|Pre and post-op, or you could say blissfully ignorant and not so.|
The sun was still asleep as I woke Bang on Friday morning at 6am. Clutching his beloved blankie with one hand, and with the other warming my own, he followed me down a dark path we'd both never seen before to automatic doors into fluorescent lights.
The nurse, used to early mornings, was alert and kind in the face of our vagueness. Bang was being brilliantly brave despite telling me the day before he didn't want to go to hospital.
I filled out the necessary paperwork, signed that I didn't mind them deducting lots of money from my credit card if need be and we were on our way to the waiting room with TV and toys! I knew that this operation was minor and very likely to improve Bang's quality of life. His ears were blocked with fluid and had been for months since the last ear infection, and his hearing was at about 60% of where it should be.
But there is no escaping the feeling of betrayal as you lull him into a false sense of security, with smiles and half truths. That feeling reached a crescendo as I lay him on the operating table and sang to him as a mask was forced on to his face. His eyes darted from the massive operating light back to my forced smile that existed in opposition to my arms holding his still.
"1,2,3,4,5, once I caught a fish alive, 6,7,8,9,10 then I let him go again, why did you let him go, because he bit my finger so, which finger did he bite? this little finger on my right" floated in the space between us as his eyes went bloodshot and filled with tears moments before the anesthetic took him away. The doctor singsonged "don't worry we'll bring him back", my smile was displaced suddenly with all seriousness "You better" I almost threatened.
Through tears I tried to understand the instructions that would have me back in the waiting room, "your shoe covers here, and your hat and gown, through the double doors, use the exit button on the right and then turn left." By the time I saw my husband through glass I was a mess, demolished at the thought of leaving him with strangers who had his small, trusting life in their hands. As I buried my face in my husbands hug all I could remember was him lying on the hard metal table, no pillow under his head and the anesthetists hand holding the mask roughly on his tilted perfect face, his body limp, unknowingly lead to a place where a surgeon would operate on him.
Half an hour later the same surgeon was in front of us with a reassuring smile, and good news. Bang's ears had been full of fluid which he drained before putting in grommets and cutting away his adenoids. Winter would be a lot more pleasant for our little man, not to mention a lot louder.
Lucky for us the surgeon was a lovely, kind man and the surgery was as minor as you can really get. It didn't make seeing him after the surgery writhing around disoriented and confused by all the drugs any easier. I wondered if his subconscious would remember his misplaced trust as he arched his back and yelled out against the world. Half an hour later he was asleep in my arms and three hours later, two more than both the other patients, he was awake and happily devouring sandwiches and a neon-coloured tub of jelly. The blood in his ear the only sign that something was amiss.
And when we asked him "Can you hear better punky?" A huge smile and a resounding "YES!" made me realise it was worth all my angst and his discomfort to get to this better place. There's a lesson in there somewhere, I hope I apply it to the larger decisions I am sure will come.... but for now I'm just happy he is back in my arms and no where near sharp metal instruments and gases that mysteriously send him unconscious and temporarily mad.
Has your child had surgery? Were you worse off than they were?