We are within two weeks of making our big move. Days and thoughts are spent calculating our trip plans, moving details, organizing and delegating responsibilities to loved ones so our life may carry on here. Gone are the lazy and uneventful days.
We’ve finally decided our final day in Union County. We will leave April 24th with plans to be in our new apartment by April 26th. This is so Drew can attend his first pre-surgery doctor appointment with a pediatric cardiologist at the local hospital on Friday the 27th to get cardiac clearance for surgery. April 30th Drew has a pre-op appointment to go over the details of the surgery. May 1st is the day of the surgery.
I will be driving my truck with Drew, his wheelchair and whatever else we can squeeze into the back of the truck. Nathan will follow along in a UHaul truck with what we can’t fit into my truck. Nathan will stay in Florida with us until May 22nd and will fly back to Kentucky in order to return to work. Nathan’s mom and her significant other will be coming to stay with us right before Drew’s surgery and staying with us for the first couple of weeks.
Obviously, Drew has had his fair share of surgeries, medical procedures and appointments with doctors. Drew even had open heart surgery. But, I am more anxious about Drew’s upcoming surgery than any worry I’ve felt before. During Drew’s surgery, I remember feeling surprisingly calm. Sure, I was upset when Drew was taken from us behind those swinging doors, but I felt strong throughout our wait. (I did have a minor freak out when 2.5 hours into the 5-6 hour procedure I was told that they were having problems inserting the central line and had yet to start the surgery!)
But, I can’t even think about the final moments with Drew in the hospital as we wait for the surgical team to grab Drew without getting that hardened lump in my throat. My eyes well up thinking about any pain that Drew may be in. I have to push away thoughts of missing the amazing things that Drew has managed to learn and master that will never again be a part of his life. I’m just so sad. Shouldn’t I be happy? I should be rejoicing in the fact that Drew will be walking at the end of this year. I’m at war with myself.
Moving away from home even temporarily is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I’m starting to recognize all of the things I’m going to miss: the Union County Fair, the Corn Festival, recognizing faces, navigating streets with comfort and familiarity, leaving my doors unlocked and windows down, running into a long time friend catching up over the last 10 years, having a friend close by to visit or blow off some steam with at a kid-free location….I can go on and on.
I’m sad thinking of all of the people who will miss Drew (and me too, I suppose…but this is all about Drew in the end.) Drew’s last day of school is April 23rd and he won’t be in school for the rest of the year. He’s not going to see his two girlfriends (one of which he doesn’t know her name, so he says. The player he is at four years old!). He will miss other friends he maintains at school.
All of the preparations leading up to this trip has now fully illustrated how big this event is. Our lives are changing permanently in a major way. It almost feels as if this life is ending and a new family is returning in December. It’s the end of an era.
Of course, I’m overwhelmed with emotion when I think of Drew standing up as tall and straight as an oak tree and taking the first steps. But it seems so far away. And, it seems as if it’s still a dream. It still doesn’t seem possible. I’m sure I’m feeling the same anxiety that any patient or mother would feel before a surgery like this: what if the surgery goes wrong? What if the results aren’t what we expected? What if it turns out to be a mistake? What if we didn’t make the right decision?
None-the-less, I hope everybody comes to play Bingo for Drew at the KoC Hall in Morganfield tomorrow. Doors open at 5:00 pm and Bingo starts at 7:00 pm. All proceeds go to Drew Walking Tall. Also, Drew will be riding a horse and leading the show at a horse show at the John Arnold Arena in Sturgis on Saturday about 11:00 am. Our final appearance in Union County will be at the Union County High School as Drew leads the Pledge of Allegiance for the Oscars events for UC student recognition. It will be an emotional night for sure.