Monday, February 6, 2012

Surgery Day

I mentioned a few days ago that today was surgery day for Garrett, and that we probably would have to cancel it. Although he still had a bit of a runny nose this morning and some little coughs, his lungs were "as clear as a bell", and we were able to go ahead with the surgery. It's done!

So here's how the day went:

First off, let me tell you what the surgery was for. Garrett was born with penoscrotal webbing, or 'webbed penis'. Both Urologists took about 3 seconds to identify that as the problem. Both said it was a simple fix. I mentioned before that if we'd stayed in Utah, Garrett would have had it done when he was 6 months old. But because we moved to California, and we were referred to 'one of the worlds best pediatric urologists', (according to our nurse, kids come from all over the world to have surgeries done by Dr. K. He's super gentle with the kids and he knows exactly what he'd doing, and was very good at explaining everything to Paul and I to put us at ease. And he's a handsome Egyptian) it was no surprise to the nurse that we'd started this process a year ago. (Who knows if all the nurse said about him is true, but it makes a mom feel good when its about the guy who is cutting into your kid's delicates.)

We left the house at 5:15AM. As I was packing up, Paul kind of looked at me funny, and I'm sure he was thinking, "This is an OUT patient surgery." But he didn't say anything. I wanted G to be comfortable, and have things he was familiar with. So I took his favorite book, his favorite race car, a bottle, a snack, a blanket, his snuggly, a fresh sleeper, and some books and items from a get well package from his "Uncle" Jordon and "Aunt" Katie.

We got to CHOC (Children's Hospital of Orange County) at 6:00AM for pre-op and surgery was at 7:30AM. The room was full of toys that Garrett and another little boy got to play with while the nurse went over everything with Paul and I. We signed a lot of paper work. The Anesthesiologist came in and met us and explained what she'd be doing. The O.R. nurse came in to let us know that she'd be with Garrett the whole time. The 7 foot + resident doctor came in to meet us. (Wow, he was tall.) Another doctor came in and re-asked us all the questions about allergies, past surgeries, illness...don't really remember why. And the doctor came in. Every one shook our hands, had very happy 'good-mornings' for us, greeted Garrett- usually by bending down to his level and trying to get a wave or a smile. Which I loved, by the way. If you're going to be taking my kid from me to a strange place without me, you better be nice and friendly when you meet him before you take him away. (One nurse bugged me, I'll get to that.)About 20 minutes before they took him back we changed him into a hospital gown and they gave him some medicine. It caused temporary amnesia and mild drowsiness. This was optional, although the nurse (and anesthesiologist) highly recommended it. I knew that Garrett would have a meltdown having to be passed off to a stranger and carried away. The nurse working with us in pre-op had already failed several times at distraction attempts while putting his ankle band on, checking his temperature, listening to his heart and lungs, etc. My kid doesn't miss a thing. He's very curious and observant and no matter how well trained you are at your job, he's gonna see what you're trying to do, and he's gonna fight it if it doesn't feel or look normal. (No offence to her, she tried hard and did great.) She explained to us that when he arrived at the O.R. it would look and be very scary for him to see all the people in scrubs and masks. This medicine would help him relax and not care, and would make the putting him to sleep part less scary too. For some reason I thought I would be able to be with him until he was out, but that wasn't the case, so we took the medicine to avoid the trauma and permanent fear of doctors and hospitals.

Droopy Garrett was pretty cute. When it was time, the nurse came in. She told us how long he'd be and where we should wait. She had another nurse with her. The one that bugged me. She stood in the entry way of the room, leaning against the wall with her arms folded. When the nurse said she'd be the one I'd hand Garrett to, I expected her to come talk to us. She didn't move, or even look up at us. I wasn't excited about handing my son to her.They let me carry him out of the room to the double doors, and then I had to leave him. Whenever Garrett needs something and I'm busy I say, "just a minute" or "I'll be there in a minute". I guess I always put up one finger when I do it because now whenever I say anything close to that, he sticks up one finger, so I know he gets it. I kissed his cheek and told him I'd see him in a minute and he was fine. It's no fun watching your son be taken away through the skinny window on those doors.

