My son recently underwent a minor procedure to correct a hydroseal. It’s a 45 minute out-patient procedure and I don’t know all the risks and probabilities. It’s a 1-inch incision with 24 hours of down time, so I have to assume it is one of the safest surgeries going. Certainly a shoutout to CHOP doctors and nurses is deserved, as they at the very least made this surgery one of the safest and ensured a positive outcome.
I take a bit of pride in being a relaxed and laid back parent who knows the probabilities and risks; what I need to worry about and what I can safely ignore. But watching my little boy rest in an anesthesia-induced sleep, laying in that big bed with a tube in his mouth; it was nerve-wracking.
He took his merry time waking up. The nurse assured us some children wake right up and others take their time. Its all about how tired the child is and how they react to anesthesia. And honestly there was no rush, except that I wanted him awake and moving NOW.
Because until he woke up … well, this wasn’t officially over – even though it was – until he woke up. I guess in my head there was always a fear that he simply wouldn’t wake up. I’m a NICU Dad, so I’m familiar with the beeping device monitoring his PulseOx and heart rate, but a part of me still held my breath, waiting for one of those indicators to head south.
Silly, I know.
It also got me thinking how incredibly lucky I am. He was undergoing a hydroseal surgery so routine – the third in a row for this doctor on this day –it pretty much defines routine.
Not everyone is so lucky. I sat waiting for Rand not knowing how parents with genuinely sick kids do it. The lead up, the surgery, the waiting in recovery, the loooong wait to see if the surgery was a success.
Our friends’ little boy suffered from a liver disease that required not one but two major surgeries over the course of a year, including a transplant from Mom to babe. Those surgeries required two recovery periods – three if you include Mom’s recovery - where they just waited to see if the surgery would be successful with each successive recovery period more critical to the child’s survival. And that is nothing like what parents of kids with cancer go through, I imagine.
How do you go back to work the next day after your son has had major surgery that could decide whether he lives or dies? How do you concentrate on anything? How do you not just wish the next week or month or many months away so that you can know the outcome? Or do you dread every minute, knowing that it might be one more minute towards the final tick when nothing can be done?
I just don’t know how you do it and keep your life together.
So this is a hat tip to all those parents with sick kids. Keep fighting the good fight and I hope all turns out well. And for those of us with healthy kids, be thankful for them.