incline to pray for Molly tonight and tomorrow, please remember James Michael as well. 

That's all I have from the hospital tonight!  Not really -- I could go on, but Jamie is on his way and I need to beautify myself a bit before he gets here!  Hospital sitting is hard work!

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