Thursday, March 6, 2014

March 5, 2014

Boy, am I glad to cross this day off my calendar, along with the big, bold letters, "KALLAN'S SURGERY." This day has been looming over our heads for so long. Even before the surgery was scheduled, the possibility was always there, the potential for any day to be THE day.

We arrived in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, and the worst thing about the whole trip was that the pool at our hotel was closed for renovations! Wah! So we went to the mall next door, and played at the play area with Kallan before meeting up with friends for dinner. Authentic Mexican food: delicious. Catching up with old friends: much needed.

We got Kallan to bed a little later than we had hoped, and then we watched a movie on our computer and attempted to do everything in complete darkness to not wake her up. But later in the night, we purposely woke her up twice to eat. Poor baby had to fast before her surgery!  We woke up, packed up, woke Kallan up, changed her diaper, and checked out. The roads in Ann Arbor were empty. But filled with an astonishing amount of potholes. They really need to do some road maintenance over there. Anyway. We got to the hospital at 6:20 am and got checked in. We had barely been sitting down for five minutes when we got called back to pre-op. We were given a little gown for Kallan to wear. It was blue, which did not help the nurses and doctors to NOT mistake her for a boy. Poor girl.. (Kallan is a girl's name, I swear!)

I knew the hospital was large, but I was surprised to see how many children were there that morning, at that time of the morning even. It made me think of how lucky we were to just be there for a relatively simple eye surgery. How many parents were there for a second.. third.. fourth time with their child? So many parents with hands wrapped tightly together. So many babies and young kids clutching a favorite animal or blankie. I remember looking around the waiting room and making a mental note to be thankful for the good health of my kids and that they have lead lives with little or no medical complication. I'm by no means saying that Kallan's surgery was without risk or fear of complication, but it could be so much more difficult and darker and scarier. And all of these families are in such expert and capable hands. Just another thing to be thankful for.

But back to the events of the day. Kallan was really antsy the whole time because, well, that's just the way she is. She also saw a lot of other kids and babies, and since she is obsessed with babies, it was hard to keep her in our little area. She kept running off yelling, "beebee! beebee!" To which we always answered, "Yes Kallan, there's a baby. Yes there's another baby." We saw nurses, nurse practitioners, and doctors, and at this point I can't remember exactly who was who, but they all asked a million questions a million times.  Kallan started getting really upset about having her vitals checked. But soon, things got underway. She was given a "pre-med" to make her sleepy before they took her back and gave her the anesthesia. She snuggled and hugged me so much, and when I found out it was time, I burst into tears. Our anesthesiologist had told us that if she wasn't that sleepy, we would be able to go back with her until she fell asleep. But apparently, his boss, who came up afterwards, did not agree, and she did not let us go back with her, even though she still seemed quite awake. Imagine this... you hand over your baby to a doctor. Nurses gather around you, assuring you that she is so groggy and has no idea what is happening. Your baby looks at you, reaches for you, and says "Mommy!" before the operation doors close. That is what happened, and that is the only part of the day I wish had gone differently. Apparently, there is some procedural rule that parents can either go back with their kids to get the anesthesia OR they can have the pre-med first, without the parents coming back. I wish they had been a bit more flexible on this, but I'm not a doctor, I don't know the reasoning so... moving on!

We walked what felt like a million miles to the cafeteria and had a much needed breakfast. Then we waited. The surgery was not long, maybe 45 minutes. Our doctor paged us for "consultation," which had me panicking like the crazy mama I am. But she just brought us in to say, everything went perfectly, it was a "textbook case." Then we had to wait until Kallan started waking up to go in and see her. I'm not sure how long this part was....because I took a nap.

Our pager buzzed, indicating that our sweet patient was finally waking up. We could not get back to her fast enough. When we saw her.. she was not happy. She was still very groggy, and the nurse said, likely a bit dizzy as well. So I was trying to hold her and she was flinging herself every which way. Finally she settled down some, and napped on me before I was able to feed her. Her tears were slightly pink from blood in the eye, which was a bit difficult to see. I actually had been told that her tears would be bloody by someone whose child had the surgery also. I was expecting "True Blood" style tears, so I was actually relieved that they were just slightly pink! Her voice was raspy from having a breathing tube in during the procedure, and our nurse told us that usually the sore throat is the most bothersome part of recovery for kids.

All this time, Kallan was snuggling me. She opened her eyes and looked at me and said, "Sissy?" I assured her that we would see sissy soon. "Daddy?" Yes, Daddy is here, too!

We got our discharge instructions. Goopy eye drops (that Kallan already hates) three times a day, no swimming for two weeks, Tylenol for pain. That's about it. And we were on our merry way! We were in our car at about 10:15am. Kallan ate a ton of watermelon while we were on the road, and was soon laughing and smiling like her usual, chipper self! Her eyes were quite red in the corners, and the redness will last up to two months. In 6 weeks, we will head back to AA for follow-up. For now, we are just happy that everything went smoothly and that our little girl is happy!

Now it's just a matter of getting eye drops in and getting her to wear her glasses!

But we are hoping that she takes better to her glasses now. The problem has been that she only used one eye at a time since they were not aligned.  When she wore her glasses, it didn't make a lot of difference to her vision, so she didn't care about wearing them.  With her eye muscle loosened up some, they should be lined up, and her brain can use both eyes at the same time.  If her eyes are lined up, and she is using them both, the glasses will really improve her vision. Hopefully that will be enough for her to leave the glasses on. We will see!

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers! We are glad it's over, and hopefully she won't need any surgery in the years to come.