Sunday, April 17, 2011
This next surgery will be your eighth. (Started with a hernia at age 5, four brain surgeries/followups at age 8, the implantation of the rod and staples a year ago, and the first lengthening last summer.) Eighth. You have had more surgeries than most people have in a lifetime. A lot to hold. And this one won't even be the last.
So, if you've done this eight times then you know what to expect. You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you see the doors slide open to the hospital lobby as you climb out of the taxi. You know the flutter in your diaphragm when you put on your hospital gown and stow your things in the cabinet next to the bed. You've done this before. You lay down on the gurney in Anaesthesiology and watch the tiles on the ceiling, the lights and goofy posters on the walls slide by your vision as they wheel you away from your dad into the OR.
This operation is small potatoes compared with what you've experienced six of the eight times. Even the recovery is less work for you. But, you know the feeling coming out of the pain killers and it makes you tired, exhausted even, to contemplate another month passing by in your young life, a month of Valium and Hydrocodone and Ibuprofen keeping the edge off and the muscle spasms at bay. A month of shuffling around like an old man.
You're doing ok, though. You've chosen many days this past month to spend extra time in your jammies and wallow a bit in your life predicament. But for now, a few days before you say goodbye to your mom and brothers and head to the airport with your dad, you are upbeat, laughing at raunchy sitcoms and filling yourself with Indian food.
You are so strong and so fragile. You are only thirteen. Some boys at thirteen read from the Torah, their rite of passage to the next phase of their life. You, my son, you crossed that river years ago.
Weary traveller...blessings on this journey and may your doctor's hands be guided by the angels and may your healing be swift and easy.