Monday, January 28, 2019

Difficult Conversations

I had surgery this past Thursday.  Three surgeries were planned and an additional surgeon showed up unannounced to perform an additional procedure for which I am very thankful.  A dream team of doctor's came together to figure out what the best course of action was for me and prayerfully provide long term relief. 

Surgery went well and recovery is a challenge, but I knew that it would be. When this much surgery takes place,  it takes an excessive amount of time for the body to heal.  I am instructed to do nothing for two weeks. Bed to couch and back again.  I may or may not have washed a counter without reaching and may have folded a few towels.  I was so exhausted from that, I couldn't do anything else. I rest a lot, nap a lot, and dream about the next time I can rest again. It is hard for me to slow down and do nothing. But this time is welcomed.  Because when I do start feeling better,  when my body starts really healing,  I will no longer struggle with daily pain.  I will not longer tell my kids we can't leave the house because I don't feel well.  I will no longer have to decline invitations from friends because I do not know how I will feel.  I will be able to resume activities that I love and jump back into life and actually have fun every day.  

Leading up to surgery, there were a number of things that I needed to do. I scheduled a Pre Op Physical.  I called both surgeons and asked my list of questions.  I called the insurance company with CPT codes to make sure that my three surgeries were covered by the company. I had to pack a bag for an extended hospital stay. I had to inform teachers of my surgery and make sure that rides and meals and after school care was coordinated.  I had my husband arrange so that my amazing mom in law came the night before to spend the night and make sure that the kids got off to school okay in the morning and then to come back again after school to get them off the bus and give them dinner.  I had to fill out paperwork and make sure I had my daily meds packed.  

One of the forms requested was my Living Will.  I have completed a Living Will because of past surgeries. Not every 43 year old has a need for one. But it gives me peace of mind knowing that mine is in place.  My Living Will states that if I am ill, not able to speak for myself, what I would and what I wouldn't want done.  It states that if something happens and I will not recover from it and will not survive, to make me comfortable but do not use any extraordinary measures to prolong my life.  I have seen too many children holding on way too much by prolonging the life of a parent in hopes that they will improve against medical recommendations. 

Times like this, when facing serious surgery where complications are even expected, difficult conversations had to take place.  On Wednesday night after the kids went to bed, we prayed. We prayed for a long time. We also talked briefly about the hard stuff.  I said I knew he didn't want to talk about it, but I reminded him that he is my overall Health Proxy. He has been given the right to speak on my behalf. I reminded him that my major goal is to be kept comfortable.  I also reminded him of the risks of these surgeries I was facing.  We reviewed the paperwork together again, just so we both knew all of the information that they contained.  I told Josh that if something were to happen to me during surgery, and I would not make it, that I would want him to make sure that every organ that could be used would be donated to someone that needed it. That all my blood, any tissue, even my horrible eyes, everything should be donated.  He knows how I feel about organ donation.  He understands that something good can always come from something horrible. 

I want the little girl who has sat in the hospital waiting for a new heart to play outside with her puppy.

I want the burn victim to have skin their arms to no longer feel the need to cover themselves when they go out into public.

I want the child who needs a new liver to dance with joy when the phone call comes that one has become available. 

I want the mother who has prayed for her child to see, to have eyes that will see green and blue and yellow and pink and purple and red all for the first time. 

I want those that would go without or those that would lose their own life to know that there is hope. That strangers care. That there is a way. 

Reflecting back, nothing went wrong during my surgery. Everything went quite well, even better than planned and relief is in sight. But one thing remains, when faced with the choice of what I would do if surgery becomes a reality again in the future, the same conversation would take place.  I will still tell Josh that I want him to help where he can.  To do everything that can be done. To preserve nothing.

I will not need this body. It will be cremated or placed in the ground.  The Bible says, I am promised a New Body.  A body where there is no pain.  And that sounds like an amazing promise to me. 

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