one two!!

What a weekend! So much happened I have to break it down into parts.  I’ll start with the day Jackson went in for surgery.

  Friday morning we shuttled Em off to school, threw a few things in our bag, and headed for Cooks.  We signed in and headed up to the surgical waiting room, then to the pre-op room for paperwork and a last minute once-over of the kidlet to make sure he was ready to go under the knife.

We also got to ask all of our questions, and talk to the anesthesiologist.  I was significantly less than thrilled to learn I wouldn’t be able to be with Jacks until he was sedated.  They did say they could give him a little bit of inhaled Versed if I thought he would be scared to leave me.  To be honest, he’s never shown any stranger anxiety, but he’s also never been wheeled away from Mom on a stretcher by strange people in masks.  So for his comfort and my sanity, we chose to have a little pre-sedation chill-out meds.  

When it was time for him to go, we went to a room called “Induction”.  Only one parent was allowed, and I may owe my husband an apology for not even being willing to offer for him to go.  But he seemed to know this was something I needed to do and nodded for me to go.  The room was small, bustling with about 6 other patients, bustling with activity, yet deceptively quiet.  Because CF patients face additional respiratory challenges when undergoing anesthesia, Jackson got an extra breathing treatment while his nasal spray Versed kicked in.  He didn’t suddenly get sleepy or limp, but he stayed very calm when his treatment was over.  He has his blanket and his buddy Danger Monkey with him.   

My heart raced when the OR nurse wheeled his little crib-sized gurney in to take him away. The surgeon came to touch base with me, as I watched him my baby wheel away a wave a panic threatened to break.  But as I saw him look up at his nurse and scrunch his nose and shoulders in his favorite flirtatious pose, it swept past, I thanked the surgeon, and went to fill in the anxious family and friends waiting for word.  

The surgery itself takes only about fifteen minutes, a total of close to 45 for sedation and prep.  My husband, brother in law, mother in law and I all sat in the waiting room wondering what people in these rooms did before wifi and cell phone apps.  I recognized several other parents from the induction room and felt a little boost of solidarity as we waited for word on our children.  There was one family that stood out- the ones with no bags, no gadgets, but carrying pained looks and heavy tears.  They weren’t here because they planned to be, and I quietly counted my blessings.

After about an hour we were called back to a consultation room and met briefly with our surgeon, who informed us everything had been textbook, as expected, and Jackson would be able to take food by mouth by dinner time, and we would start using the button for overnight feeds by 8 pm.  

It took another hour for us to be called back into the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). I worried that he was having trouble waking up or having complications. We learned later that they had given him a breathing treatment and CPT and gotten some post-anesthesia mucus out of his lungs, which is very good.  When I saw him he was ‘awake’, very still and quiet, and with a glassy look in his eye that told me he was feeling no pain.  He had been given morphine for the pain and was comfortable.   Because it’s the kind of person I am, I gingerly lifted the sheets and took a look at the button and incision beneath his tiny hospital gown.  I was surprised by how neat and clean the site was.  

Because the day was a wildly busy one at the hospital, it took a few hours to get to our room.  It was also a little strange (even though we have only had one other stay here so far) to be somewhere other than the CF floor.  The nurses weren’t familiar with our routines and some of our medications, but to their credit, they went out of their way to ask us to make sure everything was right. This is why I love our hospital and care team!

Sure enough, by dinner time Jacks was ready to eat, in spite of the heavy duty pain meds keeping him comfortable, if sedated.  When Mike brought up a container of fries from the cafeteria, his little hands started to shake as he reached for them.  He devoured half the serving with no nausea or complications and was much happier with a little food in his belly.  Two hours later the nurse showed me how to prep the pump and set up the feeding, and then it was time.  I was intimidated at the idea of grasping the button firmly on either side to steady it, and wondered if I would be able to insert the extension set with the necessary pressure.  Mommy instincts say to be extra gentle with the little guy who’s been poked and opened up, but smart mom also knows not to pussyfoot about and make it take longer and be more painful than necessary.  With the right attitude and a good teacher, it was much easier than I thought, and Jackson’s first tube feeding was underway.  

Night meds were administered, J fell asleep, and Mike and I made up the sofa-bed we were so familiar with and gladly greeted the end of our very, very long day.  We were more than happy to be released by lunchtime the next day- seeing as CF stays (for lung infections, our most common type of stay) are usually around two weeks long!  As much as I love our hospital and the amazing care Jackson gets there, my favorite views is always the one in the rearview mirror.

Next: Recovering at home