Amanda Dotsey getting ready for surgery at New Hanover Regional Hospital | Zach DotseyAmanda and I got up and started moving around 8:00 this morning. It was actually a little earlier as the dogs wanted to go outside and such. After I fed them Amanda wanted to snuggle with them for a bit, since she wouldn’t be able to snuggle with Bruce for a couple days and Harvey probably longer than that, as he’s not the most adept at skillfully avoiding stepping on people when he’s jumping into bed. We talked to Bonnie Narron, our across the street neighbor, who said she’d help out by maybe keeping him some over the weekend. I’m not sure if that’s necessary, but we’ll see.

Amanda had taken a laxative last night as you may recall, and she wasn’t to have any solid food past 6:00 or any liquids past midnight (or she’d turn into a Gremlin- I know we all thought of that). This morning she was miserable in not only being hungry, but feeling hypoglycemic. I’d talked to her mom, Karen Mercer, and told them that given the time they left their house in Richlands, NC, they could stop on by our house. In the meantime I changed the sheets on the bed and Amanda put up some clothes. After that was when she started feeling bad and I called the hospital to see if she could have anything at all to drink. They said to just go ahead and bring her on in.

We got to the hospital just before Amanda’s parents, who drove separately, her aunt, Anna Frazelle, and Polly Clawson, our friend and small group mentor. We checked her in and only had to wait a few minutes before Amanda and I were led to where she was being prepped. I went back and lead everyone else to the waiting room.

Phil Mercer waiting in New hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, NC | Zach Dotsey There was a small kid, seventeen months old, named Caleb, who was there with his grandmother. They were from Beulaville, which I found out as I was talking with Caleb’s grandmother, whose name has already escaped me. Caleb was a cute kid and pretty shy at first, but he warmed up before long and kept trading beepers with me. (The beepers would go off to let us know when we could go see our beloved patients- I made sure the remember the number on ours, which was 21.) Caleb took a real shine to Phil, Amanda’s dad.

Before long we were allowed to go see Amanda in pairs. Phil and I went first, then Karen and Polly, then Karen came back and said they were about to go ahead and take her (which was really quick!) so Anna and I went on back. Polly was praying over her when we got there. Polly, man, that woman can pray. Seriously. After Polly left Amanda said she hadn’t cried at all until Polly prayed. (That’s not a bad thing.) Anna said a quick prayer and gave Amanda her love, then I gave her a kiss and as much of a hug as I could with all the tubes sticking into her then let the doctors take over.

Then we waited.

We moved to a different waiting area and got some breakfast while Polly went to check on a friend of hers, Dora, who is having heart surgery, then we went back to the waiting area and turned on a TV, which was stuck on a cartoon station for three year olds. I’d gone out into the hallway to check e-mail and talked to Polly when she came back. A lady going around giving updates told us that Amanda had been started on around 11:00 or had gone up to surgery at 11:00 and was started on at 11:15 or something to that effect. Wait, maybe those hours were 10:00 hours, not 11:00 hours. I can’t remember- the day’s been a bit of a blur.

Around noon:30 we saw Dr. Gajewski (guy-ow-ski) who told us that they’d gotten the whole cyst out without having to take out Amanda’s right ovary. I’m sure I won’t get all of this right, but my understanding was that the cyst had been an egg that had developed into a mass of some sort with tissue and blood vessels and such. Yummy. I think it was bigger than originally thought too, and we named it Cysty. He told us Amanda had been moved to recovery and we asked about how long it would be before we could see her. He said he didn’t know, so I think it was Phil who asked, "Under an hour?" which he affirmed. We took that as there being quite a bit of time, so Polly said a prayer then took off and the rest of us went to the Kona Cafe in the hospital there to get some lunch. On the way there I called my dad and Karen called Amanda’s grandparents. We went on to the cafe and ordered the food, but no sooner had we all sat down and said a prayer, I was about to pick up my sandwich and then the beeper went off.

Amanda Mercer Dotsey recovering from the removal of an ovarian cyst at New hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, NC | Zach Dotsey Amanda was doing alright. She was very tired and pale and a little yellow. When I fist saw her my thought was that aside from her steady breathing she looked dead. It was mainly her mouth. If you’ve ever been to a wake you know how the mouth is extremely drawn and slack and wider than usual. The mouth is what always throws me off at funerals. Anyway, that’s how she looked. I went ahead on up to see her and after a minute or two went back to get everyone else and bumped into them in the hallway. I told them the room number then went outside to call a few people and let them know she was okay. I also went ahead and sent out an e-mail. I’d saved a draft with all the addresses in it yesterday so I could just write a short message and send it on out as quick as I could.

