I spent much of yesterday with Laura at the hospital. Three years ago she had her tonsils and adenoids removed and a tube placed in each ear. The well child check up I subjected Laura and Emily to this summer got Laura a bad ear tube report and a trip to the ENT. Under the microscope one tube was slipped right out, but the other—impacted and infected.
Two weeks and a course of antibiotic/steroid later, the tube was still too painful to address. Laura had to be under anesthetic for the tube to be removed and we were scheduled for yesterday. The topic came up over the past two weeks, and Laura said she was not worried, except she wished she could be put to sleep without the mask.
It seemed totally reasonable to me that an IV anesthetic could be used for a ten year old and I told her we would see about it at the hospital. Emily went off on the school bus yesterday; I ate breakfast and took care of the cats. Laura slept in, a reasonable solution to nothing to eat or drink. Then we went to the hospital. This was not her grandma’s Children’s Hospital.
There were directions or people with directions at every corner. We rode up a glass elevator and through the glass walls and floor watched a sculpture with hundreds of moving parts . At our floor a person at the desk checked us in, and we were taken away by a floor aide who turned us over to our nurse.
The duty nurse checked Laura in, and explained another nurse, the anesthetist, the doctor, the operating room nurse and the child advocate would visit. Each would explain his role. Laura need only change her clothes to hospital pajamas and open her curtain, and it would all begin. I nudged her and whispered to ask about the mask.
“I don’t like the mask,” Laura said. “Could I have something else?” She and the nurse had a discussion about IV’s, and the nurse told her to by all means, talk to the anesthetist. More people on the list came and went, then the anesthetist. A nice fellow, with a rather strong presentation. He was deep into grape, strawberry or raspberry chap stick before Laura gathered courage to interject “Actually, I don’t like the mask,” and explained her IV wish.
The anesthetist turned his attention to me and said an IV was a possibility but the mask was his first preference. I told him it was not Laura’s. He would see if it would work out. He left. There were tears in Laura’s eyes, but not on her cheeks. She’s a resilient little girl. And, the next person in the room was the child advocate. Serendipity.
I explained the anesthetist was strongly in favor of the mask; Laura wanted a go at an IV. Laura and her advocate had quite the chat about the ickiness of the inside of the mask, plus you must breathe at least five times before falling asleep. Laura was very concerned the anesthetist would use the mask. “Well,” said the advocate, “I’m going to suit up and go in there with you and tell him you do not want the mask!”
She left and the operating room nurse came to wheel the bed away. She was a cheery nurse, chattering about the chap stick flavors, when our advocate came around the corner, dressed head to foot in a white suit. Laura hopped down to give me a hug, hopped back up and went away with her operating room nurse and her advocate.
I went back to the waiting room and read several chapters, until I was called to the recovery room. There she was, eyes lids trying to flutter awake, but failing. There was a covering on an IV needle on the back of her hand! I sat down to read some more, and the advocate came in. She leaned over the bed very near Laura’s ear and said “How did you like the IV?” The eye lids fluttered a bit more, but no sound. I tapped the advocate’s shoulder and pointed. Laura’s thumb was straight up.