Tummy surgery: complete

If I had subtitles, it would probably be “The miracle that no doctor could have foreseen.” But I’ll get to that.

I’m sitting in the parents’ lounge typing this up because I forgot my laptop. If I hadn’t, I would have posted much, much sooner, because pretty much all Namine is does is sleep. A much deserved sleep, I might add.

But since it is now the end of the day, let me back up a bit, to about 1:30 in the afternoon. We had just been notified that the surgery was done, in only a mere three hours. And while they had originally told us that both procedures would take three hours, they said it would be a minimum of three hours. Depending on the severity and complexity of the hernia, that alone could take three hours or more, resulting in a net OR time of over five hours. With that in mind, three hours is good. More than good: it meant, hopefully, that things were simpler to resolve and perhaps the hernia was not so bad after all.

The g-tube removal was simple as could be. We will be able to speak at length to Dr. Arca again tomorrow, but as I understand it, there were no problems or complications with the fistula closure.

But let me break any delusions you might have about Namine’s hernia. The hernia was actually larger than they thought – it was 13 centimeters long. Namine is small; 13 cm is, without exaggeration, the length from her spine to the front of her pelvis. Dr. Arca was fortunately able to make an incision decidedly smaller, however. The incision is less than half that size, 6 cm. Thank God for awesome doctors.

The plan, as outlined to us by Dr. Arca herself, was simple enough. Since Namine had this hernia, this hole in the left abdominal wall, she would most likely need some sort of prosthetic, perhaps a material similar to the mesh that resides in my own hernia repair. This would be required if Namine’s own muscle was unable to reach far enough to be able to close the hole by itself.

The plan, like so many dry leaves in autumn, was swept away by – I can only describe it as such – a miracle. A simple fact, one whose possibility was perhaps overlooked or not even considered. And that fact is, Namine had more than enough muscle to close the hernia. It was already supplied; it was not missing. What it was missing was the final connection that most children have. All Dr. Arca had to do was connect (I cannot say reconnect, as it was never connected to begin with) the muscle in the proper place.

Why that muscle wasn’t connected is a question that I think no one will ever be able to answer. Dr. Arca has two thoughts: one, that it didn’t connect properly because Namine is a preemie. Or two, and this is the more likely, it is simply another side effect of Namine’s caudal regression syndrome. CRS affects much more than her sacrum; one change impacts another, like dominoes. A malformation – or perhaps just an unfinished formation – of the sacrum impacts the pelvis, which in turn impacts the legs, the feet. But our special needs doctor has already suggested that it had a greater impact on Namine’s internal organs, and we are probably seeing more proof of this.

I imagine the pain Namine is in at the moment to be, for lack of a better word, profound. But she hasn’t cried due to pain, yet. She has cried when nurses (and respiratory specialists) have come in the room, but we are well-acquainted with her particular brand of stranger danger. We call it “post-surgery stranger danger,” because she really only freaks out when it’s right after surgery. It will, as it has before, fade as she recovers.

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