Thursday, April 1, 2010

Surgical Success, for Landon anyway

Landon has successfully gained a set of ear tubes and lost a set of adenoids! He was amazing through it all, though due to an act of complete idiocy by his mother, the day was a bit more drawn out than it should have been.

His surgery was scheduled for 10:30 a.m., and according to the very clear instructions from the surgical center Landon was not to have any food after 1:30 a.m., any milk after 3:30, and any clear liquids after 7:30. He usually wakes up between 7:30 and 8, so I was really hoping he'd wake up before the liquid cut-off so he could have a little something in his tummy. When I heard him downstairs at 7:00 I exclaimed to JP to hurry out of bed and get him his milk because he can still have liquids! Yay!

An hour later, as we were gathering our things to head to the hospital I saw the used milk cup and immediately realized, "oh shit we gave him milk." It was only okay to drink clear liquids, not any liquids. I berated myself the whole way to the hospital, secretly hoping we'd talk to the anesthesiologist and he'd say it was no big deal -- I mean it was 6 ounces of fat free milk, how much could it matter?

Well, according to the surgical nurse, who glared at me above the rim of her glasses, and the anesthesiologist who was apologetic but firm, it matters quite a lot. Milk can aspirate up into the lungs making a nearly risk-free procedure something else entirely. It is therefore necessary to wait 6 hours after drinking milk, moving our surgery all the way back to 1:00 PM. Luckily our ENT was at the hospital all day and they were willing to accommodate us. But the guilt, oh the crushing guilt that I was going to be starving my son for 3 more hours. And the urge, the nearly overwhelming urge to tell everyone that I swear I'm usually VERY good at following instructions and I love lists and charts and rules and really this is just SO UNLIKE me and I'm so sorry and again, seriously, I am really a very competent person. But I didn't do that. I held my tongue, and nodded my head while the nurse explained three times that Landon could have NO FOOD OR DRINK OF ANY KIND for the next three hours, and then sincerely thanked them all for rearranging their schedule and allowing us to continue with the surgery that day.

So far Landon had yet to mention his lack of a breakfast. He had been dancing for the nurses and was very excited when we told him we were going to come back and see the doctor again. We walked over to a nearby PetSmart where Landon admired the birds and fish and I very nearly convinced JP that we should adopt a 2-year-old tabby cat named Pumpkin. Two parents, two kids, two dogs, and two cats - it would be perfect! Then we hung out on the benches at the back of the store like a sad homeless family until I suggested we head back to Dell Children's to hopefully find some sort of park.

And we did! Soon Landon and JP had taken over this little corner of the grounds and spent nearly an hour building rock rapids in the outdoor waterscape.

Landon almost immediately fell into the fountain (though no water passed his lips, I checked!) and ended up pants-less with his sweats and socks drying on a nearby rock. We were back to vagabond status with our bags in a pile, our laundry strewn about, and our half-naked child trying to swim in this tiny decorative river.

For an added bit of class and entertainment we floated his crocs down the rapids. Lots and lots of times.

Finally it was 12:00 and time to head back into the surgical center. But then we had to wait 45 minutes in the waiting room (because all our pre-op paperwork was already done) and about 15 minutes in, Landon started asking for a snack. I felt absolutely terrible saying no, explaining that we had to wait for the doctor, but he seemed to shrug it off, only to ask again 5 minutes later. Finally, just as he was starting to whine "I'm hunnnnngry" and I was about to cry because it was my fault and I felt like the worst mother ever, we got called back. Within 10 minutes he was decked out in a little gown, fuzzy socks, and a hospital bracelet. He was stylin' and totally distracted.

This time I was able to give the right answers when asked when he last ate and drank and a surgical nurse held out her arms to take Landon back behind the double doors. He accepted the transfer and they were gone. The anesthesiologist came out just a few minutes later to say that Landon did great- he was very relaxed and had laid back and breathed into the mask with no problems. He walked away saying, "he's remarkably mellow for a 2-year-old." His teachers tell me that all the time.

