A few days ago, we made another trip to Shriner's Hospital in Greenville, South Carolina for Jackson's 7th Mehta casting. Overall, this trip was probably the most uneventful trip we've had on this long journey. Everything went safely and smoothly. We left home on Tuesday morning to travel for our pit-stop in Roanoke, Virginia with Justin's mom. It is so wonderful to begin and end each of these stressful trips in Roanoke ... my favorite place on Earth! In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, we began our trek toward SC for Jackson's pre-op appointment at Shriner's. Other than waiting two hours to see the doctor, the pre-op check up went well. Jackson was cleared for surgery the following day, and he was scheduled for the first procedure of the day.
The next morning, we arrived at the hospital at 7am. We were told at check-in that Jackson's casting had been bumped to the second case ... but that was okay. It was still early in the morning, and we were admitted and shown to our hospital room.
Soon, we were in the PACU. While I signed all the consent forms, Jackson was excited to choose from the wagon of toys again! BOY how this hospital is different from the Philadelphia Shriner's!
Around 8:30 AM, Jackson was taken back into the OR suite. This time, his anesthesiologist requested holding the Versed pre-med. He said that because the body cannot metabolize the medication during the rather short procedure, kids usually emerge from anesthesia incredibly irritable. We were VERY willing to give it a try ... since Jackson's emergence is always the worst/most heartbreaking part of the day. In true trooper spirit, Jackson went right to the OR without us ... unmedicated ... without shedding a tear. He is so brave!
"Brother" kept us busy and distracted as we waited in the beautiful lobby for Jackson's cast to be applied.
After Jackson's cast was applied, during his stay in the PACU (his initial recovery is without parents) ... Justin and I had the opportunity to speak with his orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stasikelis. I expressed to him that I was feeling overwhelmed with the possibility that Jackson is going to continue needing serial plaster casting for a lot longer. Namely, I felt physically nauseous when one of Jackson's roommates announced that he was there for his 15th casting. The truth is, when Jackson began his Mehta casting journey ... I expected him to need a total of 5-6 casts ... and we were already there for our 7th casting. Dr. Stasikelis, in his gentle and reassuring manner, explained to me that he simply doesn't know how to predict how many more casts Jackson will need. He said to me: "It could be two. It could be 10. It could be more." As you can imagine, this news was disappointing. However, we really don't have a choice if we want Jackson's spine to fully heal. So, I'm trying to head the advice of a close friend and take it one day at a time. Or, in our case, one cast at a time. We are in this for the long haul!
Jackson did wake up in slightly better spirits without the Versed. Still, he is always incredibly tearful and helpless for the first few hours after surgery. Before prepping his cast, Jackson spent a little time in Daddy's arm with the cast dryer.
Then, we went to see our favorite nurse, Stephanie, in the "cast room." There, she mole skinned Jackson's Mehta cast ... and Justin and I covered it with new festive duck tape. I suppose we will call this cast the "ice cream cast."
Jackson got his vital signs taken a few more times.
And enjoyed opening another special gift from the Children's Wish Foundation (thank you).
And even gave Mommy a cheesy smile for the blog!
By lunch time, we were packed into the mini-van and our little hero was back to his usual self ... already singing and dancing to Justin Bieber's "Baby."
We finished off the day with a trip to the Greenville mall to ride the train ... and a nice dinner at Mellow Mushroom (which never fails to remind Mommy of her college days).
*** A special thank you to all those of you who prayed (and are praying) for Jackson and for our family. We continue to believe in Dr. Min Mehta's work to cure Progressive Infantile Scoliosis. Nevertheless, as you can probably imagine, we are very tired. Jackson amazes Justin and I daily. His cast really doesn't stop him from doing much of anything (that he's allowed to do). And, whenever we get discouraged ... all we have to do is ask Jackson if he likes his cast. His resounding "yes" is all we need to hear. Please continue to pray for Jackson's safety and healing. And, if you have time, for my struggling spirits. ***
As always, thank you.