Sunday, December 18, 2011

Scarred for Life

No surgery feels "minor" when your child is the one having it.

Something didn't look quite right when Tate stepped out of the shower a few weeks ago. A bulge right above his skinny little leg. I got him in to see his pediatrician that very afternoon. Diagnosis: Hernia. He got in to see a surgeon at Children's Mercy the very next day, and surgery was scheduled for the next Monday. Whew.

Here he is, all set with the surgery doll they gave him. He named him "Dolly". Very creative, that boy. I, for one, was surprised that he put down the DS they let him play so he could decorate his doll. And on the ride home, in his semi sleepy state, he squeaked, "Did you get Dolly?".
Since everything happened so quickly from finding the hernia, to getting him in for surgery, I didn't really have a lot of time to worry about it. But with what little time I had, I started Googling. Googling "hernias in children", "hernia surgery", and of course, finding all the worst case scenarios in the process. Why do I do that to myself?

In my head I knew it was just hernia surgery. One of the most common outpatient surgeries done on children. But he still had to be under anesthesia. And have an incision made in his tiny little body. And have an internal organ worked on. I would have taken his place in a milisecond. At least the decision was made easy for us. Surgery is always recommended for children with inguinal hernias. So, it wasn't even like we had options to stew over. This was the only course of action we could take. Apparently, he'd had this hernia for awhile and it had just now decided to show itself.
We were first told the surgery would take about 45 minutes. The surgeon then said, it would probably be closer to 30 minutes, since it was just on one side. I still tear up when they are just getting shots, so watching him being wheeled away was a wee bit tear jerking, to say the least. And it wasn't fun listening to the anesthesiologist read off all the possible side effects of the anesthesia. Of course, my eyes skipped forward to the last two listed, and a gulp formed in my throat.

We kissed the top of his little head and parted ways. He, down the hall on his little gurney, us to the waiting room. 30 minutes went by...45 minutes went hour went by. At about an hour and 15 minutes, the door opened and in came the surgeon. Huh? All the other parents were beckoned back by a nurse to see their little ones. Why was the surgeon, himself, coming to get us? Then he started explaining why the surgery took longer than expected. We already knew Tate had one hydrocele (fluid filled sac) as a result of the hernia. A second was found during surgery. An intraabdominal hydrocele, which are pretty rare. His surgeon had only seen this one other time in his practice. Lovely.

He finally got to the part where he told us everything went well, and he was able to repair everything, etc. That may have been a good place to start prior to his medical explanation. We thanked him over and over again and headed back to see the little fella.

He was lying on his side, under about 3 blankets. The nurse said, "He just wants to be held by his Mommy". Tear-ful. They gingerly scooped him up,pushed aside his IV tubing and monitors, and placed him on my lap. He wasn't fully awake yet, but he was crying, and was able to tell us that it hurt. After a few minutes they gave him some oral pain meds and put him back to sleep through his IV until it took effect.
After a bit, they tapered his IV meds and woke him back up. We headed home and made him a little nest on the couch. All he wanted to do was play wii. After just a few hours, he got tired of sitting there and wanted to get up and walk around. He put aside his wii remote and stood up on the couch like he always does, perched to jump off. "Noooooo!" we hollered as we held our hands up to stop him.

I guess I never realized how much that boy runs. And how he's constantly in motion, running, jumping, throwing himself on the floor during a pretend battle. Just going into the kitchen to get a drink, he runs. And his surgery only slowed him down for an evening. He would start to take off, then stop and kind of half limp, half trot, the rest of the way. His discharge instructions read: No athletic activity for 14 days. This means I have one more week of hollering out every 5 minutes, "Tate, slow down! No jumping! Remember your surgery!".

He is already proud of his incision site, which should turn into a pretty cool scar. He didn't really understand what a scar was, because this will be his first. "Why are scars so cool Mom?" he asked. "Because behind every scar is a pretty neat story of how it came to be," I explained.

And I'm sure behind every scar, there's also a few gray hairs added to a worried mother's head.
Posted by Picasa

No comments:

Site Meter