The above quote was taken from a blog about a mother with a special needs child in need of many surgeries, therapies and procedures.
My children have only had to endure minor surgeries but none the less, I feel the same way. Looking back on them now, I am certain that it was much more traumatic to me than it was to them but going through it was heart wrenching - each and every one.
I also have utmost respect for my mom and her ability to survive day to day with a disabled child, needing many surgeries as a small child and still to this day enduring many procedures and therapies that many of us would find excruciating to go through and heart breaking to watch as a parent.
I am doing this post as a way to shed light on the experience of a child having surgery. Erin's sweet little boy will be going in for surgery on Tuesday and she needs support and prayers from all! Please refer her to her blog for more info.
On to my stories. First we have Elizabeth. For those of you that did not know her as a little girl (and by little, I mean younger than three), she had what is called a hemangioma above her left eye. A hemangioma is a benign growth of blood vessels. They are in the category of birth marks and rarely cause problems - much more cosmetic than anything else. That being said, we decided to have hers removed. Our thought was that children can be very mean and we didn't want Elizabeth to have to deal with that. (I also have to add that she actually had a total of three but we only decided to remove the one above her eye.)
Anyway, back to the surgery. In preparation for her surgery, we went to Build-A-Bear to make something special that she could have at the hospital. I had read once somewhere that this was helpful with children and made them feel safe. She picked out the bear and dressed it in scrubs. She told us it was her nurse bear that would take care of her and keep her safe. We also let her bring her favorite blanket with her.
In the end, her surgery was easy and she recovered very well. By the time we made it back home in the afternoon, she was asking for chicken nuggets from McDonald's as a special treat. She was pretty sleepy the next day but never had any pain. She did encounter some itching when the incision started to heal but I just kept Vitamin E oil on it and that helped quite a bit. The doc also told me that would help the scar be less noticeable as well. She has healed great and looking back I am very happy that we made the decision to have it removed.
On to AJ:
Unfortunately I don't have any pictures to go along with AJ's surgery as I was the only one with him and didn't have my head on straight enough to think of taking pictures. AJ was tongue tied and was showing signs of speech delay. It was recommended to us by a developmental specialist and a speech therapist to have his tongue clipped to see if it helped. I have a hard time even calling his a surgery as they only clipped his frenulum (the small tag of skin under your tongue) but, he was put under general anesthesia for it and this is where my mommy emotions kick in.
My experience with him was much of the same as it was with Elizabeth, with the same drugs and the same procedure for putting him under general. We let him take his blankets as well. The BIG difference was when he came back - he was psycho! I am not exaggerating here! As I stated before, I had been warned about how kids react when they wake up but man - this little guy was M-A-D!!! It took two nurses and myself to hold him down so that he wouldn't hurt himself from all of the flailing and thrashing that he did. He also just screamed, not cried, but screamed for about 30 minutes. To my amazement though, you could see the effects of the drugs wear off as he gradually came around to his normal self. It broke my heart to see him like this and know that there was nothing that I could do but wait.
When we got home in the afternoon, he was back to his old self. He didn't show signs of sleepiness but I think that was because he was only out for about 5 minutes.
Jacob was my most recent experience with surgery. I did a post on his surgery here. I'm not sure if I was just used to the effects of the drugs or numb to it all but I found myself laughing at Jacob most of the time before hand because he seemed so drunk and happy. They did run into complications with his. (He had to have reconstructive penis surgery - isn't he going to love me for posting that?!) So much as the same as Elizabeth, we waited a lot longer than they said it would take and every foot step that I heard down the hall I would jump hoping they were coming to get me to see my little man. The waiting is horrible. I tried reading, eating, talking to my mom, watching TV, pacing and so on but the minutes just tick by so slow.
At last, after almost 2 hours, the doctor came and got us and let us know how things went. He took us back to recovery and this time I could hear him screaming down the hallway. It kills me to hear them scream but I know it was the drugs. He was inconsolable and mad. For him, having his blanket over his head was the only thing that calmed him down. I must say that the nurse in recovery bugged me this time as she kept telling him to calm down. Jeez lady, he's only one.
In the end, no matter how upset and cranky they all seemed, I know that I as a parent made the right choice.
Erin, I wish you the best with your little guy tomorrow and I will be thinking of you. Hang in there and know that what you are doing is because you love him and want what is best for him in the end.