Update on Sophie

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Sophie had three weeks of bandage changing every two to three days by two different nurses, Sophie and Karine.  The nurse, Karine, came the last time a week ago and told us her finger was fine and didn’t need anything to protect it.  Each nurse has given us different bits of information regarding Sophie’s finger healing.  Aaron and I are not confident that this information is correct.  We have had a number of broken bones and a finger “hanging by a thread” over the years and we know injuries like this are not done after 3 weeks.  So, I have been wrapping her finger almost everyday to keep it clean and protected.  We haven’t even had the recommendation to do a follow up with the surgeon.

The health system here is very different!  We payed each of the nurses for their individual house visits.  They were 8 euros per visit and they charged us a little for supplies we were missing.  Each nurse handed us an invoice and we had to pay her with a check and then we submit the invoice to our homeowners insurance to try to be reimbursed.  It has been almost a month and we have not received any bill, except for the x-rays (which was around 50 euros).  We are then supposed to pay the bills when they come and submit the invoices to the insurance company.  We don’t even use our international health insurance. It all goes through our homeowners insurance because it was an accident that happened on our property.  Hopefully, the bills for the hospital, surgeon, anesthesiologist and urgent care are not astronomical!

Sophie’s finger looks great!  The fingernail area is black, which was to be expected.  Her skin has grown wonderfully back together.  It looks like a completely different finger from 4 weeks ago!  Sophie is still very nervous to use it in anyway.  She still whimpers a little when I have to clean it and change the bandaging.  In fact, just last night she told me “it scares me to look at my finger.  It still looks gross!”  We feel it a miracle from above that her finger looks so good.  I even think her fingernail will grow back just fine! :)

Our Sweet Sophie!

Saturday was an eventful day!  Eventful in the sense that we will never forget the day.  AJ was outside with Jack and Sophie looking curiously under a large heavy cement block.  As AJ was putting the block back down, Sophie’s left hand got in the way and unfortunately crushed her middle finger.  Screams and sobs were heard immediately from not only Sophie but from her brothers who were so scared by what they saw.  Aaron and I have experienced a lot of broken bones, gashes that needed surgery, bacterial meningitis, etc., but this scared us both.

What to do in an emergency in a foreign country?  Aaron and I jumped in the car with Sophie in hand.  I drove, Aaron tried to calm Sophie down and control her shock and pain. First, we went to the logical place, the hospital in Uzès, but after seeing there was no emergency room or doctors that could help us, we were instructed to go to Nîmes.  The kind nurses in Uzès could see our panic and had Sophie soak her hand in a cleaning solution, made a few phone calls, wrapped her hand in clean wrappings and quickly blew up a balloon to help sooth her.  The solution helped Sophie calm down a little, but once we were in the car her screams began again.  She kept saying, “I want Jesus!”  Aaron finally was able to help her relax for a moment and she fell asleep.  She needed those 15 minutes of sleep to give her body the comfort and peace it was seeking.  Jesus definitely heard her pleas!

We arrived at the Polyclinique du Grand Sud at the Urgence Room (similar to an American Emergency Room).  Sophie woke up calm and with a smile on her face.  We entered the Urgence and it was filled with people.  It was dirty.  It was different.  It was overwhelming. Aaron approached the counter with urgency and explained that someone needed to see Sophie immediately.  They asked her age and gave a quizzical look.  They told us they didn’t think they could help us because of how young she is.  We then asked where we were supposed to go.  They weren’t sure!!!  You can imagine our frustration.  They told us they needed to make a few phone calls.  We didn’t understand why a doctor couldn’t just look at her finger and give their assessment.  I waited in the room and Aaron took Sophie outside for fresh air.  He came back in 5 minutes later and I noticed her bandaging had been unwrapped.  Aaron went right to the counter and told the nurses someone had to see her because her finger was going to be dead.  It looked purple/black.  As soon as they understood how serious this was, they let us back and a doctor came in immediately. They sent her to radiology for x-rays. Within 15 minutes they knew her finger was crushed, broken and needed stitching.  Phone calls were made to the surgeon and anesthesiologist.  We still do not know why they were initially going to refuse to see and treat Sophie because of her age.  This hospital was the only one in our area that had a hand surgeon.

