Friday, 6 May 2011

Thy will be done, but could you do it this way?

So Katy has to have an operation to remove her special bump. Or at least, an operation is scheduled; I'm still of the opinion that before 3 June there is plenty of time for you to do your thing and get rid of the offending lump without the need to resort to anaesthesia and scalpels. I could say that a bit louder, if you like, if it would help? I would very much like to resolve this one without any doctors, however skilled, cutting chunks out of my beautiful daughter.

She was so brave, again.  Even after last time when she trusted the lady consultant who went on to stick a large needle in her neck and rummage around a bit.  I was so proud as she sat so still, let a variety of doctors poke and prod and squeeze her bump. Then she snuggled silently into me as they talked about consent forms and overnight stays and the risks of what felt like a million and one things that could go wrong, and then politely said 'Thankyou, bye bye' as we left.

What a well brought up little girl.

Of course, I could go on to mention that this was the same child who liked a picture of a butterfly in a Reader's Digest in the waiting area and made to tear it out, or the same child who showed her pants to another child across the aisle, or the same child who announced in a loud voice that 'traffic wardens are smelly!' (we have a game in the garden where they ride their bikes until 'the traffic warden' tells them to stop, and they don't, so they have to go to 'prison'...)

Maybe not that well brought up then.  But that's not the point. Not right now, anyway.

I hate the idea of my little Katy being unconscious while someone cuts into her little neck. I have trust in the medical professionals and in the skill of anaesthetists and so on, but I know the statistics and I know that there are people who are the 'one' in a ratio of 'one in X thousand' who don't wake up after surgery. My beautiful daughter will have a scar on her neck that might or might not heal well, and about which she might or might not feel self conscious when she's older. She's going to be scared and sad and in a strange place.  And so am I.

Every fibre of me wants to scoop her up and say that I won't let anyone hurt her, but I can't do that. Well, I have done it, and it turns out to be an empty promise. In fact, I am so complicit with those that hurt her that I hold her still against her will as they hurt her with needles. I have signed a form to say that they can administer drugs that will render her helpless while they cut out this bloody lump. Sorry about that.

It would be so much easier if it was me or Bryan that had this lump.  They'd whip it out under a local anaesthetic and we'd be a bit sore and grumpy and expect some extra sympathy and then it'd be done with. We have greater understanding and bigger necks. No awkward proximity to the Accessory nerve so no potential implications about shoulder impairment, no worry about anaesthetic complications, no worry about anxiety and fear and bad dreams.

Anyway, I'd better stop complaining because this is what we're stuck with.  I have been assured by a doctor (a Clinical Fellow, no less) that this lump will not go away on it's own having stuck around as long as it has already but I reserve the right to disagree with him and if you don't mind, this is still my preferred option, please.  But for the sake of argument, we'll assume that Katy is going to have her operation.

I'm not sure how much she understands, but I know from experience that I shouldn't underestimate her.  She was there when they looked at her bump and talked to me about Nightingale ward and excisionand an overnight stay and the Accessory nerve and scarring and swelling. She hasn't said anything about it and since we have appointments for another scan and a clinic check before we go for the pre-op and look round Nightingale ward, I'm just going to give it some time and wait till I really have to before we explain things to her.  And that gives you a chance to intervene...

She's been so brave.  Last night she was upset because her bump had a little bleed and a little weep and she was afraid to lie down in case something nasty came out of her bump onto her pillow. She wouldn't let me near it and wouldn't be comforted until she was exhausted and she let me push her down onto the pillows and lie down next to her.  At one point she sobbed, 'Why do I have to have a bump, Mummy? Can't you take it away?' and I thought my heart would break.  How do people manage with children who are much more seriously ill?  How do they cope with terminal diagnoses or terrible pain?  Oh God I know how blessed we are, honestly. I know that we'll come through this alright, honestly I do. I'm not wallowing in self pity because I know that this is a minor hurdle in comparison with some.

Actually, I have to say that I feel strangely cushioned from all this anxiety at the moment; and as a chronic worrier this is unusual. I can only assume that we are wrapped up in prayer because so many of our family at church are praying for us.  It is a lovely thing that among so many other (many more serious) calls for prayer, many people care enough to lift Katy and the rest of us to you. I feel it, definitely. I think it's a big part of why I'm not beside myself and unable to sleep at the thought of surgery on my youngest daughter, and why I still feel quite strongly that surgery might end up unnecessary. And why, if she does have the operation, I am convinced that it will be alright.

I'd rather that Katy didn't have this bump, but she does.  When I ask 'Why us?' I know that the answer is 'Why not us?' I'd rather she didn't have to have it taken away, but it seems at the moment that she does.  So here it is, Lord. With all the other heaps of rubbish I keep laying down in front of you and taking back and laying down again, I lay down all my fears and worries and questions and sadnesses and inadequacies about The Bump and its implications. You can have it.

I know that you'll look after my littlest girl and keep her from harm.  I know that you'll hold her close when I can't be with her when the surgeons are doing their thing and I know that you'll give them skill and wisdom in doing what they do. I know that you'll put your arms around her and stroke her hair if she's afraid without her Mummy and Daddy.  But it's hard.

And for me, teach me how to give my family to you, because they are yours already.  Thankyou that you have given them to me because they are so precious to me. Teach me how to stop agonising that I can't solve all their problems and take their hurts away because I know they have to learn to live, and having hurts and problems are part of life.  If I have to, help me when I have to stand back and let them take my Katy away and then sit and picture what they're doing as I wait for her to come back.  Give me ever more faith, Lord, and show me more of your love each day.

And thankyou for today's portion of love, Father God. Thankyou that you care about Katy and nothing I can say will make you take more care of her because your love is perfect as it is.  Your will be done.

But if your will was to get rid of this lump before the third of June, that'd be just great.

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