Sunday, January 11, 2009

Visuals & Details

Just in case you were morbidly curious, here is a picture of Jo's eye the day of the surgery.

His godfather says Jo should say, "You should see the other baby!"

We have no pix of the cyst itself, though the doctor did show it to us, and if I had a camera phone, I would not have been above snapping a shot. The resident said it was the largest dermoid cyst he'd ever seen. That's my boy!

The whole experience of surrendering our baby for surgery was, of course, terrifying. My mom told Co on the phone that she'd "never" be able to let someone whisk her kid off to be operated on. But I think you just don't know what you can do until you have to do it. We wanted to be in the room while they put him under, but the nurses said no, so what else was there to do?

Perhaps the worst part was denying him food and drink. It wasn't as bad as we'd anticipated, because the instructions for babies his age are that they can have breastmilk up to six hours before surgery, and then water or juice three hours before. So we woke him and "dreamfed" at about 1:30 so he could get some final ba-ba (that's his new word for nursing!!), and then I got up at 4:30 to give him some apple juice (his first time). He was cranky while we waited for surgery -- started at 8:30 -- but it would have been a lot worse without our planning, I think. It was really hard for both Jo and Co, though, because he REALLY wanted to nurse and she REALLY wanted to oblige.

We weren't thrilled with this hospital when Co gave birth there, but were assured by our trusty pediatrician that they have excellent pediatric opthalmological care. And indeed, we were pleased. Our boy was attended by a senior pediatric anesthesiologist (head of the department) along with two residents, and operated on by the doctor we met in his office to receive the diagnosis, along with an experienced resident. The nurses were attentive and lovely.

The surgery itself only took about an hour, just as predicted, so we really didn't have time to worry too much. The hospital didn't seem to have wireless (it really isn't the best place, ugh) so I actually got some productive work done. Before we knew it, we were being called to come hold our boy as he came out of the the anesthesia.

I'll admit now that it was a little scary to see him, face-down and wailing hoarsely, in his lemon yellow hospital gown and blue shower-cap head cover. He continued to wail and wail even as we held him. He's super-strong (other parents comment on it) and in just a few seconds he had yanked off the cardiac monitors and was working on the IV in his foot. The nurse said it had to stay, and it was seriously difficult to keep our angry little guy from tearing it out.

My hippie-crunchy-mama moment: as Jo raged on, I asked when we could feed him. The nurse replied, when he calms down. Um. It seemed pretty clear to me (and to Co) that only ba-ba was going to calm our boy down. After a few more minutes of carrying on, the nurse asked what we planned to feed him. Co said "breastmilk," and the nurse replied, "Oh, that's fine." Jo latched greedily and calmed immediately. I suspect we could and should have done that as soon as we had him in our arms. We're both too quick to listen to authority figures (but I had reached a point where I was going to tell Co to stick the boob in his mouth, against medical advice if I had to!).

Once he'd nursed, he fell asleep, and was transferred to the other recovery room, where we waited about another hour while he nursed and slept on and off and was finally cleared to go at about noon.

The whole experience, as I hope this post conveys, had some frightening moments, and some confusion and insecurity, but was for the most part as routine as the doctor assured us it would be. However, I feel like I had a brief, brief insight -- a veil was lifted ever so slightly -- into the life of a parent who must wrangle more frequently and intensely with the medical establishment. I had the thought: I can do this. I don't want to, and I hope to God I don't have to, but I could do what I had to do.

Thank God our Jo is on the mend.


Mo said...

I'm so glad to hear that things went well! I would have definitely been a wreck, but you're right that this was a valuable experience for you to go through, hopefully giving you more confidence about dealing with things in the future (not that there will be any serious things, knock, knock, but for those regular health worries that inevitably come up.)

susan said...

I'm so glad to hear Jo's recovering and you're all settling in nicely back at home (with Sharon, Lois, and Bram! I loved them when I was little, too).

You're right: you rise to the occasion and do what you need to do when your kid needs medical attention or therapy. I have heard of a few experiences where parents got to go into the OR and wait for the anasthesia, but our hospital experiences have all involved us standing in the pre-op, crying and peering down the hallway as long as we could see the nurses carrying CG to the OR. Not my choice, but what else can we do?

oneofhismoms said...

Give him, and yourselves, a kiss from me.

jay said...

glad he is on the mend!! xx

calliope said...

so so so so glad that all went well and smoothly. Thought about all of you guys lots and lots.

nutella said...

Oh my, I'm so glad that he is well and recovering. I think perhaps there would have been a need for some anti-anxiety meds for me if it had been my kid going through this.

You all did wonderfully and hopefully this will be the last of hospitals for quite some time!

S. said...

I'm so glad it well, for the most part. It makes me feel a little less anxious for our own time in the hospital. Thanks for that.

Carey said...

Glad everything went so well!! :)

*G* said...

So glad things went well with the surgery. Hoping it's the last time you'll have to spend in the hospital for a long, long time!

meanmama said...

Know whatcha mean. Glad he's okay. xoxo

Anonymous said...

I am really happy that it went so well. I can't even imagine the feeling of having your baby taken into surgery... It sounds like he did pretty well however. I am happy it is over.

gypsygrrl said...

i'm glad things went well for the jo-baby! god he is such a handsome little guy. i tell you, pediatric nurses are a different breed. i enjoyed my rotation this fall, but dont think its for me, despite how much i love kids!

kids are amazing how quickly they bounce back from stuff like this ~ i guess its god's blessing for worrying parents, eh? :)

lots of love,