Wow. What a ride. Once they brought ZJ back into the room and Dr. Anderson had explained everything, showing me the photos, I called Doug and TOTALLY lost it. I remember over 30 years ago when a friend's baby had spent a month in the hospital with a very rare disease... he was one of less than 20 on earth at the time... I was there holding her hand when the doctor came in and said her son could go home. She'd not shed a tear until that moment. Today, I related and recalled that moment with her. Such a relief! So much gratitude! Every emotion all at once... I had it. Mostly gratitude!
ZJ was, as most people are, quite entertaining as she came out of the anesthetic. Her first words when she opened her eyes were, "Did he take out my appendix, Mom?" I said yes and she dozed off again. She opened her eyes again, "Did they take out my appendix, Mom?" Yes, Zeej. They did. Gone. And then a third time. Apparently, it was what she was very concerned about.
Zeej reached up and ever so softly touched my cheek. She rubbed her hand on it twice and then turned to the nurse, who was on the other side of the bed, and said, "You're pretty", then dozed off again. She remembered that later but thought that she was touching the nurse's cheek.
Her biggest concern, however, as she came in and out, and then for the most of the day was, "I don't remember telling them thank you in the operating room. I don't remember going to sleep and I didn't get to tell them thank you. I got on that bed and then I was awake in here and I can't remember telling them thank you." I am touched by her gratitude.
So, while she was in recovery, Dr. Anderson came in, sat down, showed me the pictures and explained everything. ZJ's appendix was not as pretty as we expected it to be. He said it was inflamed and that it was a good thing to get rid of, showing me the before and after pix of that. He showed me pix of her gall bladder, saying, "Isn't it pretty!? It looks great!" Then, he shocked the socks off of me when he said, "But, the real problem she has been having is this..." and he showed me photos and explained that what I was seeing was a pool of internal blood from a ruptured ovarian cyst. AND that she has had several. WHODATHUNKIT!?!?!? This all began when she had just barely turned eleven! We've considered stress, anxiety, appendix, gall bladder, kidney stones, you name it! But, ovarian cysts? REALLY??? As we thought about it all day long, though, we could see a pattern. The troubles have been every other month. Hence, one ovary has issues, the other did not. So many questions became very clear! We are guessing that the fact that the four ultrasounds missed them each time because they had burst already. Not that it matters now... The best part is that this is all treatable with medications. We have answers!
Recovery went well for the first hour, other than her oxygen kept dropping. They they got that under control and then the pain kicked in. For about 45 minutes, she was writhing in pain, but with more meds into the IV, she was calm again and rested until the nurse came in and asked her to go for a walk. She said that after the walk, she felt good enough to go home... and so we did. We were four hours in recovery.
A few side thoughts....
I was singing Dr. Anderson's praises and one of the nurses told me that he is all of the nurses' favorite surgeon. They all would choose him before any other doctor in the hospital. Comforting! I told him, after the surgery, that he was surely appreciated by the nursing staff at the hospital and his response was, "I'll have to go around and pass out the quarters today, won't I?" He's genuinely a "real" person, not at all snooty! Love him!
Before the surgery, as he was walking out of the room with ZJ, I said, "Dr. Anderson, you're going to do great today! You've been prayed for, blessed, fasted for and had the thoughts and good wishes and prayers of hundreds and hundreds of people today. He held out his hand and shook it like he had a bad tremor and said, "That explains why the tremor has improved this morning." Funny.
Another giggle... ZJ informed Doug and I that she wants to get a good education so that when she grows up, she can be a dogsitter and sell snowcones at Rainbow Ice. She later explained that this is because the workers at Rainbow Ice probably get free snowcones.
Grace was absolutely delightful all day. She called me at the hospital as soon as she woke up to check on Zeej. She was sitting outside on the front step waiting for us to come home when we pulled up and she had no clue when we'd be there. I asked her how long she'd been outside waiting. She said, "Only a minute." I asked, "How did you know when we'd been home?" She said, "I could just tell." She'd done some laundry and all of the jobs she could think to do. ZJ didn't have to ask for a thing before Grace was racing to get it for her. It was very tender. I complimented her for it and she said, "She's my sister, Mom." She was thrilled to say yes when I asked her if she wanted to sleep in my bed last night. She slept next to Zeej. Doug slept downstairs in ZJ's bed.
