It has been seven month’s coming. It took that much time to get appointments set, get the money together and arrange for physicals and x-rays. And avoiding sick children prior to the appointment? Something that is almost impossible. But yesterday was finally the day for my nine year old’s dental surgery.
We walked in to my work yesterday at 9 a.m. sharp. Things are very different when you enter a children’s hospital as a parent instead of an employee. No food or water in her belly and just the tiniest bit of excitement mixed with a side of nervousness. Make that two sides.
And then finally, FINALLY we are called back. Vital signs, temperature…. SCREECH! Temperature? My daughter had a 100.4 temperature. STOP EVERYTHING. Can you hear, “NOOOOOOO!!!!”
Consults with the dentist. Talks with the anesthesiologist. Questions answered. No, she hasn’t acted sick at ALL. No, no coughing, no stomach ache – this is completely out of the blue. And then amazingly, she was given a green light and off we went to change in to hospital jammies.
Loopy juice later, she was relaxed enough to go back to the OR. That is when a mother’s grit is truly tested. The moment when you give a kiss and a hug and watch a fully suited staff wheel your child on a gurney down the hall to the operating room. I didn’t crumble to the floor. At least not outwardly.
The waiting room is where you find out who your true friends are. Who stops to sit with you? Who talks incessantly, simply to take your mind off the fact that your child is under general anesthesia? I was surprised at who came by, and grateful for the company.
Every hour the nurse would call from the OR room. I was so impressed by the staff and the anesthesiologists. I knew my daughter was in good hands.
Hours and hours later, she was finally in PACU. My mother and I walked back to be with her as she woke up. Did I mention my mother? She is my rock and kept me grounded throughout the whole day.
And there was my daughter, a completely different little girl from the one I sent back hours before. Swollen face, dark circles under her eyes (which were rolled back in to her head), splotchy skin, red marks under her nose and breathing that sounded like a struggle. With my constant gastroparesis nausea, it took a lot of gumption to keep from falling out myself.
She was trying to talk as she woke up. Her voice was deep and forced. And she was in pain. The staff was quick to give her some extra medication to ease her discomfort when I told them she was hurting. But the child had five teeth pulled, major work done on other teeth and gums… let’s just say it was not pretty. Not even superman can recover quickly from that. And seeing her in so much pain? Not sure I will recover myself.
The blessed trip home involved vomiting and near unconsciousness. It is now Saturday morning and I’ve had about five hours sleep between motrin trips, water and snuggles. But the worst is over. She is sore, has a terrible taste in her mouth and will be hurting for a good few days.
Looking back, I am struck at the trust you have to place in so many strangers’ hands when you turn your child over to a medical staff. Who has had a bad day? Who skipped breakfast? Is everyone competent enough to actually wake my child up when the surgery is over? No matter how big or small the job is, you are completely helpless once your child is out of your sight.
But we are home and she is recovering. She is also talking and looking a little more alive! Today will be more of the same- snuggles, Motrin and Tylenol. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and good thoughts!
Believe it or not, thirty minutes after this picture was taken she did a cartwheel in the bedroom. Swollen face and all. And the teeth? Donations to the tooth fairy are welcome!