Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Organizational Challenges: Mom's Top 5

Donavon's Bedroom:  Mess Central!  (before routine)
Wading through the ankle deep room full of toys mixed with laundry, miscellaneous papers, and the occasional book, I sigh as I recall just two days earlier how the room was practically spotless after about three hours of painstakingly putting everything in it’s “home”!  I look at a closet half full of cloths… mostly on the floor mixed in with larger toys that won’t fit into a drawer.  Discs out of cases, pages of books torn and mingling with empty Playstation 2 game cases.  I look over at the book shelf only to see used tissues (allergies flaring this time of the year), an empty tissue box, odds and ends Hotwheels cars, and a couple small vertical stacks of books.  The computer desk is clear but I suspect it is only because he can’t seem to wade through everything else to play on it!  I count another 7 fallen soldiers (or hangers as they are normally called) as I pick them up and throw them in the trash bag with the other varied pieces of trash I collect.  The disappointment and frustration of knowing that I have failed to keep my house in order and I am a clean person who does not live like this is almost earth shattering. 

I have yelled, threatened, praised good work, scolded lack of productivity, used big words, used small words, spoken “low and slow”, used reason, grounded, spanked, timed out, and taken away every privilege known to boys… including media of every kind, toys, and every unnecessary item in his room.  And yet, he still continues to defy me.

I have cried, screamed, ignored it, laughed, and gone through every emotion possible when it comes to this predicament.  What do I do about the “twilight zone”?  It’s the one room in the house that doesn’t belong.  When left unchecked, it spills out into the living room, the other kids’ room, and even me and my husband’s bedroom!  (Not fun waking up in the middle of the night to use the restroom and stepping on a super hero or a matchbox car!) 

How many of us have been there?  Is there a solution?  Can we ever achieve harmony?

I have a resounding “YES!  It can be done!” for you!
My 9 yr old (almost 10 now) son has battled with this problem since he was old enough to begin managing his own things.  We have struggled with the responsibility of owning and caring for his belongings.  In our experience, we have found the following statements ALL apply.  

1.    Excessive emotion never solves anything. 
As much as screaming, yelling, arguing, and expressing the frustration, anger, and disappointment feels good for a moment, it NEVER solves the problem.  In fact, all it does it augment the already large issue. 
A.   Instead, we have used a technique called the “time out”.  This is not the punishment we all tend to use it for.  Instead, this is like a coach calling a “ time-out” in the middle of the game for the players to rest, get a drink, and re-group.  Donavon uses this time to breathe, take a drink of cold water or juice to refresh himself, and sometimes even does sit-ups or push-ups to express his frustration or anger.  When the timer goes off, usually 10-15 minutes later, we come back together and regroup!

2.    Keep behaviors separated and let the consequence fit the action.
In our studies and coaching sessions we have learned the difference between STOP behaviors (actions we wish to stop) and START behaviors (actions we want him to do regularly).  Good examples of STOP behaviors are temper tantrums, picking on himself/biting nails, writing on walls, taking things that don’t belong to him without asking, and other behaviors that need to cease.  START behaviors would be bringing home all his homework and communications from school, picking up his clothes and depositing them in the correct basket, organizing his toys, and basically any positive behavior we would like to see.
Our Reward Center... Three kids, Three jars.  The twins (4yrs old) use Pennies and Donavon uses Nickels.
A.   Once the list is made, we have a REWARD system for the START behaviors, and a PAYMENT system for the STOP behaviors.  Our coach brought us this idea.  Donavon starts his week with a jar of nickels.  $2 of nickels is 40 nickels.  They are ALL his to keep!  He can see them and touch them but they are up on a shelf where he cannot have them until “payday”.  When he does his “routine” (He created a daily routine on a poster with his list of requirements) he gets REWARDED at the end of the week.  When he fails to complete a task on the routine, he PAYS a nickel for each offence.  He only gets one warning per offence to correct the problem (like forgetting to pick up his cars or not making his bed.  Anything I have to do, I get paid for because my time is valuable.  It takes away from fun time, dinner time, park time, etc.  Donavon understands that if I am busy cleaning his room, I am not cooking his dinner, or playing with him!

