Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fiona's surgery

Many of you have already read bits and pieces regarding Fiona's surgery, feel free to skip this journal if you like. I'm mostly writing it for myself, as I do not keep a diary or blog my MM journals are the best way for me to remember key events.

We had to be at the hospital on Wed. morning at 10:30. We checked in, then were herded (believe me, this verb is the BEST description of what happened) along with apx. 20 other people to the children's surgery waiting area. This room was horrible. Super loud and overcrowded, with nothing for the kids to do and soap operas blaring on the TV. The receptionist was absolutely apathetic. She refused to get off her butt for any reason. She had no PA, so every time she would call a patient only those people sitting next to her desk could hear her. Things like that are particularly annoying to me, like nails on a chalkboard. As if I wasn't antsy enough!

We had to sit in this horrible room with a hungry, thirsty and bored 3 year old for nearly 2 hours. Then we were called back to the actual hospital bit. The nurses there were very nice and helped me lose a little bit of the anger I was feeling towards the place. We had to wait again for about 45 minutes for the anesthesiologist to come check Fiona out. She had a slight cough so the first one called in a second, who called in a third.... I guess any kind of respiratory problem can be a complication with anesthesiology so they wanted to make sure she was okay. They gave her a clean bill of health and prepped her for the surgery. I got to put on the full gear (mask, head cover, gown) and carry her into the OR. I laid her down and held her hands while she breathed in the stuff to put her to sleep... It was awful, I was glad to be there for her but seeing the fear and panic in her eyes was terrible. Still she was very brave, didn't cry or move. When she was out I gave her a kiss and a nurse rushed me out.

The next hour was very nerve wracking. I broke down and cried when I walked out, it was so awful to see her lying on the table unconscious. She was supposed to be in for about 45 minutes, once that hit I started to panic, "Why haven't they called us yet?!"

After about an hour the doctor called, she did fine. She was taken to a recovery room until she woke up, then moved to a waking room, at which point Paul and I were able to join her. She was sleeping when we came in, looked like a little angel. I felt so happy to see her okay, and also so bad that I had put her through this experience.

She was groggy for a while and complaining of pain, but they sent us home anyway. Once home, she would have flair ups of pain which got worse as the day wore on. By 9pm she was screaming in pain... she also had a fever so I called the hospital. The doctor I talked to was very relaxed and kept insisting once she peed (which she hadn't yet) she'd be fine. The problem was she was refusing to go. Finally around 9:30pm I got her to more or less fall asleep on the loo and she relaxed enough to let go. After that she was much better.

Before we move on to Thursday, let me say something about how we were feeling. Before the surgery all I had told her was that she was going to go to the hospital, go to sleep, wake up and come home. Because of that she did really well in the hospital and very brave. But afterward she was traumatized. When she saw her scar for the first time she freaked. I told her it was where the doctor fixed her boo-boo and she screamed, "What boo-boo?!" Duh, she didn't even know there was anything wrong. Now all of a sudden she goes to sleep and wakes up with a scar? How horrible.

There were other signs that the experience was traumatic. She would have these flashes of panic and bursts of crying for no reason. She freaked out about getting her first dose of medicine and screamed "Not the mask!" Since then I have to keep reassuring her that "the mask" is only at the hospital.

She's been very clingy, very demanding and very frayed. It didn't help that Thursday she got slammed with a bad sinus infection which made her fever shoot up to 102 degrees and left her with a headache that wouldn't go away. She cried for 3 hours straight until I switched her from the Tylenol with codeine that the hospital had given us to plain Motrin. 30 minutes later her fever and headache were gone and she got out of bed for the first time since she came home. Friday we took her to the pediatrician and he prescribed antibiotics to get her over that hurdle.

Now she is on the road to recovery. She is still emotionally tender, in fact she had a panic attack/melt-down this morning at 6:30am because I had to go to work. She NEVER cries because I'm going to work.

Her physical recovery will also take longer than the doctor led us to believe, in fact everything has been worse than anyone made it out to be, which pisses me off. I understand not wanting parents to worry but they should be allowed to know the truth about what to expect.

I've written a lot here, I'd be surprised if anyone is still with me. Just a few last words on the emotional impact of this minor surgery:

*It wasn't minor to us. It was nerve-wracking, and it was traumatic. Not the same trauma as if, say, your child had a major accident but traumatic all the same.

*It was traumatic for Fiona. Even though she can't remember the surgery, she KNOWS that something happened to her and her psyche is affected. She's nervous and scared and I hate that.

Pffft. I'm sure there is more I wanted to note down about this, I should've journaled two days ago while it was fresh but now my brain is jelly. If anyone has read this all, thanks for listening!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pajama Rama

Saturday night was our big Girl Scout event, The Pajama Rama Skate and Slumber party. My troop has been looking forward to the event for months, it's what we raised funds for while selling cookies and the girls ask about it at every meeting. My daughter was on pins and needles all of last week, she couldn't focus on anything, she was so excited.

We met at the roller rink at 10:00pm. On the way S and I stopped at Target, to buy her a pair of her very own rollerblades. After the other leaders and I got the troop settled in, I went off to rent some skates. I probably haven't skated since I was 13 or so, I was nervous but it came back to me really quickly. From then on it was just fun! All of the girl's moms came with them, so I didn't have to worry about anyone except my daughter. We skated, played air hockey, and goofed around. At 1am they had a make-over, and at 2am was the pajama fashion show, followed by dancing until 3. At 3 lights went out and we were supposed to sleep on the rink, but it was way too loud and the girls were way too hyped to sleep!

S was actually tired and getting mad that she couldn't sleep, so I bribed her with donuts and we took off at 4am. The event was over at 5am anyway, so we didn't miss much. We came home and crashed until 11. When we got up she clearly didn't want our time to be over, as she asked me to read to her in bed for nearly an hour.

It was fabulous, we had so much fun! At one point the DJ played "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and I nearly cried, it felt like I was the 6 year old!

Normally S and I butt heads a lot, we are way too much alike personality wise! But this night was special, no fights, just lots of love to go around. I'll remember it forever.