Two and a half hours later, with the paperwork signed and having walked with Billy as they wheeled him to the doors of the Operating Room, the four of them remained silent in the OR waiting room.
Sharon couldn’t help glancing at the clock on the wall, willing it to move faster. She hated the waiting. She’d never felt so helpless in her life as she did now. Silent prayers made their way through her thoughts, asking God to take care of her son, make him better, bring him back to her with his faculties intact. While she loved having her toddler back, she didn’t want that to be what he would look forward to for the rest of his life.
Rick paced the floor. It was the only way he could keep from lashing out at something. He had no control of the situation now, and that was hard for him to deal with. The waiting was almost unbearable. His thoughts also turned to prayer. He asked God to help them find and fix the problem. If there were “deficits” as Dr. Jennings had put it, then he was resolved that they would deal with them, whatever they were.
Rachael sat next to Sharon, holding her hand. She just hoped Billy was alright when this was over, for his and his parent’s sake. She was determined to have a talk with both Dr. Brandon, who she worked with often, and more importantly, Dr. Jennings who had been an arrogant ass in the meeting. It seemed the better they were at their specialty, the less compassionate surgeons were. They somehow forget that they are dealing with human beings with feelings and fears, and not simply biological machines. She understood the need to keep emotional distance with her patients, but there was no need to scare the hell out of them once you made your point.
Frank sat to one side, wishing Bobby was near so he could hold him close, and then thankful he wasn’t as it would scare him. This whole incident had shown him, in glaring terms, just how fragile life was and how quickly it could change. He really felt for Billy’s parents. The thought of something like this happening to Bobby caused fear to grip him. He was really thankful that Rachael had been at the house when this happened. He would have been at a loss as to what to do under those circumstances. “It’s funny,” he thought. “give her a checkbook and she doesn’t quite get the whole balancing thing, but put her in a medical emergency and she takes control, knowing exactly what to do.”. Then, thinking back, his father’s words came back to him. “Each responds according to his gifts.” his dad had told him. “He was a very wise man.” he thought to himself for the umpteenth time in the eight years since his father had passed.
Knowing this was going to take some time, Sharon took her hand from Rachael’s and stood, telling her “I need to talk with Mom.” tears blurring her vision.
This stopped Rick’s pacing and pulled Frank from his thoughts.
“OK Hon, do you want me to go with you?” Rick asked her.
Sharon just shook her head and walked out of the waiting room.
Rick went to follow, but Rachael stood in his way and told him “She needs to deal with this in her own way, big brother.” as she hugged him to keep him there.
“I’m scared, Kid.” He told her through tears, as he held on to her tightly, letting his emotions loose.
Unable to keep her feelings inside, “I know, we all are.” she responded in a thick voice, as she cried.
They both felt a strong arm wrap around them as Frank hugged them both saying “Something in my heart tells me it’ll be alright.” also having a hard time keeping it together.
They stood sharing their hurt, thankful that they weren’t alone.
Sharon kept walking. She heard the Christmas music playing through the speaker system as she moved through the halls, not caring where she was going. It wasn’t long ago, she had turned the stereo on so they would have the holiday music as a backdrop to this special morning. The image of Billy as he showed her his Little People present kept popping up in her mind. The utter happiness in his expression. And now…She couldn’t think about that.
Finding herself in an empty waiting room somewhere in the hospital, she sat down and pulled her phone from her pocket. Dialing her house, she waited for her Mom to answer.
“Hello?” Phillis answered the phone.
“Mom…” Sharon started and then her voice failed. All she could do is cry.
Rachel had called her mother to let her know what was happening and that Billy was going into surgery at around two pm, so she knew he’d only been in for about a half hour now. Phillis was scared something went wrong.
“Honey?” Phillis said, crying with fear.
Sharon realized her mom was scared and got herself together enough to tell her “He’s still in surgery, we don’t know anything yet.”
Phillis, silently thanking God, took a deep breath and tried to comfort her daughter saying “It’s alright, Honey, I understand.” knowing Sharon just needed her.
With her mother’s permission, she started to sob as she explained “I…I don’t know what to do. It’s just….I don’t know what to do…” trying to explain.
Phillis interrupted her. “There’s nothing you can do Sweety. It’s up to God and the doctors now.” she offered.
