This Is Gonna Hurt Me More Than It's Gonna Hurt You
As a parent there are few things that can compare to the feeling of helplessness and sorrow that is accompanied with your children and medical procedures. Yesterday morning my wife and I had the daunting task of taking our two younger boys ages 7 and 9 for tonsillectomies. Now I know that this is one of those so called "routine" procedures, but when someone is about to remove a part of your child there is nothing "routine" about it.
We started easing the boys into it: "You'll get to stay home from school for a whole week." we told them. "You can have all of the ice cream and jello that you want!" we said. Come to think of it what kind of idiot tries to entice someone with jello?? Oh well, let's move on.
We arrived at the hospital for the ambulatory, routine procedure where a person is going to go into the deepest regions of my children and start taking out pieces. As soon as I entered the hospital my heart started palpitating and the stress came over me like a wave. Having never had surgery myself, I only know surgery for what it is, a highly skilled surgeon with a scalpel doing all of the things you only could imagine happening from running with scissors. My wife, whom has been under the knife a few times herself, was just as nervous as I. Our babies after all were about to be subject to unnatural and potentially dangerous procedures.
The Nurse came in to prep our youngest first. Luckily both boys had a T.V. with all of the best children's programming for a distraction which made the Nurse, for the most part, nothing more than a T.V. blocker. After prep was done, what seemed to be the entire operating team came in one by one like marching ants to tell us their job and what to expect. I think the Doctor probably could have covered it all but it was nice to see the actual people that would be in there. The Nurse that was doing the prep gave us a little heads up about what it would be like when the boys went under anesthesia. She didn't want us to be blindsided when the time came because you get to go into the operating room until they are sleeping. She started getting choked up and I thought she was going to break down while telling us. I didn't go in either time because my youngest wanted mommy to go in and my oldest was going in when my youngest was going to recovery, I went to recovery.
If there is one piece of advice I can give to the parents of a child having surgery it would be this: MAKE SURE YOU ARE IN RECOVERY WHEN THEY WAKE UP.
The Nurse had told us that when a child wakes up from anesthesia they thrash about, they don't know where they are, they seem confused. When the Doctor finally walked me into the recovery room my little man was already waking up. I don't know how long he had been awake or what they did to him while he was waking, but he was not happy when I got there and the look in his eyes was a cross between anger, fear and zombieland. It took what seemed an eternity, or about 15 minutes for him to fully wake and become himself again. That was one of the longest 15 minute periods of my life. My wife went into the recovery room with my older son and reported a similar experience, though she got there before he woke so it seems like it was a little easier on him.
I am happy to report that they both fared well through the ordeal, as did my Wife and I. We are all home for the next week recovering and eating ice cream and through most of day one, much quieter.
This post is dedicated to all of those parents of children that go through this and more on a continual basis. To the parents and children going through unthinkable procedures for unthinkable conditions, my heart goes out to you.