Monday, October 20, 2014

Addison's Surgery

I've tried to write this post no fewer than 4 times. Each time I close the tab, unable to finish. This may be partially due to sleep schedules being all wacky around here (also known as- my office hours.) Or it may have to do with how difficult it is to sum up the experience of this past week. It is behind me, and I am well on my way to blocking out the hard parts. My philosophy on being a surgery mom is- power through- just one step at a time- and then remember only what you want to remember while being overwhelmingly thankful that it is over.

For example- the bowling ball sized lump that appeared in my throat as I walked away from the operating room just having kissed my daughter's limp body goodbye before surgery- I am working to forget about that. Or the inconvenience of living on the Pediatric floor with a cranky patient along with an overly empathetic baby- I will forget about that too. The exhaustion from disrupted schedules and overly tired children- forget, forget. The drive home- wanting to check on her every thirty seconds to make sure she was still breathing- already forgotten.

What am I talking about? Last week Miss Addison had surgery. I have been updating my Instagram account and 2 Facebook pages best as I can- but I feel like the info is all scattered between the accounts. This is my attempt to bring all of the info into one place. Hopefully I will eventually finish this post and finally be able to publish it before I forget it all and move on.

Question I have gotten the most: What surgery did Addison have? She had her tonsils and adenoids removed.

Second question- why? Addison has some lingering pulmonary hypertension, so last month she had a sleep study to determine if the problem with her pressures was happening while she slept. We found out- yes. She has severe sleep apnea.

Third question- where did she have the surgery? Dartmouth. We chose to go 1 1/2 hours away for the surgery instead of having it done at our local hospital because we have transferred her ear and eye care there due to limited doctor options here in Vermont.
So many of you left notes saying that you were praying for her, and I am so thankful. It was obvious that we were surrounded by prayers and uplifted through the entire ordeal.

Addison, Eli, and I headed to Dartmouth last Wednesday morning. They called us on our way in asking if we could come in earlier, so when we got there my half hour of cushion "early" time meant nothing. We ran in and got things started right away which I was glad for because Addison hadn't been able to eat anything since midnight the night before- and her surgery started at 1pm. (Another thing to forget- the pre-surgery starvation while she so sweetly begged for "Toast" and "Cereal" "Pwease, Mommy" #theworst)
It worked out okay to have Eli with me. I was nervous about bringing him (as I posted on fb), but I really had no other choice as he is still nursing and I just couldn't leave him that far away with Daddy for an overnight. A really sweet nurse watched him in the surgery play room while I went back with Addison and held her hand while they put her to sleep. Another super sweet nurse helped entertain him after surgery when I was trying to comfort Addison and Eli decided to start crying too- after he stared at her, super concerned. They let me put a pack 'n play for him in Addison's overnight room.

(sorry for the grainy pic- but I couldn't get over how sweet he was with her. These two have a really special bond.)
So how did the surgery go? Perfectly.

Addison immediately ate two popsicles after surgery and begged me for real food for dinner once she was in her recovery room. She had no issues with getting liquids down or eating. She was quite cranky- but with Mama snuggled up in bed next to her stroking her hair (plus her pain meds), she settled down and finally fell asleep.

That first night of sleeping- I could already hear a HUGE difference in her nighttime breathing. Well, actually it was what I couldn't hear. There was no gasping or working for that next breath. (YAY!)
And then the next morning after she woke up, she started talking so much more clearly! As the day went on, she just kept talking and talking as if it was somehow easier for her now. The surgeon mentioned that there was some extra tonsil material on the back of her tongue that he took off as well. (okay don't tell me if this is totally crazy. It is what he said- I have no idea how common this is.)

No one told me that improved speech could be a by-product of this surgery. Aaron noticed it right away over the phone as well. We are super excited to see where this will continue to go as she keeps working.

She has been healing well, but not without discomfort and some bleeding from her nose (thankfully, it keeps stopping on its own.) We had an ER trip yesterday, and have just been keeping an eye on it all day today. Most likely this is just scars falling off as the healing commences.
All in all- I'm so glad that we made this trip. I'm even more glad that we are now home and well along in the healing process.

Of course the trip wasn't without some drama. The morning after the surgery, I woke up and could barely open my eyes they were so light sensitive. Tears were streaming down my cheeks, but I wasn't crying. My eyes were so irritated and in pain that I knew that I couldn't safely drive the kids home. I couldn't even focus on the surgeon when he came back in to check on Addison. My eyes had been actually bothering me for a few weeks, and I had an eye appointment with my eye doctor last week that I had to cancel because of the surgery. I thought I would be fine, but for some reason I woke up that morning and they were worse than ever.

I was alone with one baby and one preschooler fresh out of surgery. We were an hour and a half from home. Because of course.

Walking down the hallway to retrieve something from the car while pulling the wagon with Eli in it, I just simply prayed "God, please help my eyes to feel better so that I can get the kids home." I stopped, looked up with a squint, and noticed that I was standing in front of an eye clinic. What were the chances?

I didn't want to go inside because it was a highly specialized clinic, and I knew they wouldn't have any appointments, but I was pretty desperate. Long story short- their next appointment was in January EXCEPT for one appointment that morning at 11. I then called my insurance company to see how much this last minute specialty appointment was going to cost me. They said that they go doctor to doctor, not hospital to hospital to determine whether they cover or not. Turns out the one doctor who had the only opening before January- was in network for my insurance even though we were out of state. Um- wow.

This extra appointment added a bit more stress to the whole experience, but I was extremely thankful to get an exam with some special eye drops that immediately relieved my pain aaaand not to go broke doing it.

All that to say, I was able to drive us safely home last Thursday. I am now five days into a long sentence of glasses only, Addison is holding strong and suffering for the cause to NOT have her ice cream in a cone (I know, the injustice). Carter is readjusting to Mommy instead of his solo vacation at Grandma's house, and Eli is rolling with the punches (mostly figuratively but sometimes literally from his brother and sister).

We are ready for a boring week of baby loving. Boring has never seemed more amazing than after a surgery week. Boring. Bring it. #thankful

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