“It’s just…It felt so good this morning holding him in my arms…he was so happy! I hadn’t seen him that happy in a long, long time. And now…Did I do the wrong thing? Is God telling me I made the wrong choice?” she said, voicing her fear.
“No Baby!” Phillis cried, “It doesn’t work that way, Sweetheart. You did the right thing. You made me so proud! You gave that little boy what he needed. No matter what was considered normal, you stuck to what you thought was right and made him feel that it was OK to want to be little again.” as her heart broke, listening to her daughter’s fear.
“Mom, I’m so scared….I don’t want to lose him.” she cried, “I just got him back and I couldn’t face losing him.” she finished.
“I know Sweety.” Phillis told her. “I just can’t imagine God giving him back to you only to take him away, it’ll be alright.” she explained.
“I hope you’re right.” Sharon replied and then let the tears have their way, crying for a good three minutes.
Phillis just listened to her daughter, letting her get it out of her system. Then when she was concerned that she would get hysterical, she offered “There’s a scared little girl here that really needs to talk to her mommy.”.
That got Sharon’s attention and broke the cycle. She definitely understood, she had just been that scared little girl. She took a moment to get herself together and told her mom “OK, let me talk to her.” and then quickly said “And Mom?”.
“Yes?” Phillis asked.
“Thank you.” Sharon told her gratefully.
“That’s what mom’s are for, Sweety.” she replied. “Here’s Becky.”
“Mommy?” Becky asked tearfully.
“I’m here, Baby.” Sharon told her reassuringly as possible.
“Is Bobby okay?”
“He’s having an Operation right now to make him better.” Sharon explained.
“Will he be OK?” Becky persisted, wanting her mom to tell her it would be alright.
“He’ll be alright, Sweety.” she answered, hoping she was right.
“Are you coming home?” Becky asked sounding better.
“Not tonight, Honey, I need to be here when Billy wakes up. He’ll be scared and I don’t want him to be all alone.”.
“Give him a hug for me, and tell him I love him when he wakes up.” Becky told her mother.
Smiling despite her tears, Sharon assured her “I will, Baby. I promise.”.
“I love you, Mommy.”.
“I love you too, Baby, soooo much.”.
“Grandma wants to talk to you now.” Becky told her.
“OK, hey, you be good for your grandma, alright?” Sharon told her
“I promise. Goodnight.” she answered.
“Good night Sweety.”.
Hearing the phone change hands, Sharon asked “How’s she doing?”.
After a moment’s pause, “She’ll be fine, she just needed to talk to her Mommy.” Phillis explained.
“She wasn’t the only one.” Sharon admitted.
“I know, Baby, but now you need to go back to the waiting room.”
“How did you know I wasn’t there?” Sharon asked.
“Because I know my little girl.” Phillis told her, her smile coming through the phone.
“Thanks Mom.” Sharon said with a small smile.
“Your welcome, now get back there before Rick punches a wall or something.”.
“I’m going, good night, I’ll keep you informed.”.
“You better!” Phillis told her in earnest. “Good night.” she said and hung up the phone.
Sharon had to ask someone to find out how to get back to the OR waiting room. The relief she saw on their faces was almost palpable as she walked into the room.
“I’m sorry, I just needed to be alone.” she told Rick as he pulled her into his arms.
Glad to have her there he replied “It’s OK Honey, I understand.”.
“Mom made me come back here. She was worried you’d punch a wall or something.” she told him with a smile.
“Well, I thought about it.” he admitted smiling back at her, “But it wouldn’t do any good, so I figured I’d spare the fixtures.” he finished.
All four of them chuckled at that. Just then the phone on the desk rang. It had been explained to them that they would receive calls letting them know how things were going throughout the surgery. Nobody moved at first, none of them wanting to take the call.
Sharon walked to the desk and picked up the phone on the fifth ring. “Hello?” she said.
“Is this Mrs. Avery?” a woman’s voice asked.
“I’m just letting you know that Billy’s done fine so far. His temp is holding and he’s tolerating the surgery well.” the woman explained.
“Thank you.” Sharon said through new tears with a grateful smile.
“We’ll keep you informed.”
“Thank you so much.” Sharon told her and hung up the phone. Turning and grabbing her husband in a tight embrace, she relayed the information to the other three.
“Thank God. He just needs to hang in there 'til their done.” Rick said holding Sharon close.