The Old Ball and Chain

I hope everyone saw my Facebook reports on Rebeka’s successful surgery and hospital stay. We ended up only staying one night in the hospital and left Wednesday afternoon with our five bags and Rebeka’s new ball and chain.

This complicated conglomeration of tubing and equipment was Rebeka’s nerve block, and we were very grateful for it. It administered a constant drip of pain-killer to deaden her left leg, and it lasted through Thursday afternoon. Yes, it was cumbersome. It leaked and we had to figure out a way to stop changing clothes every few hours. And it was a little “unnerving” (ha, ha) to think about removing the catheter when the medicine ran out. But without that little nerve block, Rebeka would have been in a heap of pain and so we were grateful.

I pulled out the tube Friday morning. The doctor had promised it would be “no big deal” and “it wouldn’t hurt” but I was skeptical. Rebeka wanted to watch when the time came. Oh dear. I gave it a little tug. She didn’t make a sound, but she watched intently. Another little tug and sure enough, that little booger slid right out. No tears. Just an intense curiosity, and a bandaid to catch the little bit of medicine still leaking out.

There are a lot of things I never thought I’d do in my life. Pulling out a catheter is one of them. And caring for a ten-year-old Rwandan girl for nine months or so while she had surgeries on her club feet is another. Yet here I am, and thank the Lord, I am not alone. I am so very thankful for my family, and for all the people who prayed, brought meals, balloons, flowers, visited, and cheered every few hours as I sent out reports from the hospital. It takes a village to heal this child, our family could not do it on our own.

There are friends who have crates of paint and stacks of canvases and invite Rebeka over to paint pictures. There are friends who spend their day at the hospital, or send little angel statues back to recovery.

Rebeka learned how to paint a horse, starting with three ovals. She’s been sketching horses ever since. This is her first painting. The flowers were specially chosen by a five-year-old who just knew Rebeka would love them. And the angel is from a friend who’s probably thought more about Heaven this year than ever before-she knows there are angels watching over us all.

Friends who cook and friends who hug and give kisses and friends who teach and friends who take Rebeka for walks or little adventures and friends who bring balloons and flowers and friends who just come and sit and paint nails together.

There is evidence of many of you on my facebook posts, or plastered like friendly graffiti on Rebeka’s cast.

We’re in two short leg casts for this week, a lot easier to maneuver!

And it is all these friends coming together that make the caring for Rebeka a blessing. The work is shared, the hard parts are spread out amongst us all like butter on warm toast, and it never really feels like a ball and chain. This forty-three pounder that rests on our hip. Not a burden but a blessing. Like that ball and chain that had the potential to be cumbersome, but offered the blessing of pain relief, the coming of Rebeka has meant a little more hassle getting around, but the blessings of perspective and the ability to let go of the hold we think we have on our days. It is freeing.

This next month will be a little more challenging than the previous three. Rebeka will go under anesthesia every Tuesday so her doctor can continue to manipulate her left foot. This will be a painful process due to the surgery, hence the need for anesthesia and visits to the O.R. Her doctor will also continue moving her right foot. We anticipate a long leg cast in the next few weeks, and possibly a small “mini-surgery” before the big surgery, sometime in January. Whatever lies in the future, we can handle it.

With Georgie by her side, she can talk on the world.

For now, we take things one day at a time. It’s a good strategy. For pulling out catheters, waiting to hear from an agent, or facing another surgery.  We won’t worry. When I think of a perfect picture of non-worry, there’s one dog that comes to mind. May there be a nap in a sunny spot in your future . . .

3 thoughts on “The Old Ball and Chain

  1. Thank you for sharing…this made me cry at 4 in the afternoon on Saturday…a happy cry. Every time I’ve seen you …you have Rebeka on your hip so I have awondered to myself how you havn’t thrown out your back. Then God whispers, “ME you dummy! Keep praying and see what else I can do. Havn’t you learned ANYTHING yet?”
    XOXOX

  2. Thanks, Meredith, for keeping us in the loop. I wish there was more that I could do to share in Rebeka’s journey. By writing about it so beautifully you’ve shown me specific ways to keep praying. Thanks for that.

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