I can’t believe it’s over! That’s what keeps hitting me: Iris’s surgery is DONE. It’s over, it’s past, she’s healing, her eyes are looking straight and working together. And all this before we have even been on the ground in the States for two weeks! This is simply amazing and such a HUGE praise in the life of our family for our precious Iris.
In our desire to give all praise to our amazing God, I thought I would share a few pictures of the day Iris got her operation..with a few captions for explanation. 🙂
Iris’ surgery was scheduled for 6:30am which meant we had to leave the house at 4:45am. Naturally we just let Iris ride to the hospital in her jammies. 🙂 Arriving at the Mott’s Children’s Hospital was reverse culture shock in the best way as we experienced the beautiful facility totally designed to meet the medical needs of children. Needless to say it was a far cry from small cinder block buildings with paint chipping and blood spattered walls in Papua New Guinea. Iris happily played in the amazing waiting area filled with toys as Tom and I tried our best to remain calm as we waited to hear Iris’ name called.
Every step of the pre-op stuff was handled so well by the hospital staff and because of all the cool “kid stuff” around the hospital is was easy to talk to Iris about what we were doing and treat it as a “big, special adventure.” While the nurses buzzed around her marking her face for surgery, taking vitals, etc. she just sat and played.
Next Iris got to change into her “pretty new dress” ;D and Mommy got to dress up like a big “silly snow man” to prepare for the part where Iris would “take a nap on the very special bed.” Oh gracious! I was such a bundle of emotional nerves! They had let me give Iris some preemptive meds one of which was a muscle relaxant. The nurse warned me to watch her closely because it tends to hit all of a sudden. She wasn’t kidding!
In a manner of seconds Iris went from sitting up playing to unable to hold herself up and started acting totally whacky! If I hadn’t been so stressed I would have been cracking up! It really was funny! She “fell” back with my hand behind her and could hardly keep her eyes open while she just giggled and grinned at me. With her beloved “piggy” on her chest we started our walk back to the operating room while I tried to control myself emotionally. As I helped the anesthesiologists put the “very special pink mask” on her little face I saw panic in her eyes and knew she was trying so hard to fight it but just couldn’t. Thankfully it only took half a minute of this before she was gone into deep dreamy land and I saw all the skin around her eyes fall slack so I could see the inner red around them. They let me give her a kiss and told me I had to leave then. As much as I was trusting the Lord and I knew she was in good hands and many people where praying, I’m not gonna lie: it was terribly hard. I met Tom again in the waiting room puffy and red from crying and had to excuse myself to the restroom to just let it all out for a few minutes. Crying is crucial in times like these and it really helps!
I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that we were given a special pager to receive updates with. That was awesome! They sent us one message that said, “Started, doing great.” As much as I loved getting this message I definitely wanted more of them! 🙂 I tried to look at a magazine to distract myself but it totally did not work! The time crawled!
Finally the pager buzzed and we got to meet with the surgeon and get the update. It was a good one and we finally felt like we could start breathing normally again. Both eyes had gone well, just as he had hoped and four muscles where moved around successfully. He told us we would be paged again when Iris was just starting to come too so we could be there for it. When we finally got buzzed back to see her we hurried as quickly as we could down the hall as we heard all too familiar cries coming from Iris’ recovery area. As we came closer I saw a very tiny nurse attempting to hold Iris’ writhing body as she screamed at the top of her lungs. Apparently our little “sweety” came out of her anesthesia a lot more rapidly and angrily than most. (Haha) The next 45 minutes or so were pretty “lively” as Iris screamed, refused to take fluids and wouldn’t give up on trying to rip out the IV in her foot.
Somehow we got her dressed and hauled to the car where she finally fell into a deep if not fitful sleep for the car ride home. It was hard to see her so confused with bloody and watery eyes, in pain and frustrated by the way her eyes felt, but as tired as we were we felt great. It was done!
As of today Iris’ surgery is a week a and a half behind us and she is healing well. The bloodiness in her eyes is almost completely gone now and if you watch her play you would never know she had an operation so recently! One follow up appointment is also behind us and that went very well. We could not be happier! Praise the Lord!
*For those who are wondering… Normally for Iris’ kind of procedure, follow up appointments would go for a year or more. In light of our situation Iris’ specialist has agreed to consider letting us return to PNG in half the time, after six months considering Iris’ eyes heal perfectly. So we are still not exactly sure of the date of our return to Papua New Guinea but do ask that you pray that Iris will not experience any complications that would require further surgery or any further treatment.