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  • Writer's pictureHeidi Renee

Like Family

We walked into Children's Hospital bright and early yesterday, checking in at 6am.

The day before, one of the Day Surgery nurses had called to go over when to stop giving him solids/liquids, etc. She quickly figured out we have been through this before and seemed happy she could save her long "speech".

As we were waiting, we saw a nurse we thought we knew walk by the front desk. Jer and I turned to each other and asked if that was so-and-so. Hm. She had been the last nurse we had before being discharged after AJ's CI surgery. We checked in and again, surprised the nurse when we knew to come back out of the weigh-in area and that we'd be going to a POD.

Sure enough, we were right. We asked if it was Nurse X and were told it was. Five minutes later she was running into our room, so excited to see us. AJ looked much different than he did the last time she saw him. She thanked us for the thank you note we sent. That made my day. We had made some fingerpaint art and then cut it down to size and mounted it on cardstock to make thank you cards. As we went throughout AJ's CI surgery, I made mental notes of who was who and sent each of them a thank you note. She told us it made her day...normally they only hear about "bad things" or how things went wrong. I seriously do not think I would have survived that night without those wonderful nurses. They were AWESOME. Sure we remembered her, but she remembered us as well.

That nurse happened to be working in the surgery holding area that day so she returned to her area and his nurse for the eye surgery/circumcision administered the joy juice.

Nurse X came to take us down to surgery holding. We were in the same "slot" as we were for his CI surgery. She was seriously excited to see us again and have a chance to chat. It was so quiet. We were the only ones down there for a good 20 minutes. AJ's ophthalmologist came in and greeted us. The urology resident soon followed. Soon after the anesethiologist came around the corner...and what do you know, it was Dr. A. She also did the local for AJ's ABR. Ok, this was just getting weird! The surgery nurse came in and it was T! The same nurse AJ had for his CI surgery. Ok, he's in good hands. Dr. A beat T to the punch in carrying AJ into the OR. AJ was lounging on Dad's shoulder while all of this was taking place. We left laughing and giggling, which was relief incognido.

Despite all of the light-heartedness above, we were sure to ask Dr. A to please refrain from using a particular anti-nausea drug and go with the 2nd choice right away. We also shared his post-op experience for his CI and warned of his tendancy to hold his breath and desaturate in the PACU (Post-Anesethia Care Unit).

We went down to the new main entrance and ate in the new cafe. WOW. What a beautiful space. We floated back upstairs when I got my "itch" (signal where I become distracted and know its time to go). We ended waiting in the surgery waiting room for quite a while. We received updates on both procedures from both doctors relatively quickly after our return upstairs. All went well and we received post-op instructions.

We waited for what seemed like forever for the call allowing one of us to go back to the PACU. I took a deep breath as those automatic doors opened. AJ was already awake, and honestly looked like an airplane. He had soft splints on his arms to keep him from rubbing his eyes. His eyes were normal, heust ointment in them. We were back up in the Day Surgery area five minutes later. Huh? Ok, I kept thinking something odd was going to happen as I was carrying him.

Within 15 minutes he was sitting up, drinking juice, and playing with toys. AMAZING. A totally different post-op experience. Much much better. We were discharged and home by 12noon. He had a good rest of the day. Tired...and only tried to rub his eyes a few times. He's not a big fan of his eye drops, but what kid is? He was up and walking after his nap yesterday and did the same today. His ophthalmologist even called later that day to personally check on AJ. We went for his post-op appointment today and she was pleased with the results.

A muscle was cut in each of AJ's eyes. The incision is made in the "white" of the eye, under the lower eyelid. The muscle is cut, realigned/repositioned straight, then reattached. Dissolvable stitches are used and antibiotic eye drops are used. Quite an amazing process...that results with nothing on your eyeballs.

AJ's eyes now move together. It is the NEATEST thing. He now has better depth perception, which is the reason he was freaking out a little bit last night when staring at certain objects. His ophthalmologist also shared that he won't need vision therapy in school. YAY! We won't know the full result of the surgery for 6-8 weeks. But, his eye doc is pleased with the results and everything looks great so far.

We are so thankful that yesterday was a pleasant experience. Whether we admitted it or not, we had anxiety about yesterday. A different anxiety than what we went into his CI surgery with. We are thankful for AJ's "family", "team", "providers" at Children's. It truly is an amazing place and we are so blessed to have such a place so close to where we live. And yes, another round of fingerpainted cards will be sent out soon....

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