Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Lucy Update

First I want to thank everyone for their kind words, thoughts and prayers both yesterday and today.  I got a ridiculous amount of text messages, Facebook comments and emails.  If there's just one positive outcome of this new age of instant communication, it's times like these.  Knowing you're not alone and that others are thinking of you is a very powerful thing.

I also want to apologize for not being able to respond to every single voicemail, comment or email.  It's all been so overwhelming and, of course, our first priority has been tending to the needs of our family.

All in all everything went well yesterday.  The surgery was a success and there were no complications to speak of.  That said, the process was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  To be fair, I set myself up for this disappointment by quickly brushing off anyone who tried to act like this surgery would be anything more than minor.  But we all know the only person having minor surgery is the person not having surgery at all.

When we woke up yesterday morning, Lucy was nervous.  Up until that point she had been excited to get to have a sleepover at the hospital.  But suddenly she kept telling me she didn't want to have surgery anymore.  And as a parent, having to have that conversation just plain sucks.

When we were all checked in to our pre-op room, Lucy was very quiet; quite uncharacteristic if you know her in real life.  She was pissed off about the gown she had to wear telling me that it was very itchy and that she had brought her own princess nightgown to wear so why did she have to wear this dumb bear one.

The staff at Gillette's was amazing!  The anesthesiologist was a dream to work with.  And the child life specialist was especially helpful when she let Lucy play games on her iPad and pick out a chapstick flavor for later use in the OR.  (They let her smear the bubblegum chapstick all over the gas mask and then have her take deep breaths to smell it.  Genius, right?)
Dad all scrubbed up for the OR.  Lucy much too occupied with her TV and iPad to look at the camera.
When it was time for her to go into surgery, one parent was allowed to go with her into the operating room until she fell asleep.  I felt that I was just too hormonal to be of any use so I passed that responsibility on to Brian.

When it was time for me to say goodbye I knew I was walking a fine line.  On the one hand I wanted to shower her with hugs and kisses and let my emotions fall all over the floor.  But on the other hand I didn't want to scare her by not acting like my normal self.  So I gave her a quick kiss and happily said, "I'll see you in a little bit!"

She smiled and waved and continued giggling about some antics the nurses were putting on for her.  I watched them wheel her away and I knew that if I thought about it too much I would fall apart.  So I quickly grabbed my phone and pretended I had some majorly important emails to tend to.
Off to surgery.  Dad on the left.
We were away from Lucy for about a total of two hours.  But the surgery itself was only about half that long.  Her doctor, Dr. Wood, came to talk to us after he was finished. He told us the hole was much larger once he opened her up.  That was actually good news.  It meant that the surgery really was necessary.  The incision is about eight inches on the top of her head and follows the same scar line as her first operation.  He used a synthetic bone paste to fill in the holes and then put in an absorbable plate.  The plate should dissolve on its own in about 9-18 months.  She did not need a drainage tube or a blood transfusion as she did during her first surgery.  Great news!

After speaking with Dr. Wood we still had to wait another half hour before we could be reunited with her in the recovery room.  The recovery room was probably the hardest part of the whole day.  When she started to wake up she was not happy.  It was hard to tell if she was in a lot of pain or if she was just agitated from everything.  Lucy tends to get really angry when she's out of sorts (i.e. waking up from a long nap).  To complicate matters she was attached to a thousand and one wires and tubes and she kept wanting to turn this way and that.  Her face, especially her eyes, was swollen and that itchiness was bugging her as well.

The recovery nurses kept pushing the morphine until she felt comfortable.  At one point they told us they couldn't believe she was still awake with the amount they had given her.  That, my friends, explains Lucy to a T.

Dad gave her a few ice chips and she started to calm down somewhat.  I told the nurses that I bet once she got up to her room and settled in, she would be fine.  So we started to wheel her up to the patient rooms and as we did she finally started to give in to those drugs and shut her eyes.
Morphine-induced sleep post surgery.
She slept in her room for a couple of hours and then, much to my surprise, was quite pleasant when she woke up.  No screaming, no crying.  She asked to watch The Muppets so we turned that right on for her.
Popsicle and The Muppet Movie
The nurse brought in a popsicle for her but she wasn't very interested in it.  At about 5:00 she started to get restless and agitated again so I tried laying next to her in the bed.  And then she promptly threw up that popsicle all over her bed, narrowly missing me.  The long clean-up process followed and when she was all cozy again she shut her eyes a bit.

Brian brought William over to the hospital to see Lucy and she really like that.  But William was a little nervous about the state of his sister who is usually his equal to all things that include being loud and rough-housing.

While Brian stayed with Lucy, William and I went to the Ronald McDonald room to eat dinner.  Volunteers had made an entire turkey dinner for the families of all the patients.  Don't ever pass up the chance to donate to Ronald McDonald.  They do some serious good stuff.

When I came back to the room Lucy was eating dinner.  Nothing like puking only to be eating a turkey sandwich an hour later.  She had obviously found her appetite because she wasn't complaining about a belly ache at all.

At 8:00 William and I went home.  Brian spent the night with Lucy.  I knew my 8-months-pregnant body would get little to no rest on the pull-out bed so once again Brian stepped into the role that is usually reserved for mothers.

When I got back to the hospital this morning they were already in the process of discharge.  The only item left on the to-do list was for Lucy to take a shower and she vehemently refused.  I nearly had to get in the shower with her to get the job done.  And even then I wasn't able to give her incision the good washing it needed.

Which brings me to my next topic.  One that is of much less importance but noteworthy nonetheless: Her hair looks like total crap.  Mangled and tangled and so far beyond what would be required to call it a rat's nest.

We didn't have this dilemma to deal with the first time around because at six months of age she barely had any hair to speak of.

If I could just give it a good soak in the tub I think it would be fine but doctor's orders say no tub soaking for TWO WEEKS!  We need to find her some good hats.  Every time she gets a glance of herself in the bathroom mirror she freaks out.  "Why does my hair look crazy?!"

Crappy hair or not, we're home now and all is well.  She's sleeping soundly in her own bed.  William will be home from school later this afternoon and together he and Brian are going to pick up Katherine.

One thing I think is often forgotten about parents of hospitalized children is how much they ache for the time lost with their other children.  I know it will be total chaos once we are back together under one roof but at least it's familiar.  And totally normal.

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