Monday, January 03, 2005

All In All, A Good Day

My birthday was lovely. I woke up about 8:30, and T. was already cleaning up the kitchen from last night's black-eyed peas and greens dinner. I played with the baby a bit, and went upstairs to go online until breakfast, which he made for me. I then took a three-hour nap. I woke from my nap to play with the baby while watching the Packers beat the pants off the Bears (thanks, boys!). I then went online until T. was ready to go with me shopping for an entertainment center for the new stereo system he is buying me for my present. We didn't find what we wanted, but that's ok. I came home first, and went online while Peanut napped. She woke up when T. came home, and then my mother arrived to babysit while we went to the bookstore to wander around and spend all my birthday money. An unbelievable luxury, to have a babysitter while I look at books. Came home, put Peanut to bed, and spent the next few hours reading about wine and practicing reflexology on my own feet (T. would have done it, but he was so enthralled with the book I got him for Christmas, that I didn't want to distract him). A wonderful way to spend the day. I have to wonder, though, when I became the kind of person my oldest friend would think of when she saw soft, fuzzy, blue socks for sale (thanks Nic!).

I can't sleep right now, though, because I started thinking about Peanut's surgeries coming up. It is one of those things that you wish would never ever happen but if it has to you wish it would happen right away so you can get it over with. I feel bad because we never got a second opinion like you are always supposed to, and I feel like I don't know nearly enough about what is going to happen and why this is the way it is going to happen. I didn't do the second opinion because it would have been such a big deal to work out with the insurance and everything, and with T. gone all week every week it was just too much, just too much for me to do with everything else. I'm just hoping I haven't shortchanged her, that another doctor wouldn't have done this sooner so she'd be done with everything by now, or had some other better way of handling this. I was feeling ok until I met another mom whose daughter had the hip surgery, at 7 weeks old. I had been told Peanut would have to wait until she was at least a year old, but this woman's doctor told her that he didn't want to wait very long because it would be better for her to have it functioning early. Neither of us can figure out what the difference was in the situations--they have essentially the same defect in their hip. So now I'm wondering if we did the right thing by waiting, and I am stressing myself out even more.

The final appointment before the surgeries is this Thursday morning (7:45 am! What was I thinking?), and I will try to get most of my questions answered then. I am writing the list down as they come to me, and I'll be studying the anatomy of the foot and leg this week so that he can tell me specifics (many of you don't know this, but I am kind of a freak about anatomy and the human body and love nothing more than to pore over pictures of the muscles of the hand or lower leg--I would totally have a poster of the bones and muscles of the body up on my wall like at my massage therapists if T. wasn't completely freaked out by it. My favorite part of EMT class was cadaver lab, and I have a book about forensic skull reconstruction. Peanut will have an interesting education in our bookshelves).

I am asking a favor of my (few) readers. The only surgery--in fact the only stitches-- I have ever had (other than opening my blocked tear duct when I was an infant and my wisdom teeth removal and they don't really count) was the C-section I had to get Peanut. She had an outpatient surgical procedure in May, where they put her under, but she was out and home 6 hours after we brought her in. I don't have any experience with surgery other than that, much less surgery on babies. Anyone have any suggestions for me about what I should ask about? I mean, at this point I still have to ask what the names of the surgeries are and how long she'll be in the hospital each time, so that's how basic I am talking about. Any other time I think I could do this reasonably, but I can't think clearly right now. At the bookstore, I picked up a book for parents of disabled children, and opened it to a comment by a parent whose child was in a vegetative state after being given the wrong anesthetic during a routine surgery at the age of 1, so that is where my mind is when I think about this whole thing. I'll be given some basic information about the children's hospital, and I know I can call them with questions, but I don't know what to ask, other than can I sleep there. I know that Anna has some experience with this, and Jen's daughter was in the hospital for a while (though not for surgery). Any thoughts from you two, or from anyone else? Please?

Sorry to be such a bummer but I think I am PMS'ing and that's why this is causing so much anxiety right now this minute and that's why I can't sleep...


Jen said...

One thing I learned from our hospital stay and all the other emergency room visits, is one major truth. Your instincts are usually correct. If your motherly instinct tells you that a particular nurse or a particular procedure is not the best for your baby, you have the full right to stop it, ask questions, or even ask for a second opinion. For example, a nurse in the ER tried 3 times to start an IV on my extremely dehydrated daughter. She had blown the vein in her right arm, left arm, and right leg. When I saw her eye her left leg. I grabbed my daughter off the table and refused to let that nurse touch her again. She was PISSED, and said that another nurse would not be available until shift change to start that IV, and I said OK. We waited until 4AM (another 2 hours) for another nurse to arrive, and he got that IV started in about 3 minutes. If that moron of a nurse had blown that last vein, we would have been in big trouble. She was obviously a lousy IV starter, and was ready for her shift to end. It did not concern her that my little baby was screaming her head off and I was bawling while she stabbed my daughter over and over again.
I am not saying that everything the doctors tell you is going to settle well with you, but you know what I mean. Her little voice cannot be heard yet, so you have to stand up for her. Basically act as if it was you in her place. Would you let a nurse try a third or fourth time to start an IV on you? Hell no. Would you let a student anethesiologist start your drugs? Hell no. You have the right to ask about who your anethesiologist is, and what his track record is. Usually, your doctor will personally know and have worked with the person that will be putting Peanut under.

Don't worry about the timing of the surgery. Who knows why that other doctor performed the surgery early. Maybe it is a new view, or maybe your surgeon has seen problems with performing the surgery too early, and there are no side effects to waiting. Besides, Peanut is stronger now, she can probably deal with the anethestics and the recovery better now than when she was only a few pounds.

Get your sleep, hug your baby, and just relax. Getting all crazed now is not going to help you at all. Email me with the exact surgery dates once you know for sure. As always, you and Peanut are in our thoughts.

stephanie said...

As it happens, one of my godsons had surgery for a lump on his hip when he was little- bigger than your Peanut, I think. I can tell you how to fight to get insurance if you're uninsured, but other than that, the biggest ordeal was when they put him under. Someone had to go with him him, and hold him down while they put him under. I cried the whole time... that part was real hard. That and the waiting.

J. said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I don't have anything to offer you as far as children advice goes. I had surgery last February via laparoscopy (3 tiny incisions made in my belly that they worked through). I researched everything on the Internet. I wasn't afraid to ask the doctors questions pre-surgery. I wrote everything down, sometimes calling the doctors 2-3 times a day with additional questions.

Just make sure you have adequate emotional support. Your hubby or someone close to you. I don't know you, but I care. ((hugs))

elswhere said...

I'm sorry Peanut has to have surgery. Our girl had her tonsils out last April. Mostly it went pretty well, but there are a few things I wish I'd known about, or known to ask about:
1) At the hospital we went to, they send the parents away during surgery and beep them using pagers after the child wakes up. This meant that our daughter didn't have us there when she came out from the anasthetic. We came right away, but that was still really hard for her and for us. I still don't know if there's a good reason for this. If I had to do it again, I'd ask if they could page us as soon as she came out of the operating room so we could be there for her.
2) More about the anasthetic. I don't know if this is something to ask about, or just something you might want to be prepared for: it's hard to see your kid go under. Neither we nor our girl were as prepared as we could have been. She cried and had to be held down. We cried, too, as soon as she couldn't see us. It all turned out fine, and we had the utmost faith in everyone's medical expertise, but the doctors we talked to really soft-pedaled how hard that part is. (Maybe understandably, but still.)