How’s he doing?

Many of you have written or dropped a note to ask how Thane’s doing. So I figured, I’d give you all an update. For those not following along at home, Thane went to Children’s Hospital Boston for a hydrocele repair on Thursday. He was under the knife for just under an hour.

That day, we treated with alternating ibuprofen and acetaminophen, nothing stronger. He was a bit laid low that day. The next day, Friday, he was right as rain. Today, with the original dressing still on, you would never guess anything ever happened. The really hard part of this whole recovery thing is keeping him from excessive rough-housing/jumping/doing things that might split his stitches. So our regular life has more or less resumed.

Making pizza for dinner tonight
Making pizza for dinner tonight

Ground Control to Major Thane

Before launch
Before launch

Today was the day for Thane’s surgery (basically a hernia surgery with a few added complications). Last night, Pastor Rod came over with a little game of reassuring notecards for ostensibly Grey but really for me. He prayed with us prior to the surgery, and wished us well. This does give one the sense that, holy cow, surgery is tomorrow. ACK!

It wasn’t too early this morning – we got up around the usual time. The biggest difference was not yelling “eat your breakfast!” every 15 minutes. Adam and I packed our perfectly-healthy, right-as-rain kid into the car to go to surgery. Stuck in traffic on 93 South, I tried to remind myself how very, very lucky we are that our completely routine surgery would be done at Children’s Hospital – Boston one of the best pediatric hospitals in the world. (Actually, according to US News and World Reports, THE best for urology.) Thane was really quiet on the way in, just looking out the window while Adam and I chatted and listened to NPR.

The intake was uneventful. There’s a wistful look you get when you take a very healthy child into a hospital like this. The doctors and nurses see some awful, sad, horrible things and they seem to find it refreshing to watch a perfectly happy kid playing with the toys brought to him. Things really started to heat up when his surgeon arrived, with a cheerful and reassuring bedside manner. We verified that we all thought Thane was here for the same thing. After a brief clown-intermission (I kid you not – Thane kept telling them, “You look like clowns!” as they metaphorically honked their red noses), the anesthesiologist came. He leaned next to Thane and said, “Hey, I’m going on a rocket ship ride. Would you come with me on the rocket ship?” He proceeded to explain that (of course!) astronauts on rocketships have to wear masks. And sometimes they go so fast it makes them dizzy. Thane declared his intention to go to Uranus.

The entire team grabbed the successful metaphor and ran with it. I put on a scrub and hair net, and Thane and I walked hand in hand to the operating room. When we walked into the brightly lit, cold, instrument-filled room I contemplated what a good analogy the space flight was. Of course there are bright lights! (The anesthesiologist mentioned that they needed the lights because space is dark.) Of course there are complex instruments, gleaming bright! Of course there’s a big captain’s chair in the middle of the room, just waiting for Thane to pilot them all to Uranus!

Thane cheerfully sat on the chair (surgical bed), announcing he couldn’t wait. He reached for the anesthesia mask, and held it to his mouth (sitting up). They put “Boo Boo Bunny” into a captain’s seat next to him. They asked him to push buttons and squeeze things, all the while the entire assembled operating room cast shaking the table like a rocket ship taking off, making zooming noises and generally behaving like a bunch of loonies. I held his feet, and watched as the drugs took over. (He fought valiantly for consciousness, but never tried to remove the mask.) He had an increasingly goofy expression the further down he went – the further out into space. Finally he lay still on the operating table, a heart-achingly small figure with the touch of a smile still at the corners of his mouth as his surgeon leaned over his body and the door closed.

Adam and I spent an hour in a nice waiting room with free wifi while I did work (well, attempted) and he read. We discussed washing machine options. Then the surgeon brought us the good news that the procedure had been perfect, and gave us some information on what to expect. Fifteen minutes later, we were brought into the recovery room where Thane was deeply and happily asleep.

All in all, I cannot imagine how this experience could have gone better. Great team (I think I’m in love with that anesthesiologist!), great outcome (assuming we avoid infection or post-operative trauma aka rough-housing), pretty good experience. Thane was superbly behaved. And, Lord willing, in two or three weeks this will be the sort of thing you write in the baby book or no one will even remember it happened.

I do wonder, though, in that dark place of anesthesia beyond memory… did Thane go to Uranus? Did he dream of rocket ships? Or perhaps, with body and mind temporarily more separate than normal, could he see beyond the bounds of his eyes and journey to far away places? Did he, in some way, blast into space?

Ground control to Major Thane
Post op: Ground control to Major Thane

De-nial is a river in Egypt

Thane building ships
Thane building ships

Hey, so did I mention that Thane is scheduled for surgery tomorrow?

