Friday, September 23, 2011

Significance of September 23

Today I woke up and got ready for school.  I sat in Bible class talking about things that we would have gotten to experience with Jesus if we were alive during his lifetime.  I didn't really think much of today until I wrote the date on my paper.  September 23, 2011.

That date probably doesn't mean anything to you, but it was the day of my second surgery, which was exactly  seven years ago.  I still remember that day vividly.  I was fourteen years old.  My new doctor informed me that if we didn't take the hardware in my hips out, one fall could cause me to need a hip replacement.  I had no idea that every fall that I had taken since the hardware had been in my body could have been a disaster.

My family woke up when it was still pitch dark outside.  Today was the day my hip was going to get straightened (again), and I wouldn't have to worry about airport scanners going off.  Now, you have to understand that I had never been to an airport, but I always try to find the humor in things.

I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and made myself presentable.  From the moment I woke up, September 23 was not a normal day.  I even left the house in my soft blue pajama pants and my hair in a ponytail.

"Well, I get to go to sleep for a few hours, so I guess getting up at around 4 o' clock in the morning isn't so bad." I joked with my mom.

When we got to the hospital, we got checked in and get me prepped and ready for surgery.  Family was bustling around trying to contain their nerves.  My doctor came in to go over everything, and chat a little. He was an old man with a kind and gentle face never failing to put me at ease with a gentle pat on my arm.

It was almost time.  I watched the clock tick away the minutes on the wall.  The minutes seemed to creep by so slow, so I passed the time by talking with my brother.  Tick, tock.  Tick, tock.  The rhythm of the clock on the wall almost lulled me to sleep.  Then, I remembered September 23 was a different kind of day as nurses shuffled in and out of my little corner.

One of the last things I remember was being wheeled to the operating room.  The hallway was long, and no one was around.  I was just focusing on staying calm and remembering that I wasn't alone.

Just then, Dr. Griffin, peeked his out of the OR.  "Are you ready to do this?" he asked with a smile.

"Yep," I replied.  If you were there, you would have thought I was having a casual conversation with my grandpa, not my surgeon.  

I had developed quite a relationship with Dr. Griffin over the past six years.  I was a nervous eleven year old with a knee popped out of place.  I was answering all of his questions, when suddenly, he popped it back in.  "Ow!" I yelped, half from pain and half from suprise. That's when I knew that Dr. Griffin was different.  He had a gentleness about him that most doctors lack.

So, when he asked me if I was ready, I responded without hesitation because I knew him.  I trusted him.

"Well, let's get you fixed then!" he replied confidently.

The operating table was cold and hard.  "Get her a warm blanket," Dr Griffin said to one of the nurses.   I felt like a child being tucked into sleep.  For the next several hours, I drifted off to sleepy land.  

September 23, 2004 was indeed a different day.