Chapter 7 - Operations The morning after Kika's birth, the neurosurgeon thoroughly checked her to determine the extent of damage that had been done. Shortly thereafter he soberly informed us that he wished he had better news but that Kika was paralyzed from the waist down, and that we were most likely looking at a "wheelchair situation," as he called it. The Lord gave us amazing grace to receive this news. We understood what he said, and were very thankful for the time we had been given to "prepare ourselves for the worst" before her arrival. In fact, as difficult as it may be to understand, in many ways we were overjoyed that she was otherwise healthy, and there were no other critical problems. In the intensive care room Kika had round the clock attention. The doctors and nurses worked in shifts so she was constantly being monitored and attended to. The first major thing she needed was an operation to close the hole in her back. The doctor would have to pull and stretch the skin around the area to close it up. Kika was placed in a portable incubator and wheeled to another hospital via an underground tunnel that connected the hospital where she was to the hospital where the operation was to take place. We arrived in a waiting room and filled out some forms authorizing the operation. Then the surgeon came in with the anesthesiologist. They asked us if we understood what they were about to do and we nodded, yes. Before they left the room they asked us if we had any "last words" we wanted to say to Kika before she went into the operating room. With that, we both began weeping as we laid hands on the incubator and prayed desperately for our dear child. It hadn't occurred to us that she might not survive the operation. It was a trying time for the next four hours as we awaited the outcome. We sat in a room with several other people and waited for our names to be called. Finally, they called us and pointed us to a room where the doctor would talk with us. Minutes seemed like hours. He came in and let us know the operation was a success! Whew! Praise God! What a relief! We accompanied her portable incubator back to intensive care. She was all bandaged up and still under anesthetics. A few days later it was time for her next operation. A condition which often occurs alongside spina bifida is that the fluid that normally flows around the brain gets trapped and causes the head to grow. The condition is called hydrocephalus. This congestion of fluid puts pressure on the brain and can cause brain damage and even death. During this operation the doctor would insert a plastic tube in her brain cavity that would go to her abdomen. This tube is called a shunt. The shunt would be extra long to accommodate Kika's growth, as she would need to have it for the rest of her life. The doctor explained that the shunt was like any other piece of "plumbing" which could get blocked or the body might reject it. This would mean that a new shunt may be needed or another operation to correct the problem. (Thank the Lord, Kika is almost two years old and hasn't had any major problem with her shunt. Some children, from what we've heard, have to have several shunts inserted due to various problems. So we are truly blessed!) This second operation was also a success! So much for such a little child! She wasn't even two weeks old. < Previous - Next > Put Your Hand into the Hand of God And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year; "Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown!" And he replied: "Go out into the darkenss and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way." –M. Louise Haskins