Thursday, March 22, 2012

Surgery Statistics

Drew's surgery.  I would have been anxious regardless, but there were a couple of issues that didn't help matters any.

Drew has developed a bad habit of forgetting how to breathe.  And since he's been so sick, his compromised lungs were even more compromised.

Due to breathing problems, Drew failed pre-op.  TWICE.  But then they were all like, "Just bring him down anyway, and if he seems okay, then we'll try and do the surgery."

By the way, that is the exact opposite of what you need to say to calm a crazy mother.

Secondly, Brian had a terrible reaction to anesthesia when he had surgery in 2009. And by "terrible reaction", I mean that they couldn't get him to freakin' wake up.  So they gave him medication to bring him out until he almost stroked, and then they put him under again.  They repeated this cycle for most of the day until he stabilized.  And they didn't tell me anything.  They just left me in the waiting room, getting no answers to my questions, and crying a widow's tears.

After that, I sort of understood how a woman can be driven to egging cars in the hospital parking lot.  Not that I did that or anything - you know - ACCORDING TO WHAT I TOLD THE AUTHORITIES.

So Drew forgets to breathe and Brian forgets to wake up.  My boys forget some pretty important things! Pfft. And people wonder why I eat donuts by the dozen.

When somebody else's baby is having a simple procedure, all you see are the statistics:  Risk for complication is low.  Chances for recovery is high.

And you might say something like, "It will be just fine!  Don't worry. They do these everyday."  And then you'll walk away secretly thinking, 'GAH. Get it together, girl.  It's just adenoids and ear tubes.  It's not like it's a kidney or anything!' 

But when it's your baby having that simple procedure, everything is flipped on its side.

Now all you think about is the outside chance of complication.  Now all you focus on is the small percentage of kids who don't recover.  Now all you worry about is your child becoming part of the statistic that no parent wants to acknowledge even exists.

Now you know what it's like to love someone more than you love yourself.

Look at this adorable pre-op face!

When we arrived at the surgical center, I was not okay.  I kept tearing up and had trouble recalling simple data like social security numbers and birthdates.  I even told the nurse that Drew was having his Android removed.

HEY.  Those smart phones are smarter than you think!

But then Brian put his arm around me and acknowledged my fears.  He didn't tell me that I was acting crazy, but instead, he told me that he felt the same way.  His support is always invaluable to me.

I decided that Drew needed a strong mother, so I pulled it together.  And for the rest of the morning, you couldn't even tell that I was worried about my child dying.

The calm environment helped Drew.  We laughed and played right up until surgery time.

One last "HELP MY LUNGS WORK" breathing treatment before surgery.

I carried Drew into the operating room.

Have you ever been in an operating room?  It's creepy, huh?  It's cold - both literally and figuratively.  There's surgical equipment everywhere and medical people walking around wrapped up like blue mummies.

Can you imagine how a 3-year-old must feel walking into this room?

But Drew did great.  He looked around and scoped the place out.  Then his surgeon said, "Hey, Drew" and he said, "What's up?"

I laid him down on the table and they put the gas mask on him.  Judging from the look on everyone's faces, I guess this is when most kids typically freak out.  But Drew said,... "LUKE.  I AM YOUR FATHER."  The room busted up laughing!  Including Drew.  Including me.

I watched his pupils get smaller and his eyelids get heavy.  Once he was asleep, I turned around and walked out of the room - leaving that tiny, little body lying on the table - trusting strangers to take care of him for me.

Moments before going to the operating room.  I look pretty calm, right?  (I'm faking it.) 

Twenty-minutes later, the surgeon told us that everything went great.  No anesthesia complications!  Another fifteen-minutes or so, and our boy was wheeled into recovery.

Drew opened his eyes and looked at me, Brian and Bailey.

He didn't cry out in pain.  He didn't ask for water.  But instead, as the three of us stood there with tears in our eyes, Drew opened his little mouth and softly whispered, "I want a new basketball hoop."


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  1. If you are a calm preop Mom, it means you lied and told them YOU were suppose to get the "I don't care" shot. Each surgery my children had, I asked for the "I don't care shot" but never got one. When Rick had major surgery, I threatened to hide him under the bed...get the shot...let him get back in the bed and ask for more! But they are smart...only one gown per customer. YOU on the other hand did get a gown but in a children's there you "I don't care" shot. How is that fair? They get the shot and they are under. We have an expression in the family about Mama Tippens' parents who called themselves Mr. and Mrs. Hasty. (They had a boat load of children so they really should have been on a first name basis!) The story goes that MR Hasty was on his death bed and he said to her, "this is hard on you MRS. Hasty" and she said "Yes, MR Hasty, it is." So when Rick had major surgery I said to him. "This is hard on me MR Bailey." There should be "I don't care" shots for the entire family. Surgery would be much easier on everyone. But then I guess you would have to get a Cab home.

  2. I totally agree! And would have paid a dozen cab fares in exchange for one! :)

  3. So when does he get the new basketball hoop?

  4. It was ordered within minutes of us getting home. :)