Kiara has always been able to process emotions quietly and deeply. She seldom has need to talk about them, and when she does release what has been deep in her heart, her eyes water as she tells it. Whether it is a happy or sad thought, it is accompanied by a sprinkling of tears as she voices it for the first time.
Except around Nana. Nana (her real name is Nonhlanhla) is a friend that has helped us at home since Kiara was a baby. She was my friend first, but I get the feeling a few others around here have sneaked up the pecking order in her heart over the years.
Kiara and her have something special going on. There is something about Nana - some kind of pure, judgement-free love - that makes Kiara want to tell her everything. I knew that as soon as I could get them together, Kiara would start to find words for what she has been and is going through that she would never express to anyone else - no matter how much we paid them. When Nana visited Kiara in hospital a few weeks ago, she was the first person that Kiara called over to her bedside to show her wounds to. She lifted up her shirt, showed Nana her abdomen wound and pointed out exactly where her skull bone started and ended.
Kiara has now been home for one week. In this week, she has found many moments to sit in the kitchen talking to Nana, and much comfort as she does so.
We’ve missed seeing our doctor everyday now that we’re home. He has been incredibly attentive. He has called a few times during the week to see how everything is going. Yesterday we went in to see him and change Kiara’s dressing. He really didn’t need to do it himself, but I think he might be missing us as much as we’re missing him! You get to feel attached to someone when you’ve seen each other every day for a month and gone through so much together!
He’s really happy with how everything is progressing. The big graze on the back of her head is still a thick scab and a bit oozey. He’s still hoping it won’t need a skin graft, but we can’t see for sure. The bulging of her brain under her scalp skin is feeling a little softer and less swollen. That’s a great sign. It means it will be possible soon to consider putting the skull piece back without putting pressure on the brain. Her abdomen wound is looking great. The scab is even starting to peel off. He says perhaps next week he will leave it uncovered. That means she might get a few showers in before she goes back in to surgery! That would be bliss.
We leave with the instructions to come back in a week... and then we’ll consider scheduling the surgery the week after.
While at the hospital, we bump into many familiar friends, but one I want to mention in particular.
This man, Innocent, we met in the first few days. He delivers the medicine from the pharmacy. He came in to the ICU, and asked permission from me to pray for Kiara. I was having a vulnerable moment in the armchair, the curtain half drawn around the bed. Looking up through my tears I asked him only one thing: “In whose name do you pray?”
“In the name of Jesus,” he answered.
I nodded my consent.
Innocent knelt down at my daughter’s bedside, and stretched out his arms to heaven. In quiet whispers, he sought the King on her behalf, praying for her healing. Minutes later he got up without ceremony, nodded respectfully to me, and continued about his business.
After that he would check on her regularly, and celebrate with us at heaven’s reply. It is great to see him again. We are missing the community we found at the hospital.
As soon as we got home from the checkup, Kiara seeks out Nana to tell her everything the doctor has done or said. She tells of how he pulled the plasters off, and how her head is raw from losing hair each time. She shows Nana how he folds the bandage, and speaks about her fears for the next surgery. Nana just listens, not filling in the words when Kiara is hesitating, not telling her what to feel or think or do. She just squeezes her hand knowingly and let’s her talk.
Friends who fight for us and friends who listen to us... may we all be so rich as to have both! You who have followed along on this journey have been just that to us. We are astounded at the number who still have the stamina to fight alongside us, now nearly six weeks later. We are astounded at your willingness to listen to my ramblings here on the blog, and pick out the prayer points and keep loving us. You are beautiful to me and to us. Thank you, friends new and old. We love you dearly and thank God for you all.
Please continue to pray:
1. Kiara’s body remaining free from infection.
2. The swelling would continue to go down to what is considered normal.
3. The sore/wound/burn on the back of her head would heal quickly and well.
4. The skull bone would be healthy and ready to put back.
5. Her ability to communicate and express herself would come back.