Thursday, December 29, 2011

Prescription: Surgery/x2

December has been a busy month, as is typical.  However, this year seemed to contain a rather sane amount of busy-ness to it rather than the craziness of it all found in most years past.  So to kick the adrenaline up a notch, we decided to schedule two kids for the same surgeries (adenoidectomy/tonsillectomy with ear tubes as well) back to back just two days after Christmas.  After all, we wouldn't want us getting all comfortable with our relative lack of stress and all, you know?
      So, in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, we plucked Thomas and Melissa out of bed at 6am, and drove them to probably their least favorite Christmas present of all time....the surgical ward at Children's Hospital.
      The kids were great.  Dressed in their favorite warm jammies, and holding their new cuddly friends close, they were in good spirits under all circumstances considered, and were actually telling jokes for nearly the entire 45 minute drive.  Thomas could not get over being confused that it was really "morning" when it was still pitch black as night.

 The hospital has been remodeled since we had been there 2 years ago with Laura, and it was even more kid and family friendly than before.  The new set up allowed the patient to get ready in the same room that they would also be recovering in.  While this did not allow Thomas and Melissa to be together, we were located across the hallway from each other and able to cruise back and forth between the two rooms, having all the privacy we needed for both while still maintaining our sense of family.
     After changing into their hospital awarded pajamas, we all hung out in Thomas' room talking to various doctors and nurses as they readied the kids for their early morning experiences.  Both kids seemed ready, perhaps a bit nervous, but brave and deliberate in understanding.  The entire team was fabulous at putting our kids (and us!) at ease.  Their new pets, Sonic, and Snowball--better known as Ice Ice Kitty, even got special bracelets to wear so that they could accompany the kids all the while.  As scheduled, Thomas won the lucky place of going first.  The child life specialist was not available before Thomas was called to the OR, so he was a little taken aback by the scene as we walked hand in hand into his sterile environment.  With eyes wide, he clutched my hand tighter as we walked to the table, but kept that sweet little grin on his face.  He was shown the face mask for the first time, and picked a sweet strawberry scent to put him to sleep.  After a few giggles about something I'm not sure was even funny, my sweet little dude was out.  And somehow I managed my way back to Melissa's room without melting into a puddle of tears, thanks to being escorted by a male nurse looking exactly like the crazy drummer from the Newsboys.

We had about an hour with Melissa before her turn was called.  She and Bob went back and forth with silly jokes and ways they would "zing" each other as he accompanied her to the OR.  Before she left, the surgeon popped his head in letting us know that Thomas was done and that things had gone well.  Melissa then felt free to relax more and said, "Now I don't feel as scared because Thomas is ok, and I know I will be ok too."  She confided that she had been afraid something was going to go very wrong while she was in the OR all the while, making her frequent statements over the past weeks of "Why are you ruining Christmas for us?" take on much heavier meaning in hindsight. Poor girl.   Bob said she had her brave face on while riding her bed into the OR, and continued brave while falling asleep.  It was then, with both kids gone, that I could finally melt into my little Mommy puddle.  Bob remained the strong rock and found us some good coffee and cute balloons. 

The rest of that day was a flurry of activity as Thomas came back shortly after Melissa left, and he was not a happy camper.  He whimpered continuously for two straight hours and had so much nausea, it was impossible for him to get comfortable or rest.  I'll tell ya', that was one of the hardest times ever, not being able to make my sweet little Tubman feel even the slightest bit better.  We snuggled in bed for several hours, and just when it seemed he would be admitted for an overnight stay, he turned a corner, and began looking like the Thomas we were used to...albeit a bit more pale and lethargic than usual.

Melissa returned from her surgery like the SuperStar that she is: awake, smiling, and in good spirits.  She had been well prepared for the pain and the experience (from us answering her questions over the past several weeks and child life had visited her while Thomas was in the OR).  She took her fluids in, ate her popsicles, rested on cue, and worked through her pain.  She was ready to go home by noon, but patiently watched the SpongeBob marathon for hours until we were finally awarded pass to leave at 4:30.

The last few days have been extremely busy putting rather old nursing skills to work, giving many many meds, at many many times, and trying to keep up on fluids with ice water, popsicles, popsicles, and more popsicles, and encouraging rest for my two sweet kiddos.  They both have been so brave and wonderful, and are cooperating in every way possible to recover.  Melissa continues to recover on schedule, Thomas seems to be having a harder time with fever and nausea.  But we are on a better path here on day three, to be sure, and I am certain the worst is behind us.  I am so proud of these two, and have hopes that once recovered completely, both of them will experience the benefits of their surgeries by hearing better, sleeping better, and no more nose bleeds:)
For now, we will keep snuggling in my big comfy bed with their big cuddly warm pets (they are heavy, cozy animals filled with special gel paks sewn right into the animal's body which heat in the microwave and stay warm for at least 6 hours!  Google Hotpak Huggies---these are so much better than the much smaller commercial made animals found in stores or on Amazon), having safe cuddly dreams.  Things are looking up.  Well, and a wonderful visit from Grandma and Grandpa C yesterday kind of helped, too!

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