After surgery, the first stop is recovery. In that space, you are still unconscious, surrounded by your entire medical team, minus the surgeon, who rushes off to scrub in for another surgery. The goal of recovery is a return to a normal state--consciousness, the ability to breathe, hunger and eating and eventually discharge from the hospital. You have a medical team right there, watching you, supporting you and carrying you back to normal.
I don't think I am quite out of recovery yet.
This weekend was so jarring. It shook me in a way that I never imagined possible. It had been less than 2 years since Lily's shunt failed--14 years since her original tumor diagnosis. I was both out of practice and back into my old way of thinking--the way that has you believing that somehow there is a balance of bad in life.
But in reality, it's all a random shit show. You could spin and get all bad for years and then never again. You could roll the dice and win; only to lose badly the last roll. It's all a gamble and there is no safe bets: one bad wager and you're out.
I still in the place of shock. This shock is fed by Lily's miraculous recovery and her super human strength. She spent less than 24 hours in the hospital; she practically wrote her own discharge and return to school instructions, she demanded language that provided she could still walk on the track and she ensured her entire medical team knew exactly what she expected out of them. Her incision and spot of shaved hair is huge--but her hair easily covers it up.
It feels a little like nothing happened. But, then it did. The truth lies right under a flip of her hair.
I am not quite there yet. I am still a bit under the anesthesia. I am slowly coming around and I am faking my return to normal a bit; but if you called me to the carpet and demanded I be normal in a social setting or in an important meeting, you'd probably see the facade slip. I don't feel like making eye contact these days or being seen or being asked or recounting anything.
The thing is, when you come out of recovery you return to normal--but it is an altered normal; a normal changed by whatever happened while you were down for the count. So what scares me is not returning to the old normal; but it is the new normal.
This new normal comes with the experience of the thing that happened this weekend. It comes with one more ER visit and one more PICU stay and one more wait while my daughter was having brain surgery. It comes with the constant worry of how I'll ever not worry about Lily. It comes with the fear that my worry about Lily will stifle her and preclude her from the great, wonderful, independent life she should have. It comes with the raw pain of realizing that none of this is my burden, as much as I try to lift it, it is all Lily's.
So, for now, I want to remain in this partially awake state--surrounded by all those who love us and love Lily, until I am ready to return to whatever the next, new normal is.