My 2-year-old’s surgery day
When I wrote about our son Cooper’s upcoming surgery I said I was nervous. The logical part of me knew with his tonsils and adenoids so dangerously enlarged that it was close to occluding his airway we had no choice, and the surgeon we chose was among the best.
The morning of the surgery that logic went right out the window and I was downright terrified as I sat in the family OR waiting room.
I was up at 5:45 Tuesday morning to be at Hunterdon Medical Center at 6:30. One agonizing part of surgery is the waiting around; time with nothing else to do lets your parental paranoia grow.
I played him Super Simple kiddie songs from YouTube on my phone, read him his latest Gossie book, passed the time as best we could.
They called him back to the operating room prep area at 7:45 where I had to suit up in a disposable white jump suit, shoe booties and hair covering. At 7:56 they brought us in to the operating room where I had to be the one to put him down on the operating table surrounded by bright lights and sterile instruments everywhere. It always strikes me how operating rooms are 100% business; nothing ever in there that does not need to be in there. I sang to my 2 year old little boy as they put the mask over his face and he fought us all mightily. It took three nurses plus me to hold him down which is unnerving to see. More unnerving is the arching of the back and the jerking and the eyes rolling back in the head as he goes unconscious. Then the nurse tells you you can give him a kiss on his forehead.
I’ve been through this with two other children and it always gets to me. Intellectually you know the odds of anything going wrong are incredibly small. Yet you cannot stop the thought of ‘what if this is the last time I get to kiss him?’ So I did, and I walked away with tears welling in my eyes.
The operation lasted one hour. Dr. Stanley Sheft, the same ENT who performed the same surgery on Atticus last December, came to the waiting room and brought me to an adjacent room. The words came immediately that they know any parent is hoping to hear.
“He’s doing fine. There were no surprises and everything went well.”
When I was able to see him in recovery he was still asleep. He looked so peaceful. When he woke, that all changed. He felt the pain, felt the disorientation of anesthesia, the unsated hunger of having fasted, the wires and tubes on him and in him.
He was quite the mess to say the least. They brought us up to his room where it was believed we would be spending the night together. Any dad knows from the delivery day the discomfort of sleeping but not really sleeping on those vinyl pull out chair beds. But that would come later. All day I spent trying to calm him down, comfort him, get him to have even the slightest sip of water but he couldn’t do it. His pain was enough that they decided to give him a second dose of post-op morphine. That always feels crazy to think about your own child so small receiving morphine.
By 1pm he was coming around to the point that I got him to drink a bit of milk and even swallow some cold vanilla pudding. By 4 pm he’d had a lot more milk, a yogurt, and another pudding and a half. By 6 pm they decided he could come home after all. By 7 pm he was back in his own home and you never saw a kid so happy and relieved.
So we made it past another milestone and another obstacle. I want to thank the staff at Hunterdon Medical Center for being awesome and Dr. Sheft of Hunterdon Otolaryngology and Allergy Associates for his skill, focus and kindness. All the issues this poor little boy was having should be resolved thanks to you.
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