Friday, March 22, 2013

chalazion surgery update

So last Thursday, Gracie-girl had surgery to remove her "bump" aka chalazion.

I'm blogging about this mostly for other moms who might search these words, looking for information or experience to help them in a similar situation.

When Gracie woke up last Thursday morning, I let her play the iPad in my room while her sisters ate breakfast, since she couldn't eat anything. That was a pretty good distraction! She was able to drink clear liquids until 8:30, so I gave her some juice right at that point.  She complained about being hungry a few times, but she didn't have any meltdowns.

We took Lily to grandma's house and then headed to the hospital. Her surgery was at the same place Lily's was, so it was familiar to us. Gracie wasn't there for Lily's surgery, but since she stayed the night--Gracie did come visit and helped pick us up after discharge, so it was familiar to her also.

They have a pretty great system that flows well. Every family gets a pager, and they buzz you each time they are ready for you--to register and check in, to get prepped and then when they are ready for you in surgery. Bean went to work for a few hours in the morning, but arrived when we were getting checked in--perfect timing.

Of course I took some "pre" photos. Her chalazion wasn't too swollen at the time, but it's definitely visible.

Sidenote: Don't you just love her freckles!!?? And her green eyes too. So unique, especially in our family of mostly blue and brown. My dad has hazel eyes, but his tend to be more blue than green--so not sure where she gets the color from.

Even though she was hungry and a bit anxious, she was in a pretty good mood. After all, she had her parents all to herself!

After a little more waiting, she got to change into the fun hospital jammies. She kept asking why she had to wear them, but there wasn't too much protesting.

In the pre-op area, the TV remote is also the TV speaker. I have a similar picture of Lily in pre-op for her surgery.

Not long after we were prepped, Bean left to pick up the other girls. He wanted to stay, but duty called. It was half day for Miss Rose and Lily needed to be picked up from Grammie's house.

I don't know if all Children's Hospitals are like this, but I LOVE that ours allows a parent to go back to the surgical suite with the child and stay with them while they are "gassed." This way, they are "asleep" before you are gone. Lily still was crying, even though I was with her--she didn't want to wear the mask and it was just scary for her. But I was happy she was crying with me holding her instead of with strangers.

I donned the lovely marshmallow suit, and Gracie liked we had matching hats. (The doctor marked the surgery area with a Sharpie, which is the extra mark on her face.)

Our anesthesiologist was fantastic. He started telling Gracie a story about his daughter and how she loves animals and wanted a goat for Christmas, so their family in Texas now has a goat on their property that is hers. Within just a few minutes Gracie was drowsy and then almost completely out and away I went, leaving her in their capable hands.

The doctor had told me the procedure usually took only 15 minutes. I was taken to his "consultation room" to wait and it was no more than 20 minutes and he was there to give me a report. He said they had to clean out "a lot of stuff" in the chalazion pocket and surrounding area. He gave me cream for her eye and said to follow up in 6 weeks.

His report helped give me confirmation that we made the right decision. If he had said it wasn't too bad, I would have second-guessed myself. But it seemed to me like it was well worth what we went through to have it taken care of.

It look about an hour (which I expected) before I was paged again to come to recovery. They have cute names for the various rooms to help the kids feel at ease. The recovery room is called "The Popsicle Room" because almost all kids get a popsicle after they wake. Gracie apparently had no problem remembering she was promised a popsicle after waking up because she was already halfway through it by the time I made it back to her.

She told me a few times that she felt sleepy and woozy (big word for an almost 6-yr old!) but she recovered really well. Within another 30 minutes she drank some Gatorade, got dressed and was ready to go. The only thing she was bummed about was that she had to wear this eye dressing until the next morning.

On our way out, of course she needed to pose for a picture with Ronald McDonald. He sits in front of a Ronald McDonald house for parents that is across the street from the hospital. If you have a hospital band, indicating you have a child there, they have free meals, drinks and even rooms you can sleep in if needed. I never actually made it there because I never wanted to leave Lily the two times she stayed overnight. But my cousin spent several weeks at the hospital with her son and I know it was a true Godsend.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that Gracie asked for nuggets and fries for lunch on the way home! Girl was hungry :)

All in all, it was a great experience and not traumatic at all.  The eye dressing annoyed Gracie quite a bit. I didn't realize until the next morning when I removed it (getting that tape off was NOT fun) that the dressed had folded itself in half later in the day and so it truly was aggravating her. I was SO happy to put her to bed knowing we could take it off in the morning.

I chose to keep Gracie home from the school the next day because it was Friday and a half-day also. She never once complained of her eye hurting her, but it looked vulnerable to me and kindergartners can be crazy, so better safe than sorry.

The most challenging part of this whole process has been the post-surgery treatment. We are supposed to be doing multiple warm compresses on her eye and there is ointment to put INSIDE her eye twice each day. She hates it. Understandably so. But it seems pretty important.

I neglected to take some current pics to share what it looks like as it heals--I'll do another post for that. The doctor said there would be a black dot on the outside of her eye that would go away in 10-14 days. He cleaned out the gland and then cauterized it from the inside, creating a scab that shows through the skin. The area is still swollen and looks a bit pussy as it heals. But it's not bothering her, which is a huge bonus.

I'm just praying that this is successful and there are no complications with recovery! I suppose we will know in another week or two as it continues to heal.