Amanda got steadily better throughout the day. Her color improved and her voice got stronger. She had conversations with us and everything, although her memory wasn’t the best. Phil left after a little while, as did Anna. Michael came by after feeding Bruce, Harvey and Cobb and letting the dogs outside for a minute. Trish and Charity from Amanda’s work came by, and Laura, her boss, was there a few minutes later. Amanda had had me call Laura and tell her something about work, and of course Laura told me to tell her to quit fussing about that stuff and rest. Trish and Charity also stopped by the house after they left so the dogs could get out some more.

Trish, Charity and Laura took off when the nurse, Kate, I think (who has an awesome Irish accent I could listen to all day), came in to say it was time to get Amanda to go from the bed to a chair. I tied up what I could of Amanda’s gown, but she was sitting on her butt part and I didn’t get a chance to tie that up. Michael had already averted his eyes and was working on either a crossword puzzle or a Sudoku puzzle. Amanda was able to get up with some help and turn around and sit in the chair. She was left there for a few minutes to get her blood flowing, then Kate came back to help her get back into the bed. She got nauseous though, and got a little sick. Having to use her abdomen muscles was pretty painful to her, but the nurse got her some drugs to keep the nausea down.

Kristen Barriner came by with a pizza shortly after that. It wouldn’t have bothered her a few minutes before, but I had to take the pizza out to the elevator lobby because the smell was bothering Amanda. It should be noted that Kristen asked us what to bring, and when we talked to her the smell, like I said, wasn’t an issue. Of course Amanda wasn’t eating solids yet, so the pizza was for the rest of us.

Kristen joined me to eat the pizza after visiting with Amanda and Michael took off to meet some guys from his small group for dinner at PT’s. Kristen and I went back to the room and Karen went out to the lobby to eat some pizza. Kristen said her good-byes and took off. That must have been around 7:00. Mike and Kaitlyn Boscaljon showed up soon after. Karen apparently fed Mike some pizza but Kaitlyn came straight on back to the room (along with some banana bread!). Amanda was about out of it by then, so they didn’t stay too long.

Another nurse came in sometime after 8:00. Her name was Ritva and she was from Finland. ("Finland, Finland, Finland, the country where I want to be…") She got Amanda up, tied up the back of her gown ("We don’t give free shows around here.") and with her on the left and me on the right Amanda walked down the hall, just about to the elevators when she decided she needed to get on back. Just before getting back into the bed she got sick again.

I took off not too long after that. I called my parents on the way out of the hospital and gave my mom an update then I called my baby sister, Andra Sawyer, whom I haven’t been able to get in touch with for the past week. I asked her if she’d heard about Amanda and the first thing she excitedly asked, just like Hannah had when Anna was talking to her, was, "Is she pregnant?" So I explained what was going on. I didn’t have a working e-mail address for Andra and I found one for Josh, but apparently he hadn’t checked his e-mail in a while so neither of them knew the deal.

In other news, Andra and Josh are thinking they need to buy a bigger house and can’t afford to do it while paying a mortgage, so they’re thinking of moving somewhere else, possibly in with Mom and Dad for a while. I don’t think there’d be much of an issue with it since there are at least two bedrooms upstairs that Mom and Dad don’t use at all, and they might be able to move things around even more to accommodate my sister’s family. I, of course, hope they’ll end up moving here.

I talked briefly to Jackson, who asked what I was doing. I told him I was getting home. He asked where I was and I said in Wilmington and asked if he wanted to come down to Wilmington to see me. He doesn’t call it "Wippington" anymore- he now actually says "Wilmington." Ah well, had to happen at some point I guess.

I walked in the door, let the boys out and gave them some love. I threw a toy out back for Harvey and he just ran back and forth in the yard throwing it in the air and pouncing on it. I felt like he was showing off for me and I had fun watching him. He stayed out for a bit and I went inside where I snuggle up with Bruce and watched this past week’s episode of John Adams. I wanted to play some Xbox after that, but having sat around the hospital for eleven hours was actually quite draining.

Zach Dotsey