3.    All punishment all the time will discourage our children.
We learned early with Donavon that if we are constantly scolding him and punishing him, he stops trying, starts getting discouraged and depressed and begins to act out.  Anger breeds anger just as love breeds love.  I love the movie Pollyanna.  In the movie, Pollyanna lets Reverend Ford read her locket.  He reads “When you look for the bad in mankind, expecting to find it, you surely will. - Abraham Lincoln.”  We began to take this to heart with Donavon.  Yes, there are things that must be addressed but if all we look for is something to punish him for, we miss the good things he does like the A he got on his spelling test or how he just got a new merit in his scouting group, Royal Rangers!  If we look for the good we will begin to find more and more of it! 

Another way to look at it is this; I have never spoken to parents whose kids are grown and gone, and heard them say, “I wish I had made him clean his room more” or “I wish we had spent less time having fun together and more time doing chores.”  Yes, those things are important but so is the time you spend together creating lifelong memories!

4.    Allow expression without consequences!
Over the past few years, once it was brought to our attention, we began to catch ourselves prohibiting our son from expressing himself to us.  No matter how he felt, we would blow it off with a “sweetie, I’m busy right now.” Or we would say, “Now’s not the time to discuss this.”  My personal favorite is, “Donavon, I don’t want to hear it” when Donavon tried to express his frustration with me or my husband.  Our kids have the right to have feelings and express their objections.  Yes we are their authority but good leadership begins at home!  My followers at home are my children and I will frustrate them and get decreaced productivity from them if they feel that their opinion doesn’t matter!  They don’t always get their way but I try to listen to them when they are trying to express their feelings and opinions.
A.   We not only have evening discussion time, we also have an open letter policy.  This way, Donavon can write down how he feels without the heat of Mom and Dad’s eyes looking at him which can be nerve racking and intimidating at times.  The letters have allowed us to see error in some of our methods.  Not everything works for everyone but this has allowed us to make sure we are using the best methods for Donavon.  Once we receive a letter. Joe (my husband) and I discuss the letter in private first, and then we call in Donavon to discuss the letter.  The promise is that no punishment can come from expressing how you feel and for being honest with us!

5.    Allow input whenever possible!
When we created Donavon’s routine poster, he told us how his day went normally.  As we went through what needed to be done he knew how his day SHOULD be going.  That meant getting up earlier and going to bed earlier.  He knew what needed to be changed and implemented the changes necessary!  I was amazed at how much he desired a stress free day as much as I did!  He wants to live peacefully and without friction as much as possible too!  What a concept!  He now chooses, within the boundaries of the house, what he wants to do, when he would like to do it, and sets his own goals.  He knows that he has to set his deadlines or else there will be consequences.  For example, being ready for school on time means getting up at 7:30 and doing his routine.  He suffers if he’s late because that means no extra breakfast… just a protein/fiber bar and some juice as opposed to a hot meal with milk and fruit!  The benefits of meeting a goal are learned through HIM setting HIS goals, and then realizing that HE can achieve them.  They are not imposed by me or my husband, they are HIS own goals. 
Donavon's Routine Poster
A.   We did this by presenting him with the problem and allowing him to solve it.  For example, we said “Donavon, what do you need to do each morning before you go to school?”  Donavon replies “ eat breakfast, get dressed, make my bed [and so on].”  We went through each task and determined how much time it took by doing them one Saturday.  Donavon came up with all the details and put them in order himself.  We haven’t had a problem in this area since!  Plus, room check at the end is his way of showing off how well he is doing!  He loves for us to acknowledge his success and accomplishments!

This is my top 5 tips for dealing with these areas.  Again, I am not a life coach, a therapist, a counselor or any type of professional help.  I am simply a mom, sharing successes with others in hopes that maybe you will find something to help you succeed as well!

God bless you!

