Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Colin's surgery

This very early morning (5:30am) the four of us woke and battled through the snow up to the hospital in nearby Alliston to have day surgery done for Colin. Since birth his tear ducts have been blocked - which means his eyes get gummed up with mucus a lot. Sometimes it is to the point that he wakes in the morning with his eyes glued shut and we need to wipe them with hot water so he can open them. The doctor had hoped it would naturally correct itself, as it does in most cases. However, by the age of two it is very unlikely that it will improve further, and so we were sent for this surgery.

Because a patient having general anesthesia cannot eat or drink for 12 hours before, children are usually booked early in the morning. So after checking the weather and road conditions (snowy, but not icy) and shoveling out for half an hour, we loaded a sleepy, pajama-clad Colin and sleepy Caleb into the car and headed out.

We arrived before the main doors were even open, and silently thanked whoever put a tv in the patient waiting room. After convincing Colin at home about how fun it would be to get to wear his pajamas out, I had a hard time getting him into the hospital gown. He looked so tiny in that blue and white stripped covering as he paced around in his socked feet.

Colin was completely enthralled with all the "beeping" machines that took his weight, temperature and blood pressure. Each stage of the whole event we turned into a type of game, trying to entice him into the necessary steps for him to take. Generally, I had to go first, to show what was going to happen, and then he very trustingly would follow after.

When they finally called him, James took him halfway down the hall, where they whisked him away without any ceremony or goodbyes - probably for the best. And then the waiting game began. I had brought a few things to occupy myself with, but let me assure you, one has very little focus while your son is in surgery.

After what seemed like hours, but was probably no more than one, the nurse came to get me to be there when Colin awakes. "They can be a little unsure when they wake up," she said. 'A little unsure' was a complete understatement! I got halfway down the hall and I could hear hi screaming the hospital down! When I entered the recovery room a nurse was trying to hold him in her arms has he wiggled and squirmed and screamed. Colin hates to be restrained against his will, and his will usually is not to be held. As he was only just waking, though, he couldn't stand on his own, and so had to be held. He was transfered to my arms, and I spent the next 15 minutes trying in vain to get him to settle. We were then moved to the group recovery, where he continued to be nearly unmanageable. (I felt bad for the other patients waking to that kind of noise!) The nurse reminded me that part of the surgery involves spraying salt water in his nose, and explained that it feels much like when you're in the ocean and a huge wave gets water up your nose. So I understood his discomfort a little better. After another 15 minutes, I remembered I had, with my keen mother's sense of what's good for us, packed our new portable DVD player. Colin let his protests be known, but I put on a movie anyway and just let it play. Although he didn't completely settle for another half hour, he at least stopped kicking and screaming, and simply held onto my neck tightly as he watched. Once he stopped crying, he firmly announced "Want something to eat!" (That is apparently much like my grandfather (Poppy), who would ask for a steak sandwich after his surgery!) He had no interest in trying a popsicle, but gobbled up a blueberry muffin.

The surgery was partly successful. One eye was completely cleared, while the other only partially. The surgeon has instructed us to see how that eye goes over the next three months, after which we can decide if they should try the same procedure again, or if something a little more invasive is needed. Then he instructed us about the eye drops Colin needs in each eye, 4 times a day for the next ten days! (Clearly the surgeon hadn't seen/heard Colin's fit post-surgery! I don't think he'll ever let us near his eyes again!) Colin's eyes and cheeks were a little puffy, and there was a few tiny drops of blood, but other than that he recovered completely within that hour following the surgery. He was coaxed into his boots and coat on promise of a visit to the Playplace at our local McDonalds, and a hamburger and french fries for lunch.

On returning home, he was treated to a new gift James and I picked up for him - a brand new train set! His previous one has been broken for a few weeks, and the track was being held together by superglue, and so we thought this would be an appropriate time to buy a new one. His little green eyes lit up and that grin stole slowly across his face when he came upon it all set up in his play room. Priceless, pure joy.

Well, we're all glad the ordeal is over. We'll be praying hard that his second eye clears up on its own - I doubt we'll ever be able to convince Colin to set foot back in the hospital for a long, long time!

Thank you to all who have been thinking of Colin and keeping him in your prayers throughout this event. We certainly have felt of your love and concern for him and us. You may never know just how much your support has meant to us during this time. We are blessed to have so many friends.

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