While Richard is watching Kiara sleep this afternoon, I am lying on our bedroom carpet tickling my six-year-old’s back. He told granny earlier that it’s not his fault God made his face look sleepy - he wasn’t tired at all! But minutes into his back-tickle his body gets heavy and his breathing, deep. I am trapped under the weighty devotion of a sleeping first-grader, and I determine to wait it out. I want to see his face when he wakes up and realises I didn’t push him off while he slept.
Tyden didn’t understand in the days we told him Kiara was going to heaven. He asked if he could have her sweets if she wasn’t coming home. And yet he has loved her in the most remarkable way this last month: not once has he asked me not to go to the hospital; not once has he been angry that Kiara needs Mom more than him. He has missed me and he has been sad, but he has given me willingly to his sister.
He lost a tooth this morning, and Jed lost a toenail. I am missing the joys and pains of everyday life - the insignificant that is all-kinds-of-important.
Kiara received a nightie the other day with the slogan, “Wake me when I’m famous.” It’s hilarious - I don’t need to explain why. She certainly kept us waiting until then. She wears it, reclining on her bed, while the prince-of-medicine fans her with a paper towel. He is trying to dry her wound before redressing, but we can’t help teasing that she’s the Queen of Sheba. In ‘good’ families, teasing is taken like vitamins. It’s essential for health and healing.
We have respected the doctor’s privacy and professionalism in all this, so I’m not going to release his name. I would like to boast about him nonetheless! We met his mother at the hospital today and I wanted to give her a fist pump and say, “Respect!” because her son is not only brilliant, he is humble. And do you ever get one without the other? When another doctor handles Kiara without the same precautions that he always takes, he smiles and reassures us, “His experience makes him more confident. I’m still young, that’s why I’m so careful.”
We’ve been told he’s top of the class by a doctor who trained him. But humility is the one prerequisite for becoming brilliant. You only learn if you don’t think you know-it-all.
He’s delighted with Kiara’s CT scan this morning. The radiologist exclaims at the improvement when she does it, “What a beautiful brain!” Kiara raises her eyebrow, preferring to be clever than beautiful. I tell her that when it comes to the brain, I think it means the same thing! Though the doc has been super-cautious, he decides she can heal at home. There’s no hemorrhaging; no fluid buildup; there’s scarring, which is expected because the brain doesn’t regrow like skin. “All in all, it looks like a healing brain that’s doing well. Let’s plan to send her home tomorrow.”
Cartwheels down the hospital passage again! We’ve done this before... the day she woke up and recognised us. Glory-to-glory. What a ride!
Forty-five minutes after the back-tickle, Tyden is still fast asleep and my bum is totally numb. Eight-year-old Kade spots us on the floor and comes to tell me about his cricket. “I got to bat for the first time today!” He smiles at me with his big blue eyes as he runs his fingers through my hair. At my request, he squeezes my toes to try and get rid of the pins-and-needles. He passes me my phone and I write this blog - thoughts flow through my fingers the way I wish blood would flow through my legs!
Tomorrow we’ll all be home. We’ll eat dinner together. For two blissful weeks, as far as we can tell, before we go back in for the cranioplasty. Thank you for journeying this far with us and thank you for your prayers!
Our prayers as we venture home:
That she is kept free from infection
That she recovers psychologically for the next surgery
That her brothers would follow the new (tighter) rules of the house for her safety
That our family would regroup
That being home would trigger many memories for her and bring about rapid development - speech, emotional, intellectual