Your kid goes under the knife

Let’s be honest, going into surgery is one of the things on my NOT to-do list.  I pass out when I see my own blood after squeezing a zit, so you can imagine how I am with needles and hospitals.  The weird thing is, I have no problems helping people if they’ve fallen and are bleeding, but if you try to stick a needle into my wife or children, then I’ll get dizzy and unwell.  Watching horror movies doesn’t bother me either, I actually find the amusing – which in turn scares my wife for some reason.

Some examples of up-close (in your face) experiences that almost caused me to slip into Neverland.

  • When my daughter was being born, the midwife asked me if I wanted to watch – what for?  I had a quick peak, but quickly retreated and nearly slipped in some goo on the floor.  No wonder the poor woman was in pain; lemon and melon comes to mind.  For God’s sake, my wife was squeezing my hand so hard that I’m still having difficulties holding a pen 5 years later.
  • When my son was born, by C-section, the surgeon again asked the weirdest question on the planet, “do you want to watch a bit?”.  Why would I?  My wife was being pulled left, right, up and down to get my son out (C-section is not the normal out for babies I might add), not something that I want to watch up close or I would have traumas the rest of my life.
  • One of the junior doctors had to take a blood sample from both my newborn children, both times, and I nearly punched him for hurting and cutting my children, causing unnecessary pain on my kid.  He must have sensed my inner Riddick (Vin Diesel in “Pitch Black”) because he did the procedure very carefully and ran off.  I’m sure most parents feel this way too, right?
  • When I was admitted to hospital for a few hours observation a few months ago, for a minor throat infection (man flu according to my wife), I nearly passed out when the nurse inserted the needle into my arm.  She actually asked if was unwell!!  Was she for real, asking that question?  Of course I wasn’t well, but I think I managed to smile at her anyway while slowly sliding off the bed, unconscious.

Hospitals, needles and surgery is on my fear list.  There, I admit it.  I turn into a blabbering fool, start to drool and faint when confronted with the Angel factory.

But, there’s something else that absolutely breaks my heart, and that is giving my children anaesthetics before going into surgery.

The first time this happened was when my daughter had to have cleft palette surgery.  For those who don’t know what that is.  In my daughter’s case, it means that the soft part (skin, veins and muscles) of the palette isn’t connected, leaving her with a hole instead of a palette.  Nothing serious, but it had to be fixed of course.
For the record, my wife is fully aware of my hospital and blood/needle phobia.  On top of that, we had timed our second pregnancy so well, that my wife was not allowed into the operating room (OR) when my daughter’s surgery was scheduled, do to radiation in the OR.  So, who had to go?  Mr. Nerves of Steel himself!!!   We knew this day would come, since she was born, but you can never prepare yourself for this day.

She was only 10 months old and I had to carry her into the OR.  I placed her on the gigantic table, on her back, holding her tiny hands.  I could see the fear in her eyes, but there was nothing I could do.  They placed the mask over her mouth and nose, and she slowly slipped into a deep sleep.  Her grip of my hands became weaker and finally relaxed.  Oh man, what have I done?  I ran quickly outside and smoked a pack of cigarettes (all 20) in 20 minutes.  This was more than a Viking could bare – my daughter being operated on.  Bloody hell, the surgeon had bigger hands than I do, and he’s going to put them into my daughter’s mouth to fix the palette!

We were told that, during recover, she might vomit up blood, but this is normal.  Despite being told this on numerous occasions, I panicked by the first sight of blood coming up and sprinted to the nurse’s station, grabbed the first nurse I could see and dragged her backwards to my daughter’s bed, while screaming frantically “HELP!”.  Probably managed to wake most of the other suffering kids on the ward.  The other parents did treat too kindly after that incident.

Second time was when our daughter needed to have grommets inserted into her ears, which is a very simple and fast procedure.  However, the waiting game is the worst part.  This time she was only 3 years old, but at least we could explain to her what was about to happen, and she was not scared at all – her mum and dad were scared on her behalf, and a bit more.  Thankfully my wife “volunteered” to bring her to the OR and I was happy to see coming back in tears – payback time.

I had actually quit the fags at that time – silly I know – but went straight back on them that day.  The actual procedure takes no more than 40 minutes, but as parents, these are the longest minutes in your life.  We managed to get a sandwich in a local cafe, have a coffee, go for a walk and I had probably 14 fags too – all in the space of 40-45 minutes.  She recovered extremely well and fast, to the relief of my wife – I think I had been to Neverland for a few minutes, caused by fear, as I don’t remember crawling into fetus position under the bed.

Third time was when our daughter had to have grommets inserted, again.  This time she was 5 years old and fully aware of everything.  Not a bother on her, but again, her parents let her down.  My wife was, for the first few hours in the day ward, biting any nurse’s head off that stopped by our bed.  I actually had to wrench off her teeth from the male nurses right arm, when he as the 9th person, said he knew nothing about the schedule.  In fairness, my wife had good reasons to be upset, as all kids had fasted from 06.00 (am) in the morning until surgery, and NOBODY had the faintest idea when the kids were scheduled to go into OR, except that the surgeons didn’t start to work until 13.00 after lunch).  We were at the hospital at 11.00, last meal at 05.30 (am) and she came out of surgery at 15.45 – almost 11 hours with no food or water for a 5 year old child.

The funniest part of the grommet surgery, both of them, was when she was given a tranquilliser to make her relax.  Sweet Lord, that was the most amusing part.  Watching your daughter giggle uncontrollably because she wiggled her toes or could find them.  She burst out laughing if we asked her how she was doing  and when the nurse covered her faced with the blanket playing with her, she almost peed her pants.

So, now we know how our daughter will act and look like, when she is high or drunk.  Cute when she is small and she’s legally stoned, but not when she becomes a teenager, arriving drunk at the door.

My son is scheduled for grommet surgery next week, and will get drugs too, so let’s not hope he gets the munchies.  If he does, then the hospital will be in trouble, as he can eat horse in normal state, so imagine how much he can eat high.  I’m a bit apprehensive about his surgery and hope my wife will be my pebble stone to sit on (she’s too short to by my rock to lean against), when he has to get surgery.  Not too sure I’m capable of going through the emotions again, less than one week after our daughter had her surgery.

I’m amazed by other parents that go through even tougher surgery with their kids or have to spend lengthy time in hospitals.  The staff are brilliant, but it is still a hospital far away from the comfort of your own home.


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