You will have significant experiences.
I hope that you will write them down and keep a record of
them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh
your memory of these meaningful and significant things.
Some may be funny. Some may be significant only to you.
Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some
may build upon another until they represent a lifetime of
special experiences.
- Gordon B Hinckley

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Christmas-time Blessings...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

A special thanks to all of you, Everett’s prayer warriors, for once again carrying Everett in your hearts and minds during this past week.  Everett’s surgery went very well…so well that he was discharged from the recovery room a mere hour after getting out of the Operating Room.  His surgeon, Dr. G, once again performed a successful surgery and we had him home and in bed by 8pm. 

We arrived at CHLA at 5:45am and checked in with the admitting desk.  As fate would have it, the woman admitting Everett was the same woman who admitted him last year…and she remembered us!  I could hardly believe it!  I always continue to be shocked by the small, personal happenings at this hugely large hospital.  From there we went on to the Surgical Admitting department where Everett was examined, weighed (he weighs 17 lbs 10 oz), measured (he is 27 ¾ inches tall), and updated them on Everett progress since he’s been home.  One BIG blessing about returning to CHLA is not needing to explain his medical history to any of the medical staff.  The hospital has computerized charting so everything from his 4 ½ months in the hospital is readily accessible.  That is a small convenience for a mom who is tired of having to relive Everett’s long medical journey every time we meet a new doctor or therapist.  After that, we changed Everett into his adorable surgical pajamas and waited to be taken up to the day surgery department.  While waiting, another man, whose job it was to clean the waiting room, came up and said he remembered us and our son, Everett (oh yes, he remembered his name).  Another amazing coincidence!  He “Oooood” and “Aaahhd” about how wonderfully strong Everett looked and said he hoped he wouldn’t be seeing us again.  We said we felt the same way.  From there we were taken up to the day surgical unit by yet another familiar face.  This time, it was the same man who escorted us around for both of Everett’s previous surgeries.  I am convinced God put these people in our paths that day for a reason…to make us feel at ease and give us confidence about the procedure.

After arriving in the day surgical unit, Everett was pre-medicated with a drug called Versed.  It may sound familiar to some of you as it is used routinely in colonoscopies and has the wonderful effect of amnesia.  About five minutes after getting his dose, Everett was high as a kite!  He was lying on his back, looking at his pacifier with crossed eyes, going “Aaaahhhhh, ahhhhhhh, ahhhhhhh” and was pulling his shirt up over his head.  Every woman who came to his bedside quickly had their sleeve attacked as he tried to pull them closer to him.  He is already a flirt and that Versed just made him even more so.  It was pretty cute!!!  Zac and I couldn’t help but laugh at him (as we videotaped the whole thing).  A few minutes later his surgeon came to his bedside to consent us for his surgery.  She explained the procedure for his hernia repair and then turned to the issue of his scar.  After looking at it, she told us she thought she could only improve its appearance by 15%.  And in order to do that, she would have to not only cut the skin, but also several layers of tissue underneath to get it to lay right.  In her professional opinion, she felt it wasn’t worth putting Everett through, especially after everything he’s already endured.  She was also concerned about the stress for him to have possible bilateral hernia repairs along with a six inch abdominal incision.  After some discussion, Zac and I opted not to do it.  I must admit, I was a little disappointed at first.  But after some reflective thought, I’ve realized that that scar is as much a part of Everett as is his heart, and who are we to determine how he displays his “war wounds.”  It would almost be like removing a part of who he is.  So, until Everett expresses some desire to change it, the scar stays untouched. 

Around 10am, Everett was taken to surgery and Zac and I returned to our spots in the waiting room, with my parents and Zac’s mom at our sides.  Old habits die hard and for each of us, we fell easily into the old habits of the things we did during Everett’s previous surgeries.  We ate McDonalds, my mom and I got Italian Sodas (a treat we only get at CHLA), we sat in almost the same exact seats, watched the exact same shows on TV…like I said, old habits die hard.  After about an hour, Zac and I were called again to the surgery waiting room to talk with Everett’s surgeon.  Carrying with the theme of habits, we were lead to the same room where we first received the news that Everett had an overwhelming bowel infection one year before.  Again…a day of coincidences!  When Dr. G walked in she said, “Well, we changed the plan just a little bit.”  And then she laughed because stuff like that is so typically Everett.  He never follows the rules.  Dr. G was successful in fixing Everett’s very large left hernia, but she also found the surprise of an undiagnosed un-descended testicle!  My response was, “Huh?” as my mind was thinking, “After all the poking and prodding this kid has had, how could this be!”  Everett will probably be mad at me someday for sharing this information with you, but his testicles have always been a topic of discussion with his doctors.  Last year, when Everett was transferred to CHLA, we arrived after he’d already been examined and the first question out of the doctor’s mouth at that time was, “Do you know if he has testicles?”  So needless to say, they’ve been elusive.  Before leaving CHLA, both of them were located via ultrasound, so we knew he at least had them.  But as far as if they were where they belonged…no one ever told us.  Dr. G said it had been missed because his hernia was so large that it was actually protruding into his scrotum, and so what each doctor felt and assumed was a testicle was actually bowel.  She had to do some looking, but she eventually found it and sutured it into the right place.  His right testicle, she’s fairly confident, is where is should be.  As far as the right hernia, she still isn’t sure if he has one.  She attempted to look at that side with a small camera, but his tissue wasn’t cooperating, so our plan is to watch him for signs of it.  If he ends up developing one, it will be back to the operating room again.  Let’s pray that doesn’t ever happen!

His incision is 1 ½ inches in the lower left quadrant of his abdomen.  She closed it with Dermabond (surgical super glue) and it shouldn’t leave too much of a scar.  As for his man parts…well, they are black and blue and have a 1 inch incision on them too.  Poor kid!  It makes diaper changing pretty interesting.  But we are SO thankful that the un-descended testicle was discovered.  Had we waited to have this surgery done, Everett would have been at risk for testicular cancer and infertility when he got older.  We are thankful that God guided Dr. G in solving this issue!  After one hour in the recovery room, and 8 oz of apple juice, we were allowed to take Everett home.  Dr. G said she felt we’d have an easier time getting him home while he was still tired from the anesthesia rather than keeping him overnight and taking him home the next day, fully conscious and sore.  So we loaded him into the car and said goodbye to CHLA for (hopefully) the last time :-) 

Everett is feeling well.  He did have some issues keeping down food the day of surgery, but today he’s eating fine, pooping, and is almost back to his old self.  He’s happy, giggly, but just a little more tired than usual (not that I’m complaining).  He also isn’t crawling very much, as he usually crawls with his belly on the floor.  But as he heals, this skill will come back.  Or maybe he’ll just go on to walking :-)  We are praising God for providing, yet again, the answers to our prayers.  We are so proud of our Everett who continues to amaze us as he takes life’s challenges in stride.  He is so brave and strong!!!  And we are relieved to have this surgery behind us.  We thank you for your prayers on his behalf.  God listens!!! 

Now we are looking forward to celebrating Everett’s Second, First Christmas and experiencing some of the moments we have spent many hours longing for.  With that being said, I will conclude by saying…in this season of miracles, may you always have hope.

With Love,

The Bollinger Family

P.S.  The attached pictures are of before (the flirt) and after (the sleepy boy) surgery. 

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