Fearfully and Wonderfully made

We are Home!
February 13, 2007, 2:00 pm
Filed under: Surgeries

And we are fixator free, wheelchair free and No more Pin care!!!!!  However Giovanna did come home with a bright pink cast, a walker – against all of her protests.

Giovanna was really worried about not getting up early enough. I assured her many times that I would get her up in plenty of time. She was not going to miss this surgery – she was so excited about getting the external fixators off. Since she was so excited – she got up at 6 AM!

Needless to say, we made it to the hospital on time, onlyto be told that it would be awhile before things would happen since surgery wasn’t until 1 PM.  Before I could catch myself, I said, “Then why am I here at 7:30?”  (I am not a morning person.)  This of course prompted the question – “What time did you think the surgery was scheduled for?”  “9AM”

A phone call was made to surgery and indeed the surgery was on the schedule for 9 AM.  So knowing that Dr. Guidera had been out of town, I asked,” Does Dr. Guidera know that?”  I got a chuckle from the nurses on that one. 

In Pre-op  holding, a rather interesting group of people gathered – all of them remembered Giovanna from her surgery in Novemeber.  I hope that is a good thing!  She had many decisions to make – what color cast?  Pink, of course.  What flavor did she want to smell as they were putting her to sleep?  Strawberry.  Some questions were asked and the answer was obivious – Can I attach this to your finger? This was  finger probe that measured all of her vitals.  And would they not attach it if she said no?  Finally she shut down – to many questions.

Dr. Guidera made his appearance smiling and then said, “I’ll unbolt the fixator around her foot and if I like what I see, I’ll remove the rest.  If I don’t, then it goes back on.”  That was not something that was easy to hear, but I also knew that I could trust him to make the decision that was best for Giovanna long term.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the fixator might not come off. 

Surgery took less than an hour.  Recovery was another story.  This was the easiest surgery she has had but the recovery was the worst she has ever had.  I had to go back to the recovery room for the first time ever to calm her down.  I was told that the first thing she did when she woke up was to look at her leg and make sure that the fixators were gone.  Giovanna was back to her room shortly before noon – spent a long time in my arms and then the food came.  She was up and eating in nothing flat -cleaned off her whole plate.

By the time she went to PT, she had already been up and walking some.  The IV port in her hand gave her some troubles with holding onto the walker.  We took both the walker and the wheelchair to PT – She left the wheelchair and didn’t use the  walker.  She was doing steps with in a few minutes of getting up.  Passed PT with flying colors.

We were given the option to come home yesterday, Giovanna said, “NO, stay here.  Home morrow.” 

This proved to be a good thing.  She was not walking well, but you couldn’t tell from watching her from the front – only from watching her from behind.  She was hyper extending her knee, still landing on her toes and her hip was doing some strange things.  Chaz is an amazing man.  He got down on the floor with Giovanna, talking like Donald Duck and had the longest conversation with her.  Although I am not sure either understood each other!

We did try a different “boot” for the cast and put in some elevators to help even her out.  But this morning I still wasn’t pleased.  Chaz came in with options and she left with a “heel” added to her cast and not boot.  She is walking much better now. 

Seeing Dr. Guidera later in the morning, he said, “You still want everything don’t you.” 

Yes and I have a God with whom all things are possible and nothing is too difficult for him. 

On Sunday God reminded me of the process and that even though it has been a long road, the results are worth it.  In the worship service we sang, We will dance and while singing that song, I could actually picture Giovanna dancing on those golden streets before the Lord with straight feet.  And knowing Giovanna’s personality, she will bring people from every tongue and tribe and nation with her.  What a glorious picture. 

Be even more glorious than that picture was being able to talk to my 5th grade Sunday school class.  In this class we study the names of God and what those names reveal about His character and nature.  I was asking my 5th graders to tell me about the name that has meant the most to them this year.  In a lull, the question was asked, “Mrs. Ayers, do you  have a favorite name?”  This one was not easy to answer because this is my favorite curriculum and I have learned to love all the names we study.  However My answer to them went something like this

The name that has become most significant to me over the past few years has been Jehovah – Rophe, The Lord who heals.  I have seen him take one little girl with feet that were not very useful and through surgeons make them useful.  We were told when we got her that she might never walk.  During this past surgical experience as we shared her latest escapades in the snow with her doctors and therapists, we were asked, “Does anything slow this girl down?”  As amazing as that seems, God is doing more than just healing her physical body – He is doing a healing in her heart and we heard her pray for the first time in 4 years, “Jesus Loves Me.”   

This is truely a glorious work that only He can do.  Now may He continue to direct this little ones heart to himself. 


