Recovery – Everything is Relative


 (Merriam – Webster)

Medical Definition of RECOVERY

:  the act of regaining or returning toward a normal or healthy state
Recovery.  Is it a place?  A state of being?  A state of mind?  Who knows?  But, we spend a lot of time here.  It’s really sort of a family affair, although without a doubt the one who takes the brunt of it is always Meghan.  Four times in the last 10.5 months, and most recently three times in the last 6 months,  there has been general anesthesia, and necessary recovery.  That is a record for her that I pray she never surpasses.  
view from the top
In November and May it was the knee – one emergency, one planned. In between it was the hand.  A pesky, tiny AVM, gotten before it got to be too big of a deal.  She JUST was cleared to take a break from the recovery PT on Thursday.  And on Friday it was the wisdom teeth.
We laughed a lot before the teeth came out.  We called her an overachiever and kept the mood light reminding her that years from now she would be able to boast being the first, when her friends inevitably would need theirs done too.  This surgery had a glimmer of “normal” attached to it – although distinctly unique in her age.
But, being unique isn’t always a place you want to be.  Especially at 12.  Sometimes you just want to blend in a little.
cs lewis hardship
It’s less than ideal to have a weak knee with a persistent AVM.  It’s no fun at all to grow AVMs – even tiny ones – in the palms of your hands.  (One in EACH hand to be fair.)  It doesn’t make for good conversation, when your experiences are operating rooms, and your excitement comes from which doctor hurts less when they put the needle in.  Which 12-year-old would really know how to respond?  It’s certainly not the place you want to be as the FIRST wisdom tooth survivor of all your friends, when none have seen their own swollen puffy cheeks, or have any idea the pain as the incisions begin to heal and the stitches work their way through.
And I knew the prcedure even surprised the surgeon.  When I went to her as she woke up, the medication plan had changed.  Initially she was to recover on Tylenol.  I was handed a script for a narcotic pain reliever and instructed to be sure she used it.  It’s never dull.  Or easy.
fly then walk
It’s no solace to her that I understand THAT surgery.  Because I had it AGES ago, and I don’t remember too much except pain.  And, I won’t be in school with her tomorrow to give her Tylenol, or reassuring glances, or soft food.
Recovery, when she was little included furry stuffed animals, and lots of rest time.  It included balloons, and all sorts of pomp and circumstance.
Recovery, now is more about the sporadic texts and occasional pop-overs while she tries to maintain her school work.
Recovery now includes the realization that it’s very definition of “returning toward a normal or healthy state,” could prove to be elusive, indefinitely.
We do a lot of talking.  We all know how fortunate we are.  We all understand how much worse all this could be.  We have depth of knowledge of those around us who suffer.  We think.  We pray.  We miss our friends.
grass is greener
Recovery, on this beautiful holiday weekend, involved trading walks in the fall air, for open windows.  It involved being nearby all night, because I was allowed.  Recovery means family time.  And maybe that’s one of the things that keeps us sane.
Perhaps “recovery” has become a routine venture.  And THAT in and of itself could lead to a whole lot of other conversations.
Tomorrow it’s back to business.  The plan is to swim by Thursday.  After all, there is a meet this weekend.
Our goals in this house far exceed recovery.  That’s way too repetitive.

We like a challenge.  We are BEATINGCOWDENS!


“An Accumulation…”

I once read a story where a special needs mom described her daughter’s seemingly “over the top” fear of needles to a phlebotomist who had no frame of reference, compassion, or desire to understand. The phlebotomist had written the child off as poorly behaved, and the mom as one with no control. This mom said plainly to the phlebotomist, “It’s not you. It’s not even the needle any more, at least I don’t think so. You are AN ACCUMULATION of botched blood draws and rolled IV attempts. You are an ACCUMULATION of her being stripped of her control, and of all the pain that has come from those needles.”

That story stuck with me in the deepest way. And I have told doctors, nurses, and phlebotomists alike, whose egos are sometimes easily bruised by an incredibly anxious 12-year-old, not to take it personally. That is if course unless they get it wrong and add to the problem…

Tomorrow morning Meghan will head to the oral surgeon for general anesthesia and surgery 15.

The surgery itself this time is not that unusual.  The wisdom teeth are impacted and the bottom two will come out tomorrow.  Years of orthodontics are complete, not to be damaged by over-anxious wisdom teeth making an unwelcome early appearance.

I say it’s not unusual. Except that she’s 12.


If you think about when you had your own out, my guess is you were somewhere between 17 and 21.  And, at the time you had them done you knew at least a few people your age who already did it.  And you were in turn “there” for your friends that followed.

Except once again she’s braving unchartered territory alone.

For those that have challenged her on calling this “surgery,”  I will remind you that is probably how you referred to yours.  At the oral SURGEON, under anesthesia.

There have been countless well-meaning adults, telling her about their wisdom teeth, and how it’s no big deal.


And while their intentions are good, I bet there aren’t going to be too many people absent from her junior high this year to get their wisdom teeth pulled.

As “normal” as things are, they just aren’t.


By the time her friends get theirs done they will not remember, and I’ll likely have to vouch for her story that hers came out at 12.

The oral surgeon’s office called to remind me she shouldn’t eat or drink after midnight.  They shouldn’t worry.  I stopped any use of NSAIDs, and fish oil, and unneccessary multivitamins a few days ago.

We’ve got this.

She just shouldn’t have to.

It’s a recurring theme.  But, we will endure.  Because we have no other option.

Defrosting the chicken for tomorrow’s soup.