I just got back from a drive with Aidan.
Yes, five days after major reconstructive surgery and Aidan is driving. There is nothing simple about that statement.
Last Wednesday, Aidan’s spine was straightened. It took eight hours to place two titanium rods which will hold him upright and give his back a natural sway. This was the hardest day. My siblings came to the hospital and fed us chocolate and read trashy magazines and helped me pick out lip gloss. The possible complications for this surgery are no joke. It’s a long time to be under anesthesia. Doing nothing but passing time can be quite draining and by time we saw Aidan at the end of the day, Garreth and I were exhausted.
At the end of the day the surgeon came down and told us, not only did everything go well, but the one challenge he anticipated (Aidan is too skinny to hide the rods) he successfully dealt with. Aidan spent two and a half days in the ICU before he moved up to the recovery floor. He has a thick bandage over his entire spine.
Garreth and I split our time in the hospital. He took the first four days. He called me at every shift change to tell me about our new nurse. He kept notes about who came in and said what and distributed what meds. He was amazing. We made the switch yesterday and the nurse made a remark about what a great team we are. For whatever reason, this is our strength. Garreth and I are great at self care (eating and sleeping and breathing fresh air – which you would be amazed at how many parents don’t do that) and communicating and managing stress. Apparently hospitals are our sweet spot of marriage. Yes, weird, I know.
Five days later and Aidan is driving. This means he’s sitting upright on his little titatium tooshy and using his recently cut muscles in a new way. He’s had some sudden seizures that have, of course, caused him pain as does turning him, but he recovers from each of these moments incredibly well. Aidan is absolutey amazing. He is patient and brave.
As I’m sitting here in our hospital room, with our personal belonging sprawled all over the place like we’re taking over, I can’t help but reflect. We were on this very floor just over a year ago with Aidan recovering from double hip surgery. At that time, every move he made left him crying. He was dehydrated resulting in an increased heart rate. His meds made him hallucinate and left him somewhat vacant. Comparatively speaking, this is a walk in the park. Of course, I’m not the one who performed the surgery nor endured it, but still, a walk in the park.
Which is weird when you think about it, because just a few weeks ago, anticipating this surgery, Aidan and I walked at the park. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we drove for a bit, walked a little, and then lay on the summer grass. That seems much more in line with how life should be. Aidan sat at the window today, separated from the sunshine by a colorful decorative pane of glass. Pain control is the name of the game now, balancing wake time and healing sleep.
The nurses don’t want to see him go, because, of course. But we will be home in record time, walking in the summer grass.