Thursday, November 17, 2011

goodbye fever monster [the day my baby had surgery, part 1]

The day we've been waiting months for, finally happened.

Lily had her tonsils removed, and in the bonus round: her adenoids too.

When Lily was first diagnosed with Periodic Fever Syndrome this summer, I immediately knew I needed to advocate for a tonsillectomy.  Bean had frequent fevers and illnesses until his tonsils were removed at age 5.  My nephew who is 1 year older than Lily had a very similar story with monthly fevers and throat infections and after his tonsils were removed right after he turned 3, his fevers miraculously disappeared.

They don't really know the link between the fevers and the tonsils, but it's documented.  Lily is actually in a research study and our surgeon informed me this morning that the doctor doing the study received Lily's tonsils and blood for testing and research.

There is no promise or guarantee this is the solution, but we are praying, hoping and believing that it is!

It was a whirlwind 5 days or so, prior to the surgery.  We got the surgery date just 3 weeks out, so there wasn't much changing what was already on the calendar.  Thursday and Friday I taught a School of Ministry Class all day while Bean hung with the kids.  I love teaching the class, but it is pretty exhausting to teach all day!  Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I was gone from home more than 10 hours due to some extra church events and meetings.  I had to cram so much into each day to meet some deadlines since I knew I'd be unable to deal with anything external for at least two days.

Tuesday night found me in frantic preparations.  My mom was coming over at 6am Wednesday morning (the benefits of a mom who is a early riser and who lives next door!) to be with Miss Rose & Gracie and get them off to school.  I needed to have snacks, backpacks and school paraphernalia all laid out for them.

Then I needed to have a few bags packed for Bean and I to spend most of Wednesday at the hospital, and Lily and I to stay the night.  I learned from our last hospitalization that I need very little.  All my time and energy is devoted to Lily.  But I knew we'd need some snacks and I'm a serious water-addict so I needed sufficient water too.

5am came really early on Wednesday morning.  That's even earlier than I usually get up to run.  But I knew I'd appreciate having clean hair and a fresh shower going into 24+ hours of hospital life.  The morning went smoothly and we got Lily up right before 6.  She was a bit disoriented at first, but that helped with her not asking to eat or drink, which she wasn't allowed.

We were so impressed with our Children's Hospital.  We've obviously been there before and it was a great experience (for having to be in a children's hospital) but the surgery experience is completely different and actually in a different building then we were in before.  The whole process of check in and pre-op is so smooth and well run and they kept us moving, which was good for Lily too.  I found it interesting that there were no beds in any of the pre-op rooms.  I guess kids usually want to sit with their parents anyways and maybe the beds freak them out.

Lily-bug was all Lady-bugged out!  Footsie princess jammies by request.  With socks over them, because Gracie was wearing socks to bed.  The ladybug mini pillow pet was a gift from Auntie Rachel the last time she was in the hospital.  Lily isn't too attached to it at home, but it's a great thing to bring to the hospital as a reminder of home.  A month ago or so, a neighbor was having a yard sale and these matching slippers were there! Lily was in love.

In the first pre-op room Lily got her spiffy hospital duds.  She was pretty stocked on the "tiger pants".

The nurse showed Lily how the remote also had a speaker in it for the TV and Lily proceeded to watch TV like this during our entire time there.  She was pretty adamant most of the time about having the speaker right at her ear like this.

Proud mom moment: before she got changed, the nurse asked me "is she wearing pull-ups or panties?" I said "um, nothing?"

Yes, I took my daughter to the hospital commando.  And I'm proud of it.  She still wears a pull-up at night, and since she was wearing footsie jammies, it was just easier to take the pull-up off when she peed and then zip her back up---instead of taking the jammies all the way off to put on panties.  And I wasn't about to waste one of my pull-ups when they have perfectly good diapers  at the hospital and I knew she'd be in them for about 24 hours.

The nurse said, "well, ok, would you like a diaper for her?"

And also in my defense, I wasn't sure if she was going to end up catheterized and I figured they would tell me what they wanted for her bottom, so we were just ready regardless!

Bean loved that moment.

Pre-op room 2.  Right before surgery.  Bean was excited to take this picture since he's gotten to wear the "marshmallow suit" three times for my c-sections, but this was my first time at the rodeo.

Each anesthesiologist determines if a parent can go back to the operating room.  It seems this is a way to weed out parents that may be a little uptight or over-anxious and not handle the situation so well.  Thankfully we developed good report with our anesthesiologist and she agreed to let me go back with Lily, commenting "it does seem like she's pretty attached to you."  Yes, yes she is!

As soon as we entered the operating room, Lily started crying.  It was clear to her that this wasn't a fun room with brightly painted pictures and a TV.  They had me sit her on the operating table and I got to hold the mask with the gas until she pretty much passed out.  They do such a good job with kids--painting lipgloss in the mask and then "painting" Lily's nails while she breathed the gas.  It was odd to see her face get flushed and her eyes glaze and then even though her eyes didn't fully close--she was out.  They laid her down and then walked me back to Bean.

Leading up to those moments, I was feeling nervous, anxious and emotional.  Bean was trying to ask me questions about later in the day and I told him I couldn't focus on that--let's just get through this.  But pretty true to form for me, once I'm in the midst of a circumstance, my strength comes and I don't allow myself to break down.  I knew logically that she was in good hands and this was a fairly quick, standard procedure that many had been through before and she'd do fine too.

To be continued....