Monday, June 10, 2013

Number Six

Last week was my son's sixth surgery. Granted, #5 was tubes in his ears, a procedure that was fast and very commonplace.  But #6 was yet another bowel-related one, this time for a rectal prolapse--to repair a small amount of "mucosa" that stuck out his bottom. Looked a lot like a hemorrhoid, and it was constantly irritated.  Poor kid had to wear a pantyliner in his big boys so that the bits of blood and mucous didn't bleed through onto his clothes. And though he actually has really good bowel control (amazing, given that he didn't actually have an anus at birth), the prolapse got in the way sometimes of him feeling when he needed to go or when he was finished.

Wednesday, he got to do a "bowel prep". If you've ever had a colonoscopy, then you can empathize.  Instead of the "golightly", they had him drinking large quantities of Gatorade with Miralax.  This approach is apparently as effective as the golightly but gentler and tastes better. We started around lunchtime, and he got to choose his flavor of drink for each successive glass (we had like 6 different colors on hand to pick from). We played video games. We watched TV. For a good long while, he sat on the toilet and played on a tablet or Leapster.  I set up a small folding table in front of him so we didn't lose any electronics into the potty (something that has happened in the past..)

Thursday morning we arrived at the hospital at 7:15. He changed into hospital jammies, and tried (vehemently) to decline having his blood pressure taken. For some reason, those silly blood pressure cuffs terrify him (makes cardiologist visits load of fun). He told everyone who walked in the door that he didn't want any shots.  They gave him a relaxer, most of which he spit out because it tasted bad.  He got to choose the scent for the mask they would use for the gas that would put him to sleep.  The IV went in when he was already out (and it was more of a soft tube rather than a stiff needle).

The surgery went well. He slept for quite a while He was awake and ordering lunch by about 2pm--pancakes and sausage.  Unfortunately for us, he had a roommate for the hospital stay.  The other little boy had had some sort of spinal surgery and had already been there for a few days (and would stay a few days longer).  That kid was not comfortable, and frequently fussed, sometimes outright crying.  It bothered my husband and I more than it did our son. The two boys were of similar age, and they did occasionally watch the same TV show and talk a bit through the curtains.

T-man could go on "adventures" as soon as he felt up to it, and the nurse found us a sort of car-type wagon complete with steering wheel. The IV pumps can run on battery for hours, so we'd just unplug and try not to run over tubes as we explored. St. Louis Children's Hospital has a gorgeous rooftop garden that overlooks Forest Park. They also have a patient playroom. The first floor has a big ball track machine where rubber balls travel through a maze of tracks and spirals, sometimes bouncing into baskets, sometimes ringing bells. We visited it a couple of times.

I spent the night in the hospital while my husband and my mom (who visited from Indy) drove home to sleep.  There is a chair that pulled out into an approximation of a bed. It would have been better if our roommates had actually turned out the lights on their half of the room, or at least turned off the TV before midnight. My little guy fell asleep around 9:30 and stayed out all night.  I woke up about every hour all night as something beeped, someone fussed, the lights were on, a nurse came into the room for one kid or the other.

Thankfully, we came home on Friday.  T-man is doing great. He has some restrictions on activities, but nothing horrible. No tub baths. No climbing. Try to not sit straight on his bottom for too long. Be careful of the area (no itching!). For the moment he's wearing Pull-Ups, but even with his digestive system still off-balance from all the Miralax, he's continent.  So we may be back in big-boy underwear pretty fast. Ideally with no liners, but only time will tell if the surgery completely fixes that problem, or if he will always need a little extra backup.

I'm off work with him for about two weeks while he heals enough to go to summer day camp.  By the end of it, I will be out of sick days for quite a while, but that's fine.  As a happy side effect, my daughter gets a 2-week break from summer camps.  Neither of my kids have ever gotten a true summer vacation where they play outside and sit around the house feeling bored. That's a big downside to having a non-education career--I don't get summers off either. We can't go swimming or do big exercise-intensive activities. but it should still be a decent little break. And if the weather cooperates, we may get to watch our deck being built before we start back into the daily grind.

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