Friday, November 11, 2011

All Worth It

Veteran's Day, 2011.  We woke up early this morning because this is a day that Donavon has been looking forward to for a few weeks now.  His clothes are hung up from the night before and the house is still and quiet.  The alarm goes off and so does Donavon!  Off to the races.  Into the shower, and on to the rest of his routine.  Yet today is different from his daily routine.  Today is Veteran's Day.  He stands there in his tighty-whiteys, waiting for me to help him assemble the uniform that makes him smile from ear to ear with pride, his Royal Ranger uniform. 
We start with the basics.  The white T-shirt with the logo.  Then he slips on his pants and belt.  He pauses to ask me to make sure it is straight and tucked in properly.  "Rangers are clean!" he says.  Once that is assembled, he slips on his socks and shoes.  They have been wiped clean so that there are no scuffs!  He puts on his beloved bolo tie!  It's more valuable to him than a solid gold chain because he worked so hard to earn it!  He slips on his vest, stopping to let me help him straighten it.  I keep his Khaki shirt and beret for safe keeping, until the ceremony!

He is completely assembled and goes downstairs to get his breakfast and his medicine.  As I'm getting things put together, he quietly tells me (while bouncing a bit on his toes), "I want to do good at the ceremony so make sure I have all my medicine."  I smiled with pride and said, "Donavon, you will do great!  I am so proud of you!"  After eating his breakfast, we prayed and hugged as he went out the door with Daddy, to drive to school.

We all arrived together about ten minutes before the ceremony, just as Donavon was coming down the hall.  We gathered around him, Commander Ed, Daddy, and myself, and helped him get his khaki shirt on over his t-shirt, his bolo tie back on, his vest back on, and his beret centered and poised!  Time enough to take a picture and head into the gym!  I had a slight tear in my eye as he walked a little taller, with a big smile on his face!

The service was great.  He sat so well and even told us what he remembered from the service that we all had just observed!  The compliments, after the ceremony, came from his principal, choir director, and teacher with each one causing his smile to grow even bigger. 

For those who do not understand how a small Veteran's Day ceremony, at a small elementary school could do so much.  Let me tell you.  For Donavon, it takes longer to earn the patches the other boys are working on.  It takes more concentration and effort, on Donavon's part, to sit still.  It takes a huge amount of thought to make sure he does not soil his uniform, scuff his shoes or look disheveled in his clothes.  Donavon has worked twice as hard as an average child to earn every piece of clothing, every patch on his vest, and the pride that it brings.  But, Donavon has persevered.  He is proud to honor the veterans in this way.  It is his way of showing that, their fight for his freedom was not in vain!  It is his way of showing that he too can fight for what he believes in and see it through to the end, no matter how long it takes.  And that is what this great day was all about and made all the other days of incalculable stress, work, and struggles worth it!  The pride of a fight well fought!

To the veterans who fought for this freedom, we are eternally grateful and pray for you constantly! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Another Day, Another Doctor

Another day, another Doctor it seems.  Donavon and I met his new doctor, Dr. Peter, a Neuropsychiatrist... Neurology and Psychiatry!!!  I was a bit apprehensive about seeing yet another doctor.  However, I got more answers today about Donavon and everything we have endured thus far, than I have in the 9 years of being his mother!

There are still a lot of questions to ask and find answers to, but God is faithful!  We are trusting Him to see us through. 

The goal through Dr. Peter is to not only regulate Donavon's medication and, hopefully scale back a bit to see less side effects, but also to see where Donavon's mental strengths and weaknesses lie!  It is exciting to finally have a game plan and a direction!

To all my prayer partners and intercessors, this is how we are praying...
  1. That God would guide and direct Donavon's doctors to clear and consice answers.
  2. That we would learn how to effectively interact, teach, lead, and love Donavon so that he grows and learns what he needs to be successful in life!
  3. That God would continue to cover and protect Donavon and heal him from HEAD TO TOE!
Thank you all for love and support as we continue this long journey!

