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Sisters and Surgery

April 27, 2018

Last Friday my little sister had open heart surgery. This is the sort of thing you dread as a sibling. What if it’s not OK? What if it goes wrong? Why them? Are all questions that just float through your head without your permission.

I remember getting the phone call back in New Orleans, where she let me prattle on about cheese for a solid 15 minutes before she broke the news that she was going to have to have a heart valve replaced. Victoria (Tori) is 20 years old and is officially one of the strongest women I know.

In the past six months, she has handled the first surgeon she met with giving her contradicting information, figuring out how to find and vet other surgeons, having a new, non-invasive procedure dangled in front of her and then told she didn’t qualify for it. Running in circles with insurance and all of this while being told she couldn’t do any strenuous exercise. I think I would have simply burst if I were subjected to that kind of strain.She’s such an interesting person, her house is filled with unusual plants making it feel like you’re walking through a garden. Last December when I tried to fix a hole in my pants and sewed them to themselves she authoritatively righted them in less than 10 minutes, she is always up for an intelligent conversation and is one of the most level-headed people you’ll meet.

So last Friday on 4/20 (The running joke was “Blaze it!”) she had her surgery at a hospital in Denver. Tony and I packed up our things and drove out, Sadie flew out from Seattle, and my mother, grandmother and two of the younger siblings all drove up from Kansas City to be there. Tori’s boyfriend Max had been there through all of it and we spent the quiet hours the morning of the surgery sipping coffee and waiting.And she did so well. Tori made leaps in her recovery the next few days and we took turns visiting her and hanging out with the younger girls who couldn’t see her till she was out of the ICU. Sophie, Nodi and I spent a good few hours in the hospital lobby playing hangman and scrunching up our face about a bag of sour skittles and Tony took them outside to play hide and seek. Sadie took the night shift and determinedly slept in the hospital room to stay next to Tori.

Tori was out of the ICU in two days and progressed so quickly and had such a cool demeanor her nurse told her she should be the poster child to show all these scared, old men how it’s done. The family went home Sunday and Monday and Tori was discharged into my care late Monday afternoon.She’s since been home and doing so well I just have to brag on her for a minute, I was driving her to a follow-up appointment on Wednesday and she says “This whole experience has been very balancing.” Which is an incredible perspective to come out with. We were talking today and she was discussing how important resilience is. It’s never the things you worry, stress about and prepare for that end up happening. It’s the things that surprise you. She says “Everyone has their things to deal with, this was just mine.”

As you read this Tony and I are driving to Wisconsin to see his family and then stopping to see friends in Pennsylvania on our way to Maine! Thanks to everyone for your well-wishes for Tori and thanks for tuning in!

To Be Continued…

April 27, 2018

Last Friday my little sister had open heart surgery. This is the sort of thing you dread as a sibling. What if it’s not OK? What if it goes wrong? Why them? Are all questions that just float through your head without your permission.

I remember getting the phone call back in New Orleans, where she let me prattle on about cheese for a solid 15 minutes before she broke the news that she was going to have to have a heart valve replaced. Victoria (Tori) is 20 years old and is officially one of the strongest women I know.

In the past six months, she has handled the first surgeon she met with giving her contradicting information, figuring out how to find and vet other surgeons, having a new, non-invasive procedure dangled in front of her and then told she didn’t qualify for it. Running in circles with insurance and all of this while being told she couldn’t do any strenuous exercise. I think I would have simply burst if I were subjected to that kind of strain.

She’s such an interesting person, her house is filled with unusual plants making it feel like you’re walking through a garden. Last December when I tried to fix a hole in my pants and sewed them to themselves she authoritatively righted them in less than 10 minutes, she is always up for an intelligent conversation and is one of the most level-headed people you’ll meet.

So last Friday on 4/20 (The running joke was “Blaze it!”) she had her surgery at a hospital in Denver. Tony and I packed up our things and drove out, Sadie flew out from Seattle, and my mother, grandmother and two of the younger siblings all drove up from Kansas City to be there. Tori’s boyfriend Max had been there through all of it and we spent the quiet hours the morning of the surgery sipping coffee and waiting.

And she did so well. Tori made leaps in her recovery the next few days and we took turns visiting her and hanging out with the younger girls who couldn’t see her till she was out of the ICU. Sophie, Nodi and I spent a good few hours in the hospital lobby playing hangman and scrunching up our face about a bag of sour skittles and Tony took them outside to play hide and seek. Sadie took the night shift and determinedly slept in the hospital room to stay next to Tori.

Tori was out of the ICU in two days and progressed so quickly and had such a cool demeanor her nurse told her she should be the poster child to show all these scared, old men how it’s done. The family went home Sunday and Monday and Tori was discharged into my care late Monday afternoon.

She’s since been home and doing so well I just have to brag on her for a minute, I was driving her to a follow-up appointment on Wednesday and she says “This whole experience has been very balancing.” Which is an incredible perspective to come out with. We were talking today and she was discussing how important resilience is. It’s never the things you worry, stress about and prepare for that end up happening. It’s the things that surprise you. She says “Everyone has their things to deal with, this was just mine.”

As you read this Tony and I are driving to Wisconsin to see his family and then stopping to see friends in Pennsylvania on our way to Maine! Thanks to everyone for your well-wishes for Tori and thanks for tuning in!

To Be Continued…

Savannah Says...

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4 Comments

  1. We are so glad things went so well! Way to be there for your sister.

    • Thank you, Maggie! Thanks for the sweet gift you guys sent over. Love seeing your posts!

  2. I’m so glad to hear all went well!

    • Thanks Shelly! We’re so glad she’s through the worst part. – Savannah


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