Surgery day – an Eli story (part 5)

Updated: Aug 14, 2019

(continued from “Hell Week”)

**Beep Beep Beep**

I rolled over and turned off the alarm. 5:30am. I always get up early on days where I am nervous about something. I looked over to see if Melanie woke up as well and whispered, “hun, it’s time to get ready.” We hurried to get ourselves ready without saying much to each other. The silence in the car ride to the hospital was only broken by the music on the radio.

We pulled into the parking garage at the hospital just as we had the previous 7 days; but, this time it was different. Melanie and I could feel the weight of the stress on our shoulders. It was as if these past 7 days had aged us 7 years.

The front desk gave us directions on where we should meet Eli before going into surgery and off we went. Melanie and I entered the surgical floor where we were able to see Eli in his giant mechanical baby crib. He was surrounded by the surgeons and medical technicians that would be working throughout the procedure. The only two faces I remember were the surgeon and the anesthesiologist with the most glorious red handlebar mustache I’ve ever seen (and probably the only I’ve ever seen). They briefly gave us one last overview of the full procedure, let us ask final questions, and kiss Eli to say “see ya on the other side, dude.” We were then ushered into another room where we were given a pager that would ping us with updates and then they sent us on our way out of the hospital.

Once back in the car, Melanie and I wondered what we should do to occupy ourselves for the next 8 hours while Eli is in surgery. Naturally, I suggested breakfast burritos; and off we went. We couldn’t keep our minds off of the surgery and kept replaying what they were going to do…

“So he said that they will open his chest, have him on the bypass machine, and fix the aortic arch… Then put him back together and take him off bypass to check the pressures in his heart, right?” I said. “Right”, Melanie confirmed.

After breakfast, we tried to occupy ourselves anyway we could. Costco, grocery shopping, laundry, TV, ANYTHING…  

**Bzzzz Bzzzz**

The pager would go off randomly at times with little updates.

  • “On bypass”

  • “Surgery has now been going 3 hours. Still working”

  • “Going off bypass soon”

And finally, after 8 hours…

  • “We are done. Come to the waiting room to speak with the surgeon.”

You bet your sweet “A” that we were at that surgical waiting room in no time. We rushed through the doors and up the floors to the waiting room desk where we were told to wait. And wait we did. FOR – EV – ER.