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Sophie had to be admitted to the hospital for surgery.  Our family had plans to spend the evening with the Mallets, Maria and her husband Paul.  I had called her while waiting to tell her the situation and she ended up coming to the hospital.  She stayed with us for hours. She was an angel!

The nurses brought Sophie her hospital clothes and Sophie thought she was so cool!  She had huge smiles on her face and melted the hearts of the hospital staff.

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When it was time for her to go upstairs to her hospital room they brought her a wheel chair.  Sophie first thought it was awesome.  She was getting royal treatment!

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As she was getting wheeled thru the hospital her demeanor was slowly changing.  Her smiles changed to looks of concern and nervousness.  We got into the hospital room/recovery room and she was put in the bed and then I had to explain to her what was going to happen.  Aaron and I were not going to be allowed to be in the surgery room with her.  Sophie took each minute in strides and was somewhat calm.  She understood that the doctors had to help her and she needed to listen to them if she wanted her finger to get better.


One of the nurses came to get us and Aaron carried her down to the surgery area, Bloc Operation.  She was very quiet.  The anesthesiologist came to us and was so sweet.  She got eye level with Sophie and asked her if she was a little girl or a big girl.  Sophie, of course, said she was a big girl.  (Everything was in French and Sophie understood perfectly!)  The doctor then proceeded to tell Sophie her two options and she needed to decide what she wanted to do.  First, do local anesthetic to her arm, or, second, put her to sleep.  Sophie immediately responded she wanted just her arm.  We all felt this was best.  They would try with the local anesthetic and see if Sophie could relax enough to proceed with surgery.  I took these two pictures below while Sophie was listening to the anesthesiologist explain what was going to happen.

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We were so proud of Sophie.  She was concerned, but she was so brave!  The anesthesiologist explained how they would numb her arm, etc. and Sophie did not panic or start to cry.  Then, the doctor asked Sophie to come with her and away they went!


(Sorry for the blurry photos!)  This was a helpless feeling as a mother.  We could not be there to hold her hand or give her encouragement.  I couldn’t believe she just walked out with the anesthesiologist to an unknown place speaking a foreign language.  Over the course of about 2 hours Sophie was in the surgery room.  The anesthesiologist came out a few times to give us updates.  She said Sophie had not cried and that she was the best pediatric patient they had ever had.  She kept saying how adorable and kind she was. She told us Sophie was telling all the doctors and nurses about her brothers and sisters.  I was so proud of our 4 year old daughter!  How amazing and blessed we are!

At one point the anesthesiologist came out and invited Aaron back because Sophie kept asking for “Papa”.  They said they NEVER let anyone into the surgery room but they loved Sophie so much they met her request.  How cool is that?!  They needed Aaron’s help to get her distracted so they could proceed.  She was having a hard time relaxing her arm, even though it was “asleep”.  Overall, Sophie did awesome.  She did everything that was asked of her and she did it with a calm spirit.  The best news was that we did not have to stay the night at the hospital like we were originally told.  Sophie kept asking to go home.

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After surgery she was rolled upstairs to her recovery room and they brought her some food.  She was hungry and thirsty.  She did great!  They told us we could go home as soon as she ate and they had to remove the IV.  If she would have been “put under” she would have had to stay the night.  I am so glad local anesthetic worked.


The boys were so excited to see her.  We had talked to them throughout the day and evening to give them updates.  Aaron and I had left the house with Jack sobbing in the garden, AJ sorrowfully walking down the road, Tristan aimlessly crying and worried and Austin cleaning up blood and in a panic.  They were so happy to have her home and to know she was okay.

The surgeon said her finger should grow back normal.  Her fingernail will fall off and he wasn’t sure if she would have a fingernail again.  He couldn’t tell us what would happen to that area of her finger.  He is hopeful that it will heal correctly and that she will have full usage of her finger.  We have to have a nurse come to our house every few days to change the wrapping and check her finger.  We feel so blessed that the Lord heard our prayers and fasting.  It was a scary experience, especially being in a foreign country.  I have a few new words that have been added to my french vocabulary.  I am so grateful Aaron was home and not traveling.  It was very emotional and exhausting for all of us.  I know the Lord gives us trials to make us stronger!  He is real and I know he hears and answers prayers!  I have always been a firm believer of prayer and this was another example of the Lord’s love for me and my sweet family.

We love you so much Sophie!