Counting Blessings

7 weeks home; 2 surgeries; 6 whole hospital days plus visits; 9 wound sites; 16 medications; many hours of extra help…but not enough; 1 tired, crazy mamma and infinite trust and patience (mostly) from a 14 year old girl. The numbers are overwhelming but can never tell the whole story (as a maths head it pains me a little to say that!). It is the moments between the numbers that count. (Pun unintended…or was it?)
To say Missy’s orthopaedic surgeon is amazing is both unusual (orthos are not always renowned for their sunny disposition) and an understatement. The work he does on my girl scares me but, even when he changed the consent form moments before I signed, he has the skill, confidence and charm to win us over. He is dedicated and fiercely supportive. He pauses and takes the time to talk with her.
There have been times of pain and grumpiness for Missy…too many. Amongst it though the girl has used her words. She worked so hard to describe how she was feeling and what she needed. Her ability to differentiate between discomfort due to muscle spasms and other pain and then request the specific medication blew me away. She is proud of herself too.
And the difference? She is only just out of plaster so it’s not all apparent yet but what we can see is wow! Imagine trying to sit a plank of wood in a wheelchair. Then, just when you manage to bend enough to get in, it straightens again…that was our girl. Now she sits tall and proud with her bottom all the way back in her chair. And her feet! Her left foot has been transformed from a twisted mess to an actual foot. Dancing is already more comfortable for her which is great because her motivation for all of this was …”I dance”.
The irony of this little post-surgical contemplation and finally having a few minutes to sit and write? The draft was written on the only piece of paper I had with me…the back of a hospital appointment letter. This life! Amongst the challenges and fatigue and heartache there are blessings. And I am glad of a little time and quiet to count them.

Friday be good

It is strange how the mind works. I had forgotten. It happens every Good Friday but I forgot how much the appeal gets to me. How it creates many an emotional response.  Here in Melbourne The Good Friday Appeal raises a huge amount of funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital…our hospital. So far today I have shed sobbing tears and yelled at the television (well not quite yelled but I was assertive and the TV knew it was being ticked off!).

There are the memories. My whole rollercoaster ride with the hospital system and disability sector began at this time 11 years ago.  And the very first time Missy had a seizure long enough to need an ambulance ride was a couple of days before Easter. We were booked to go to the huge egg hunt at Werribee Mansion on that Good Friday but she was still on a ward at RCH juggling medication levels. It certainly was interesting seeing the Appeal from the hospital side…eggs for the kids, celebrities in the lift, much activity and hilarity…but we, and most other inpatients, would rather have been home.

Of course as well as bringing in money to pay for new equipment and programs and research the Appeal itself raises awareness. Many families, like ours, have the opportunity to tell their story. Yet I still feel the need to loudly tell the presenter (through my television) that yes I do know exactly what it’s like to have a child who cant even eat. I live it every day (I explain). Silly really and easy to forget that most people at home watching actually don’t know what its like to  have to put food down a tube for their child. I feel a strange mixture of things today. I am overcome at the amount of people helping, proud of our hospital and, oddly, annoyed that most people (read celebrity-donation-readers) only live this for a day. But the little faces and the stories told by their parents and medical staff warm my heart. There are many tales of sadness and hardship…and so many more of hope and healing.

Many of the stories make me smile…either with joy or empathy. But the tears began with a text. A photo of Missys friend  and her stall at her holiday caravan. She wanted to raise money for the appeal because the hospital looks after our girl….then decided to help her friend more directly with our frequent hospital visit expenses. So she and her gorgeous heart are proudly selling loom band treasures she made herself. Extraordinary. A child hovering around double digits brought me undone. So I sobbed out the memories and the sad stories and the overwhelming generosity of our little friend…and then smiled. For we are lucky to have this hospital and the expertise provided. We are fortunate that people are generous with their time and money today. And we are certainly blessed to know this loom banding angel. It is a good Friday.