Monday, March 7, 2016

SOLSC - Needles and Balloons and Stitches

 It's March - Time for the month long Slice of Life challenge thanks to Two Writing Teachers.

(The conclusion of the saga that left of here.)

The pediatric nurses were great! They got her talking about other things, put a numbing cream on her hand, and promised her the ability to call 'stop!' at any time. She looked at some more pictures of her young self on the iPad and then it was time. 

She didn't want to look at the iPad so I looked in her eyes (shielding her face so she couldn't peek) and though she wasn't excited about it, she allowed them to hold her hand still. I couldn't down from ten, hoping it would be enough. As I reached four, the nurses joined in. "Phew!" I thought. I hadn't guessed incorrectly. When it finished G said, "It really hurt!" I asked her why she didn't say, "stop" and her reply was, "It was too fast!" :)

She was fascinated as she watched her blood be collected and relieved that it was over. We headed back to our room, tucked her and her abaya length hospital gown into bed with her fuzzy blanket and requested stuffed animals. The little boy, maybe 18 months, in the bed next to us kept having his mom pull the curtain open so he could see us. G wasn't sure she could fall asleep with him talking, but I knew it wouldn't take long. It was about 10:30 p.m. - sleep would over take her soon.

As she slept, I updated Facebook and What'sApp, sent a few iMessages, and thought about napping myself. My migraine was still hanging on, but I crawled into her bed with her where I would know any time she moved. I wanted to make sure she didn't pull her needle out, as that would be essential very soon.

At a quarter 'til one it was time to head to the OR. They transferred her to the bed for the journey through the hospital with the room nurse tucking her in snuggly under the hospital blanket. Upon arrival in the OR prep room they removed the blanket to transfer her to yet another bed, only to find the blanket had been so snugly wrapped that the needle came out when the blanket was removed. 

HUGE sigh. Needles were the challenge in the ordeal and now we needed to put another one in. I am VERY thankful I hadn't let the 'no admittance' sign slow me down. Tears and hugs and more numbing cream. The surgeon wanted to put the needle in, but due to the delay he wanted to take her into the OR to do it. They started to wheel her away from me, to an even more restricted area. THAT didn't go over well with his patient.

Once I had her calmed down again, and reminded her how quickly it had happened last time, we tried the same procedure; her looking into my eyes, a nurse holding her hand, and the surgeon attempting to slip in the needle to the vein on the back of her other hand. I counted again. She cried again. I got to zero only to realize that there was no needle in, or even close. 

We tried again on the back of her hand. Not successful.

Then he tried the crook of her arm with the same results: no needle.

Crying and talking about how much it hurt the entire time. The poor girl is exhausted emotionally and physically. It is 1:30 in the morning, for goodness sakes! I again ask what I have been asking all along - isn't there a way to put her out before any needles?

After some consulting back and forth in Arabic they agree that, yes, it could be done. ("WHY NOT AT THE START?!?!" I shout, inside my head...) 

They wanted to take her into the OR and have her blow into 'the green balloon', which would knock her out, and then insert the needle and do the surgery. After the complete breakdown we had the last time they tried to wheel her away without me, I ask if they can bring the balloon to where we are. They (two surgeons and three nurses) say they will ask, but I am already breaking many rules by being where I am. I offer to put on scrubs, shoes covers, hair net, etc. to go with them for a minutes, but they assure me there is no way that would be permitted. I persist. They say they will call the chief surgeon, as they would need his permission.

We wait some more.

During this time one of the nurses, who happens to be a friend/co-worker of the wife of a friend/colleague of ours (follow that?) is talking with G, doing a great job of building rapport and putting G at ease. All of a sudden everyone is all business, sitting up a bit straighter, speaking very professionally, as an oder gentleman enters the room. He and I speak briefly. He tells G that he wants her to go with him and try and blow up his green balloon two or three times. I encourage her to see if she can blow it up five times. As it becomes apparent that they are trying to take her to the OR to do this, I challenge G to see if she can do it and then tell me all about it. She hesitates, whispering to me that she had a hard time blowing up a balloon one time. I promised her that this balloon is different, it is easy to blow up - even a four year old can do it. The nurse talks to her more about the balloon and to my shock (Thank You Lord!) as they start to wheel her away, she doesn't even flinch.

I sit down to wait, but am told I have to go to the waiting area. When I point out I have no idea where the waiting area is, I am told I can go back to the room and they will call the nurses' station there as soon as they are finished. I begrudgingly leave the room, but wait in the corridor - sure that I will soon her the piercing screams of my child.

Oh! I forgot to add that my daughter is a red head (though she would tell you it is 'orange') and red heads are notorious for having a different reaction to pain and anesthetic. I tried to say something to the anesthesiologist, but she may very well be the first red head they have ever seen and this was totally lost on him. Another reason I am waiting to hear the anguish of my child.

After ten minutes of waiting, praying, sending some updates, and exchanging a few messages I realize that either a) I won't hear the screaming from here or b) there won't be any screaming. I also realize this may not be the route they will return by so I head back to the room. Or at least I try. 

I quickly realize that there are release buttons on the inside of each set of doors, but now I am on the outside of the pediatric ward and no way to get in. I pound. Nothing. I pound some more. Nothing. I wait and then pound even longer. Nothing. Eventually someone happens to wonder out and I am able to enter.

After chatting with the nurses for a few minutes, (telling them the story about the needle coming out and how I told the surgeon that the pediatric nurse had done a great job and then asking if they could get her to do it again...) The phone rings and the message is passed on that she is in recovery and I can go to her.

It turns out she wasn't quite in recovery, but I was there when she was wheeled into the room. She was completely out, but when I spoke to her she tried to open her eyes. After a few more minutes she asked me when they were going to do it. I assured her it was all finished.

From here it is a normal tale of recovery room time, slowly trying liquids to ensure there aren't adverse effects of the anesthetic, sleeping, and waiting for discharge. This includes the normal, for here, parts of 'quick' being four hours; dad having to come sign the papers; dad having to do the driving; dad having to make the follow up appointment, etc.

She had slept soundly for about four hours, but was happy to hear food had arrived and sat up as soon as the nurse set down her tray. Since we had been told we were being discharged, Daddy headed our way. After his arrival he was told to go to work and that they would call him in about four hours when we were actually ready to leave (we were waiting for something from the pharmacy to get brought upstairs). G was not happy with the delay as she wanted to be home. Right after this the boy next to us was peeking at us again and I looked at his intake date, posted on the wall above his bed - January 30th. When I shared that tidbit of news with G she didn't complain again. Perspective. As unpleasant as parts of this had been, for both of us, we were only 15 hours from when it had all started and the end was very much in sight. We are still praying for little Mohammed and hope he is able to go home soon.

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