Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dash's ear tubes -- done!

Hey, it's been a week since he had his tubes surgery, but I haven't had any spare time to post. Dash was a real trooper for the whole ordeal. We had to get up super-extra early on a foggy, dreary November morning and Dash didn't have any food at all since Midnight (about 8 hours total). He really didn't complain about it, though! He slept through the 45-minute drive to the surgical center (we had to be there at 6:30 a.m.) and while we waited in the lobby, he was well-distracted by the large fish tank, full of exotic fish.

They brought us to a consult area around 7 a.m., where Dash had to change into an awful, awful, get-it-off-me-now bright-yellow hospital gown and he continued to yank on it until he was taken into surgery. I had to put on a full bodysuit made of some kind of synthetic FedEx-bag-style fabric, plus a hair cover and a face mask. After a brief consult with the anesthesiologist and Dash's surgeon (including more papers to sign), they then took us to a secondary waiting area just for children, with a play area and lots of toys. All the other kids in the playroom got stuffed bears from their doctors, but I guess we didn't get one because Dash already had a bear from home? Whatever.

Dash was called for his surgery around 7:45 a.m. and I carried him in, put him down on the hospital bed. The nurses asked what name they should call him when the anesthesia wore off, so he would hear something familiar, maybe comforting. They asked me to hold his arms out of the way and try to comfort him while the anesthesia took effect (through a face mask), and then announced, "he's asleep!" which was, apparently, my signal to leave. So after a confusing couple of seconds, a nurse offered to guide me back to a consult room. I waited for about ten minutes while furiously typing text messages to family and friends to keep my mind off the surgery, when another nurse came to get me because Dash was done!

When he and I reached the post-op room, he was very disoriented and screaming, with eyes closed. But he quickly came out of it and let me know that he wasn't interested in sitting around. I carried him around the room while he stoically watched the other children scream. I was pretty proud of him for being the first child to settle down! One of the nurses offered Dash a drink, which he refused. Instead, he had noticed the refrigerator behind the nurses' station and pointed. And pointed again. I walked him over there and asked the nurses if we could come back there so I could figure out what he wanted. A nurse looked at him sweetly and asked, "honey, would you like some crackers?" She reached into a cabinet and grabbed a two-pack of saltines. With his treasure in hand, we went back to our seat and he stuffed entire crackers into his head as quickly as possible. I tried the water again, nothing doing. He made the :more: sign at me and pointed directly at the sad, empty, plastic Saltines wrapper. Verrrry clear, this one is! He ate about ten more Saltines (I swear!) then had some water.

Meanwhile, I was given an instruction sheet on how to care for his tubes, we were discharged and on our way. He slept on the drive home and as a treat, I stopped by Krispy Kreme to get us some donut holes (and coffee for me); I hadn't eaten either, thinking that it would only taunt Dash. I had brought some work home, with the mistaken impression that the surgery would leave Dash weak and sleepy. NOPE!!! As soon as we were home, he was practically bouncing off the walls, climbing on the furniture, and pulling books off of shelves. He ate a donut hole or two with me and I barely kept up with my little ball of sunshine-energy before AJS came to relieve me around lunchtime. Dash was amazingly happy and alert!

I do think that his hearing was affected by the repeated ear infections. Just in the past week, he seems to be responding a little better to verbal cues and is imitating us a little more. Yay! Here's hoping that he'll have a few more words soon. The sign language has been a great help, but of course, we'd like him to be speaking more. His latest new word is "duck"!

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