Sitting in the family waiting room. Waiting and waiting. My head is swimming slightly with a combination of exhaustion from a 5 a.m. wake up and nervousness of not knowing what it is going on.
Our son has been in surgery for four hours. Still two more hours to go. Then comes a long healing and rehab process.
Deane’s hip surgery has been on the horizon for more than two years. It is not uncommon for people who do not weight bear to suffer from hip dysplasia – a dislocation of the hip joint. The surgery breaks the top of the femur to turn it toward the hip and then creates a better socket by grafting the bone already there.
He will be a week in this hospital and then up to three months in a rehabilitation facility.
The lead up to today has been an emotional roller coaster at home. As the day approached, everybody was dealing with it in his or her own way. Our daughter was dissolving in to tears with increasing frequency. She was worried that Deane would be in pain. She also wondered how she would cope with her parents not being around as much for the next few months.
My husband carried the stress as he always does, hidden except in the extra attention and long hugs he gives the kids. I focused on all the tasks that needed to done before I was otherwise occupied. I alternated between a heart-racing panic about what I needed to do to welling tears of worry about what Deane had to go through.
Deane had been stoic about all of his pre-operation duties including the painful x-rays and extensive blood tests. I had taken the kids on orientation tours of both hospitals to try to create a comfort level of what to expect.
Last night, we ate chocolate chip cookies and talked about what was coming. We were all worried. Deane’s sister, through tears, said she was scared for her brother. Deane said he was scared. He also said he didn’t want to leave home.
My husband and I realized that, blurred by all the other worries, we hadn’t really registered that Deane would be away from home for many months. Our house was literally built for Deane with wide doors, accessible bathrooms and an all-storey elevator. Without Deane here, there will not be anyone crying out in the night, no fights over television sets and no marathon meals. To not have him in the house will be just plain weird.
For Deane, who has never been away from us for more than a weekend, this will be a very new experience. Although we will be with Deane in both hospitals almost constantly, we can’t manage 24/7. In addition to hard work healing, Deane is going to be grappling with a new level of independence from us.
As I contemplate this watershed, we are told that Deane is out of surgery and it is time to get back to the daily practicalities. Regardless of how much he may grow up through this process, the most important thing right now is to make sure our son knows we’re there for him when he comes to.
Deane came through with flying colours. The surgeon and the anesthesiologist both said he did really well. They lengthened his groin muscles and his hamstrings, pointed the femur in to the reshaped hip joint and injected botox to help keep the muscles loose while he is healing.
It took less than six hours and he was barely awake when we arrived in the recovery room. Since then he has been mostly asleep – getting a start on the healing process.