Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Surgery Update

Hey everyone,

According to the check-up today, the surgery successfully corrected Sophia's alignment! She'll wear the glasses for a couple of years yet, but she'll gradually outgrow them as her eyes get stronger and more able to hold correct position on their own. Without the surgery she never would have been able to do this. Thanks SO much for all of your encouragement, visits, cards, and flowers!

Sarah Gingrich ; D

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Little Miss Blue Eyes

Sophia, right before operation.
Drugged up and ready to go!
Heading to surgery in a cheerful wagon, surrounded by pillows. Her doctor is the one on the right.

To My Most Amiable Readers,

Yesterday Sophia had surgery in both eyes; to relax muscles in each so that her eyes could align correctly. We had tried almost 2 years of patching and glasses and it was determined that her alignment issue could not be successfully treated that way. As many of you know, the treatment she was receiving in Chile was actually harming her vision due to out-of-date/unsound practice. Since receiving treatment in the States her vision has returned to 20/20, for which we are so grateful!

Yesterday she had to fast beforehand (a difficult thing to explain to a small child who wants breakfast!). We went in around one and they gave her a pink drink to put her to sleep. The half hour till it took full effect was pretty...hmmm, interesting. She got really, really loopy. Slurred speech, eratic movement, silly giggling. Basically she looked and acted drunk! Towards the end she started getting angry and irritable, which is about when they take them in. Because she was so tipsy they opted for a kiddy wagon lined with pillows to transport her to the operating room instead of a wheelchair. She clutched a little giraffe that her Great Great Aunt Mary, who has volunteered at the hospital for years, gave her. And off she went. I was okay until they went through the doors. Seeing the doors close behind her and knowing I was absolutely powerless to help her or comfort her was very hard.

Ten minutes later as we were sitting in the waiting area, the anesthesiologist came out and told us that she had them laughing in her last coherent minutes. They had put her in the operating room when all of a sudden she exclaims, 'OH NO!'. Dramatic pause. Everyone looking at her. 'My barrettes! My barrettes are all gone!' she exclaimed while patting her head confusedly. They made sure she could feel that her barrette was still on under her surgical cap.

About an hour and a half later we were guided back to her recovery room where she lay crying in the lap of a nurse. It totally broke my heart. I took her in my arms as she cried, 'Mommy, help me! Mommy, my eyes hurt!' over and over. Any time she tried to open her eyes, she closed them again with a cry of pain and thrashed about. I had to restrain her from rubbing her eyes and had to hold her down while they put drops in them. Again, totally powerless to help her. I just held her, alternately singing or praying or just saying 'It'll be okay.'

Arriving home, about all we could do for her is put on cartoons or cd's for her to listen to and hold her. She prefers to keep her eyes shut as the light hurts. Fortunately we're in a basement suite so it's not too bright. She slept well last night in my bed (Dustin is away for a few days). In fact I had all 3 of my children in my room, Reuben in the crib, Sophia in my bed, and Edison on a mattress on the floor (he had awoken many times during the night so I just moved him in with us). Thanks for your prayers; we certainly enjoyed sweet rest. Today Sophia is not complaining overly much of pain, but still likes to keep her eyes closed. It's basically like having a blind child all of a sudden as I need to lead her to the bathroom, help her eat and so forth. She likes to have cold washcloths on her eyes for pain relief and cartoons are such a blessing right now. Please continue in prayer for her as she recovers. We'll know more about the success of the surgery at her one week check-up.

Your Most Devoted, Sarah

Sunday, May 11, 2008

This Side of the Whirlwind

Plaza, North Dakota; family farm
So it's been a while...

I trust I'm pardoned? I tried three times to post something coherent and failed...sat staring at the screen; benumbed by near-constant activity...flying, driving, swimming, walking, packing, unpacking, repacking, washing washing washing clothes and packing them up again. Two ear infections for the kiddos. Intestinal distress for Dustin. A two-week trip to Montana with a four day road trip to North Dakota to see extended family thrown in. Lots of medical visits. Lots of shots. A week-long trip to Florida, running the gamut of Disney, Wet and Wild water park, and Cocoa Beach {too fun for words all of it, not complaining here}. But I am, alas, tired. And the craziness isn't over yet. This week is pre-op visits for Sophia and on Friday her eye operation. Directly after that Dustin leaves for a race down south with some guy friends. Then post-op visits, remaining mission board meetings, another trip to the beach, then pack pack pack for Chile and the 24 hour time period it takes to reach our home there.
Downtown Disney, Orlando FL
Cocoa Beach, Orlando, FL

I'm sorry I haven't communicated. Honestly I didn't have the strength. A lot of beautiful things happened. One of my favorites was driving my nearly-blind great aunt Mae around her small town in North Dakota in her golf cart. What was going to be "just around the block" to "teach me how to drive one" turned out to be an hour-long drive around town, stopping here and there and visiting with people who were somehow related to me, or know my parents, or just happened to wish to chat with two ladies cruising in a golf cart. Mae is going blind; ending her life-long love of reading and is bored, so so bored. Her laughter and smiles were a gift to both of us.

While in Montana we went to my family's cabin on the Dearborn River (pictured below). This is our land....beautiful, wild, peaceful land. The river was my great delight as a child; it snakes through our land leaving prime swimming holes in its wake, which, when frozen over gave us decent ice for hockey and figure skating. Sophia and Edison loved the Mud Kitchen where they served up some "birthday cakes" complete with pine cones atop and plenty of flour for decor. Dad and I walked the land, hoping to stumble upon another hide scraper left from tribes who passed through the area. No scraper, but plenty of silent accord as we walked the land we love. It is a hard place to say goodbye to.

In Florida we enjoyed time with Dustin's parents, and his sister Michelle and her Australian husband Chris who are visiting from Beijing. The memories made at the water park will make us all smile for a long time (four person rides rock!).

That's all I can say for now. A few things, beautiful to me.
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