Annie and I have been in New Jersey for just over a week now. On Tuesday, she had outpatient eye surgery to correct a problem of both eyes that would drift outward. If she didn’t have this surgery, she would slowly begin to lose sight in the worse of the two eyes.
We prepared Annie by telling her that the doctor was going to fix her eyes. She knew she would go to sleep. We told her she wouldn’t get any shots (that we knew of). She knew it was a big deal, but we didn’t say a lot ahead of time. The doctor’s office told us that normally they have the families take a tour of the hospital ahead of time, but since we had just arrived from Japan there wasn’t time.
Annie did great that morning in the hospital waiting room. Until they began to lead us back. Back past several children on guernies, surrounded by hospital gadgetry and nurses and doctors all wearing surgical outfits, including the hats. We got to her room and she whispered, “Mommy, this hospital is really scary.”” And then the challenges began.
She wanted nothing to do with the several nurses and anaesthesiologist who came to talk. She spit out the oral medicine that was supposed to make her drowsy and willingly go away with them. My last view of Annie pre-surgery was of her flailing limbs as four attendants and nurses took her back into surgery on her guerny, with her screaming, “Mommy!! MOMMY!” It was quite a horrible experience. My only consolation was the nurse’s words that the anaesthesia will make her forget most of this experience.
When the doctor came about an hour and fifteen minutes later to share that all had gone well, I was immediately summoned back to recovery. I found Annie once again screaming and crying for Mommy with a nurse doing her best to hold her down. Her eyes were swollen, closed, with traces of blood around them. She was beside herself, and kept trying to scratch her eyes. (She had stitches inside her eyes which undoubtedly bothered her). It was a very miserable 45 minutes. They finally let my sister Beth come back to help, and gave her some morphine through her IV for the pain. But during those long minutes Annie wasn’t the only one shedding a few tears!
The nurse said the best thing for Annie’s recovery was to get her out of the hospital into a familiar environment. Annie took a sip of apple juice (one of the necessary steps to checking out), the nurse took out her IV and managed to get her vitals recorded on the chart. We moved to another room and that seemed to calm things down, and several minutes later Annie was released from the hospital.
Here are a few photos of Annie during the recovery process, and of cousin Isabella who helped entertain everyone in the waiting room:
Annie’s recovering is going well. She still has very blood-shot eyes and double vision, but the doctor said that could last a week or two. Everything is as to be expected. We’re thankful for my family who is taking good care of us!
My sister Beth’s Bible study was praying, as well as many people around the world. Beth wrote the following in an email update to her friends:
“I wanted to also share with you the glimpses of her faith through the process. She accepted Jesus last year. While she was screaming and crying after the surgery, my sister was holding her and trying to figure out how to calm her. She asked if she would like her to sing the “goodnight” song or the Jesus song. Annie chose the Jesus song. Then, later, when we were getting ready to go home, Annie said to Sue, “Mommy, pray with me”. Again in the car, she asked Sue to pray for her. And that night, as she was going to bed—after the antibiotics struggle, loss of electricity and the storm raging outside, she once again asked for prayer. I got to do the honors. I’m reminded of the admonition to have the faith of a child. If only I could remember to run to the Lord as quickly as this little 5-year old, in the midst of suffering and struggle….”
(Photo below: Beth and Annie):