I could tell you were praying. Seriously. Yes, I was very nervous and very teary-eyed (some of it having to do with my raging pregnancy hormones), but I was told to expect everything to take at least an hour (from anethestia to wake up and recovery) and Dash’s nurse told me to expect maybe even an hour and a half.
But that’s a whole different part of the story. Let’s start at the beginning.
At 5:25 am, I was packing Dash into the van with his winter jacket shoved on his little sleepy arms (bet you didn’t know you could have sleepy arms, did you. But trust me, you can!).
Right before this basically in the dark, I had to put his ear drops into his right ear, and we were ready to go.
I wrapped his little body up in his blankie and onto the road we headed. Dash sat there so quietly and content that I got a bit emotional. I was thinking, “oh, man. He totally has no idea what is coming.” Yes, I know technically it’s better that way, but I don’t know. I feel like that’s unfair and unkind. That everyone has a right to know what is going to happen to them. No, he didn’t have a choice in the matter, but YES, I wanted to tell him. So as I got him out of the van at the hospital, I had a discussion about what was going to be happening.
I know he didn’t have any idea what I was saying, but I felt like a better mom telling him about it.
There were 7 patients checking in at 6:00 am for surgery (not all of them were having surgery with Dash’s doctors, but some did!). It was crazy busy, but as soon as they could, they called us to the surgical floor. At Children’s Minneapolis, we have 2 surgical units: the main operating room and the tower (I’m not going to go into everything about the different units. Just know there are 2. Okay maybe I’ll go into it a little bit. Generally, those patients having surgery in the tower are outpatient and not as serious. That’s a general rule of thumb, but don’t hold me to it! There are always exceptions). Dash’s surgery was in the tower. I knew this ahead of time and was prepared for it. Also, it was where he had his original ear tube surgery performed.
When we got to the 3rd floor, we had a GREAT nurse (our RN). She was awesome with the 2 patients she had to check in. She flicked on the TV to PBS so that Dash would be a little distracted with all the vitals she needed to take. But she kept exclaiming that she didn’t need to do that since he was such a great patient. Our RN kept commenting about how cute he was.
I’m biased, but I had to agree with her!
When our RN was almost done asking us our questions and everything, Dash had had enough in his little room and meandered into the waiting room, aka the play room. There were no other kids out there, but he was READY to play.
As he crossed the floor making himself at home, our RN asked if I knew the procedure/protocol and what to expect.
G-Mama”Yep. The anethestiaologist will come out and talk to me. Dr. T. will come out and talk to me. And then we will be brought back to get started.”
Our RN “You know the routine.”
Doesn’t this waiting room look like fun! I was able to really play with Dash. It was exactly what I needed to remain calm and relaxed. Seriously, playing with my superstars is like therapy. (and all I was was nervous! HE was the one having surgery!) Children’s does such a great job of making their patients feel welcomed and comfortable.
For a good 45 minutes, Dash had the “play”room all to himself. It was SO fun to watch him enjoy himself.
Then, the child life specialist came by and handed me a nitrous oxide mask for Dash to get comfortable with it. I gave it to him, and he immediately knew what to do with it.!
Brilliant! My son is BRILLIANT!
Did I say Brilliant? Maybe he was using his non-verbal skills to tell me what he thought!
This is Dash’s little friend who he met 6 minutes before he was called back. And I told his mom that their coloring was completely opposite. One was night and one was day. I know! NOT politically correct at all, but they were so so CUTE!
Minutes before Dash went into get started, Dr. T. came out and greeted us. I love how he always ALWAYS greets his patients even if they are just babies! He makes his patients aware that he is there and that he cares. It’s great! So we went over the procedure and my questions and talked about what I was consenting to. Then, he asked how I was doing. I said, “I’m a little nervous for this. I don’t know why, but this is making me nervous.”
He looked at me and said, “We’ll take care of him.”
And just before he left to go into the OR, he said it again, “We’ll take care of him.”
Tears sprang to my eyes and it tooke everything in me to say thank you without crying.
A minute later, the anethesiastiologist (if you don’t know how to spell a word, just keep addeing letters and sooner or later the readers will get the gist of what you are trying to say. right? doesn’t that work?), came over and we went over everything again. And she too said, as she was getting ready to go into the prep room, “we will take good care of him.”
It was so comforting.
Dash and I were brought back to the anethestia room with a new RN and the doctor was there. She has asked if I wanted to hold him or have him be on the bed. I had been told that when you hold them, it’s really hard to let them go after they are out since you are holding their lifeless body. So I opted for him to be on the bed. He is so amazingly calm. He got his nuk and his blanket and he held onto my finger as they gave him the nitrous oxide. As soon as he was starting to get heavy, they laid him down and got him ready to go into the operating room. The nurse commented that he should teach a class to other 2 year olds on how to be put under. The doctor let me kiss his hand and said that it was time for me to go back to his room. As I was leaving, she said once again, “We will take GOOD care of him.”
This time I didn’t stop the tears. I had to go to the bathroom anyway, so I just stayed in there a bit longer as the tears flowed and my face became splotchy red. (very attractive, let me tell you!)
The post op nurse, Jan, showed me to Dash’s room and told me if I wanted to get something to eat, I should bring it back up to his room. She reiterated it would be an hour to an hour and a half.
So when I got back to his room, I ate my bagel, my banana, and read part of a chapter in my book. Jan came in then and said, “They are bringing him out already. He is going to bypass recovery.”
She set her stuff up before they wheeled him into the room and said “I’m going to give you the mom lecture because I am one and I’ve been where you are. We are going to let him wake himself up from his anthestia. So no touching him or holding him. He’ll wake up better that way.”
They wheeled him in and I busied myself with something (i don’t remember what), and Jan said that I was doing great. To tell you the truth, I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing.
Dash woke up well and slowly. No crying at all. At one point, he shifted around a little bit and the nurse gave him his nuk and covered him with his blankie. Seriously! This was amazing! Last time, he was so agitated and upset that he couldn’t calm down. This time I didn’t even know he was awake until the nurse repeated herself saying that he was awake.
I finally picked him up, and sat in the rocking chair with him as he watched Curious George and Sid the Science Kid. (he so couldn’t take his eyes off Sid. I set him on his bed to change his clothes and he kept peering around Jan because she was in his way!) He was unhappy with the IV in his hand, but my supervisor/friend from work and high school had told me about a trick that the Child Life Specialist had given her when her daughter was recovering from surgery.
Just cover it up. If they can’t see it, it won’t bother them as much.
Jan loved on him so much and said, “well, YOU’VE set the standard for the day. If all of my patients would do as well as you.”
It was such a great surgery. Thank you all so much for your care and prayers!