Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Eleanor's Surgery

After all of Eleanor's ear problems, I went ahead and made an appointment at the ENT. Our pediatrician wanted to drag it out a bit longer until we met some arbitrary numbers, but Brad and I were pretty much done seeing her suffer.

The ENT took a look at her fresh-off-Augmentin ears and there was still a bunch of fluid in one. I thought I had been able to tell at least one had cleared up a bit, though, because she had started talking more and picked up a couple new words. Anyways, the ENT agreed tubes were a good idea and the procedure sounded like a piece of cake.

Then we talked about her congestion, which she has had since about birth. I feel like she has always had a stuffy nose and it has always made it difficult for her to sleep. The ENT suggested she may have chronically inflamed adenoids and that they were very simple to remove while they were already there doing the tubes. Great.

Surgery day arrived and I took her in while Brad took Charlie to school. Side note because I love this about Brad: He does not do carpool. When he gets a chance to take Charlie to school, he walks him in, chats with the teachers, hangs out in his class and usually brings some kind of show and tell for Charlie to show off. Friday it was the rocket they are building to launch at the park. Charlie was thrilled to tell me all about Daddy visiting his class when I picked him up.

Anyways, Eleanor and I got to the surgery center bright and early, got paperwork done, she was checked out and we chatted with the anesthesiologist about the procedure. We waited in the kids waiting room where Finding Nemo was on. A nurse came and took her back for surgery. I was told she would almost immediately be given some gas and go to sleep. I waited in the waiting room until they called me back.

She was upset after the anesthesia and she still had an IV in her little hand, wrapped in tape because she kept pulling at it. Her other hand was bandaged too. They couldn't get a vein in that hand. She calmed down in my lap and we laid out on the bed for a while.

(warning: slightly graphic content ahead) The nurse came by and said oh her shirt is dirty, she got sick when they pulled the tube out. Um, what tube? From her being intubated, that's what tube. Between two doctors and a gaggle of nurses, nobody had told me that would happen.

I was given instructions and ear drop prescription, which I was expecting. And an antibiotic prescription, which I didn't expect at all. There wasn't really a great explanation for it when I asked, it was to keep bacteria at bay while her throat healed.

We went home and proceeded to have three of the most painful, sleep deprived nights since she was a newborn. Screaming, crying, up all night kind of nights. Google doctor that I am, I started reading post op instructions for other clinics at 3am Sunday. I noticed a couple of things - most clinics did not prescribe antibiotics and most did prescribe something for the pain.

I called the ENT's nurse on Monday morning and asked for something to make Eleanor more comfortable. When she called back, she could not have been less empathetic or any more dismissive of my concerns. We had a tense conversation, as I apparently didn't understand my role to just nod and say thanks for her crummy advice.

The nurse (and later the doctor, who overheard our tense conversation and called me himself) insisted it was night terrors that were waking up Eleanor and if it wasn't that then it was something that had nothing to do with her surgery. Right. I asked if they wanted to see her and make sure there were no complications. I was told no, complications are very rare, she's not having complications. I mean??

I got off the phone, burst into tears, pulled myself together and began the google doctoring on the night terrors. They're rare, usually start around age 3, not evident in children under 18 months. Also, I know my child and what she is like when she's in pain. She's gone through awful reflux and several ear infections.

Where I eventually had to land in my head was that the ENT was not going to help us.  I knew my daughter was in pain and I would move on for another opinion. It was almost 5 by the time I talked to the doctor so I figured one more night of awful screaming and we'll hit the pediatrician's office.

Fortunately, we didn't have that, she slept mostly well, up a couple of times and not as upset. There's improvement there. It still kills me she had to spend so much time in pain that she would wake up screaming. But she is healing and getting better. In a few weeks the swelling around the site of the adenoids will go down and she will breathe a lot better. Until then, she has some super bad breath as it heals!

Overall, I don't feel like I was prepared for the healing process for the adenoids. The tubes are so simple and the adenoid procedure was described as simple, too. They feel night and day from each other in my head. One is simple and one is complicated. I think what he meant was "simple for HIM." Five minutes of his time to complete it.

The adenoids were very large and I do think she will eventually find a lot of relief in no longer having them. However, I have not found the process we've had to go through to get there to be something I'd want to endure again. Or have Eleanor endure again. I'll probably spend quite a bit of time rehashing in my head what I should have done differently. Once I am not so exhausted.

So on that note - Good night!

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