We arrived at the surgery center at 6:20 a.m. after spending nearly an hour on the highway under a thunderous dark sky. Steve stayed behind to get Natalie to school. The plan was to have him meet up with us after drop off. While Noah's surgery would be more invasive than the previous one, his surgeon was seasoned and I felt we were doing the best for Noah.
Eight hours later...I wasn't so sure.
While most patients who have tympanoplasty with mastoidectomy stay overnight at the hospital -- our doctor reasoned that Noah had done so well with surgery that he thought it best he recoup at home. He also wanted him to avoid possible exposure to MRSA infections which have been on the rise. However, resting at home never happened because Noah was plagued with vomiting and subsequent dry heaving which sent his pain level through the roof. But controlling his pain was virtually impossible since he couldn't keep anything down. It was a horrible cycle. I had never felt so helpless as I watched Noah beg me to "make it stop!" "take it out".
About this time, Steve and Natalie walked through the door. I watched as Natalie stood shell-shocked as she took in the scene. Her brother hurting and me failing at providing him with any relief. I'm sure it was scary. I was certainly scared.
Thankfully, I was able to reach the doctor. He felt terrible as he listened to Noah heave and wail in the background and immediately suggested we bring him back to stay. Unfortunately, our only option was to go through the ER. This meant we had to be completely re-entered into the system. Apparently all information that had previously been entered at Mercy's Surgery Center is not accessible to Mercy's ER staff. As I steadied Noah on the scale, the in-take nurse asked me silly questions like "when did his pain start?"
"Hmm..well, he was vomiting when we left the surgery center at 2 p.m. and he's been miserable ever since."
More redundant questions...finally the nurse gave him Zofran to calm his stomach, but the movement from wheelchair to an ER bed sent him back into the throes of heaving.
Next, the ER doctor entered and began asking us questions like "what brings you in here today?"
Three and a half hours later - Noah was assigned a bed. I was so weary - my hair hurt. My heart ached as I scanned Noah's gray complexion, dark circles beneath his eyes and the bubble-like headband pooling with blood. I wondered how moms and dads who have children with long term illnesses cope. Certainly they are super heroes.
That night Noah woke every hour on the hour to use the bathroom as the I.V. fluids were sending his bladder into overdrive. He looked at me like I was crazy when I suggested he use a urinal. I scrambled to untangle his lines and keep up with him as he made a beeline for the door. By morning, I knew Noah had turned the corner when he asked about breakfast. As I read the menu to him, he became more and more excited.
"Noah, they have cheesy eggs."
"Would you like bacon or sausage?"
"I don't know...I can't decide!"
I ordered a slew of items I thought for sure he'd never finish. He proved me wrong.
As Noah and I headed home I wondered how Steve and Natalie had fared without us. Her teacher had emailed me earlier that Natalie had complained of a stomachache, but told her she didn't need to go to the nurse...she was just worried about Noah. In the end Steve did a great job holding down the fort with Natalie. He even came up with a new hair style for her...to which Natalie named, "The Big Steve".
I am so very grateful for my Big Steve and for family and friends who prayed for Noah during the storm. Today the sun is shining. Thank you.
|After surgery - heading home the first time.|
|Natalie shows off "The Big Steve"|