Red Five

I’ve always liked the number 5. There are 5 children in my family. My older brother Dennis wore jersey #5 when playing sports. And Luke Skywalker used the callsign Red Five when destroying the Death Star.

So I’m naming Becky’s 5th surgery Red Five.

Becky passed her Covid test and her pre-op physical. She is healthy 18 pounds, 15 ounces.

I woke this morning at 4:15am to give her one final feed. I grabbed a bit more sleep and woke again around 6am to Johnny. He wanted to read another chapter of Rinkitink in Oz before going to school. It paired nicely with a steaming cup of coffee.

I took Rudy for a quick walk and pondered some of life’s deep questions. Like why do we live in the Midwest and are subzero temperatures really necessary?

While making my lunch, I received a call from Dr. Sherman, Becky’s ENT surgeon. There has been some difficulty coordinating the brain MRI that she needs. Dr. McIntyre, Becky’s ophthalmologist and Dr. Van Bergen, the head of the Neurodevelopmental Clinic, want a brain MRI to determine why she has monocular nystagmus. Eye problems are common with Down syndrome but Becky experiences this nystagmus (involuntary motion of the eye) in only her left eye. That is cause for concern. Furthermore, it is standard of care for cardiac babies to have brain MRIs, at least at research hospitals. Often children with heart defects also have brain abnormalities.

Dr. Sherman hoped to have the brain MRI prior to surgery but scheduling is an issue. He wanted to talk through some options with me. It always amazes me that these doctors take my opinion into account. And that they text me. Sometimes using emojis. I know they are regular people but it feels like I’m chatting with Captain America. I decided to stick with the plan and wait for the MRI until tomorrow. Dr. Sherman has a 6-hour procedure after Becky’s operation. I chose to have Becky’s operation before he goes into that marathon.

We arrived at the hospital with no difficulties. It brings back so many memories walking past the PCICU and waiting room.

We settled into the pre-op routine with her nurse Debbie.

I stepped out of the room at one point and returned to an empty crib. Debbie was parading Becky down the hall and showing her off to the other nurses. Debbie’s daughter was working in another room. Apparently, Debbie wanted her daughter to see how great she looks holding a baby. A not so subtle hint abut grandchildren.

I’ve spoken with Dr. Sherman and the anesthesiologist. The Child Life specialist is playing with Becky now. Becky loves her new toys. I’ve signed the final paperwork.

Red Five should be underway soon.

10 thoughts on “Red Five

  1. Dear Kathleen, what an amazing heart breaking day, and she’s still having her brain scan. Wow, woman, quite a ride.
    God bless you, strongly!


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