And Go-Go... it was so interesting to watch him. It was as if he knew something was wrong with Zeej. He sat right by her all day long and did not want to leave her side. Even when she went to the bathroom, he sat and waited outside the bathroom door for her to come out.
When I was getting ZJ comfy in the lazy boy chair, when we got home, she asked for "the penguin blanket". It's a $5 fleece blanket that I bought after Christmas years ago. Interesting thing is that it's the "comfort" blanket whenever Zaylee is here as well. I believe that every home needs a very good Lazy-Boy recliner and a favorite comfort blanket.
Oh! As were were waiting at the drive-up pharmacy window, in front of our huge grocery store, we saw two little boys on small bikes and one toddler riding around on a Big-Wheel, those little low to the ground plastic, trikes in the busiest parking lot in Smithfield!!! That child was not about to be seen or expected by cars zipping in and out. I pointed it out to the pharmacist and said, "SOME PEOPLE'S MOMS!!!" It did wake ZJ up a bit. Her response, "Who does that!?"
I didn't say much about Quayd today because he's not been around much. He's working for a friend this month and is gone a lot. It's bringing to my reality that he really is growing up!
This is way too long, but I wanted to remember one more little "moment". For the past sixteen months, Mr. Granolaman, my husband, has never felt that ZJ's issues were appendix or gall bladder. He's always felt that she just needed "more fiber", the solution to everything. (ha!) He's soooooo not a doctor fan... shocker... and always wants to see the healthy, natural solutions. Last night, he came into the room before he went to bed, kissed ZJ and said, "Sorry I never thought it was as serious as it was, sweetheart. I'm glad we have some answers." ZJ said to me later that this meant a lot to her. I love my husband and that he is so health-concious. But I also love that he respects my mother's intuition and doesn't force his "granolaness" on us.
As we were going to bed, Zeej said, "Mom, we really are blessed with a lot of people who love us. She commented on the gifts and treats that she had received. Aunt Connie brought her Pina Colada Sobes, tasty cereal and yogurts. Aunt Carol brought her a Pina Colada slushie. Sister Anderson (YW President/friend) and Shanae (daughter of Trish/piano teacher) dropped by some nummy ice cream "Itsy Bits" that ZJ about went off the chair with excitement! Liza and Buddy skyped with her for a while. I read her the bazillion text messages, facebook comments and emails that I'd received all day about her and she was truly touched. She said, "I had no idea that so many people care about us so much." (I apologize if I didn't respond to a text or email. I tried to keep everyone posted at once by using Facebook. The comforts and joys of "too much" technology!) (Here's Liza and Buddy "visiting" via Skype. Buddy is being silly! Shocker!)
ZJ rested well through the night. Her throat isn't hurting as much today (from the tube they insert during surgery), her tummy does. She went straight back to sleep after taking her meds. Today, we will just take it easy, watch a few movies, rest. We have company coming to spend the night, which will be interesting with all of the bed hopping that we've done and the mandatory quiet with Doug going to bed at 6 and working at 2AM. I warned that won't be the best hostess ever, but I promised a clean bed and a shower. It will be great to visit and catch up, even if it is sitting on my bed together! Quoting my new summer mantra, "It's too hot to care." Amy said that she didn't want to be a bother because she knows what we are going through right now, but we're more than happy to be their landing place in Cache Valley! I'm looking forward to it!
As ZJ recognized, we are so blessed. I was humbled last night as I thought about all that she's been through and all of the kindness shown, of all of the prayers and concern and that we finally have our answers! Zeej has been a trooper through it all. ZJ told Connie last night that she didn't even feel the IV go in. "I've had so many, it just feels like they are just touching me." Now, that's just wrong. Again, I'm so grateful that we have answers! And that we have great friends and family. Life is good.
If you want to find happiness, find gratitude.