The Bags are Packed
February 11, 2007, 11:13 pm
Filed under: Surgeries

Ok so it is only an overnight bag and a back pack – a short stay this time at the hospital.  We are scheduled for a one night stay.  The surgery to remove the fixators should take between 60-90 minutes.   Before she can be discharged from the hospital, she needs to get up and walk.  This should be an easy task – she has done it many times. 

 Thank you for praying for her incision site – it looks much better and has decreased in size by at least half.  All the pin sites look good – no oozing or redness.  Having her in the pool on Tuesday helped clean all the pin sites.  I have cleaned the pin sites for the last time today and it was a really good feeling. 

Prayer requests for this surgery – *That the surgery would go smoothly, no unforeseen issues; *that Giovanna would come out of the surgery quickly and be able to get up and walk on Monday; *For the kids while at home on Monday.  They have school work to keep them busy, and the older ones will have their history and lit chats in the morning.  That will help them pass the time in the morning; *for transportation for Courtney to and from NCC;

Blessed are the Flexible
February 8, 2007, 4:20 pm
Filed under: Surgeries

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans for  welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.” 

This verse has meant much to us over the past 2 weeks.  Last week Giovanna came down with her 2nd infection and started antibiotics.  Because this infection had been growing for a period of time, it was not clear whether it would clear up in time for the surgery to remove the fixators which was previously scheduled for 12 February. 

Then on Tuesday, when Giovanna was in for her swim therapy, we found out that the surgeon made a trip down to Florida – his mother had fallen and broken her tailbone.  No one knew when he was planning on being back.  Her incision site still looked questionable.  Surgery was beginning to look highly doubtful.

It was beginning to look like the plans were in the process of changing and the prospect of having to continue with pin cleanings was not thrilling. 

Plans – The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.  Where was this particular path leading?  We were waiting on the Lord for his guidance.

Thursday came and the pre-op appointments.  Dr. Guidera was still out, but there were other doctors to see, blood counts to be taken and x-rays.  It was a full morning.  There were many discussions about that incision site – which looked much better today.  The Pediatrican  we saw was impressed and could tell that it was starting to heal.  Her recommendation was to keep her on antibiotics, as a precaution, until the surgery on Monday.  Not only were they going to draw blood for a CBC – but also do a fancy test that I don’t remember the name of to make sure that there was nothing going on internally that could jeopardize the surgery. 

Off to the lab for the blood draw.  When one has very tiny veins it is hard to get the blood and they needed a lot this time – not just a finger prick this time, but 2 vials of blood were needed.  Giovanna sat very still, but cried big crocodile tears.  It took about 15 minutes to locate the vein and draw the blood.  Giovanna was amazed to watch her blood move from her body through a tiny tube into the vial.  Once she saw the blood, she stopped crying to watch the process.  Once the blood draw was all over, she sighed a big sigh of relief and picked out a doll to take home.

Down to x-ray and more pictures of her foot. Once that was done, we were free to leave.  Giovanna was now hungry – it had been a very busy and traumatic morning!

So we are currently on schedule – surgery on Monday as orginally planned  – unless there is something in the blood counts that they don’t like (should hear about the results either later today or tomorrow) or if Dr. Guidera sees something on Monday that he doesn’t like – then we are back to square one.

Surgery is scheduled for 9 AM, which means that Giovanna and I need to arrive at 7:30.  Ouch that is early.  She will also stay overnight, which I did not know until today.  Thankfully, there was a room at the onsight hotel. 

While we are thankful to receive the go ahead, we are still in wait and see mode.  There are things that could still affect the surgery.  Continue to pray that we will be able to proceed with the surgery, as scheduled.

Waiting is a good thing – builds character they say. 

Waiting at the Shrine hospital is a time to minister. 

While we were there waiting for our different appointments, we were able to reconnect with a little boy who had a fixator put on the same day as Giovanna.  He was back at the hospital, earlier than anticipated because he had taken a fall and the fixator moved.  His family was back, “just for one day to get the fixator put back in place.”  That was what they told us on Tuesday. 

However their plans changed when their son had to have surgery and while in surgery, the fixator was removed and a cast put on.  They were not prepared to stay and had not brought meals with them.  They are members of a Hutterite community in South Dakota.  I asked if they needed anything, since I am familiar with the area, could easily locate things for them.  Both parents were touched, but kindly declined my offer.  We may go back tomorrow and see how they are doing.

We also met a boy, named Jovi (as in Bon Jovi), 15, and just had his fixators put on.  He is not doing as well as they would like, due to his having a bit more weight than they would like him to have.  He saw Giovanna in the pool and saw her walk.  He was excited and asked when he could do the same things.   We saw him again today and he seems to be doing much better. 

Pray that as we go back to the hospital, that we could encourage those who are just entering into this process like Jovi and those that are having difficulties like Julie and Leonard’s son. 

God’s plans are good, even though we don’t always know the direction He is taking us in.