A FIRST SURGERY FOR A RARE TIKE ... A TROOPER
AND SOLDIER WHO FORTUNATELY WON'T REMEMBER THE EVENT
on the morning of August 17, 1999, our Andrew was complaining
because we couldn't feed him anything for almost six hours prior
As the sun rose over University Hospitals, we drove in to admit
our son for the operation needed to free Andrew's pair of fused
skull plates and move his forehead forward a bit. Without this
critically timed procedure, Andrew would likely become mentally
retarded, as a developing brain needs room to grow and his fused
skull provided no such opportunity.
A scheduled 7:30 a.m. surgery got delayed until almost 11 a.m.,
as a three-year-old girl scheduled for a cleft palette operation
the day before got bumped into this morning's first surgical spot.
During the wait, our pastor, my sister, my wife's former boss
(who happened on by, as he was in for a pacemaker adjustment),
and neighbor friends came to join us in the surgical waiting area.
Dr. Iskandar notified us around 2:30 p.m. that the surgery was
complete. By 4:30 p.m. we would see our brave little boy in the
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) almost unrecognizably
swollen from head to chin, with a sizable bandage wrap around
his skull and arm braces to keep him from touching the area.
Thirty-six hours later, he was out of ICU, off of morphine and,
miraculously, was only on acetametaphine for pain relief. He was
moved into a private room where my wife, Sherri, would stay with
him days and I pulled the overnight shift (an infant isn't exactly
able to call for a nurse, after all...).
The boy who had been known around the house as somewhat cranky
by default was now proving himself to be a real trooper. Although
he didn't exactly know what all was going on, I admired his steady,
accepting spirit, despite hearing little around him and having
his eyes swollen shut.
As he grew stronger, and as we did likewise ‹ learning how to
hold him without disturbing his freshly repaired head and how
to bathe his head without adversely affecting the healing of his
stitches: A "punk" zig-zag pattern from one ear, up over
his head, and back down to the other ear. Stronger than a straight
cut, we were told, and the zigs and zags would help mask the surgical
pattern as it healed and hair grew back over it.
A Tuesday of entry into an uncertain new surgical pasage, to
Sunday, when we left for home, with a freshly repaired son, knowing
that this was but the first in a litany of surgical procedures