Friday, November 4, 2011

10 Things the Parents of ADHD Children Wish You Knew

I was reading a blog, 'Beauty For Ashes', a while back.  The author, Shay, wrote an entry entitled "13 Things My ADHD Child Wishes You Knew".  She was inspired by someone else who wrote and educational piece, "10 Things My Autistic Child Wishes You Knew".  SO, the inspiration continues with me.  I have decided not to rewrite the piece but to put my own educational spin on it for all those who will be in contact with me and my family.  Here it goes.
*Keep in mind that these do not necessarily apply to everyone with children affected by ADHD.  Also, I am always open to talk about my son.  I do not get offended by questions when motives are well-meaning!*

10 Things the Parents of ADHD Children Wish You Knew
(the countdown)
10)  We have plenty of "advice" to work on and implement from professionals.  We do not need more advice from non-professionals.  We DO need support in the form of understanding, love, and prayer (and an occasional babysitter)!

9)    Be patient with me if I have to stop mid conversation to tend to my son.  I am listening to you and you are important.  I do want to hear what you have to say. 

8)    Do not try to talk to my child while I am explaining something, correcting, disciplining, or soothing him.  All you are doing is causing confusion, excess distraction, and another layer for his brain to decipher.  It causes more harm than help.  If you want to be supportive, simply reinforce what I have already said to reassure him. A smile is a great way to do that.

7)    My son’s disability was NOT caused by anything me or my husband did or did not do; It was not caused by anything we did or did not feed my son;  It was not caused by too much TV, video games, or neglect to allow him to play outside.  None of these things can improve or change my son.  They are all things we regulate in order for my son to have a well rounded, and productive life, however, they are not related to ADHD and it’s symptoms. 

6)    We (my husband and I) chose to medicate our son in order to give him the most advantages in life as possible.  This was not a decision we came to quickly or rashly.  It was a decision made after a lot of prayer, research, discussions with our pediatrician, and observation of our son in multiple social environments.  We are not and never will “settle” for the “easy way out” or compromise our son’s well being for the sake of convenience. 
*Natural remedies are not cure-alls either, so please do not tell me the benefits of gluten-free, sugar-free, or another "free" diet that will cure my son.  We research everything that we choose to use and weigh the risks and benefits with our pediatrician and other professionals.*

5)    Please do not compare my son to other children.  He is unique and special.  We do not compare him to other children because we do not want him to be ‘just like everyone else’.  We love him for who he is and we want you to get to know him and accept him because we know he is pretty awesome!

4)    I am human!  I get overwhelmed, frustrated, impatient, angry, tired, and emotional.  Sometimes, it all comes out at once, in various forms, at various people.  Please, don’t take it personal. *I NEED PRAYER too so don't give up on me!

3)    We are doing our very best to stay organized by using schedules, routines, and organization tools.  Some days are better than others but some days are simply chaotic.  If you decide to stop by on any given day, my house may or may not be immaculate.  Try to give us some notice so that we may welcome you into a straightened house!

2)    We are ALWAYS looking for babysitters!!!  :)

1)    All of the decisions that have been made were made with love, care, compassion, a lot of thought and prayer, keeping our son's and our family's best interests in mind and striving to do what is right.  THERE ARE NO SIMPLE SOLUTIONS!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Miracles Never Cease - Pt 4/4

Donavon LOVED all the cards that were sent through the facebook event "Get Well Soon, Donavon"  He had just under 80 (definitely a record). Thank you to all who sent cards and well wishes!

Tuesday morning, August 16th, Donavon was finally asleep after a long, difficult, and amazing night.  The residents came in just two hours later to check on Donavon.  I couldn’t believe how many students came with him!  There were at least 8 if not 10 students with the resident!  They all filed into our room as Donavon slept and I sat in the chair, groggy but trying to pay attention and ask my questions. 
They wanted to wait to see how Donavon would react to sitting up today to give him solids but they would give him liquid and soft food to start.  That meant popsicles, sherbet, juice, sprite, etc.  I think in two days, Donavon went through a 12 pack of sprite!  Donavon got up shortly after and wanted McDonalds.  (He knew about the McDonalds on the 1st floor.)  He also wanted me to go to the gift shop and get his Curious George beanie baby.  I took the opportunity to go get breakfast and grab his beanie baby.  They did give him all of his medication so his mood was starting to even out and he wasn’t so fidgety. 

