One year ago today, I was eating lunch with Winnie the Pooh and riding Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel at Disney World.
There was no pandemic. There was no quarantine. There was no Becky.
It was the calm before the storm.
For the past four years, my folks, sister, and I have enjoyed a long weekend at Disney World. Dad and Karen attend an annual legal conference in Orlando every January. Several years ago Karen had the brilliant idea to tack on a few days to explore Disney World. It has fast become a favored tradition. It is fabulous to stroll around the Magic Kingdom, watching your parents enjoying the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride or sleeping on the PeopleMover.
This year finds me in a bit of a different place.
Our week at the hotel has passed peacefully. Mom and I are enjoying our Bible-in-Year Study and have watched five movies. We’ve spent much time on FaceTime with family and friends.
Becky has recently discovered her hands and works diligently to get her fingers into her mouth. It is must-see TV around here. She is generous with her toothless smiles which defy gravity to lift those squishy cheeks. Becky babbles and coos, holding a conversation with anyone who calls.
The cardiac nurse practitioner commented that Becky probably feels significantly better since the elimination of all milk protein. But her mother misses chocolate and cream in her coffee. Mom and I have soaked up the time cuddling this precious little baby.
Today Becky and I spent the morning at her pre-op appointments. Round 2. It was her first time out of our hotel room since last week. Becky tipped the scales at 13 pounds 1 ounce. When we left the NICU, her cardiologist hoped she would make it to 3 months and 10 to 11 pounds. She is 5 days past that mark and entering heavyweight territory.
Last week, her surgery was delayed primarily on the basis of the chest x-ray. While the left side looked better today, her right side still shows some haziness or opacity. I was concerned that we might be looking at another delay. Her blood oxygenation levels are now in the low 80s and dipping into the 70s. Her breathing is labored even while she sleeps. Thankfully Becky has developed no signs of viral infection and has been quarantined for the past nine days. She clearly needs the operation.
The surgeons discussed her case between surgeries and decided to proceed with the operation. The nurse mentioned that she might have more blood flowing to the lungs because of her cardiac condition. This might explain the haziness on the right side of her chest. They will give her a stronger antibiotic after the surgery. So, pending a negative Covid test, we are proceeding with surgery on Wednesday. The exact time will be set sometime tomorrow.
It is strange to be excited that your daughter is finally scheduled for open heart surgery. But we have known about her cardiac defect since June and have anticipated this particular operation since October. It’s time. The Becky Bowl commences in less than 48 hours.
In some ways, the cardiac unit at the children’s hospital is her Magic Kingdom,
a place where dreams of a new heart will come true.