We went to the waiting room, Paul ran downstairs to Starbucks, and it seemed in no time the doctor came out to tell us everything went great. The nurse called us to recovery, and we got back to him before he was awake. This was the hardest part for me. It would have been very easy to sit and cry, (even though he was done). No matter how short and simple a surgery is, it's still overwhelming to see your baby laying there asleep with tubes, wires, and an IV. It was also overwhelming to see all the other little kids in recovery. But I knew G could wake up at any time and I didn't want him to see me crying, I wanted to be his happy mom when he woke up. We were in pre-op with a little 4 year old who, based on bits of the parents conversation with the nurse, I could tell this was not his first surgery or first hospital stay. When his doc asked him if he knew what he was going to do today, the little boy said, "You're gonna send in a spaceship, and the spaceship is gonna shoot bombs at all the germs, and then when I wake up I'll be in the popsicle room." What brave little kids there are out there. In recovery we were right next to them and I asked how the spaceship did. His parents said "really well" and they asked how Garrett was. It makes me so thankful for my healthy kids, and hurt for ones that have a lot of challenging health problems.The nurse explained eating, giving pain meds, nap time, bath time, how to take off the bandage, etc. Then she showed us the goods. Right as she finished, he woke up. Not only did he wake up, he almost shot right out of the bed. Luckily the nurse was ready and was able to remove the mask, and control all the tubes and wires so that he could crawl right into my arms without any obstacles. He was so snugly, and didn't cry a bit, nor did he try and rip the IV needle out of his hand. Both of which surprised the nurse. The nurse gave him some apple juice. In the pictures it looks like he's asleep with the bottle in his mouth, but he was gulping that juice down. He's never drank so fast in his life. He finished and was sound asleep. We were in post-op for about a half an hour and then we headed home. He didn't wake up until 2 hours after we got home.We're 12 hours post-surgery as I'm typing this, and he's totally been his normal, goofy, happy, active self all day. 2 good naps, 2 doses of pain meds, 2 poops, 3 or 4 pees (that didn't seem to burn), a lot of fluids, and some dinner. That's about right. We're just hoping for a full nights sleep and a slow day at home tomorrow, that will include 4 soaks in the tub. That's the part I'm worried about. How do you make a 16 month old soak in a tub 4 times a day, for 15 minutes at a time, for a week, while you're also watching a 3 month old?? My mom is here til Wednesday morning...I'm hoping she'll stay an extra couple days just to be on bath duty.

So that's it. I'm proud of my brave little boy. And I bet he doesn't even remember it. Glad it's finally done!


Heidi said...

Good job, Garrett!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. My son is having the same surgery this friday. We've been putting it off for months because I'm so nervous about it. It's helpful to read your experience, and know it went so well.

Mom2landm said...

Why did you opt for the procedure? What did doctors tell you about the condition & treatment for it? Also, was he intact or circumcised prior to the treatment? My son has this & similar issues. Thanks!

sdcpilot1985 said...

Hi, Andrea. I was wondering if you could contact me regarding the experience and Doctor that handled Garrett's surgery. We are looking at a couple of issues with my son and the penoscrotal webbing I believe may be one of those. We have put off dealing with the issues for far too long out of fear. If the surgery did end up positive in the end for Garrett (now that it has been over two years), I would actually consider making a trip to CA to see that same doctor. I hope to hear back from you soon. Take care and Thanks.

sdcpilot1985 said...

Hi, Andrea. I just sent you a message and then did some research. Was your doctor at CHOC? If so, I believe I may have found him online, but would like to confirm with you. Thanks.

it's me, andrea. said...

I'm happy to answer any questions. How can I get in touch with you?