She walked away today. She broke the rules. She updated the plan. On surgery number 11 she hugged us goodbye, and dry eyed walked through the secure area with two young nurses. The doors barely closed before I dissolved, an exhausted puddle, into my husband’s arms.
That didn’t last long… You only get a moment or two to pull it together. Then there was some really rotten cafeteria food, and WAITING.
They took her in at 3. Three and a half hours after she was scheduled. She was tired, and hungry. And more grown up than I am at 3 PM when I haven’t eaten.
What a whirlwind! Last Wednesday when we met the surgeon I was stunned by how quickly he wanted the entire thyroid removed. Stupid Cowden’s Syndrome. Makes people quick to pull out whatever seems to be misbehaving. And (SIGH) they are usually right.
So as the week built, and the media started predicting the newest storm coming…. I brushed it away for a while. I thought there was no way it could stand in the way. The surgery was scheduled. She was ready. The throat clearing has reached epic levels.
Faith that it was going to be fine. Initially faith that the storm would pass. Faith that we would arrive on time to an early surgery Thursday morning.
Then, as happens so often I was reminded that FAITH, is not about me. It’s not about my terms, or my time, or my way. FAITH is knowing, trusting, believing. that God will provide what we need. Whether it fits my plan or not.
So, as it became evident that there would be no safe way to travel Thursday morning, the phone calls began.
So much talk about HOPE this month. Rare Disease Day, and “HOPE – It’s in our genes.” Hope became necessary. The faith and hope working hand in hand, with a few mini meltdowns of worry mixed in. (HEY, I never claimed to be perfect!)
Back and forth to the surgical team, to the social worker, the secretaries. Pleading. Help us. Hotel rooms that were available running several hundred dollars. Offers from loving people to pay the bill. But in the end money wouldn’t have stopped us. We would have paid whatever we needed. Because we had to be here. Right here. Right now.
So finally around 2 O’Clock on Weds. the call came. “We can put you up at the Ronald McDonald House for the night.” The fee – incredibly reasonable. The location- perfect. The reality – it was time to pack us up and be out of the house by 8.
Packing to take Meghan away is an adventure. It’s not the electronics, or the “stuff” but rather the food. Not even a major hospital can safely prepare Gluten, Dairy, Soy free food. So there has to be a cooler. Dad made fried chicken and plantains. I picked up a pound of a Boar’s Head staple. Cookies, granola, ginger ale, and other necessities. Showers for all. And Grandpa picked us up at 8.
We brought our own sheets – because you need to wash theirs before you go, and I doubted we’d have time. I have to admit I was worried. Really worried about what I would find through the doors. But what I found was… love.
I had heard of “The Ronald McDonald House- The house that love built.” But I never gave it any thought.
I have a new charity on my favorite list.
We were welcomed – almost embraced by love and kindness. There was a nonjudgmental compassion the radiated out of every staff member. We were given keys to our rooms, and a tour with the rules of the “house.” We were shown to our room only after Meghan was allowed to choose a few games to play – and keep – from their back room. And, after she was given a backpack – with a special monkey, and a monkey blanket.
And on the return trip after the tour, before we saw our room – she was handed a warm, beautiful, blue and green blanket. Her grateful smile. My heart – full of love in this house.
Our room was on the 11th floor. Immediately I was at ease with the wood floors, foam mattresses, and EVERYTHING wrapped in plastic. And there was the most beautiful view.
And as we each found our way last night into our own level of sleep, there was LOVE. Everywhere in the room.
We checked out gratefully this morning, due to arrive at the hospital for an 11:30 surgery.
By 3:00 when she finally walked through the doors we had had to spend some time reminding ourselves that we were blessed.
A beautiful chaplain met us this morning, and clearly spoke Meghan’s language. She compared God to a loyal dog… always there – forever understanding of our needs.
The doctors took extra time with someone else’s baby this morning. I am glad they have that level of compassion. I am glad they take their time.
Now they need to take their time with mine.
The last status update came 15 minutes ago. They only began around 3:40. Prep took a while. She is stable, but its slow going. What to expect from a Cowden’s Syndrome thyroid filled with 16 or more nodules? Why make it easy.
Thankfully – she has some very special guardian angels on the case today. And the prayers of countless others.
In our family of three its appropriate to remember “These three remain; faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is LOVE!”
More to follow as soon as I can…