H.'s surgery was scheduled for 9:30 am which meant we were to be up at the hospital at 8 am. Since the hospital is about 40 minutes away, that meant dropping all the children off at the H-S Family home at about 7:20. We are not early risers. We were just a little later than the 8 am arrival time. I do not like to be late. This was probably the most stressful part of the day for me, but I got over it.
It does mean there is a little less waiting around in pre-op, so once we arrived there wasn't a lot of time to sit around and keep H. entertained and distracted. Other than our own lateness, everything else went like clockwork. H. was calm, though we still weren't convinced she understood exactly what was happening. There were a couple of moments where we thought she was telling us that this surgery would mean that the nevus on her forehead would be gone when she woke up and we kept explaining to her that it wouldn't... not this time. Do you know it is incredibly difficult to really explain to a child why they are having surgery when nothing will be different at the end except they will feel bad and have drains in their head?
H. is a trooper and was calm. Unlike K., the Versed just makes her drowsy so we didn't get front row seats to a lounge act. They wheel her off and J. and I go to the waiting room. J. does work and I knit and read. The surgery was fast, just over an hour. I love the hospital where the surgeon works; they are incredibly family friendly. The second that the post-op nurse thinks the child will be waking up, the parents are called back to be with the child. Both parents. It's great when you don't have to fight for what you want to happen.
H. did fine during the surgery and two 350cc expanders were inserted, one in her forehead on the non-affected side and one on the affected side of her head under her hair. This is a fairly large expander size, so they will be pretty enormous once they are completely filled. H. wakes up from anesthetic very slowly and she slept for a good part of the afternoon. By 4 pm, she was awake enough to drink some juice and eat a popsicle and when she had shown that everything was functioning as it should, she was discharged. Things were fine until we got home and as she was walking to the kitchen, the nausea that she sometimes experiences with anesthetic kicked in, though she was very neat about. At that point, everything just became too much and she started to cry. It is so much easier to comfort a child who is expressing emotion than one who is passively accepting what ever comes. Just so much easier. She actually yelled at the dog. I wanted to shout, "Hooray!" Because, frankly, if I were her, I would be stinkin' upset by everything.... surgery, feeling rotten, expanders, getting sick, having to do it any of it at all.
This time around, she is complaining of her head hurting more than the last time. Since last year's surgery was so much more extensive and invasive, I don't know quite what to make of it. There could be several explanations. The first is that this just really does hurt more. The doctor said that what he did last time didn't usually cause extreme discomfort, though I still don't quite understand how that could be. Next, this time around she is just more willing to tell us she is hurting which makes me sad. Or lastly, she could just be a bit more in touch with how she feels and is better able to acknowledge it. Who knows?
H. slept fine and we're back to the routine of changing drains every four hours, administering antibiotics, and making more doctor's appointments. She is pretty droopy this morning and we're actually making use of the Codeine-laced Tylenol this time. We have a quiet week, so she'll just be able to rest and recover. I know she'll feel more herself in about a week when the drains can be removed. I'm sure there is just no way you can feel quite yourself when you head is wrapped in gauze and you have tubes coming out of your head.
The other young people did fine at our friends', though everyone was exhausted by a full day of playing. HG stayed home with her two and took care of Gretel and had dinner ready for us when we all arrived home. This was a huge help and blessing. I will get all them back on a regular schedule today.
Life is never dull.