Gerrit, with his beloved “blankie”, nervously waited for them to come and take him down the hall for surgery. He was given “Goofy Juice” to relax him and make the separation from us less traumatic. It worked. He was pretty quiet, but not upset. I was upset. I needed Goofy Juice, or Valium or laughing gas, or something good.
They came and put him on a gurney…we walked as far as we could with him… we kissed him, told him we loved him… and then watched him disappear behind the double swinging doors. His little swollen face looked back at us and a tiny hand reached up to wave. He was in God’s hands now.
I knew right then what I had to do. I don’t think I had fully given him over to God up to that point. I was clutching on for dear life to that little boy. I was determined that I could save him… I could keep him from the pain of this world. After all, wasn’t that my job? As a mother? Wasn’t I ultimately responsible for my children’s lives? I was supposed to fix everything and make him alright. But I couldn’t.
I was scared. I feared that I had failed my little boy. That I had let him, my husband and God down. I was utterly helpless. What am I supposed to do now? What if he doesn’t come out of there alive? My gut turned over. And in that fleeting moment… as my baby boy is taken behind closed doors, to open up his cute little melon and expose his noodles… I realized that I am not in control of what happens to him. I can not guide, steer, influence, dictate, order or demand that the surgeons do a good job in there. Only God can at this point.
Gerrit was God’s baby in the first place, you know? He was just lent to us as a special gift. God loves him more than my husband and I put together. If He wants him back… He will take him. If He wants us to continue raising him… He will see that he makes it. I could feel Him whisper to me… “It’s alright Heidi, I got him. I have him now… you can relax. I’ve had him in my arms this whole time. I love him and I love you too, and I want you to let me take care of this for you. I got him. Let go.”
So, I gave him back to God.
I felt so much better.
It was a long wait.
While in the parents waiting room, we got to see a show on the TV there, about how to carve a turkey. (Being the day before Thanksgiving and all.) I found it quite humorous… and make a crack about it… but it didn’t get received well. Hum.
I was in no way trying to minimize what was happening, it’s just that when I am deeply saddened or upset, humor just seems to be my way of dealing with it. No one else in the room was capable of seeing humor. And understandably so.
One father cried the whole time. We felt so sorry for him that finally, we couldn’t contain ourselves, we asked him what kind of surgery his child was having done. He told us a story filled with extreme self guilt, about how his small boy’s eye had been put out by a stick. He was there with him when it happened and felt so responsible for it. The pain. The horrible pain for this parent.
I do not remember how long we waited, but it was at least a couple of hours. We were then told to head on up to ICU where we would get to see him.
Decompression surgery was a success.
decompression surgery – general term used for any of several surgical techniques employed to create more space around a Chiari malformation and to relieve compression
He had his foramen magnum (the opening at the base of the skull) enlarged, the back of the first, second and third vertebrae removed. This all to make room for the cerebellum and brainstem. And because of hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain), the dura (that covers the brain) was opened, in the shape of a Y, to drain the fluid and then patched with a gortex patch.
We were looking at a 3-5 day stay in the Children’s Hospital and then he should be fine!
No more headaches… right?
To be continued…