July 21, 2008

The Golden Child

She DOES look like a little Buddha, doesn’t she?

We are home now, after 26 days in the neurological ICU and 4 surgeries (3 brain and 1 abdomen). The last surgery, to place a new shunt, was something of a big miracle, and she came out of recovery with a big smile. Could there ever be anything so amazing as that?

It’s great to be home.

Molly Kate feels “fantastic” (such a relief for her, after so much pain) and is taking things slow. Well, slow for her. She already has been to Starbucks and freaked the barrista out with her train-wreck head. And she had a few bites of a carne asada burrito. And my ears are bleeding, cause she’s talking so much. The tremendous relief she feels translates into a motor mouth that just won’t quit….not that I’m complaining….but, dang! Take a breath, Molly Kate!!

I can’t wait to cook , bake, arrange spices obsessively, start annoying people again, and blog about random stuff. But right now I need to do about 22 loads of laundry, pay bills, make phone calls, get a pedicure (seriously - remember those raptors in Jurassic Park?) and just enjoy the sweet chirping sound of my daughter‘s voice, who doesn’t mind being bald with big ol’ nasty looking scars all over….she is just so relieved to be home and feeling great. It will take some time to gain all her strength back, but this is such a terrific outcome. Brain surgery rocks!

Thanks, everyone, for your sweet thoughts and prayers, your offers of help and food, and all the other wonderfulness that kept me afloat. I promise I’ll be back up and blogging away very soon - I’m thinking you all need some crazy ass post about hospital food.

July 12, 2008

I have no jazzy title to this post at all. Maybe something like, LIFE SUCKS, but, hey, I’ve gotten some remarkably kind and hopeful emails from many of you, so I don’t want to scare anyone.

Our daughter, Molly Kate, has been in the Barrow’s Neurological ICU since June 22, the day after our son’s wedding. Since then, she has gone through two surgeries, a major infection, a dangerously low white blood cell count (2!!!) and is facing a fairly big brain surgery on Tuesday, if “all goes well“, which is always a dicey thing to write at this point. On the optimistic side, she is eating well (no feeding tube!), awake most of the time, and her pain is diminishing. All the medical hoo haw is complicated and frankly I don’t want to get into that shit here. I came home for two days to wash clothes, get some sleep, water dead plants, and pretend I can walk around without paralyzing fear and anxiety. And to not hear endless beeping of monitors.

We are not strangers to this situation. Molly since birth, has had many surgeries for her condition, hydrocephalus. It’s a bitch. I have learned enough about our completely backassward and negative health care system to know that it’s in complete and utter crisis. I have learned that most doctors just want to cover their ass and will try to avoid family members and their questions at all cost. Hey, who can blame them? When their malpractice costs are above $200K per year, they have lost their passion. I have learned that you have to advocate constantly for your loved ones and be demanding and assertive 24/7 when they are helpless. But all that stuff doesn’t matter right now. I’ll deal with those issues later, probably in a future post that will make you groan and wonder what it has to do with food.

On the bright side! Barrow’s is one of the premier “brain” hospitals in the country - we are lucky it’s only two hours away, and takes our insurance. Her nurses are, for the most part, extremely, wonderfully good and compassionate. Her original surgeon, who has performed some 50 surgeries on her as a child, is back on the case, coming in from Utah to take care of “his girl”. I feel this is something of a miracle, because of his guidance and relationship with our family, he has led us away from a truly dangerous situation to a real solution. We have friends and family who pray and help - my dear sister flew in from San Francisco and helped me in a way that only she understands. Our other children are so helpful and make her laugh - even our son in Iraq calls every chance he can, which is no small thing. We have a powerful and loving circle around us. I am truly, deeply thankful.

And, I hear from some of you that have learned of this situation. Your emails and posts move me very much. Sometimes I think that a complete stranger, who has no connection with us at all, sending prayers and good wishes, is the strongest indication of human…goodness and compassion. It is surprise and wonderful revelation
Thank you.

So, I’ll end with that….otherwise this post will get stupidly emotional and really, I just wanted to let you all know what’s up and to thank you so much.
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"The Dish" by Catherine Wilkinson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.