Donavon's first outing, Tuesday (still with tubes and wheel chair)
The hardest part of the day was getting him to stay in the bed.  Especially once they gave him the ok to get into a wheel Chair and go to the play room.  That didn’t last too long, though because he got tired and in pain quickly.  His body didn’t want to stay but his mind did.  J  He learned how to use the trigger for pain real quick.
By the end of the day he had gotten up twice!  At that point, they let him have a full meal!  He ordered a huge dinner!!!  We had a much better night which started with prayer and then more praise and worship music.  He slept great!  I was in prayer off and on, praying over Donavon, our family, and many other things including just being still and quiet.
Wednesday morning, our Residents come filing in, bright and early.  The young doctor looks at me and says, “Okay, let’s get him out of these tubes and see about getting you home today!”  “Really?  This soon?”  I was shocked.  We were prepared to stay until Thursday but so ready to go home!  Donavon was doing so well, walking and eating that they were ready to send him home!  From then on, it was a waiting game, trying to get out as early as possible so that we didn’t have to drive at night.  They wanted to see a few other things happen after they took out all the tubes. 

Donavon, with the AWESOME group from the Navy!
So, Donavon passed the time by painting, playing Wii, watching videos, visiting with the Navy visitors (COOL visit, by the way), and playing the games on the in-house TV channel for the kids.  He won twice and got a new pillow pet from the activities director! 

By 5:30pm we were headed home!  God was so good!  Most kids stay the full three days.  Donavon was ready to go after 1.5 days!!! 
He came home and was treated like royalty for 4 weeks!  He LOVED all the attention and especially loved having Daddy off for the rest of the week!  It was such a great time of healing and rest for our family. 
Donavon had his stints removed on September 14th and is back to normal, running, playing, going to school and Royal Rangers (Christian scouts)!  Every time I look at him I see God’s hand on him!  He is a miracle!

Donavon painting (his favorite art activity) in the play room.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Miracles Never Cease - pt 3

Photo:  Donavon at Riley Children's Hospital (with his pillow and blankets), Tuesday, August 16th at about 8am.  He was so tired from the rough night before.

We got into our room and went through a bunch of questions once again (being admitted, they go through a lot of the same questions as when we checked into Surgery).  Our nurse was awesome, by the way.  You’ll see why but we absolutely loved her!!!
Donavon was beginning to feel the pain meds ware off.  Remember, he was off all of his medication so not only was the ‘epidural’ wearing off, he was also feeling the effects of not having his meds all day.  He was scared, anxious, in pain and nothing was soothing him.  I went between the nurse and Donavon for about three hours.  We prayed, I stroked his forehead and held his hand.  He would calm down but as soon as I started to back off, it would start all over again.  The tears, the writhing, the crying, the restlessness and indescribable agony continued.  They gave him a few different medications that didn’t seem to do anything but make him more agitated.  As I was praying again, I heard in my spirit “praise and worship music”.  I knew God was dropping wisdom into my spirit.  Donavon’s favorite praise and worship leader is Jason Upton. 
(*side note* - If you have a chance, look him up on Youtube and listen to him.  He is anointed!)
The nurse was on the phone, with the on-call resident for Dr. Cain, discussing options to help Donavon.  He ordered a “pain cocktail” which is a combination of medications to help kill pain, help him calm down, and help him sleep.  As she was on the phone, I was setting up my laptop on Donavon’s hospital table and put it next to the head of his bed so he could hear it.  As the first song began to play (Psalms 23), I anointed Donavon with oil and began praying and praising God quietly.  Donavon began to calm down.  He was lying quietly and began to fall asleep.  I stopped stroking his hair and sat back in the chair, praying.  He was still calm.  I could feel the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit falling in the room.  It permeated ever corner with peace!  The nurse walked in shortly after Psalm 23 ended and went on to the next song.  The first words out of her mouth were, “Wow… It is so peaceful in here.”  She told me what the doctor ordered and that it we had to wait up to 20 minutes for the pharmacy to fill the order and send it up.  I told her that was fine.  She came back a few minutes later with another nurse and said, “See what I mean.  It’s so peaceful in here.”  One other nurse poked her head in and whispered, “Wow.”  (They could all hear Donavon screaming and crying just 20 minutes ago!)  This nurse asked me if I needed anything and I said “no”. 
About 25 minutes passed by and our nurse came in with the medication.  She asked me if I still wanted to give Donavon the meds.  I said “Yes.  That would be good to help him stay asleep for a while.”  At that point I was going on 24 hours (up at 5am the last morning and it was now about 4:15am!) 
The music was still playing as I laid down on my bed and fell asleep for a couple hours.  As I began to fall asleep, with the music still playing and the peace that passes all the nurses understanding hovering in the room, I couldn’t help but be amazed at God.  How great and awesome, mighty and loving, caring and more than any describing word could ever express is our God.  He who calms the storm and holds our peace in His hand loves us so much!  I worship Him because He is my God! 

