We arrived at Children’s Hospital at 6:40, 5 minutes ahead of schedule. I was carrying Ben in a fleece blanket; Henrik carried everything else.
I think the people who work there are screened for heightened kindness.
From the time we walked to the greeting desk, to every pa, nurse and MD we met, we heard soft voices and laughter. Gentle smiles. Encouragement. And Ben’s surgery was one considered to be routine.
We hadn’t been in Children’s before, and architecturally, I have to tell you it is stunning. Open spaces, high ceilings, colorful representational art, aquaria everywhere. Henrik was impressed with the facilities and staff as well.
What wasn’t routine: the pre-anaesthesia medication they administered to sedate him may as well have been kool-aid. It had no impact, as a stunned anaesthesiologist returned to our room to find Ben with full motor coordination and playing a normal game of hide and seek with the privacy curtain. As a result, I had to walk to the OR with him, and hold the gas to his little face. I didn’t cry until I got back to our little waiting room and told Henrik about his resistance.
How it went: swimmingly. ENT came to speak to us immediately after surgery. Benjamin did very well. The ENT found “a great deal of thick mucus” in his right middle ear (mama bolts up in her chair for that one), and less in his left. (It’s gone now, as part of the procedure involves cleaning out infected fluids from the middle ear.) His adenoids were “quite large, infected, and there was much infected mucus.” He reminds us to make a follow-up appointment, then we wait for him to be brought to us from the recovery room.
I hear a cry of “mommy!” and say “That’s him.” The nurse has me return to the big chair and sets him in my lap with a warmed blanket. He is very groggy, and I notice how he curls up with me. He is still in the little yellow polyester johnnie, and asks for the big fleece blanket he wore into the hospital instead of a coat. True to the ENT’s remarks, there are bits of dried blood on his outer right ear, and from his nose. He sits curled up while we follow the instructions of the post-op nurses – not too much fluid, little bits at a time, watch out for nausea. (His appetite is ravenous. He wants a box of popsicles, I think.)
One nurse is particularly kind, as I was the first to recognize the pin on her namebadge as “grateful dead bears”. (Later, I had to break the news to her that I was the only person at UMass in the 80’s who was a liberal and couldn’t stand the Dead. I was forgiven, particularly when I told her about working the Stevie Ray Vaughn show in ’86.)
Including a stop at a grocery store to get some basic foods (and, omg, jello, for Ben), we were home before 11am. There were some prolonged hugs, where Ben would come up to me and just lay down. Then there was some regular 2 yo behaviour. And a demand for more food. And one vomiting episode, a technicolor orange masterpiece, thanks to a dangerously colored popsicle.
This morning, when he woke up, he wanted toys. And his meter-long fire engine with migraine-inducing sound. He was so active, so energetic, that I couldn’t see keeping him home. My pajama-ed viking set sail today in big boy clothes, asking “what’s that” about sounds previously were mired and now float along into an open ear.
Thanks to BlueMilk, the dilettante and Koalie for their kind wishes and support. It helped me a lot.