Whew. That was a long day. Surgery complete.
I have come to realize that when we – as adults – have a medical procedure done that requires fasting, it’s a pretty simple proposition…just stop eating, and voila! Doctors are happy and we are only slightly grumpy. It turns out that the previously mentioned equation isn’t quite so simple with infants. Since Elia was going to experience general anesthesia, they required that she not have anything in her stomach for four hours prior to the scheduled procedure. The surgery was scheduled at 9am, we had to be at the hospital at 7am, we had to leave the house at 6am, and she had to feed at 5am. Oh, and that meant that we had to position the feeding schedule to hit the goal of 5am well into the previous day so as not to go too far or too close between those feedings overnight. And all of that works out if the hospital is on time – which they weren’t, by 45 minutes. Honestly, Elia did surprisingly well and the delay was potentially at least partially our fault: unlike when you are counting spacing between regular feedings, where you start the clock at the beginning of the feeding cycle; this time they meant that we were to start the clock at the end of the feeding cycle (which was never properly relayed to us), and while they never came out and said that it was delayed because of this, there was a mention of this being a problem, which would account for 30 of the 45 minute delay.
Anyhow, weeks of anticipation, and tons of anxiety culminated when the Anesthesiologist calmly took Elia and disappeared down the hallway. The procedure was scheduled to be 60 minutes long, and as anyone who as ever waited for a surgery to be completed, it seemed to take a month for that time to pass…and every single minute that the anticipated length grew, our heartbeat mirrored in increased repetition. The reality of the situation was that the procedure went almost exactly on time, the lead Doctor was very calm and reassuring, the Anesthesiologist was outstanding, the Nurses were cool, and the Support Staff was amazing. It was only us that felt the worry and the time drag.
Elia’s Surgeon came out and met us in the waiting room to inform us that everything went exactly as expected and planned. He was able to make a small incision into her belly button, inflate her bladder, identify the remnant, tie it off at the bladder, remove the extra piece, and put her back together with steri-strips instead of stitches. The Anesthesiologist followed right at the 65/70 minute mark to tell us that Elia was already awake in the recovery area and was doing really well. We were then escorted back to be reunited, only to find her being loved and held by the nursing staff. I’m telling you – Children’s Colorado is freaking amazing.
The entire experience at the hospital – from check in to discharge – was just shy of six hours. Elia did really well, and spent most of the afternoon sleeping off the morning and the pain medication. From this point forward, there is only a follow up visit to ensure that the incision is healing appropriately…that’s it. This is something that once taken care of, will not be an issue in any way for her in the future.
And finally, finally, viral infections, respiratory illness, possible hip dysplasia, ultrasounds, and belly issues are behind us. Now, we get to focus on everything else that life gets to throw her way, and not on any lingering medical issues. It’s the first time in her life that this is the reality, and it is pretty freeing.