Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Hurry Up And Wait

Well, I am more rested up today.  I got a lot of things done.  And I have more things to do.  But I thought I would stop and do an entry.

I thought I would write a little bit tonight about the day of Valerie's operation.  It was one long day to put it mildly.  We got in late to Baltimore the night before and had to get up at 4 am to get ready to go to the hospital.  Valerie, Chelsea and I left for the hospital at 5 am.  We arrived back at the hotel that evening at 4:45 pm.  So needless to say it was a long day.  Almost twelve hours. 

They took us all (Valerie, Chelsea and me) into a a little waiting room at 5:45 (I am not sure why, because all we did was sit there!).  After awhile, they called Valerie for some pre-op stuff.  They hooked her to an IV and did some other things.  I don't know what because Chelsea and I were still in the little waiting room.  After awhile they called me and Chelsea and let us spend a brief time with Valerie before her surgery.  They had Valerie stay in that area till 7:45 am, soaking in fluids from the IV and going over medical history with her.  Then we gave her a kiss and said we would see her in awhile when she came out.

The rest of the day consisted of us being held in another room most of the time.  Literally.  We were told to go to a certain room and sign in at the desk.  When we first got there, the receptionist told us, "You have 45 minutes for breakfast.  Go now.  In case anything happens to your family member we want you to be available for us to speak to you."  Maybe it wasn't that curt but that is the way I remember it.  So Chelsea and I went down to the cafeteria and had a nice breakfast.  We had eaten a little bit of food at four in the morning, but it was eight something at this point, and I have diabetes, and I didn't want my sugar level to drop.  So we ate and back up to the GOR Room we went.  We signed back in.  We waited.  And waited.  At some point I remember the phone ringing and the receptionist telling me the surgeon was on the line for me, so I picked it up.  "We have just started," he said.  "We had to do more pre-op before she started, but we have started now.  She is doing really well."  "Great," I said.  "Thank you."  He hung up.  I went back to my seat. 

At some point the receptionist told me that the surgery was going to take two and a half hours.  Plus over two hours in the recovery room.  I was a little taken aback because Val had told me the surgery would be a half an hour.  I knew that had to be an underestimation.  I kind of chuckled under my breath when she said it.  Everybody underestimates.  

I don't mind waiting.  This was the second surgery I had gone to be with Val for.  The last one was even longer.  So I didn't mind waiting.  I just wasn't sure how long it was going to take.  Chelsea found some search and circle puzzles up on the desk and we did two of those.  She was such a trooper.  She never complained about waiting.  I do remember at one point she fell asleep on my shoulder.  At another time we did a Mad Lib and at another time we played a whole page of Hang Man.  Just making them up ourselves.  We saw the changing of the receptionist.  Then the old one came back from lunch, looked at us, and said, "Please go to lunch now.  This is your chance."  So off to lunch we went.  For a short lunch. 

And back to the GOR Room to hurry up and wait.  I should say that this waiting room had at least fifty people sitting in it.  Fifty or more family members.  Every time the phone rang you didn't know if a surgeon was calling the receptionist about your family member or somebody else's.  And you were told not to leave the room in case the surgeon wanted to speak with you on the phone or come into the room to speak to you.  They didn't want him  to have to wander around the hospital looking for each patient's family. 

So after I don't know how long the phone rang again.  The receptionist told me that Valerie was in the recovery room and that her surgeon would be out soon and that one of us should go to recovery to see Valerie when they called for us and one of us should stay and talk to the surgeon when he comes out or phones.  But they said it would probably be another hour wait for that to take place.  I asked Chelsea if she wanted to go back and be with her Mom.  She said she had better do that because she may not remember what the doctor had to say. 

It seemed like another hour went by and then Chelsea was called back.  Val's surgeon called me on the phone and gave me an update.  He said Valerie did exceptionally well.  I was relieved to know that.  Chelsea came back into the GOR Room.

