Here's what happened yesterday: Caleb was scheduled for surgery at 10 a.m., but due to complications in earlier surgeries, he wasn't taken back until 11 a.m. for his procedure. I was struck by the difference in taking a toddler for ear tubes and walking beside a 9 year old who was full of comprehension and questions. Caleb was nervous but courageous and thoughtful in his conversations with each of the surgeons who came to talk to us. I was a proud momma yesterday.
For us the time between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. passed peacefully. David and I finished books, worked on projects, and took turns getting lunch. Then 1 p.m. came and went, and my anxiety began to build. The tympanoplasty was only supposed to take 2 hours. By 1:45 p.m., I was wound pretty tight and could not wait for the recovery nurse to come get us to see Caleb. But the recovery nurse didn't actually come to see us. The surgeon did.
He explained to us that Caleb's ear drum was one of the worst that he's seen. In order to do the repair and facilitate Caleb's hearing, he had to remove a damaged inner ear bone and implant a prosthesis behind the ear drum to replace that bone. He also said that due to poor Eustachian tubes, he had to form the new eardrum out of not just a muscle graft from behind Caleb's ear but also some cartilage from the ear itself to add stability to the ear drum. The extra twists that the surgery took were the reason that he'd need 45 more minutes in the OR. He also stated that he was hopeful that he had cleared out all of the cholesteatoma (unhealthy tissue) so that it would not come back. All in all, Caleb did great; and the left ear should begin hearing normally in two months. Thanks be to God.
It took quite a while for Caleb to be alert enough for us to take him home (2 hours), and the oral pain reliever the hospital gave him after surgery made him nauseated. Throughout the evening, Caleb would finally feel well enough to eat something so then we would try to give him pain medication, and then he would get sick again. This cycle continued until we realized that the prescription medication was really the problem and just started giving Tylenol for pain relief.
Last night was rough. Tylenol is great but has its limitations. His pain spiked at midnight a while before his next dose was due so we spent a couple of hours of the early morning watching movies and trying to distract him from his pain. At some point, I realized he had fallen asleep; and we got about 5 hours of sleep before the noise of our crazy home woke everyone up.
A new kid woke up with the morning light. No nausea. Controlled pain. And a deep desire to play the brand new Wii games that a friend had given to him for this recovery time. He's eaten toast (Hurray!) and is smiling. He's not done with the pain of recovery, but I do think we're beyond the effects of the anesthesia.
In the middle of the night in the worst of the pain, many things were said about how this was just not worth it. And I get it. For most of my life, I assumed that if I was in pain, I'd done something wrong. Sometimes that is true, but sometimes... it's not. As we talked about it this morning over a piece of toast, I was reminded that pain isn't always a sign that something is wrong. Sometimes it's a sign that something wrong is being righted. And that it takes extraordinary wisdom to know the difference between painful, wrong choices and painful, right choices. Praying that on a day not too far from now, my son will know the good reward of this pain. Hearing.
Your prayers are holding us up (along with an unhealthy dose of caffiene). Thank you for remembering Caleb (and us) yesterday and for continuing to lift us up to the Father. He is Healer and awesome in power, and we trust Him.