Since nothing is very quick in hospital and doctor land, it took a while to make it home with H. Part of the slow down was that we needed to stop by the office to have H.'s dressing changed. (Our plastic surgeon is phenomenal. I really like him. H. likes him. But he is a little finicky about who touches his patients, thus out trip to see his nurses.) It was at that moment that we got a good look at the results of the surgery.
The trouble with plastic surgery is that initially things don't look so good. There are the stitches, of course, but there is also bruising and swelling and drains. A lot of bruising and swelling. Sometimes it's difficult to determine what is permanent and what is temporary. As we do this more often, I can start to see what's what, but it is always something of an initial shock.
Here's where things stand. On the whole, it looks really good. After our talk with the surgeon yesterday, I was a little hesitant to see the results, but I'm pleased. The area he wasn't able to cover is pretty small and not that noticeable. She does have a suture line on her forehead, but I think it will be OK, plus the surgeon has plans to correct it at a later date. There is some swelling, but not too bad. Best of all, the worst of the nevus/sebaceous skin which was prominent on her forehead is gone. Her forehead really does look more 'normal' even with the stitches and swelling.
What I'm really dreading, though is when H. looks at herself in the mirror. Not because of the stitches; she's been pretty good about accepting that. It's because of her hair. Because there was so much work done on her scalp, they needed to shave a good portion of her head. Probably about a third of it. Have you ever seen pictures of Ancient Egyptian boys whose heads are shaved and they have just a long side lock on the side of their heads? Just make that side lock a little bigger and you'll get a pretty accurate image of what we have.
Let's just say H. is not going to be happy. On top of all the regular feelings we have about hair, it is doubly emotionally charged for H. For so many years H. really wanted long, long hair. But with each surgery she had in China, her whole head was shaved, and it was kept short afterwards when she was in care. This is the first time she's been able to have the long hair she so desired and has been loving it. She dutifully and carefully combs it each morning and has been pretty good about keeping it tangle-free. I just dread seeing her face when she sees what is not there. I know it will grow back. I know it is not the end of the world. I know in the great scheme of things this is fairly minor. But still... My heart breaks for her to have this added to everything else. I have the name of a hair stylist who specializes in styling hair for people who have had cranial surgery. I will be making an appointment as soon as all the drains and stitches are out.
And I will probably be investing heavily in hats.