We waited a long time again.  I asked at the desk what was taking so long.  They said that sometimes one has to be in the recovery room a long time.  Then she looked on her chart, dialed somebody on the phone, and told me what room Valerie had been moved to.

When we got up to the room Valerie was lying in the bed with her eyes closed.  She couldn't really talk.  And I knew she was in pain.  But I also knew she could sense we were there.  So I am glad we came up to her room.  Chelsea asked, "Is she awake?  I think she is asleep."  "She is resting," I said. "She knows we are here."  After spending a little time with her I thought it best to let her fall into a deep sleep so I told her we were going and we left.

Chelsea and I got back to the hotel at 4:45.  The rest of the night is a blur after that except I do remember calling some people that night and letting them know that the surgeon said that she came through the surgery well.

I am so relieved that everything turned out well and that she was okay.  Thank you for all who prayed for her.  I have one more prayer request.  In the first two weeks after surgery there is a one in twenty percent chance of infection.  Sometimes menengitis.  This surgeon has never had it happen to any of his patients but Valerie has asked prayers for that.  Gee, I guess I am so graphic and honest in my journal, aren't I?    




  1. chickiecheeses7/13/2004 10:58 PM

    I do remember sitting in waiting rooms for my mom and my dad's surgery. They really put you through the ringer. I am so glad everything went well and I pray it continues to go well for her.

  2. readmereadyou7/14/2004 1:24 AM

    The waiting is always so hard but she had you and I'm sure she felt the love. I'm so happy all is well. : )

  3. No problem about the prayers, wish there was more I could do. Thanks for keeping us up to date.Hope all continues to go well

  4. i am so thankful to Him that all went well with Valerie's surgery...how wonderful He is to us!!! ive been back in the hospital and havent gotten a chance to catch up on all,,,so today i will borrow Taras laptop and take it back to bed with me to get some reading done...have a great,blessed day,,,luv-n-hugs, D

  5. That's why I enjoy reading your journal. You tell the whole story, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I will say more prayers today  for no infection. I'm so glad to hear it went so well. You are so good to be there for her like you are..:)


  6. My mother is a receptionist in a family waiting room. In that hospital all updates are done via computer, real time, during surgery. All my mom has to do is look at her terminal and she can tell people exactly what is happening. Someone comes in person only if there are complications or when the surgery is complete (so they can deliver a report and take you back to recovery). It's a pretty nice setup. My mom gets really emotionally invested with these families at times, since she is their only lifeline for most of the surgery. There is a sign-in and out book where you put down where you are going (location) so they can find you if they need to. Glad Valerie's surgery went ok. Hope she recovers quickly! -B

  7. I like reading your journal because you are honest!! I will say some prayers for her so that no infection occurs!! I'm glad all is well, and it is very good of you to be with her.

  8. This is Valerie -- Thank you for all of your prayers!!  Krissy, I surely knew that you and Chelsers were sitting there by my side in the hospital room.  I just couldn't communicate with you.  I also knew this and wished that I could just open my eyes and talk, but I could not.  I also remember nodding my head to your question about whether you guys should go back to the hotel room or not.  Thank you so much for being there for me!  You both were soooooooooo wonderful!! Love, Valy

  9. kristenramsay7/15/2004 7:11 PM

    Kristina, I miss you since oow died! Jael & I (and Sometimes Mandie) have been posting at Making it Mine (http://makingitmine.proboards17.com/) .   If you find time, stop by sometime; You know me, such a worry wort! :)

    I am really glad that the surgery went well & your sister is well!

  10. you know Im touched by your thoughts kris and also val adding a comment... me being the youngest sister in the rather female family I was not there are the hospital but my thoughts were. What Val might not know is that her daughter Chelsea would get online and give me little hopeful reports... Kris said she is a trooper... and Ive always thought this about her. A strong cheerful figthing young woman. Val must be proud her children, Chelsea and Matt. I guess I feel like this much goodness from all the cast of characters just makes me want to cry in such a nice way.

    sending my love


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