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The Chaos Mini-Series

Welcome to my chaotic life of FIVE small children and a traveling husband! This blog is actually a "work in progress" and serves as a loose outline for a humorous non-fiction book I strive to publish by the end of this calendar year. Each entry builds upon the one just prior to it so it is best to begin with Part I. This story begins just four short years ago when a tsunami of unfortunate, tragic and hectic events brutally pounded us one right after another. As my family and I endured and eventually overcame each wave of misfortune, we kept our heads (barely) above water and held high, eyes wide open and hearts on "stand by" as we witnessed new opportunities and blessings emerge from the CHAOS...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Six Days til Departure...Part V

Within a matter of six days, we managed to accomplish the equivalent of climbing to Mr. Everest’s peak. After about thirty hours of reading and researching surgeons all around the world that had specialized in a procedure comparable to the removing of a tennis ball entangled in hundreds of sticky tentacles from a pregnant woman’s inner ear canal, we narrowed it down to two eminent masters both practicing in the same city. Many friends and relatives offered (and imposed) their personal opinions, preferences and prejudices about how, why, where, and when to operate. Some doctors claimed the baby would never survive the operation and had to be removed prior, which at twenty-four weeks gestation, had a small chance of survival (as a normal healthy baby) anyway. Others said to wait to operate on me, and then force a caesarean at thirty weeks, which would still not guarantee the baby’s survival and subsequent thriving. The neuro-crew all agreed that baby aside, the mother could not wait more than another week at best to remove this invasive mass as it was pushing up against my brainstem and at any minute I could suffer massive seizures as a result of hydrocephalus .

We had so many choices to make. The surgeon that finally performed the operation had literally asked us if we would be willing to sacrifice my hearing on the left side in order to probably save my facial nerves. Hmmmmm….what were my choices, facial paralysis or one-sided deafness? I chose one-sided deafness over a droopy, twisted asymmetrical face. We were dizzy with expert opinions about how to balance such a fragile surgery while simultaneously being able to be close enough to keep an eye on the children. We had to focus on this first, it was the priority.

There was no option, we had to operate in the US and leave our children behind in good hands in Latin America. Here is where our trust and faith had to kick into high gear. We arranged for a dear friend to come and stay at the house supervising the children and overseeing the nannies. We updated all the insurance policies and paid all deductions. My husband met with our agent to discuss how to best cope with the impending labyrinth of paperwork.

As far as everything at home, the pool company was arriving the next day to install a gate around the eight foot deep abyss in our backyard. We informed the children’s doctors of our absence in case a visit or medication was necessary. Phone lines, cable, water and internet were instantly connected. I visited with my OB-GYN and had copies made of all my pregnancy records as it would be imperative for the team of surgeons to learn as much as possible about my pregnancy and past pregnancies. We called all the children’s teachers and explained the situation so they would be able to provide extra support and affection during the upcoming six weeks of their parents´ absence. We left monies for food, bills, school, car access, etc. with our friend to play butler.

By the time we left our new house, just six days after moving in, many boxes still remained unopened. It was impossible to find anything and I had to just let it go and leave it all as is. I get overwhelmed now just thinking about it all!

This whirlwind of motion in which we lived so chaotically was the closest thing to an out-of-body experience I ever had. I knew what was happening intellectually, but emotionally was unavailable and stoic. I spoke about the situation as a detached newscaster indifferently reporting on tragedies in far away lands. I didn’t realize it was happening to me. What was all the fuss and tears about with all these people? This obstacle was just one of the many things I had to check off of my To-Do list.

Once we had arrived to our destination city, we had two chief neurosurgeons to decide between for the surgery. It was a very tough call because one was a guru and in charge of the neurology unit for over twenty-five years and operated with a Dream Team of surgeons. The neurosurgeon would need to operate along side of an ENT surgeon and a high risk OB-GYN surgeon who monitors the fetus. Additionally you have the anesthesiologist, his team and all the surgical nurses as well.

The competing doctor was full of energy, positive and was about fifteen years younger than the guru. The choice was made when the chief told me to take steroids and ¨hang out¨ for a few weeks waiting for him to return from his ski trip to the Himalayas. The other one, with whom we had instant chemistry, told me upon reviewing my MRI results, (in the most upbeat, relaxed and graceful way,) that I should be admitted that very second for fear of convulsions. Obviously, the one that puts more urgency upon the situation is the one to whom we are going to pay heed. We booked it as though making a hotel reservation. It was done, one less thing to worry about.

A funny coincidence actually occurred the very next day. You know the proverb of ¨be careful what you wish for.¨ Well, my husband was days away from celebrating a big number birthday and he had said to me on numerous occasions months before that he wanted to ¨eat Chinese food in New York City¨ for his birthday and anything else was gravy. Well, my friends that is exactly what we ended up doing just two days before my hospital admittance. This exquisite cuisine was not as delectable as he had anticipated as it had to first traverse through the lumps in our throats. You see, I believe that you will always get what you want, you just cannot predict nor control under what premise you will receive it!

Days before the actual surgery, the prayers were flooding in from friends and family all around the world. I think it actually dawned on me the night before being admitted that I may very well lose my life. (Thoughts my husband and family had been entertaining for days.) If not that, at the very least, I would end up deaf, with partial facial paralysis and my baby may not survive the anticipated ten hours of anaesthesia. I finally broke down in my husband’s arms and told him that I did not want to die.

To Be Continued...

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