Callum was due to have his operation for his grommets to be fitted and a possible adenoidectomy on Tuesday 30 July (next week) but on Tuesday this week I received a call to say there had been a problem with the list for that day and they wouldn’t be able to do the operation. However, they had received a cancelation for Thursday 25 July (today!) which he could take instead of waiting. Stuart had already been making noises about how an important meeting had been put in his diary for the Tuesday that couldn’t be moved (of course, which he’d miss but wasn’t convenient) so he jumped on the opportunity to move it to Thursday, despite still needing to rearrange another couple of meetings. I did have to cancel my plans (for the 2nd time ), rearrange childcare and notify nursery but bringing it forward at least meant he still had the op before he started school and it gave us less time to worry about it!
In truth, I wasn’t too worried about the operation itself. Having had both done myself as a child (though I don’t remember the grommets only the adenoidectomy) as well as most of my siblings having similar and knowing many of my friends children have had the grommets, I was aware that it was a very common, routine operation which meant I knew I had little to be concerned about. Although there is always that slight niggle at t back of the head saying “what if my child is the 1 in 20,000???”. Mostly, I was worried for Callum. For him being scared! No one likes to see their child scared.
I tried to make it exciting, an adventure! I tried to point out the benefits and what it would mean. We said he could have any dinner of his choice after – he chose pizza.
The day before, he started saying he was poorly, that he didn’t want them to hurt his ears, getting upset that he wouldn’t be able to have his breakfast before we went in, wanting to stay at Nanna & Grandpa’s with Millie. He was clearly worried.
Still, he went to sleep early the night before (at his own request), having not eaten hardly any of his dinner, then he woke easily enough the next day bright and early, about 6am.
We needed to be at Poole hospital for 7.15am but got to the Day of Surgery Assessment Unit at 6.50am before the desk was even open but the time passed pretty quickly as patients started to fill the waiting room. People started being called this way and that and when Callum’s name was called we were shown into a side room while we were explained about what was going to happen and asked a number of questions about health etc by a nurse. Then the ENT Surgeon came and checked the same questions and warned us the same details would be checked about 9 times before the operation. Sure enough, next came the Anaesthetist, then another nurse type person did the same (who also sniggered with us about Callum’s camel called Tony & said he was going to use it in his stand-up routine but I digress) who then took us down to the Day Surgery Unit. He left us in a waiting area to count monkeys on the wall until another nurse came to see us and check the same details and ask the same questions then finally, about 8.45am, he was taken to the anaesthetist.
Only one of us was allowed to accompany Callum at this point until he fell asleep. Every part of the mother in me wanted that person to be me but I know that fathers have the protective instinct too so I left it to Callum to decide despite knowing Callum would choose Stuart. In a way, I’m pleased. The Anaesthetist had warned us seeing your child held down while either a gas mask was held on him or a intravenous drip of anaesthetic was fed into him wasn’t a pleasant experience for the adult even when they know he isn’t in pain. Apparently, Callum was calm & brave when they tried to find a vein in one arm then failed, got a bit upset when they tried the second arm but reacted well to the gas. Although I would’ve hidden my feelings, I think I would’ve found it upsetting to see.
The deal was, the surgeon would fit the grommets then check the adenoids and only remove them if necessary. If just the grommets were fitted it would take about 15 minutes. If the adenoids were removed too it could take 25mins to half an hour. They would then wait for him to wake before returning him to the Day of Surgery Assessment Unit where we would be waiting.
We were given a 15-20 minute window to go and get a cup of tea/something to eat but instructed to be no longer in case he was ready to return. Having gone without breakfast in support for Callum’s morning fast for the operation (despite it being the morning after a 500/600 kcal fast day for Stuart and I), we were starving! I also took the opportunity to nip to the car to fetch Callum’s present of a Fireman Sam book and chocolate buttons for when he had come round.
We were back on the ward in plenty of time and when he hadn’t returned after an hour were starting to get a little concerned but I guessed he must’ve had the adenoids removed too and he was soon returned to us.
He was a little drowsy and very subdued at first. He gulped back lots of water and then asked for something to eat so he had a biscuit. Then said he was still hungry and ate his way through 4 slices of toast (2 jam, 2 marmite), a chocolate muffin and some cheese dippers and was still asking for more food, bless him!
At 10.30am, they told us he should be able to go by 1.30pm. Yawn!
We passed the time, watching Disney dvds, reading his Fireman Sam book, playing on our phones, some of us nodding off (wish it was me!) and eventually, around 2pm, they set us free! Callum had picked up & had started playing with the ward toys at that time and was now dressed back in his normal clothes (he had be changed into just his pants & a gown for the surgery).
We then treated Callum to a game of bowling. Then we bought him a new outfit for his Build-a-Bear teddy and, as promised, headed for pizza. Unfortunately, just as we sat down in Pizza Hut, Callum started to deteriorate with his energy levels dropping and his temperature too. He ate just 1/4 of a slice of pizza and wanted to go home.
Already, we have noticed an improvement in his hearing and so far consider the operation a success and pleased he was returned to us safely afterwards. Time will tell just how much of an improvement it proves to be to his hearing and his speech.