We finally got to the day of Rebecca’s adenoid surgery, after two reschedules. She was pretty calm, after having been really afraid for the last few weeks. A couple of talks with her school guidance counselor really helped her out; I am so grateful to the counselor for taking the time to work with her.
We had to report to the surgery center at 11:00 am, with the surgery being scheduled for just after noon. This wasn’t great news for our poor hungry girl, since she wasn’t allowed to eat after midnight. We agreed that I would wake her at about 11pm for a snack, but when I tried to rouse her, she was too deeply asleep. At the surgery center, Rebecca put on a cute gown and pants, put her hair in a cap, and hospital ‘grippy-bottom” socks on. She was delighted by those socks; she kept commenting about how they felt “funny” to walk on. Then we waited… as is normal, things were running a bit behind. At one point the anesthesiologist came in to see her. He showed her a face mask and IV gear and asked her which she would like for her surgery. Surprisingly to him and most of the other staff, Rebecca chose to have an IV in her hand. She didn’t like the plastic smell of the mask, which I can totally understand. The anesthesiologist gave her an injection of lidocaine, then put the IV line in, which fascinated Rebecca once she got used to it.
Finally at about 1PM they were ready to take her to the OR. One of us parents was allowed to go into the OR with Rebecca, to be with her until she fell asleep. I had asked her which of us she wanted to come. She said she couldn’t decide, so she wanted Jim and me to decide. Of course we couldn’t pick either, so we ended up using the old rock-paper-scissors method, with Rebecca playing for Jim. Jim won, so he donned a gown and a hair cap and went with her. When he came back to the waiting room, he told me that she wouldn’t count backwards out loud; instead was counting in her head! Despite her fears, she fell asleep quickly and easily.
Jim and I popped down to the mini-cafeteria in the building for some lunch. We got back upstairs at about 1:30 and literally had just settled into seats to read the paper when the surgeon came to get us. The whole procedure only took about a half hour! The surgeon told us that everything went well, gave us some instructions for Rebecca’s after-care, and took us back to the PACU to see her.
Our poor girl looked just miserable. She was lying on her side in bed, with a bit of blood trickling out of her nose, while a nurse talked closely and gently to her. When we arrived, Rebecca was still feeling dizzy from the anesthesia, and was very disturbed about the blood oozing from her nostrils – it was not a lot of blood and we’d been told to expect it, but she was shocked and unhappy. She told the nurse that she hurt, and the nurse brought over the pain scale to have Rebecca rate her pain level. She pointed to the face that corresponded to a 6 on the 1 to 10 scale, so after consulting with one of the MDs in the room, they put some medication into her IV. She continued to hurt, so they then gave her a dose of oral medication. That seemed to bring her medication up to a therapeutic level. When the nurse asked her a bit later if she felt better, Rebecca said “a little bit”. On the pain scale, she pointed to the face that corresponds to a 2, which made both the nurse and me chuckle. Once the dizziness wore off, Rebecca was hungry and thirsty, so the nurse brought her apple juice, cookies and graham crackers. Rebecca continued to be upset about the blood coming from her nose, using a tissue constantly to blot it away. They tried a couple of times to tape some gauze like a sling under her nostrils, but she didn’t like how that felt. In general though, she perked up before our eyes and was ready to head home. Her nurse told her and us that Rebecca was the best patient in the surgery center that day, child or adult – everyone was really impressed by how brave and cooperative she was. Jim and I were very proud of her. We would have understood completely had she complained or cried, but she kept herself together really nicely.
At home she continued to keep a box of tissues with her, along with an emesis bucket they’d sent home with her to keep her bloody tissues in. She had been advised to eat what she wanted and felt she could eat, but to avoid things that could scratch her throat at first. I made her some macaroni and cheese, which was a big hit. I went to pick Carly up from day care and reminded her that she needed to be gentle with her sister, to not jump on her, or otherwise bother her as she recovered. The nurses at the surgery center had said that Rebecca deserved a nice gift for being such a good patient, so I had suggested that we could go to pick out a Build-a-Bear at the one store somewhat near us. Rebecca readily agreed – in fact, I think knowing that she was going to get a BAB perked her up more quickly. In the interest of sibling parity, I told Carly that if she could be gentle with Rebecca, that she too could have a BAB. This was a good enough bribe for Carly to be quite solicitous with her sister.
The next day, Carly went to day care as usual so that Rebecca could rest in a more peaceful environment. She was ready for action, though… already feeling much better. We gave her a dose of pain medication at bedtime the night before, and that ended up being the only dose she needed. Surprisingly, she didn’t bleed at all that night; she just had clear discharge from her nose, creating a trail of “crust” on her face. That crust alarmed her at first; she came into our bedroom in the middle of the night complaining that something was wrong, but was easily calmed down once I cleaned her up with a wet washcloth. Right away on Thursday morning she wanted to know when we were going to BAB; could we go tonight? I told her we should at least wait until Friday. She did however talk Jim and me into taking her to lunch at Cici’s Pizza; we then browsed Half Price Books, where she picked out a book for herself and one for Carly.
On Friday Carly stayed home and we all slept in. That afternoon the four of us stopped by Jim’s parents’ house so he could help his mom with a quick task. His dad had knee surgery the same day that Rebecca had her nasal surgery, and while Dad was also doing fantastically well, he was not able to help out. We had a nice visit with them, then headed for the one shopping mall in our area where they have a Build A Bear “workshop”. The girls loved it; both had to really ponder their choices befor deciding on animals. Rebecca chose an owl which she named “Snowy”; Carly picked a panda who was christened “Kayla”. Of course we had to pick out an outfit for each, including shoes, but were able to escape without additional accessories. BABW has a new animal, a tropical Hello Kitty. I have always had a soft spot for HK and might have given in to that spot to get myself a stuffed one… but they were tan in color, I guess as part of the “tropical” theme. I guess I am a HK purist because I didn’t really like the tropical kitty enough to get it.
We had supper at the food court while we were there, just sandwiches from Subway but the girls were entranced by the food court. It is an attractive space, much better than the food court at the mall by our house. As we headed home it looked stormy but we arrived safely. The rest of the weekend was pretty routine; Rebecca’s need for tissues diminished by the day. Her worst annoyance at that point was the antibiotic she had to take to ward off infection; she is so ready to start taking pills instead of liquid medications. She returned to school on Monday and feels great. She’s still a bit stuffy in the nose but I think that as she continues to heal, she will notice a big difference. She is so glad the whole episode is behind her, and so are her dad and I.