1. the quality of being thankful
2. readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness
Neave is out of surgery and faring well.
Here’s what happened:
Yesterday was maybe the longest day in the history of the world. Matched only by…today. And what I assume tomorrow will feel like as well.
We arrived at the hospital before 6 am. Kate was able to accompany Neave into the O.R., until the anaesthetist and slumber took over. Surgery began around 8. And so we gathered in the surgical waiting room and proceeded to do just that. Wait. And pace. And drink tea. And watch the seconds tick by. And count the chairs as they filled up. And guess where the doctors were from based on their accents, as they came to inform other families that their respective children were out of surgery. And pray. And drink more tea. And stare at the automated screen that looks like an airport arrival/departure schedule. And watch her name just sit there…”In OR”. And count the chairs as they emptied. And panic. And make inappropriate jokes to ward off the tears. And drink more tea. And wonder why no one had come out to give us an update yet. And wonder. And wander. And worry.
And then, 13 hours after it started, Dr. Hopyan, the orthopaedic surgeon, came out to tell us that Neave…was ok. The surgery had gone well. They had removed what needed to be removed. Replaced her femur with 20 centimetres of her own bone from her left leg, along with some donor bone, and a metal plate and after all that, she was doing well. He said that she’d be moved into recovery shortly and then we’d be able to see her. We thanked him and oddly found ourselves unable to catch our collective breath. Some battles are so stressful that even their endings are not met with relief, because something inside of you knows, this is just the beginning of the war.
We waited for 2 more hours. We’d been first into the waiting room and we were now the last. Apparently, just before they’d closed the incision they’d decided to do a little adjustment and so the surgery had continued. And our panic catapulted. Back to the pacing. And the waiting. And the praying. After a total of 16 hours in surgery, all was well and we were finally able to see our girl.
She is now awake, alert, feisty and handling this like a hero. As Shane has pointed out to us, when you type “Neave” into your phone, it autocorrects to “BRAVE”. Even Apple knows it’s true.
Speaking of brave. I can’t tell you how proud I am of Neave’s parents. They are my heroes too. Watching my sister navigate the complicated waters of our medical system is nothing short of brilliant. She is an exemplary mother. And I couldn’t have chosen a better man to father my niece. I wish my own parents were here, (for a hundred reasons), but one of them is so that my dad could shake Shane’s hand and tell him he’s honoured to have him as a son-in-law.
One of the things we did to occupy ourselves between the pacing, the tea-ing and the peeing, was to read your messages. Your kind, inspiring, heartfelt and loving messages. And there have been so many of them. I can’t thank you enough. For every word. It feels like you’ve wrapped your arms around us in a giant, virtual hug. There is something magical about the communion of energy. When everyone joins together to send prayers, thoughts, positivity and love…something big happens. Bigger than any one individual alone. Thank you for creating a ripple. It has reached us. We are riding its gentle waves to the shore.
Please keep ‘em comin’! Neave is in a lot of pain, which they’re managing with meds. We are hopeful that all will heal well within her new miracle legs. We have a long and winding road ahead of us, but she is equipped with a great team – from her docs and nurses, to her wee friends, sisters, family and community at large. So keep sending strength, patience and fortitude to Neave and to her very weary parents and family. I’ve decided to change the adage from “one day at a time” to “10 minute chewable chunks”. We can do anything…for 10 minutes at a time.
I shall sign off for now. Sign off, but with much gratitude. Gratitude for the gift of Neave in my life. Gratitude for my family – I don’t know what I did in a previous life to have been so lucky to have inherited them. Gratitude to be Canadian and to have access to this skillful and world class group of doctors, nurses and specialists. Gratitude for steeped tea with 2 milk, or (thanks to her Irish friends), 2 cream for Kate. Gratitude for the strangers who donated blood and who signed their donor card and thus contributed a literal piece of themselves to her future. Gratitude for sleep. Gratitude for Netflix Kids. And gratitude for all of you, our army of goodwill.
Mother Teresa said “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love”. Sending so much love, that it hurts.