Photo Caption:
Excerpt from the song, Sometimes He Calms the Storm by
Scott Krippayne.
(*Click on his name to hear the song on Youtube*)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Miracles Never Cease - pt 2

Donavon was a great navigator.  He loves maps now that he knows how to look at one!  He pointed out roads and landmarks.  He also pointed out all of the White Castles along the way.  (We don’t have one in Fort Wayne and on his very first trip to Riley, we stopped at one on the way home.  Joe and all three kids had their very first White Castle’s experience!!!  They loved it!!!)
When we got to Riley Children's Hospital, we were a bit early so we decided to take our time and walk around a bit.  We found the gift shop and we also found McDonalds right next to the Cafeteria.  Very cool!  Downstairs, in the lobby, there is a huge water fountain which, if you sit around it long enough, makes you have to pee.  J  Finally, we took the glass elevator up to the Main Stay Surgery department and checked in.  Apparently, we were the last ones for the evening.  They asked all the questions and had Donavon weighed and put into a gown.  Then we waited… and waited… and waited.  With Donavon’s anxiety, we talked about the surgery off and on and when he became too emotional, we would pray, me and then Donavon. 
They brought in some water for Donavon because they didn’t want him to get dehydrated, and then informed us that Dr. Cain was running behind.  At that point we were shooting for 7pm.  We weren’t upset by the change of plans.  By all means, we understood that there were complications or delays in the surgery prior to Donavon’s and that pushed back schedules. 
(Side Note:  TV doctors are NOT real.  Doctors going from patient to patient with no breaks are totally phony.  After being in surgery, they have to take a break.  They have little lives in their hands and I wanted our doctor well rested before he began working with my son!)
The tough part about waiting so long was that Donavon had not taken his afternoon meds so he was beginning to ‘rebound’.  For those who are not familiar with this term, it is the act of bouncing back from his medicated state.  When Donavon rebounds, he gets emotional, moody, anxious, and clingy among other things.  The staff in the surgical unit was great.  He ended up with about half the treasure chest… A new beanie bear, two painting windows, two coloring books, crayons, a car, and a bunch of stickers!  We also were told that all the TVs had DVD players so we brought 4 movies from home.  Thus began the 3 days of Super Hero Squad, the TV series.  In between distractions, we prayed and cuddled.
7:15pm and here comes the nurse with some medicine and a rolling bed!  The meds were to calm his nerves!  AMEN!  After about fifteen minutes, Donavon was on cloud nine.  Giggling, smiling and talking, a lot of talking.  He was still nervous and we prayed.
At about 10 till 8, the OR nurse came in with the anesthesiologist and they told us they were ready for Donavon.    We prayed and Donavon gave me a hug and a kiss.  Then they wheeled my baby away.  It had been a long day and now it was finally here.  He was now in God’s hands, and the surgeon’s. 
I sat for a second after they wheeled him off.  The nurse came in and startled me out of my daze.  She told me I needed to get my stuff and go eat and then head to the waiting room for the OR nurse to call me.  I had small suitcase with both of our clothes, my purse, his book bag, and a train case with toiletries.  That was a lot for just me to carry, and was awkward to lug around Riley at 8 o’clock at night.  I headed for a burger and a coke since I didn’t eat lunch out of respect for Donavon and his fasting.  I got the food to go and headed for the waiting area on the second floor.  It was above the waterfall.  The first thing I did was eat.  In between bites, I set up my computer so that I could inform Joe of Donavon’s progress.  I had been in touch with him off and on with the computer but reception was not great in the waiting area of Surgery.  Now I had a good reception.  I loved video chatting with him over the week.  It helped us feel close and helped Donavon with anxiety! 
