I thought this was a common procedure and that it wasn’t a big deal; therefore, I’m very surprised it is taking me so long to recuperate. I’ve been sleeping for long stretches of time each day and today is the first day that pain has really subsided, yet it is still there. I do intend to return to work tomorrow. I think I’ll be ready. I hope so! I pray that is the case and quite frankly with so much hardship going on right now (Hurricane Ike, Wall Street, etc., etc.) I fully realize how my little struggle is NOTHING compared to true hardships others are enduring! I know my students have been in the best of hands with my former favorite Jr. High Language Arts teacher, Mr. Jones. However, three days away I'm anxious to get back and to see where the students are now.
I really cannot believe how well Christi handled being "put to sleep" time and time again and she always did so well with her operations and procedures. I just didn't bounce back like she always would. Regardless, this has been a wonderful distraction, keeping my mind off of September 19th – the anniversary of Christi’s death. I just wish I didn't hurt so much. When you're sleeping and sleeping you can't sit and think about dates and deaths. I am very appreciative for all of the prayers and kind words! THANK YOU!
All went well at the absolutely gorgeous new hospital on Friday; everyone was so very nice. It just reminded me over and over again of the countless individuals we encountered while treating Christi who were incredibly kind and helpful. Nurses and volunteers must have a very special place in God’s heart. They are simply amazing!
What was absolutely chilling to me (in a good way) happened in the recovery room and really made me feel like Christi was with me in spirit. I spent 1 ½ hours in the first recovery room and I don’t remember any of that. While in the second recovery room, Shayne was able to sit beside me. Another patient was next to me and in hindsight she probably did not have her hearing aids in, but what seemed to me to be her incredibly loud, nonstop talking was close to pushing me over the edge. Each time she spoke, I squeezed Shayne’s hand. I wished he would say something to her, but he’s just too nice and wouldn’t and I knew I wasn’t about to myself. My head was pounding, my incisions hurt terribly, the shoulder pain was severe and then loud “blah, blah, blah” just made tears pour down my cheeks in pain. Then, like magic, the hospital lost power! The lady next to me was silent and the bright lights that had been shining through my closed eyes were gone and I was overcome with comfort. I felt like clever little witty Christi whispered in my ear, “Don’t worry, mom. I’ll take care of this little problem. I’ll fly off and pull the plug.” And she did! As of Saturday night, they still didn’t know why they had a power outage on Friday, but I’d like to believe it was Christi helping me tremendously!
I am very thankful that I was indeed able to look at my gallbladder – in a jar. Yes, it was gross; however, one must keep in mind that I was not able to see Christi’s tumor like many other parents and I’ve always regretted that I didn’t pursue that. It’s like you want to actually see the beast causing all of the destruction. For whatever sick reason, I was glad they let me see it before it went to pathology. And how could one little organ not allow me to eat an ice cream cone or mashed potatoes and gravy without being sick?!
I'll never forget the look on little Shayla's face when she first saw my stomach area. She looked horrified and said, "Mom! They didn't even clean you up!" Then, "Why did they draw on you with purple marker?" It hurt too bad to laugh then, but now it's pretty funny. Her "job" was to keep Buckeye off of me while I rested on the couch. (Buckeye is Christi's Siamese cat, the skinny, feisty one who likes to pounch on you and surprise you!) Christi's Buttercup (the farm cat she got six weeks before being diagnosed with cancer) has spent days resting on my feet at the end of the couch. She's been taking the same position she did many times when Christi didn't feel well. (Buttercup's other position with Christi was wrapped around the top of her head when she was bald. That was always pretty amazing!) PHOTO: Christi & Buttercup, 2002
This is how Buttercup has been spending time with me in recent days.
I will stop all of this silly “gallbladder talk” with what I think will be a very helpful hint to any future patient! The collarbone/shoulder pain was as bad as the pain from the tummy. It still lingers, but what helped me tremendously (and I hope it can help others) is that Shayne and Shayla kept heating for me in the microwave a neck shaped beanbag pillow my sister gave me for Christmas of 2006 when I was having that problem with a bulging disk in my neck. The heat on my shoulders and collarbone at the same time, from that amazing pillow, was a great comfort to me and I highly recommend it.
In this post I shared some photos of Christi I do not believe I've ever shared before. She's in her bedroom with her beloved Buttercup, December 2002.
I just recently came across this picture, captured in the spring of 2006. Christi was in the back yard reading "Hank the Cowdog" her favorite series at the time. She was cold, but wanted to be outside so we wrapped in her loving blankets, sent by amazing "Christi Fans" to keep her soft and warm. Her blue flip flops sit in the grass beside her, the same flip flops that she wore into the hospital that final time - even though Shayne had to carry her and I went to park the van. After her death, I almost left those flip flops in the hospital room as they meant so much to her and it was so painful; however, I didn't think I was in the best of mind to make those decisions then so I brought them home. Today, they're in a chest at the foot of our bed with many of her other favorite things. What I wouldn't do to trade that entire chest in to get the real thing back!