16 August 2012

Anchorage: Day 3

The alarm went off at 4:45am this morning, so that I would be able to get myself showered and ready and still have plenty of time to rouse Seren, get her dressed, and meet the cab at the front door by 5:45am. Poor Seren didn't want to wake up--she even told me she'd rather sleep than get her eye fixed, but minutes later, we were brushing our teeth together and she was slowly preparing herself for the long day ahead. The cab was 5 minutes early, but so were we, and we arrived at ANMC just before 6am. We waited at main registration for the morning shift to arrive, attached her admittance bracelet to her ankle (it was way too big for her wrist), and headed upstairs to the Day Surgery clinic at around 20 minutes after the hour. We had about a 15-minute wait before we were taken back to the surgery prep area, which was plenty of time for Seren to get silly with excitement about her procedure. She was given a child-size hospital gown with sleepy tigers on it, a pair of disposable slipper socks, and a mesh head covering.

Seren being silly in the waiting room

More silliness

Taking vitals before the big show
...And then the bomb was dropped.

As I mentioned previously, Seren has a bad case of trypanophobia. So bad, the mere mention of an IV to administer anti-nausea medications to counter the side-effects of the general anesthesia turned that bright and happy little girl you see above into this:
This is not the face of a happy little girl.
 She was crying hysterically and completely inconsolable before we had even been given the definitive word on the IV situation. Finally, I did the only thing a good parent can do in these situations: I lied. I hated it. It made my stomach turn to be that deceptive, but it was the only way I could get her to calm down. I said, "Let's try this. How about if the nice nurse right here [wink, wink to the nurse beside me] gets you a Band-Aid to put on your hand, right here? That way, when you wake up, if the Band-Aid is gone, you know they poked you, but if it's still there when you wake up, you know you're alright. They can't put the needle in your hand through a Band-Aid, right?" The nurse caught my drift and had a Band-Aid waiting before I even finished my talk with Seren. Seren accepted the conditions, although hesitantly, but it was enough headway to get her to take a dose of Versed to calm her down enough to take her into surgery. Another 20 minutes went by and she was singing nonsensical songs to the stuffed animals the nurse gave her to hold. And then she was wheeled away.

My next stop was the cafeteria. I certainly wasn't sitting around in that waiting room on an empty stomach.
Egg-A-Mooby-Bagel, yogurt + granola, and a Mocha Frappucchino
After breakfast, I headed back upstairs to the waiting room and well, I waited. I made a good advancement on the book I brought, while checking the flat-screen monitor with patient updates regularly between paragraphs. At nearly 10am, her doctor appeared before me.

"She's all done," he said, then went into an account of the details of the procedure. Apparently, she did very well while on the table and everything went swimmingly until the doc lost sight of the end of the tube. He explained that this wouldn't have been a problem, except that the tube could not be recovered while in the tear duct, so it had to be removed and he had to start over with an endoscope. Again, this wouldn't have been a problem, except that the doc rarely uses the endoscope and so he is relatively unpracticed at directing it through such small areas. So the on-duty otorhinolaryngologist was called in to supervise this part of the procedure. It is not known where the end of the tube mysteriously disappeared to, but it is known for certain that no damage was done. However, the meticulous use of the endoscope lengthened the estimated time of the procedure significantly. A small price to pay for a job well done, in my opinion.

A few minutes later, I was called into recovery to see Seren. But she wasn't there yet. So I sat and waited, camera in hand, so you could see this picture:
Also not the face of a happy little girl
It was explained to me that Seren's needle phobia continued into her unconscious, anesthetized state and she, apparently, woke up in a screaming panic. The nurses said they had never seen a child with that severe of a phobia. They told me they were stunned by her reaction and heartbroken that there was nothing they could do to calm "such a sweet girl," so they called me in early, so that she could cuddle up with me as soon as she came out of the operating room. She was only awake enough to curl up into my lap after the nurses handed her to me, but immediately passed out cold for another hour.

While she was sleeping, one of the nurses helped me take the IV catheter out of her hand and place a fresh Band-Aid over the place where the first one was taken off.

When she woke up on her own, she did it far more peacefully than when under the anesthesia. She slowly regained her motor skills and got her feet underneath her, before we carefully made our way to the cafeteria for her to eat the first food she'd had since pizza last night, a banana. By the time the banana had been reduced to a slippery husk, she was wide awake, chipper, and talkative. She had also discovered the needle mark under the Band-Aid on her hand.
"Those tricky people!" she said. "They poked me through the Band-Aid!"
"Are you okay? Does it hurt?"
"No, I'm fine. But that was very tricky."

I packed up some extra food and some Jell-o from the cafeteria to take back to the hotel with us and we took the first shuttle back. Seren immediately took a shower, changed into her pajamas, and finished a container of Jell-o. Then we just relaxed and watched tv for the rest of the evening.

I did get an important call this afternoon, though. Since Seren's surgery went so well, her post-op appointment was cancelled for tomorrow and we will be flying back home first thing in the morning! Since we have to be up early for our 8am flight, we will be going to bed soon. But first...

Thank you for all of the love and support we have received this week. Seren was so happy to read the comments, emails, and text messages from all of you. It meant the world to both of us.

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