Yeah, not so much. I was in complete denial until about, oh, yesterday at 7:30 pm. (No particular reason why then, but I finally admitted that why yes! My little baby boy was headed under the knife on Thursday.) You know the reason why, a hydrocele. It’s a pretty standardish operation, but has the usual nerves associated with general anesthesia. Also, that’s the area of the body that has a lot of blood vessels, as well as some things he may find important when he grows up.

I have no idea what to expect for a recovery. Dr. Internet varies in his estimate between 2 – 3 weeks for light activity to almost immediate. I suspect Mr. Roughhousing Is My Hobby Thane will probably be hard to keep quiet past a day or two. Tomorrow morning, at some time to be determined, I will pack Thane into the car without offering him breakfast. (He will be confused. I am adamant about breakfast.) We will take him to the hospital (how lucky we are to live close to a pediatric surgical powerhouse of excellence! In this case, Children’s Hospital). We will dress him in scrubs. I have done this before, but I’m not sure it gets easier with practice. This time, he’ll understand more.

Grey is already worried. Combined with a refresher on mortality thanks to Magic, he’s worried about his brother. He would like you to know that he is a caring person, who takes care of people who need it: even strangers. He moped through class yesterday because of this, and I got a note home from the teacher. (I WAS going to tell her the day of the surgery, since I figured he’d need support then, but I didn’t plan on sending a note today.)

I know the odds, and therefore try not to worry. But I can’t help thinking about surgical mishaps, general anesthesia, infection rates and hospital-reared super-bugs. And when I lay those aside, I worry about “preschooler without breakfast waiting in a hospital waiting room for heaven-knows-how-long” and how one takes care of said preschooler after surgery, and what exactly this is going to do to our already-rather-unsuccessful potty training progress.

Ah well. There it all is. I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

Healthy for a sick kid

Thane on Saturday
Thane on Saturday

Thane is awfully healthy for a sick kid. Alternately, he’s awfully sick for a healthy kid. Something like that. After Thane’s three days of vomitin the week I was off, we had a week of general good health as I started my job. Then last weekend it was Grey’s turn to throw up. 

But on Monday when I went to pick up Thane, the nice daycare lady had a piece of paper for me to sign. After two – ahem – liquid stools a day, a kid can’t go back to the Y for at least 24 hours. So Thane was verboten to go back Tuesday. I’m having trouble remembering now if that’s when the problem really started, or if it stretched back to the weekend. Usually I would check my blog, but I periodically pretend to make attempts at taste and discretion and failed to chronicle this fascinating issue. Anyway, my patient, long-suffering husband worked from home with a constant Scooby Doo sound track in the background. Wednesday morning my husband took my son to the doctor for another issue. While there, Thane – ahem – demonstrated his digestive problems for the doctor. 

The doctor recommended immediately discontinuing all dairy products for at least a week after Thane got better. This threw us into a tizzy since 80% of Thane’s calories come from dairy products. His favorite foods are milk, cheese, yogurt, butter and bacon. (The bacon being the 20%) But the very idea of a long term dietary constraint terrifies me, so I comply. I’m not strong enough for a life without dairy, or an elimination diet. No! Thane returned to school – briefly – before being sent home again. Once again, my husband manned up to the task.

Thursday dawned with no improvement. My husband now has the dialogue memorized for all the Scooby episodes, including that one with the Speed Buggy. I called my brother, figuring hey! He’s part time! It’s totally, like, pastoral to drive 8 hours in a 24 hour period to watch your sister’s child with digestive problems, right? Anyway, he gets several dozen hero points for taking Thane today, and moreover having dinner ready for us by the time we got home.

Now I simply exist in fear. What if Thane isn’t ready to go back to school on Monday? Or Tuesday? Or ever again? I’m in week 3 of a new job. My husband has a wonderfully flexible company, but there are limits. (It’s also tough on the ol’ patience to have a three year old with a Scooby fixation while you’re working on some complicated code bug.) Ugh. Anyway, Thane is eating a diet entirely comprised of constipating foods (would you like another banana?) and I’m crossing my fingers.

Which brings me to his other issue. As I mentioned, he was taken to the doctor on Wednesday for another delicate, but unrelated problem. After long soul-searching, I think it is not TOO inappropriate (or at least no more inappropriate than usual) to tell you that we’ve learned that Thane has a hydrocele. Given his age, it is not unlikely he will need the surgical remedy, since it hasn’t resolved itself and it might lead to complications if left untreated.

So here I have a little boy who’s been sick from school several days with – ahem – diarrhea (and hey, I actually wrote it out this time because this bout has been bad enough that I have FINALLY ACTUALLY learned how to spell diarrhea!) and who probably needs surgery. And yet this kid is the least sick kid around. He’s full of vim and vigor (I almost said piss and vinegar, but that’s too close to the truth…) He’s FINE. He’s bored. And he sooooo needs to go back to school on Monday!