At 9:30 I finally got the first call from the OR nurse.  She apologized for taking so long since they try to call every hour.  She first told me that Donavon was a trooper and wanted to hold her hand.  Before they put him to sleep, he looked up at her and asked her if she would pray with him because he was a little nervous.  When she said that, I quietly shed tears of pride and joy for my little man.  All on his own, he trusted God and thanked him for the nurses and doctors.  She said, when they put the mask over his face, he giggled and went to sleep.  At that point, they began the work of inserting IVs and giving Donavon a similar procedure as an Epidural, called a ‘coddle’ so that he would not feel anything.  All went smoothly and Dr. Cain was now working on Donavon.  I have to admit that I was floored by the way God kept him calm and that he was a witness, even on the OR table.
Off and on I chatted with Joe and my mother to pass the time.  I played on the internet and went down to get some coffee from McDonald’s.  I prayed and did everything I could think of to stay awake.  I got the second call at almost 11pm.  She apologized once again for calling late.  The report was as follows:
Dr. Cain had scoped out Donavon’s bladder and kidneys.  There were some complications.  (My heart sank.  The surgery was only supposed to be 2 hours total.  We were going on 4 hours.)  Donavon was okay but they had to change some plans and do some things differently.  At ll o’clock they were trying to finish up and Donavon would be in recovery as soon as they start to close up.  Dr. Cain would come out and talk to me in detail about what took place.
I held back tired emotion and prayed, thanking God for keeping his hand on Donavon and the surgical team.  Then there was more waiting.  About 11:30pm, Dr. Cain came out of the elevator and walked over to where I was sitting.  He shook my hand and sat down in front of me.
Donavon is doing fine and they should be calling me back to recovery area real soon.  He started the procedure with a scope of his kidneys and bladder to see exactly what they were working with.  The wall of a bladder is supposed to be smooth and slippery like the inside of your mouth.  Donavon’s was inflamed and scarred and looked like basket weave.  Because of that, he had to reinsert his ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder) behind the bladder where the bladder wall was not as scarred.  This took longer.  He inserted two stints as well and tightened the opening of the bladder.  He removed the fluid pouches and last but not least, opened up the entry of his penis so that he could urinate more smoothly. 
As soon as I shook Dr. Cain’s hand, I called Joe and relayed the message to him and then to my parents.  They did not finish with Donavon until after midnight (the resident closing him up and the anesthesiologist beginning to wake him up plus whatever else they have to do to finish up) and called me back into the recovery room.  Donavon was the only child in a large room that looked like an ER with beds and cribs and equipment set up at stations lining all four walls and a big nurse’s station in the middle.  The lights were mostly out except the entrance lights and the lights above the nurse’s station.  Donavon was groggy and not moving much but definitely awake and (as the nurse informed me) started talking to her as soon as he woke up. 
About 15 minutes later, they checked his stats for the last time and packed up his IV and monitors to take him to his room.  I was grateful to be able to get into the room that we would be in for the rest of our stay.  Off we went to the 9th floor!