Thursday was busy. I had to work and tried to get as much stuff done as possible so that on Friday my work-load from home would be fairly light. Well, that wasn’t to be the case because waiting in my email box was a message requesting that I do some work that evening. I was annoyed because not only did I not want to do extra work late in the evening from home the night before Cooper’s surgery, but that it was requested at the last minute, which left me scrambling to write the request and coordinating with all the other groups involved to get this Thursday night work done. So after begging and cajoling the technical groups to each have a representative available to bail me out should I screw up, I pack up my stuff and leave.
I get to daycare, grab Cooper (Gavin was home sick with Justin) so that I can avoid rush-hour traffic via the HOV lane to get to my salon, where Justin and Gavin met to me pick up Cooper. I stayed behind to get my hair cut, then got home shortly after 7pm. I ate some cereal for dinner, and kept offering Cooper food and milk, knowing full well he’d still be hungry twelve hours later, but it made me feel better to do it anyways. We got the kids bathed and in bed thirty minutes later than usual hoping that it would help Cooper sleep until a few minutes before we needed to leave in the morning.
At 9pm I started my night-time work. After a few minor network delays, I was able to get it completed at around 10:45pm. Then I start preparing for Friday: getting two sippy-cups ready for Cooper, one milk (toddler formula), one water, and got his diaper bag ready, including some extra clothes, towels, grocery bags, and baby wipes together in case he vomits after his surgery. I checked to see if I could sneak his magic blanket out of his bed, but he was laying on it, so I made the mental note to grab it in the morning. I finally fall into bed just before midnight yet laid awake in bed, anxious about the next day, until around 1am.
Friday morning at 5am Justin gets up and goes to the gym. At 6am my alarm goes off, I turn it off, and doze back to sleep. Thankfully Justin showed up at 6:15am with Starbucks in-hand to wake me up. I jumped out of bed, realizing I am already 15 minutes behind on a very strict schedule, and woke up Gavin, reminding him he’d get to go to Ainsley’s house to ensure he’d actually get up and moving. Justin and I get ready, then Justin helps get Gavin dressed while I wake up and dress Cooper. We pile into the truck at 6:50am and drop Gavin off at our friends’ house a few miles down the road. I run Gavin in the house, he and Ainsley see each other, squeal, then go running off.
We get to the surgical center at 7:10am, get signed-in and checked-in, and wait. And wait. Meanwhile, Cooper has signed “eat” a few times, and has signed and said “dint” (drink) several more times. I just kept telling him we didn’t have anything and would offer something to play with. They finally call us back to our little curtained-off pre-op room where the nurse and anesthesiologist get as many vitals as Cooper would allow, and then wait some more. Justin blows up a medical glove to entertain Cooper, and Cooper plays peek-a-boo with the curtain divider. The doctor stops by to talk a moment or two, ensures I’m in my big marshmallow pseudo-scrubs (i.e. the BioHazard suit), and we wait some more. Finally, about 20 minutes after our scheduled surgery time, the nurse comes to fetch us. She puts the hair net on me, which Cooper quickly rips off my head and throws on the floor, and we walk down to the OR.
This entire time I was feeling a little tired and anxious, but since I’ve been in hospitals several times, I felt relatively comfortable. Until I walked into the OR with Cooper. There were about four or five health personnel in there, all suited up in masks, head-coverings, and were starting to put on the gowns over their scrubs. I saw the operating table and all the bright lights and unfamiliar equipment. I felt Cooper stiffen up in my arms, felt my heart start racing and the panic rising, and felt my feet stop moving. As soon as I caught the anesthesiologist’s eyes and saw him smile at me through his mask, I took a deep breath and pushed forward. Cooper, however, just tightened his grip on me, so I started chirping, “wow! look at all this stuff, Coop! And look at all the nice people that are going to take care of you. Look! They’re all playing ‘Peek-a-Boo’ with you!” as I pointed to their masks and pantomimed peek-a-boo.
I sat Cooper on the operating table (which was about as wide as the hole in my toilet seats!), all while chattering at him. He wasn’t buying it. He looked at all those strange people with masks over their faces and starting crying. One of the nurses played peek-a-boo with her mask and he started laughing until the anesthesiologist snuck the gas-mask onto his face, where he hollered and then held his breath. That’s when I started laughing because I totally wasn’t prepared for him to get so pissed that he’d hold his breath. I tried wiggling his arm and talked to him and he finally calmed down and began breathing. He opened his eyes and I saw them glaze over. He closed them and slumped against the anesthesiologist. We laid him flat and the nurse bundled him up with warmed blankets. I wiggled his arm again and realized he had NO muscle tone. I’ve put him to sleep thousands of time and have watched him sleep, yet he looked and felt sooooo much more still and motionless. It scared me. I vaguely heard the nurse reassure me, “we’ll take good care of him”, and the anesthesiologist say, “give him a kiss, Mom. He’ll be done before you know it.”
I walked towards the door and hesitated, thinking the nurse was going to escort me out, but when I looked back they were busy putting the big straps on him and attaching the leads to monitor his heart. So I walked out of the room and down the hall, dump my monster-sized scrubs, and join Justin in the waiting room. About 20 minutes later, the doctor comes out to let us know everything went alright and that once Cooper’s awake, we’ll be able to go him. Five or ten minutes later a nurse calls us back. Before we even get through the door I can hear Cooper wailing.
We reach him and a nurse is trying to hold him, but Cooper is very angry and thrashing. The nurse places him in my arms and Justin and I try to calm him, but he’s barely registers recognition. He seems confused and angry, so we give him his cup of water. He drinks a little, seems better, then starts yelling and crying again. Justin walks him around the recovery area so that I can hear the instructions from the nurse. He walks back and we give Cooper his milk. He drinks again and starts yelling again. We change him back into his clothes, all while the nurse is at the ready in case he vomits because Cooper keeps screaming and crying to the point of gagging.
We left, hoping the cool air will surprise Cooper enough to get him to quit screaming. Nope. He cried and carried on the whole ride home. We get in the house and his bellows finally quieted to whimpers, but he still seemed confused. Justin suggested some banana, which was when Cooper finally quieted down. He ate a little bit, then started looking like he was going to fall asleep in his highchair, so I cleaned him up and rocked him to sleep.
He slept for a good three hours and woke up very happy, full of smiles and giggles, and completely back to normal. Besides being a little fussy, you’d never know he had surgery. We are thinking that now that all that fluid has been drained he can hear better because he’s startling at loud noises that previously didn’t bother him, and when he’s been repeating us, he’s doing better at getting the right consonant or vowel sounds than he did two days ago. Amazing what a little over 24 hours can do.
I have to say that even after experiencing wonderful stays at Prince William Hospital for birthin’ both my babies, I was still incredibly impressed with all the people we interacted with the entire day. Every single one of them was very nice, caring, knowledgeable, patient, and were very comfortable around Cooper (and his slightly nervous parents). When Cooper wasn’t interested in letting them get his vitals, they managed to get a couple quick ones (heart/lungs) and said they’d get the others once he was asleep. When he was in recovery, all his thrashing sent the pulse meter on his toe flying, and they shrugged and said that he was obviously fine if he was able to do that sort of thing. It was nice to know that we were cared for by so many people experienced with children without having to drive two hours away to the nearest Children’s Hospital. So a big ol’ hug and MMMMWAAAAH to our ENT and all of you at the Prince William Surgery Center.
One thing I have been wondering, has anyone else had a problem with their child having a bit of the ‘rhea after going under general anesthesia? Or is it just my kid?