DOCTOR DAD (PART 2)
One of the anesthetists came by to take Kate and one parent on a tour of the operating room. I was glad Barb let me go with Kate while she stayed with Scott. As the anesthetist wheeled Kate in a wheelchair, I walked alongside and held her hand.
These days, taking children to visit the operating room well before surgery is a standard procedure. However, in those days it was a fairly new idea. Anesthetists believed that orienting children to the pre-op area, the OR, the anesthesia machines and masks, and the post-op area would relieve their anxiety. I shared that belief—and this tour confirmed my conviction.
As we went from room to room, Kate’s eyes widened again and again in amazement. “Daddy, look at that!” she’d exclaim. I’d just smile and squeeze her hand. The anesthetist had Kate practice breathing into the anesthesia mask—which Kate obediently did.
“It stinks!” she whispered to me as we rolled toward the recovery room. I was struck with the contrast of her matter-of-fact observation and fascination with the very object of my fear for her. As she smiled again, I found myself admiring her simple trust— and wondering if I could trust like that.
As we finished our tour in the recovery room, the anesthetist asked Kate and me if we had any questions—which we didn’t. Then she looked at me. “Dr. Larimore, I know you and your wife are people of faith.” I wasn’t sure how she knew. Was it something I had said? She continued. “So am I. And so are a lot of my colleagues. If you want, I can put Kate’s name on our prayer list so there will be folks praying for her during her surgery tomorrow. Will that be okay?”
Before I could answer, Kate blurted out, “Of course that will be okay!”
We all laughed.
Then she bent over and looked at Kate. “Would you like me to pray for you right now?”
“Can we?” asked Kate.
“If it’s okay with your dad.”
Kate looked up at me, and I nodded.
The anesthetist took Kate’s hands, and they bowed their heads. “Dear God, I want to thank you for allowing me to meet Kate. I know the hospital can be a big, scary place. So I ask you to give Kate lots of new friends here. I ask that she might get a good night’s sleep. And I ask for wisdom for her doctors and peace for her parents. And lastly, Lord, I ask for a quick recovery for my new friend Kate. Amen.”
She looked up at Kate and smiled, and they gave each other a big hug. Then she stood and began to wheel Kate away. “Come on, we need to get Kate back before the ward nurses think we got lost.”
On the way back to the ward, I followed this wonderful woman, thinking how she had just given Kate and me a most precious and valuable gift. It’s one thing to get good care, I thought, but it’s something else to be cared for!
The four of us had dinner together, and then I lay in bed with
my little girl, watching an evening TV show. Scott sat in his mother’s lap. We were all quiet and just enjoyed being together. Even Scott seemed to sense this was a special event in our family’s life.
Finally a nurse came in. “I’ve got to shoo you boys out. It’s time for Kate and her mom to get some rest.”
“Come on, Scoot. Time for us boys to go have some fun!” He lifted his arms, and I reached down to pick him up.
Barb would stay with Kate, and Scott and I would stay with Walter and Gertrude Eakes—just across the street from where we used to live. Kate looked at her little brother and then commanded, “Get over here, Scoot! Give me a hug and a kiss!” Her brother happily complied.
Kate then looked up at me. Our eyes met, and both of us immediately teared up. I sat beside her and gave her a long, hard hug. She hugged back, and I could feel her soft sobs. I whispered in her ear, “Father, give my little girl a good night’s rest. Give her peaceful sleep. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
I heard her whisper, “Amen.”
Then I whispered back, “I love you, Kate.”
I held her tight, and she hugged me for a long time.
As we separated, I could see the moist stains on her cheeks.
She was crying and smiling at the same time.
We all hugged one last time, and then Scott and I left.
As we walked out of the hospital and across the street toward the parking garage, we turned to look up at the hospital tower. We counted up the floors until we found Kate’s room. There in the window were Kate and Barb. We all waved at each other.
I’ve never felt so helpless or powerless, and yet—because of the precious prayers of a wonderful wife and a compassionate anesthetist—so full of hope.
