Fearfully and Wonderfully made

We’re Home
December 11, 2008, 9:11 pm
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Giovanna and I arrived home about 7 PM tongiht. It was touch and go as to whether we would be coming home tonight. She had not gotten up to walk and both the surgeon and the PA were concerned with that. However since I have a good rapport with both, they were willing to let me go. Giovanna did stand and walk a few steps just to prove that she could before we left the hospital.

It has been a long day. I also had a phone conference with regard to my dad’s status as well. It was going on as Giovanna was getting wheeled into surgery! Good thing that I know the routine of the hospital and the staff – there were willing to let a few things slide so that I could continue the phone conference and get the surgery started.

Giovanna also got to pick out new sheets for her bed. The fixator poked holes in her sheets. So off to Target we went and she picked out pink sheets with snowmen. For some one who has never liked pink and having two daughters who love pink – it is sometimes hard to enjoy all the pink. Giovanna has a very pink room.
All in all – a good and hard day!

Pictures will be posted tomorrow or over the weekend. I am tired and need some sleep.


Post op Check- up
November 7, 2008, 5:57 pm
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Going back to the hospital after having surgery is not always an easy thing.  Giovanna really does not like people, especially Dr. G to look at and touch her foot.  However at this first post op visit, the best thing to hear would be that I was done with pin turns.  So with anticipation Giovanna and I head for the hospital for the clinic visit early on Thursday morning.

As suspected, Giovanna did not want anyone to touch her foot.  She is still complaining of pain in the foot and it is still a bit swollen.  However Dr. G. had a young doctor from Latvia that she took a liking to and let him touch her foot.  Once he got to touch it, she also let Dr. G look at it as well.  She was not excited when Dr. G began to crank on the pins and turn things.  He has one pin that is straightening out the foot that he turns.  He also worked on pulling up the front of the foot as well and cranked on that pin until Giovanna couldn’t take the pain anymore.  He asked me why she was so calm during this pin turning.  I said I used the medications to my advantage, especially the one that is like Valium to calm her down.  According to Dr. G., “better kids through drugs” was the method I used.  It worked!

So the good news – one more week of pin turns and the heel should be in the correct position.  Holding pattern in the fixator for about 3-5 weeks and then the fixator will be off by the end of 2008!  We have penciled in a couple of  dates.  At our next in clinic visit on 20 November, he will determine which date he wants to use! 

Three weeks of pin turns – not bad.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  Pray that we can get the fixator off before Christmas – but we will take before the end of the year!

On Being Tenacious
November 7, 2008, 5:45 pm
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Tenacious is defined as not being easily pulled apart or persistent in maintaining adhering to or seeking something valued or desired.  When I think of something that is tenacious, I think of bulldogs – they do not back down easily.  Giovanna has been described as tenacious.  When the tenacity of one person is working with another person, great things can be accomplished.

For instance, two years ago when Giovanna had her first fixator surgery, she left the hospital walking with a walker.  Upon getting home, she fell into a pattern of not walking, but scooting to get around.  When we went in for a post op check up, the therapist asked how Giovanna was doing with walking.  When I said she wasn’t doing much walking, the response was that if she was not up and walking by Friday (we were in on a Monday), then I would need to schedule time with rehab and Giovanna would have to come in and walk for an hour each week.  Giovanna was listening closer than I thought.  When we got home from that visit, she asked for her walker and began walking.  By the end of the week, just 5 days later, she was walking without any assistance.  She was determined not to have to spend any more time in the hospital! 

The flip side is also true, it one with the tenacious nature is working against you, progress is very slow.  Yesterday Giovanna was in for her first post op check up.  She was not walking well with her walker mainly because she was using it like crutches and trying to keep her fixator leg from touching the ground in any way.  By using the walker in a way that was not its intended use, she fell which has made her  not want to even attempt walking again.  So we began looking into gettin crutches as an alternative way for her to get around.  Giovanna was not excited about this prospect. 

When we got there one of the therapists, Cassie came out to meet us with a pair of crutches.  Giovanna was not interested and had total melt down.  For those at the hospital who have never experienced this side of Giovanna, it was eye opening and a shock.  We were trying to get her to walk with the crutches from the one side of the room to the other so she could get her x-rays.  She would have nothing to do with it and in the end got to ride over to X-ray in a wheelchair. 

