We went in to the plastic surgeon's office this morning so they could check how H. is doing. The drains are still in for a couple more days, though the nurse redid the dressing holding them so that they were more comfortable. It turns out that not only are they redirecting excess liquid, but the suction that they cause is helping to keep the skin in place so that it can better remain in place. (Sorry if that is a bit too gruesome...)
We also seem to be past the point where they are concerned about infection and are switching from keeping the sutures covered with Bacitracin to using Aquafore. Evidently Aquafore is the plastic surgeon's best friend and it should help with the itching as the sutures heal and will also help the healing process in general, cutting down on scarring. The nurse went on and on about all the ways she uses it and we may also try using it on K.'s incredibly dry hands.
H.'s face is still very, very swollen, which I sort of knew (her eye is evidently very swollen), but her cheek is about the same size that it normally is so I guess I wasn't interpreting that as swollenness. It is amazing to think that it actually is and that over the course of a couple of weeks it will reduce in size dramatically. Then, even after the initial swelling has left, it will continue to lesson over the course of months. I am eager to watch the transformation.
How is H. emotionally dealing with all of this? Well, first of all she is a very resilient child. This can't be enjoyable and must be very uncomfortable and painful, but she continues to accept what comes her way with a good nature. Every so often yesterday she was a little grumpy, but considering what she's been through it's completely understandable. I'm surprised the grumpiness is as little as it is. I don't think she believes us when we tell her that her face will look good again. She has now described her right eye as her 'pretty eye' and I wonder if she really thinks that her left eye will never look good again. That kind of breaks my heart. What must it be like to have had surgery that you don't completely understand, thinking to the best of your ability that it is going to make you look better, only to discover that you think you look worse than before?
Yet the desire to look like everyone else and to like what you see in the mirror is very, very strong. More strong than I think those of us who have normal faces realize. As we were waiting for the nurse to come back into the waiting room, H. points to the place on her forehead that still has bone overgrowth and several rough nevi and says she wants that fixed, too. I didn't answer immediately because I was too overcome. To have gone through significant surgery that is only just beginning to heal and going on the promise (which you may or not believe) that what they've already done is going to look good, and sit there and request more so that your face doesn't look different any more to me... well it's staggering. Stop for a moment and be thankful that your face is normal.