Friday, June 17, 2011

Kaitlyn's Surgery Story

I know that it has been two weeks since surgery, but I am finally finding the time to put together all of the photos that I took as well as all the feelings and emotions that I had on that day.
Below is the day in pictures:

Here it is, 5:30am and we are on our way.
She is smiling and is quite happy, but little does she know what she is about to experience.
I had talked with her a few days prior to surgery about what was going to happen, the sore throat that she would have afterwards, and that I would be staying home from work for two weeks to be with her.
She said she understood.
And I believe that she understood.

While in the pre-op area, she wanted to listen to my music.
This photo is of her jammin' to Lady GaGa.

You can see in this photo that she is aware that something is going to take place soon.
The pre-op nurse came in to check her vitals, and Kate was watching every move she made.

We darkened the room for her so that we could all relax.
Surgery was running a bit late, so we wanted her to stay calm.
Here, she is having some "quiet time" with her baby doll that my Dad bought for her.
The nurse even gave the baby doll a hospital ID band!

And some quiet time with Daddy.

She went back into surgery at 10:20am.

One more kiss.

One more "I love you!"

One more "I love you more!"


That was her designated number so that we could track where she was in the surgical area.


I will never forger that number.

I sat and listened to Bolero on my iTunes, just staring out the window at the hot summer day.
I prayed silently to keep her safe.
I kept focusing on the distant drum in Bolero.
Then back to the operative board.


At 11:15am, the ENT surgeon came out and met us in the family conference room.
"She did wonderful!"
I could breathe a sigh of relief.
He said that her tonsils were no longer a size 4, but a size 2+ (thanks to the injections of antibiotics and steroids one week prior!).
Adenoids came out, too, and her palate was a normal shape.
(NOTE: you can't take out adenoids if the palate is cleft.)
Now she was in the hands of the Optho surgeon.
Back to the waiting room.

Back to Bolero.
Back to staring out the window at the summer heat.
Back to praying.
Back to watching the operative board.

At 12:45, the Optho surgeon came out.
He didn't call us into the conference room.
He caught me totally off guard.
I was pacing at the window, praying, listening to my calming music when I heard him.

"She's all done."

His voice was so calm and reassuring.
I felt myself shaking.
My hands trembled as I tried to pull the ear buds from my ears.
I couldn't speak.
I just stood there, frozen and speechless.
My eyes began to well with tears.
And then he hugged me.
"It's all can relax now" he said.
And I did relax.
And I cried.
And when I looked at the surgeon, his eyes were filled with tears as well.
He understood my fear.
But for a surgeon to stand there and allow himself to be as vulnerable as a parent and show his emotion....I was speechless and comforted at the same time.
He quickly tried to get himself together, stammering over his words and talking really fast to hide that he was crying, too.
But it was too late.
I saw his emotion and I appreciated it more than he would ever understand.
This was more than just a doctor or surgeon.
This was an amazing man who cared for my daughter as if he were her father.

Upon entering the Recovery Room, my heart broke as I saw this:

Her tiny finger showing me and the PACU RNs that her oxygenation was great, not like the episodes of apnea we were having one week prior.
That tiny finger held so much information.

After almost two hours, we were able to coax her into a chair to swallow some pain medicine and drink a melted popsicle.
It was so hard to see her in pain and be so scared.

By 3:30pm, she was sitting in her wheelchair waiting for Daddy to bring the car around so that we could go home.
Her right arm was wrapped with Kerlex, protecting the IV heplock that they were sending her home with so that she could get three days of IV hydration.
The. Best. Idea. Ever!

And when we got home, little brother Andrew bought her some pretty pink carnations in the hope that it would make her feel better.
She squeaked and cried when he gave them to her.
He got scared and ran to hide.
He was not used to seeing his big sister like this.
I thought to myself "he is going to have a rough time during this recovery period".

He left eye was bruised and swollen shut from the surgery of resecting and realigning the lateral muscle to treat her strabismus.
The right corner of her mouth was cracked and dried.
Her right lower lip was swollen from the ET tube that they intubated her with during the 2.5hr procedure.
She was a mess.
She smelled so medicinal.
But she was home.

And for the next two weeks, she slept in my bed.
I never co-slept with my children when they were newborns.
I was too afraid.
In this case, I was too afraid if we weren't co-sleeping.

Sleep well, my sweet girl.
It's going to be a long two weeks!
I am so proud of you!
You are my hero.
You are stronger than anyone has ever given you credit for.
I love you so much.

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  1. Beautiful, Pattie! I've told Nicholas that he's my hero too. Kaitlyn is my hero now, too. What an amazing girl you have there! And, you made it, Mom. Nice work!

  2. That was such a nice story and well written. I am so glad that she is better and things are back to normal. What a great surgeon. Have a great summer.

  3. I’ve tried all sorts of coughing syrups, believe me, but none of them helps. Even though Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa does not eliminates the cough I like to stick to this chinese syrup I’ve been taking since I was a kid: Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa. My grandfather is chinese, so I guess my mom got the advice from him. I was really surprised when I found that chinese market selling it here in Belgium. It does have a refreshing, soothing, sweetening effect…as long as it lasts…then back to coughing mode.

  4. Thank you for the update. I'm so glad everything went well with surgery. The surgeon sounded wonderful. Praying for a swift recovery. Happy Father's Day to your family!