After seeing Dr. G and having her pins worked on a second therapist came in with a second pair or crutches to try.  Giovanna was more interested, but still fearful of falling.  We were able to get her up and standing just long enough to determine that this pair was to tall.  So we did a little mixing and matching to get the “perfect fit” for Giovanna.  Then she  began to take more of an interest in them and was able to get up almost on her own to a standing position.  Another couple of tries and she was able to stand like she had been using them all her life.  We called in all the therapists that were in clinic so that she could show off her new skill.  She was beaming from ear to ear as everyone clapped for her. 

Once home, she began to want to use them and today – one day after getting her crutches, she can walk unasissted with them.  However her balance can get off at times and it is necessary to “catch” her before she falls.  She still beams from ear to ear as she “walks” through the house! 

Tenacity is a good thing when learning new skills!


Yes I can use these!


We are Going Home!
October 24, 2008, 1:24 pm
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Today is the day – the swelling is down just enough that the pin turns can begin.  Oh Joy!  We are waiting for Dr. G to make his rounds and come in and do the first one.  Once that is done – off to Eagan we go!  The car is loaded and there are just a few things left to put in.  One more trip to PT at 1:30 and then once the pin turn is done – we are out of here!!!

Thanks for praying – things have gone well!

Prayer Request
October 23, 2008, 7:11 pm
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Thanks to all of you who have been praying for us as we go through this week.  Also thank you for all of the practical ways that you have been ministering to our family – the meals, coming to visit and to give me breaks from the hospital.  God has used you in many ways to keep us going, especially as the days are sometimes very long.

The biggest concern right now is for the swelling in Giovanna’s foot.  She is still very swollen and having troubles moving her toes because of it.  She has developed some blisters as well, which could be due to the swelling but also could be sweat blisters due to the wrapping.  So the wraps are off and the ice packs are strapped to her foot. 

Because of the swelling, the pin turns could not be started today.  The swelling could also delay our discharge from the hospital.  Please pray that God would work a miracle and reduce the swelling.

Pin Care
October 23, 2008, 10:10 am
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Pin care starts today.  The first one is always the hardest one due to the all the dried blood and stuff from surgery.  We are hoping to use the shower to loosen everything frist and then go in the the q-tips and finish the job.  It will be a long ordeal and painful.  The nurses will give her pain meds prior to the cleaning – but I still remember the first one from last time.  Pray that it will go well.

Packing for the Hospital Stay
October 19, 2008, 4:09 pm
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So what does it take to spend the week at the hospital?  More than one would imagine.  Giovanna will walk into the hospital, but she won’t be walking out of the hospital, at least not without help.  So the walker will be going, along with her new blanket for people to sign when they come to see her.  She also takes “Goldie” her stuffed dog that she got during her last hospital stay.  She loves this soft fluffy puppy and takes it with her for all of her hospital stays!  The staff knows when Giovanna has arrived when they see the puppy dog!  She also added a huge stuffed bear! 

Knowing how hard it is for Giovanna after the surgery to go out in public with the fixator – she really does not like everyone staring at the fixator.  So off to the store we went to pick out some fleece to make covers to go over her fixator.  She picked out four different patterns.  She picked one to get made up and taken to the hospital with us.  The others are at a friends and she will finish the others up for us. 

She also is taking some CD’s to listen to, as well as some craft projects.  We have also been the recipient of lots of movies.  Giovanna loves to watch movies and so having “new” movies to watch will be so exciting for her.  There are long ones and short one, animal movies, people movies, old ones and new ones.  I doubt that she will be bored with such a large selection.  The difficulty may be that there are too many to choose from.  Hopefully she won’t want to stay in the hospital until all the movies have been watched!

I will have a room in the Parent wing.  So I have a suitcase with what I need plus school stuff.  Since I am teaching three classed this year, I have papers to grade, a syllabus to complete and teaching notes to compile.  I am also taking a book – just for fun. 

Today one of her brothers asked her if she was ready for the trip to the hospital and surgery.  Her response, “Yes, I like my friends come see me.  My new blanket for my friends to sign.”  This is a giant step forward for her.  Wednesday when she was told she was having surgery, she had a melt down in the kitchen. 

So tomorrow as we leave for the hospital, the car will be loaded and we are ready for the week.  Thank you for praying for our family as we head into this next week, but also as we face the next three months.  The Lord has been showing his grace and mercy through the body of Christ.