The next morning, I left Scott with Gertrude and Walter Eakes.
They had been our across-the-street neighbors when I was in my residency at Duke, and they had agreed to allow us to stay at their house and to be with Scott when necessary.
I arrived in Kate’s room and was surprised to find that the orderlies were already there and were placing her on the gurney.
“Daddy!” my little girl exclaimed when she saw me. I nearly leaped across the room and into her arms.
“I was so afraid you wouldn’t get here in time. I needed a hug!”
And I sure gave her one! With my head next to hers, I whispered a prayer. “Father, I ask you to protect my little girl. Give her doctors wisdom and skill. Bring her back soon. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
She hugged me tight and whispered. “Thank you, Daddy. I love you!”
“I love you, precious!”
Then she looked into my eyes. “Daddy, I saw the sunrise this morning.”
I couldn’t help but wonder if it might be her last. Hot tears began to tumble down my face. But Kate, in many ways more spiritually sensitive than I could ever be, looked up at me and emphatically stated, “It was just the first of the rest of the sunrises in my life. Only soon, I’m going to be able to walk, or even run, at sunrise.”
I smiled and hugged her again. Then Kate whispered to me, “Daddy, I think I’m a little scared.”
“Me too, darling,” I whispered back.
As we released our hug, I could feel the tears rolling down my face. Kate smiled up at me. “Don’t worry, Daddy. Dr. Fitch does this surgery every day. I’ll be back soon!”
And then, in what seemed an instant, she was gone. Barb and I stood quietly in our thoughts and fears. I had no idea if I’d ever see her alive again.
For the first few minutes after everyone left, Barb and I sat alone—speechless, each lost in our own thoughts. I was looking across the tree-lined countryside surrounding the hospital when I heard Barb move. She slowly stood and walked over to me. I turned toward her. “Got room for a girl on your lap?”
I smiled, and she sat on my lap, laying her head on my shoulder. She began to gently weep, and I held her close. We didn’t say a thing—we just held on and hugged. And cried.
TO BE CONTINUED
PAST STORIES FROM BRYSON CITY SEASONS
- Dead Man Standing (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3)
- Eyes Wide Open (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Auspicious Accidents (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Answered Prayers (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3), (Part 4)
- Rotary Luncheon
- Death by Emotion (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3), (Part 4)
- The Invitation (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Barbecue and Bacon (Part 1), (Part 2)
- A Touchy Subject
- Family Time (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Chicken Pops(Part 1), (Part 2)
- Swain County Football (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Hospital Politics (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3)
- The Bobcat Attacks (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Dungeons and Apples
- A Tale of Two Surgeons (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3)
- Tanned Feets (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3)
- Wise Counsel (Part 1), (Part 2)
- An Anniversary to Remember (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Mrs. Black Fox (Part 1), (Part 2)
- The Littlest Cherokee (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Christmas Firsts (Part 1), (Part 2)
- The Silver Torpedo
- Another New Year’s Catch
- Turned Tables
- Doctor Dad (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3)
PAST STORIES FROM BRYSON CITY TALES
- The Murder (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- The Arrival (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Hemlock Inn (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Grand Tour (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Interview (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- Settling In (Part 1); (Part 2)
- First-Day Jitters (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Emergency (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Delivery (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The “Expert” (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Trial (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Shiitake Sam (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Wet Behind the Ears (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- Lessons in Daily Practice (Part 1) — Anal Angina; (Part 2); (Part 3); (Part 4)
- White Lies
- The Epiphany (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Becoming Part of the Team (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Monuments (Part 1); (Part 2)
- My First Home Victory (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Fisher of Men (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Fly-Fishing (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Something Fishy (Part 1); (Part 2)
- A Good Day at the Office
- An Evening to Remember
- Another New Doc Comes to Town
- ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Part 1); (Part 2)
- A Surprising Gift
- The New Year (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Home Birth (Part1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- The Showdown (Part1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- The Initiation (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- Home at Last (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
© Copyright WLL, INC. 2017. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.