Overall, the surgery went about as well as we could hope. We got to the surgery center at a few minutes past 5:30 am and went through the normal pre-op procedure...taking weight and height, asking about changes in health, regular medicines, allergies...blah blah blah. At this point we can answer any questions the nursing staff has before they ask them and know to give Hazel numbing and anti-biotic eye drops. She doesn't let us put her in a gown or take her blood pressure like she did as an infant, but in some sense it's comforting that she is growing and smart enough to realize and remember where we are. I'm getting sidetracked... let's move on to the surgery.
Having a healthy eye without a clear cornea is like building a Ferrari and putting frosted glass in place of the front window, it takes away from all the amazing things the rest of the car can do. This surgery was not the MOST invasive or nervous surgery that we've been through, but it is way up there in terms of importance. The donated cornea was 4-years old and had a very high cell count (3500), which is a great thing...more cells means more ways to connect and bond with Hazel's cells. Dr Smith was in the room to go first and re-position a tube that currently helps regulate the fluids in Hazel's eye and fight off her glaucoma. These tubes and the cornea don't play very nice, so this was a rare opportunity for her to move the tube without risk of disrupting the cornea which was about to get removed anyways. While Dr Smith finished up, Dr Bowman was on deck and ready to do the cornea transplant. After about 90 minutes Dr Bowman came out to the lobby and went straight to the corner where Aubree and I always sit; he pulls up a seat from the kid-sized table next to us and delivers the good news....the transplant went great and her eye pressures were in the acceptable range, so we would be able to go back and see her in a few minutes.
One of the big prayer requests from Aubree and I was that Hazel would have a smooth transition out of surgery when she wakes in the recover area. We made a point to let the anesthesiologist know that the previous exam did not go very well at the end and they made the right adjustments this time around...Hazel was tired and cuddly after the surgery, which is a great alternative to screaming and scared. We got her home where Mommy and daughter were both able to take a nap and recover from the early morning festivities. Today Hazel is nearly back to normal and is anxious to run around the house and burn off her energy from a day full of rest. We have a follow-up appointment next week in addition to the quick post-op check this morning, so hopefully everything will still look good in the coming days.
Thank you to everyone who has been praying for Hazel and sending messages and encouraging thoughts our way. This has been an unusual month and will be a memorable Christmas for years to come, we are thankful during this holiday season that we have such a supportive group of family, friends and our church family to bless us with such overwhelming support. We know you all love Hazel and we love you just the same.
In case this is my last blog of 2015, have a very safe and Merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who gave His life so that we might have eternal life.