JP and I headed to a private recovery room where I realized I was about to faint because I hadn't ate or drank anything all day either. The ENT appeared about 20 minutes later to say that everything went great! He told us he removed a lot of thick liquid in his ears which should make a huge difference in Landon's hearing (though we had never noticed a problem with his hearing and his vocabulary and speech are excellent, so I'm interested to see if we do notice a change). He also remarked that Landon's adenoids were very large and definitely pressing on his ear canal so it was going to help a lot to have those out too.

Ten minutes later this sad, cuddly little man was in my lap getting blood on my shirt and refusing to drink his juice.

The next 45 minutes were tough. Landon alternated between being sweet and snuggly and sobbing and kicking (and hitting- I got clocked in his jaw at least four times). I know he was just exhausted- we were way past nap time, and he was starving and disoriented, and it was so hard to not be able to make him better. The promise of two Spiderman stickers finally got him to drink his juice, which he kept down just fine, and which morphed him back into his usual self. By the time we left at 3:30 he was asking about going to the park and eating pancakes.

Once home he ate those pancakes, plus a yogurt smoothie, jello, cereal bar, animal crackers, two cookies, cinnamon toast crunch, and various beverages.

For the rest of the evening he bounced around the house (literally), went on a walk with his dad and dogs, and seemed to exhibit no signs that he'd just been in surgery a few hours earlier.

I, on the other hand, lay down on the couch completely drained and kept drifting in and out of consciousness. I can't remember the last time I felt that tired.

But for Landon the day was a total success and he seems to feel great. And I will never, ever get surgical instructions mixed up again. Ever.


  1. That is really sweet, glad it went so well. I love that picture of you holding him.

  2. Poor little guy! It is so hard to not let them eat. Glad it was a success and that he bounced right back!! Well earned pancakes for Landon!

    (Charlie had pancakes right after his tube surgery too!)

  3. Oh, does that tired disoriented face look familiar! He will remember NONE of it, and you will have more gray hair (even if you haven't found it yet.) Toldya it would be harder on you than him.

    Let me hit you once with the "Bad Mommy" wand and then go forth and be absolved of guilt!

  4. You know what I always try to do after I mess something up like that, and people are inconvenienced but manage to accommodate me anyway? I make a mental note to pay it forward.

    I'm a photojournalist, and breaking news + creative people x logistical coordination raised to the power of firm deadlines = daily scrambling. There are days when I get frantic phone calls from, say, a life and style editor who totally forgot to file an assignment and the pastry chef at Le Patisserie Fancypants just called and "oh, crap, IAMSOSORRY but can you please drop what you're doing and go shoot an elegant display of hot cross buns and please kiss the chef's ass and light it brilliantly so the photo can carry the Easter Sunday centerpiece and you were supposed to be there 30 minutes ago oh please just fix this kthxbye."

    And I do it, all the while thinking of the kind person at my health insurance company who went to bat for me to make sure my family medical leave was approved last year when I needed surgery and the paperwork got all messed up and she went the extra mile to fix it so I didn't have any problems with HR.

    Try not to be so hard on yourself. It all worked out, and it's awesome that the surgery center accommodated you. I'd bet my next paycheck that you go the extra mile for people at work all the time; I can tell. I'm sure you'll have a chance to wave your fairy godlawyer wand for a client, clerk or colleague sometime soon. It all comes back around.

  5. I'm so glad everything went well, and that he recovered so quickly! And don't beat yourself up. Everyone does stuff like that every once in a while. At least everything worked out for you!

  6. Hooray for successful surgery!

  7. So glad all went well!


  8. I'm so glad to hear the operation was a success, and that Landon is fine! (Better than fine, it sounds like.) Sounds like one of those days when you earn your mommy paycheck.

  9. OMG!! Lag Liv - It's such a small world! JP and I were part of the same study team at UT...Just saw his pics! Just tell him- "Whether the juice is worth the squeeze!" and he will know me :) Good luck to both of you!