sike: A misspelling of psych. Knowing Sonia was thirsty, Jonathan teased her with his soda. “Here, you can have a sip…psych!” www.urbandictionary.com
What a whirlwind. The hospital cried wolf. I feel like I had a baby. Exhausted and yet euphoric. I escaped my worst nightmare. I woke up to a reality where my sweating,panic and screams fizzled into the “you’re safe, it can’t get you” and I’m left with the tingling of my veins swallowing back up the flood of adrenaline….that and the sinking realization tucked away that this little surgery bypass was just a tease. I didn’t really escape. It’s coming back, and on it’s own unpredictable terms.
Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of silver linings to the big fake out….we had a wonderful Saturday today with a walk on the sunny side of the street. We all shared sweet potato fries and half-priced burgers, extra time with the Grandparents and Murphy dog while they were in town. Whitney had no trauma, no scars, no tears, and had a happy wrestling round with Dylan this morning. We all got a good night’s sleep, and met a nice apologetic “hospital relations” stewardess with $20 to buy a trinket at the gift shop “for all your inconvenience.”
It was basically a very realistic dress rehearsal. Bags were packed, parking spots secured, purple armbands strapped on, waiting room waited in. The night before I woke up multiple times staring at the ceiling and listening to the house noises terrified that my alarm was about to go off to signal it was “time.” I had been a hot mess all week closing my eyes to visions of them wheeling her away from me to the OR. And then peering over her bed in recovery, drugged up and limp, her shocked little body working to get its bearings, and a spaghetti mess of wires and tubes in and out of everywhere attached to machines casting a symphony of beeps and blinks. And if you know me at all you know that crying is NOT my thing, especially in front of people. That morning I stood like a zombie as my mom wadded up some Kleenex for me as I broken recorded “I really don’t want to do this…I really don’t want to do this” (a mantra that first debuted during Dylan’s third stage of I-know-what-happens-next drug free labor, yet that time I knew there was no backing out).
I never thought the surgery wouldn’t happen that day. I mean, they told us there was a chance her case would be bumped – that sometimes emergencies arise that would commandeer Whitney’s team of medical superheros for a heart transplant or failing newborn mission. Her condition, while serious, is not immediately life threatening (another silver lining), so some other baby probably got their life saved, which I guess adds quite a bit more redemptive value to the gift shop voucher. But at 7:30am after an hour of breathing through the pit in my stomach and frantically taking the “last picture” over and over in the waiting room, I was shocked when the scrubs man came over to say “sorry, there has been a miscommunication” (we forgot to tell you) another patient has already gone in Whitney’s place and you’re now scheduled for the 1pm surgery. WHAT?!?! Then relief. I sighed, I squeezed my baby. I wrinkled my brow, why did we sit here for an hour already? I panicked – you mean she has to go another five-odd hours without food….and awake! yipes. and no, I did not bring diapers and wipes and no, I did not bring a change of clothes for pajamas, or toys or sippy cup or …. great. But I sighed, small price to pay for a few more hours of perfectly in-tact breast bone.
It was the “let’s find somewhere to sit down” interception by the PA (with the duo clipboard-and-pumps entourage) as we were checking back in that confirmed we were not going to have surgery that day. That the next opening for Mr. Super Surgeon is April 1st but that we could get a call any time if there’s a cancellation. Ugh. Relief shrinked back a little as dread oh-my-word-a-month-to-freak-out stepped in. Along with what-if-they-call-last-minute-with-a-cancellation-how-will-i-survive. And (meet my pathology) how-embarrassing-the-whole-world-is-praying-for-us-and-we-didnt-even-need-it (ha, yes. of course I see the total mis-truth of these words – I needed every ounce of prayer that day, and perhaps a months-worth more to help me be strong enough to make it through. but this is the crazy way my brain works so there’s the honest truth). I also felt worried. We had made so many preparations – hiding out at home to avoid germs, my mom taking off work to help with Dylan, a place to stay close to the hospital, packing just the right things, the pre-op!, collecting amazing little notes and crafty hearts, our pastor came to sit with us that morning, they prayed for us in front of the congregation on Sunday, the kids at church took home bracelets with hearts to remind them of Whitney (amazing gesture of some friends, i didn’t even know about until later). Would we be able to rally this amazing group of troops again? Can we really go back to our normal routine with nothing to show for all the big deal? How confusing for those little kids at church. Did people exhaust their thoughts and prayers on this fake-out? I know the answer is no. And thankfully, people are amazing and have assured me that they are in it for the long-haul, and that they are empathizing with even the roller coaster of the surgery-that-didn’t-happen, with us even in the let-down. But sheesh, I want to be done with this ride.
Maybe it was grace that my “I really don’t want to do this” was honored. Maybe I wasn’t ready. I have the same dread of the experience, and I don’t think that is going to change. But next time, I’m going to try to repeat “I really want Whitney to be healed” instead.