Today Grace had surgery to lift her eyelids. They’ve been drooping, the right more than the left. Her brain and the muscles in her eyelids just weren’t working together. We were supposed to have the surgery done this summer, but if you’ve been reading along you know that this summer didn’t exactly go the way we planned.
We’d noticed almost two years ago that her eyes seemed a little more closed. We’ve been watching it with her eye doctor since then. We’ve watched her lift her head up less and less when she walks because she can’t see as well with her head up. We’ve watched her with her eye-gaze communication system. There are areas of the board she doesn’t look at as much, probably because she couldn’t lift her eyelids. We went through pictures from over the past few years with her ophthalmic plastic surgeon (still can’t believe she has a plastic surgeon on her team) and the progression was clear. It was time to do something about it.
The surgery was pretty quick – all the pre-op and post-op was what took time.
When I talked to the surgeon when it was all over he warned me that she would look rough for a few days. He told me there would be swelling, possible black eyes, and bloody tears. The only thing we can do is give pain meds, try and put ice over her eyes (not Grace’s favorite by any stretch of the imagination), keep her from rubbing her eyes too much (also not Grace’s favorite), and carefully wipe the bloody tears away to keep everything clean.
As they were putting in the IV this morning to give her anesthesia Grace looked me right in the eye. I promised her this was it – the last surgery we have planned.
We need this to be it. We all do. Months have gone by with us barely noticing. Graham yelled at me tonight for leaving him again. We were gone for 25 hours – and he had an absolute blast without us. Once he got over being mad he told me all about it. He needs us to not leave him. Grace needs to be in school. We need to be at work. The world is only forgiving of absence to a point.
I get that in the grand scheme of things this has been a small window of time. But this small window of time has beat us up a bit. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, we’ve taken some blows. How to recover isn’t quite as easy as ice and pain meds.
The nurse in pre-op today called Grace a tough cookie. I told her she had no idea how tough a cookie Grace is. The nurse in post op commented on Grace’s shirt. The word “Awesome” is printed over and over. “That’s a big statement for someone who’s gone through as much as she has,” he said.
“She never quits,” I told him. “She just keeps going.”
In the coming weeks (and maybe months) we’ll do our best to find our family some rest and recovery, so we can keep up.
Grace’s face will remind me of the need for rest the next few days I’m sure. When I put her to bed tonight I noticed the beginnings of what looks to be a black eye and I wiped up the bloody tears as carefully as I could.
But when her face has healed – she will be able to look up.