Operation: Get Your Nose Back
A week ago today, Dust went into yet another surgery. His doctor spent seven hours reconstructing his nose, using cartilage from his rib. Everyone told us this was going to be a really painful surgery, so we were expecting to have to hunker down and deal with the aftermath, as we have done before.
This time was different in a lot of ways. The anxiety and stress that has so often filled every corner of the waiting room during Dustin's surgeries had dissipated. We felt much relief knowing there was virtually no risk to his vision this time around. Shawna and I even found time for some waiting room selfies - only to discover that we had both worn the exact same outfits during Dustin's April surgery. How embarrassing! Ha.
I remember after Dustin's last surgery and terrible recovery thinking, "There is just no way we can go through this again. Over. And over. And over." I begged for another miracle to happen in an instant, like it did when Dustin was healed from the blind. It happened before! Why not again? It seemed like a great plan to me! And while I was pleading with The Lord, the answer would come to my heart, "You are making this harder than it has to be. Put your trust in The Lord and He will guide you. He will show you how to do this."
Over the course of a few months, I learned to really put things in The Lord's hands and let Him decide what was best for us. I slowly stopped waking up every morning, hoping some miraculous healing had happened in the night. I knew, as I do now, that Dust would be brought to full health and strength, but I gave it over to our Heavenly Father to decide the timing. I still couldn't help but cringe, knowing that Dust would have to endure at least four more surgeries and all that follows each one. But my mind would often go back to one of my favorite Richard G. Scott talks about enduring adversity:
"To exercise faith is to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with you and that He can accomplish it for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how He can possibly do it.... When you pass through trials for His purposes, as you trust Him, exercise faith in Him, He will help you.... If all matters were immediately resolved at your first petition, you could not grow. Your Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly. They would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love."
I have watched Dust submit his whole will to our Heavenly Father's. It's harder for me than it is for him. In my mind, I think, "There must be SOMETHING I can do." But when we both put our trust in Him and try not to create our own agenda, the world around us is a much happier, more peaceful place.
That last line in that quote has entered my mind numerous times this last week as I compared this surgery to the last and even more drastically to the 18-hour surgery.
Dr. Gociman came to speak to us post-op. Everything went well. He had to carve four pieces of cartilage to get his nose stable. And though the longer surgery would mean a harder recovery, we were thankful that Dust would soon be able to get down and wrestle with Cole without worrying that his nose was too fragile and might break easily.
After some time in the recovery area, the nurse came to get me and Shawna, "He's still very sleepy... Buuuuut he says he is going home today," she laughed with a confused look on her face.
They strongly encouraged him to stay one night after such a long surgery. Bending to his will, they told him he would need to do three things before they would let him leave. He would need to eat something, get up and walk around, and use the restroom. As they transferred him to the discharge area, the nurse whispered, "We have a room ready for him if, at any time, he decides he wants to spend the night."
A few popsicles, graham crackers and one walk to the restroom later, we were out the door. When they brought the wheelchair to take him to the car, he said, "I don't need that. I can walk." Hospital policy. He reluctantly rode to the car in the wheelchair.
He spent a few days down in the dumps. Post-op is no fun. He hates the way the pain meds make him feel. His doctor gave him a little pouch to carry around (like a purse) that fed local anesthetic right to his rib for the worst of the pain. By Monday, the pain pills were in the garbage and he was at the house trying to do what he could to help his dad, his cousin, and brother-in-law do electrical.
Tuesday he was pretty worn out. On Wednesday, he met with Dr. Gociman to get his stint and stitches removed. And... Da... Da... Da... Da!!!
When the doctor peeled off his stint, I immediately saw my old Duster! It looks so amazing! Pictures don't even do it justice! He looked in the mirror and immediately I could see that he was happy with the result. I tried to hide my tears as we walked out of the hospital, arm in arm. I could not, however, hide my excitement. The rest of the day, his smile came freely. And that, my friends, makes a wife feel good.
I was hoping to get a little more QT with Dust this time around, but wouldn't you just know that after his appointment he wanted to hurry home so he could get to work. After work, it was home for some quick dinner and straight to the lot. Back to business as usual around here.
He'll have to be real careful with it for six weeks, but all is well. I can't help but think about that talk and be thankful for the strength and healing our Savior and Heavenly Father so often cast in Dustin's direction, as well as the mercy we have been shown. We are thankful for all of the thoughts and prayers that have been sent heavenward for us. It truly is amazing to me the things that are possible with God as our guide. I am sure there is more difficulty ahead, but I am thankful that we have been given a break through this one.