Well, it's the beginning of the year again, which means that one of my children has to go under the knife…again. I can't say I'm glad that this seems to be becoming a trend in our household.
The first time was, thankfully, a minor noninvasive procedure when B was 2 to put tubes in his ears and have his adenoids out. He'd been relatively sickness free for the better part of his life; right up until November when he'd gotten his first ever ear infection. That damn thing just wouldn't go away. Things would be going great while he was on antibiotics, we'd finish the round and the next day he would be in pain again. It jumped from one ear to the other and then back so he had a double ear infection. After 2 months of pain we finally decided to do tubes in hopes that would help. At the insistence of B's speech therapist we also discussed having his adenoids removed to lower the chance that built up fluid was the cause of his not speaking. Rich worked that day so I was on my own, waiting nervously in the lobby while my baby was out cold. That was cake compared to being alone while handling post-op anesthesia wake up. That was a nightmare. My baby didn't know who I was and was crying uncontrollably for his Mommy, even though I was right there trying to comfort him. However, I can officially say this was one of the best decisions we've ever made. B hasn't had a single ear infection since and his speech drastically improved post-op.
Our second go around in the operating room was last January. B was 4, and I was halfway through my pregnancy with R when the situation arose. We discovered he had a hiatal hernia; a hole in his intestinal wall that was causing his intestines to be pushed through int his groin, which in turn caused his testicles to swell. I was assured that it was fairly common and that the procedure was easy and quick. But this was more invasive than the last procedure and the thought of someone cutting into my baby's stomach and fishing around his intestines was a little too much to bear. However, it was important we get it fixed before the hernia became strained and cause pain and permanent damage. I was lucky enough not to have to wait alone this time. Rich had been moved to the swing shift at work, and my mom took the day off to be there for support. Again, the waiting was cake compared to waking up from anesthesia. I don't know if he recognized me this time or not, if he didn't he didn't say anything to that effect. but he was pretty out of it, and upset that he had IVs and cords attached to him. It took everything we had to keep him from ripping off the monitors and tearing out the IV.
No, here we are again, the beginning of a New Year, and I'm facing the operating room again. Only this time, it's my youngest baby going under. Even weirder than adding to the OR trend, is that this case is also penis related. I imagine this is only the very beginning of penis related issues in my house. I'm outnumbered; penises 3, vaginas 1. Anyway, R was born with something called a penile torsion. Basically it means that his penis, or at least in his case the foreskin, is twisted. It was glossed over by every nurse and doctor that looked at him after birth, or if they saw it I wasn't informed. I noticed it a few days later and brought it up to his pediatrician at his newborn check-up. It went a little like, "So I noticed this thing," *points* "that's not normal is it?" The doctor took a closer look and said something along the lines of, "Oh, no, I guess it isn't. Remember that circumcision I told you to come back for in a week? Yeah, we can't do that." I was told R would have to be at least 6 months old before they even consider circumcising him and it would have to be done by a urologist so the torsion could be corrected. It was even mildly explained to me HOW they go about fixing one of these things and I'll spare you the gory details; it made my stomach churn.
We finally made a visit to the urologist today and got some good news. The torsion is not very severe and the doctor believes he can fix it with no problem. The bad news, or at least the bad news for Momma Bear, is that my poor little 8 month old baby boy has to go under. I was wary about putting my 2 year old under for his tube surgery, let alone my baby. Add to that the doctor suggests a form of anesthesia in addition to general anesthesia that is like an epidural. They want me to allow them to put medicine in my baby's spine. The doctor said this will give him pain relief for 24 hours, opposed to the 4 hours awarded by topical numbing agents. Supposedly the worst pain is in the first 24 hours, and he recommends it to all his patients who are not yet walking. Sigh. I'm not looking forward to this, but I know it must happen. If we choose not to do the surgery R could have issues with direction and painful erections when he's older. That's not something I want to strap him with.
No one wants to put their children through pain, even if it is necessary. In addition to the thought of my baby being in pain I have to worry about him waking up from anesthesia. He'll be starving, because he's not allowed to eat for a while before the procedure, and if he's anything like me or his brother he'll be disoriented and scared, and there won't be anything I can do except hold him and wait to his mind to clear. Being that I have vivid memories of waking up from anesthesia at the age of 4 with my entire body tinglingly with that fall-asleep-on-your-arm-funny asleep feeling. It's not that I was traumatized by it; I've been put under several times since then without any marked anxiety or bad wake-ups, but the very fact that I can remember it means something.