Surgery – The Details

by Heidi

Here’s the long version!

The hospital called about 7:45 to tell us the anesthesiologist said she could have clear liquids until 9:00.  He thought that might help with her irritability since she hadn’t had anything to eat since dinner the day before.  Little did they know she wasn’t irritable because she was asleep and would be until we left for the hospital.  Steve and I woke Graceanna up about 8:45 and drove to the hospital. 

We check in.  Then we waited.

We got called back to the pre-op area.  By 10:15 all vitals were taken and information collected.  Then we waited.

A little before 11:00 Graceanna had had enough.  They called our doctor.  He said he was just finishing up a case and he’d be right over.  Then we waited.

At 11:30, our doctor told us the surgery would only take about 25 minutes but that she’d be back in the Operating Room for about an hour.  One nurse took Graceanna from me and carried her while the nurse anesthetist wheeled the bed to the OR.  Graceanna was crying and mad.  The nurses assured me she would not remember any of this.  Steve and I left the pre-op area.  Then we waited.

At 1:30 I told Steve that something had obviously not gone according to plan and asked him to get an update.  They called the OR and our doctor was heading out to see us.  His first words were, “that’s one tired baby.”   The actual surgery went perfectly.  Tubes went in fine.  Her tonsils were big but her adenoids were huge.  As soon as they put her to sleep I think they understood what we were talking about with regard to her breathing.  When the surgery was over, she just wouldn’t wake up.  Our doctor said he’d seen this one other time; when he was in residency, a little boy was so sleep deprived he also just slept and slept.  At 1:30 she finally responded to their touch, so they extabated her and moved her to the recovery room.  He said it’d be about 5 minutes before they would let us go back to see her.  Then we waited.

About 2:30, she still had not opened her eyes, but they let me go back to the recovery room.  I was relieved when our doctor told me why they were in surgery for so long.  But, the relief I felt when I finally saw her was overwhelming.  Even though they still had an oxygen mask on her and all the other many gadgets, she looked so comfortable.  She was lying on her side and breathing deeply.  I went out to tell Steve what I saw and then I went back to sit until she woke up.  They didn’t want me to touch her because they wanted her to wake up slowly.  So, we waited.

About 3:20, she finally opened her eyes.  After inspecting her IV she scrambled off the bed into my arms.  Right away, we were off in the wheel chair to her hospital room. 

Graceanna watched the nurses suspiciously as they got us settled.  She was pretty antsy the whole time we were in the hospital,  she was concerned about her IV and when the lights went out that night she was very curious about her toe glowing with a pink light (pulse oximeter.)  But, she and I did get some really good sleep from about 11:30 pm – 5:00 am.  Even with the swelling and phlegm, she slept so much quieter. I’m surprised I didn’t lie awake listening for her to breathe as I had done for so long.  I guess I was relying on the monitors.  I’m still realizing that not only had Graceanna not rested well in many months but neither have Steve or I.

Graceanna was the model patient.  She took her medicine well even though they said it would burn her throat.  She didn’t complain much about anything, but she didn’t like the nurses to get too close.  She seemed afraid they might take her again. 

Saturday morning she was ready to eat something other than jello.  So, she ate a biscuit!  Later, when her lunch came, she ate a big bowl of green beans and a whole piece of lasagna.  Then, she cried for more.  It seemed she was feeling pretty good!

We were sure we were going to go home, but we had to wait for our doctor.  We saw him at 11:00. 

Then, we were back where we started; waiting again.

Finally, we left the hospital at almost 1:00.

All in all we had an EXCELLENT experience during our 28 hour surgery and hospital stay.  The surgery staff were all so taken with Graceanna.  Our nurse anesthetist even went up to the pediatric floor to get some bubbles to blow while we all waited.  She stood with us and blew the bubbles!  I felt like our anesthesia doctor had a soft spot for Graceanna too.  He was so thoughtful and thorough.  While we were watching her sleep in the recovery room, he came by every few minutes to check on her.  The night nursing staff was so kind as well.  They really wanted Graceanna and me to be comfortable.  The day staff started out by annoying me as soon as we got to her room.  They told us that they would not give her pain medicine unless we noticed she was in pain and asked for it.  Which is just STUPID.  If she’s in pain, we’ve waited too long!  So, I asked to know how it was prescribed and made a note to ask for it at those times.  The key to healing from this surgery is to drink, drink, drink.  If she was in pain the first thing she would do is stop drinking.  There were several other irritating things and things that just seem plain crazy to me about that particular nurse, but thankfully everyone else was so wonderful.  The best surprise was that I didn’t have to hold her while they tried to start her IV.  They took her to the OR, let her breathe the gas, and then put in her IV.  YAY!!!