Monday, April 27, 2009

Alarm 4, Tonsils & Adenoids 0

Shawn here:

The day started at 4(:15) AM today. We had to get up early to take Nessa in to have her tonsils and adenoids removed.

Nessa has always been a restless sleeper with light snoring, and some research led Tami to suspect childhood sleep apnea. The only procedure to treat childhood SA is having the tonsils and adenoids removed (with a 95+% success rate), so we made an appointment to have Nessa examined. One quick look and the ENT doctor said "Yup, those are impressive. I can see where they'd cause sleep issues." So we scheduled a tonsillectomy, and today was the day.

Nessa was the first patient of the day, so we had to be there at 5:45. We just left Nessa in her jammies, bundled her in the car, and off we went. When we got there, Nessa got to put on the tiger jammies they showed her during our tour last week, and then she played while everyone talked to Mom and Dad. Nessa was very good and attentive during the pre-op stuff, although she did not like the medicine they gave her to make her drowsy. It also made her loopy, and she was pulling her surgery hat down over her face.

Our associate pastor came in and stayed with us during the pre-op routine, and when we had a moment said a wonderful prayer pitched right at Nessa's level of understanding. I got to accompany Nessa into the OR, just like in Rochester, and stay until she was under. That was not as wrenching this time as a year ago, but I still recommend avoiding seeing your child placed under general anesthesia if possible.

The doctor came out about half an hour later and told us that everything had gone fine. Nessa was in the recovery room for another 30-35 minutes before they paged us, so it was about 8:15 when we got to go back into the private post-op room. That's when the adventure started. Nessa was not happy about how much her throat hurt, and she did not want anything to drink or suck on. She cried her "I'm hurt" cry and pulled in on herself, making it hard to comfort or talk to her. Finally Tami got into the bed and held her, and I sang all of Nessa's old favorites to calm her down as I did when she was little. The combination of the two seemed to work, and Nessa fell asleep. Apparently I was singing a little louder than I realized, because when the nurse came back and saw Nessa asleep she said it must have been the wonderful singing that did it.

Nessa slept fitfully, waking up and crying every so often, refusing all liquids and popsicles, and then falling asleep again. At that point she sounded just like a percolator. (Yes, I'm old.) Every so often the oxygen monitor would go off, so after a time the nurse hooked up a hose and funnel that blew air past Nessa's face (much like my CPAP, but without a mask). That worked when Nessa was asleep, but it kept waking her up and she didn't like it when awake, so it was a bit of a battle for Tami, who was holding Nessa all this time. I was out of the room for part of this, getting some breakfast, making phone calls, and so on. At one point Nessa was awake long enough that we tried putting a movie in, but as soon as it got started she fell asleep again.

The nurse was getting a little worried that Nessa wouldn't drink anything or have a popsicle, and at 10:30 it was time to give Nessa more Tylenol. Nessa wasn't having anything to do with taking Tylenol orally, and after 10 minutes of trying and some increasingly agitated fussing, we gave up and let Nessa go back to sleep. A bit later the nurse came in and gave Nessa a Tylenol suppository, which went fairly easily and did not disturb Nessa. That solved that problem.

I went off again to find something for Tami to munch on and some water. We were both doing periodic Facebook updates, so some folks watched the whole drama as it played out. When I got back, Tami took off to walk around a little. The nurse came in to put a third bag of fluids on the IV. Originally they had planned to give Nessa about 1 1/2 bags, but they were worried that she wasn't getting any liquid and the anesthesiologist ordered the third bag. By this point Nessa sounded more like an electric hair clipper, and the oxygen alarm hadn't gone off in a long time. The nurse talked to the ENT doctor, and they decided that Nessa could go home about 1 PM. Finally, at around 12:30, Nessa woke up and agreed to take sips from her water bottle. That was enough to convince everyone that she could go home, and we got her out the door a little after 1:30.

We got home a little before 2 PM. Nessa seemed a little more alert, and started to watch The Little Mermaid II, but quickly fell asleep again. I went out to get more Tylenol and run a couple of other errands (including getting more movies), but when I got back Tami told me that Nessa was flatly refusing to take any liquid Tylenol. This worried us, so I took the just-purchased liquid Tylenol back and got some melt-away tablets. Nessa didn't want to take those either, but we got one into her mouth. We only wanted it on her tongue, but it went all the way down her throat. We were not her favorite people at that point.

Nessa kept sleeping, Tami kept watch, and I kept busy doing whatever else. Finally, about 6:30 PM, Nessa told us she was hungry, and she ate an ice cream bar. As I type this she has been awake for over an hour and is watching The Little Mermaid II again. We still have to figure out how to get more Tylenol into her before bed, and how to get her to drink more liquid tomorrow (the IV fluids will keep her hydrated until about noon), but she is responding like the Nessa we know and love. She's talking about what's happening in the movie, telling Tami what's going on--that's our Nessa. :-)

All in all it's been a tiring day. Tami was almost wiped out, but has come alive a little after getting something to eat and seeing Nessa revive. I'm going to crash any time now. I think it will be early to bed for everyone. We know that today will have been more than worth it in the long run, but it's scary to see your child in pain and not be able to help or comfort her. That's a pretty good definition of feeling helpless.

I want to thank everyone for the prayers, positive thoughts, and well-wishes on our behalf throughout the day. We truly felt surrounded by love and care, and Tami even said at one point that she was floating on it. It helps so much to know that others are sharing your burdens, even in a small way, and that you are not alone. Thank you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

After a day, she might find Fudgesicles welcoming.