Thursday, November 5, 2009

It Never Gets Easy

Randy's shunt revision went well. His follow up CT scan looked good and they are just observing him and giving antibiotics to prevent infection. If all goes well, we'll be heading home tomorrow or Saturday.

Despite having gone through this with him almost a dozen times, it never gets easy. I know what to expect, but it does not get easier. In fact, the two revisions this year have been more difficult than the 8-10 last year. I think that we had time for the dust to settle and got a taste of "normalcy" where as last year the surgeries were back to back to back; there was never anytime to let your guard down so I got used to operating in the "crisis mode".
It never gets easier to hold him down while they stick him over and over to try and draw blood. I took Randy to one of the satellite locations to get him blood drawn Tuesday evening. This location is about 30 minutes away, whereas the main location is more like 50 minutes away. We went at about 7:00p after work, therapy, and dinner. They were sooo kind and it was virtually empty. I warned the phlebotomist that he was a hard stick. She took her time to find a vein, and then got a colleague to help. She got blood on the first stick!!!! Then the vein blew. The amount of blood she drew was not enough to run any test. The guy helping her went to the other arm. He looked for a while and tried a vein; no blood! She then went to the ER department to get a nurse so that they could give his feet a try (the phlebotomist are not allowed to stick in the feet). Two nurses came. They searched and searched and gave it a try; no blood. Meanwhile, Randy is screaming and crying and babbling and looking at me with pleading eyes. They sent us away with a note telling the main hospital that they could not get the blood and to draw it in the operating room. Does it ever get easy?
We arrived at the main hospital at 9:00a for surgery that was "tentatively" scheduled for 11:00a. Randy was basically considered an "add-on" because the OR schedules fills up rather quickly. They do save a few spots for emergencies though. He was not allowed to have anything to eat or drink after 3:00a. So mommy set her alarm for 2:30a to feed him. I gave him bowl of oatmeal, which he devoured, and a bottle, which he refused. He then proceeded to talk and play in his parents bed until 5:00a. Lucky for us, he played by himself. We dozed and at 6:00a it was time to get up. I had to give him a full bath in baby shampoo and put him in clean garments. He was sleepy; I was sleepy. Does it ever get easy?
So we are waiting patiently in the pre-op area. He wants to play on the floor; that grosses me out. The nurses ask a million questions that I have already answered a million times. They were nice though. They got toys for Randy and a blanket for the floor so he could play. He was really good as 11:00a came and went, 12:00 came and went, and 1:00p came and went. At 1:00p he finally passed out only to be awakened at 1:15p to go to surgery. He was a big brave boy as we kissed him goodbye to be taken to the operating room. Does it ever get easy?

Pre-op with Grammy

And then you wait. You eat because you are not sure when you will have the chance to do so again. You use the restroom. You update family and friends. But mostly you wait. You wait in this room with TV's that no one is really watching; with magazines that no one is really reading. Does it ever get easy?

You talk to the doctor and he tells you all went well. He tells you that he will monitor your baby and you thank him. You wait to go to recovery to find a groggy, whiny baby. He is loopy from the anesthesia, but is also cranky from it. Sometimes he is nauseous or crying. You hold and soothe and try to get him to drink so that you can move to your room. Does it ever get easy?

Post-op; recovery

Remember those questions you answered in pre-op; well you answer them again when you get to the room. There a luxurious looking pull out chair for you with sheets. The PCA's and nurses check out your child and ask you if you need anything (how about waking me up because I hope I'm dreaming). Then they leave and say "get some rest". And every hour someone is leaving and repeating "get some rest". Does it ever get easy?

I know for me it has not gotten easy. But I do thank all the doctors, nurses, child life specialists, PCA's, interns, phlebotomist, x-ray technicians, transport persons, cafeteria workers, and other parents who certainly make it bearable.

Day after surgery. "Look at my bald head!"


  1. I'm so glad that surgery went so good! I love the picture of Randy with his bald head! They look so different without hair! You are such a strong mother! People can look at Randy and see what all you do for him because of how well he is doing!! Don't ever give up!

  2. You are too sweet. I know you get it too. Keep working hard with Marley Man.

  3. Thanks so much for updating us, Tiffany. Praying so hard for you and randy to get some peace. I know you are very very strong, both of you, but i just wish for long stretches of peace for you too.