Hi Everyone! I hope you all have been enjoying the Fall colors and the crisp air. We have tried to get out each day for a walk around the park to soak it all in. I don’t think I have remembered a fall that I have enjoyed more than this year! It has been simply gorgeous!
Oliver was finally scheduled for his Sclerotherapy procedure this week and as always, he did great. The procedure itself was only about 15 mins and they targeted that specific cyst towards the back of the jaw that had filled with blood. The doctor was very pleased with how everything went and was glad we opted for the procedure. The fluid that was within the cyst would have calcified and Ollie would have been left with a large bump. So we are very happy that they were able to remove that. As for recovery, he is already back on his feet like nothing happened.
For me though, hospital time always drains me completely. The physical and metal toll that comes with any time spent in the hospital, even just for a routine appointment takes planning, patient and grace. For today, I wanted to kind of run down what a normal time at the hospital means for us so that maybe it can help you understand better as well as help those who spend more time than they should at the doctor, get a little grace from their families.
Our planning begins way before we hit the hospital doors. Declan is not allowed in the hospital for Ollie’s appointments, even pre-COVID, so we always need to find a sitter for him. To be honest, it is a lot easier to have him go somewhere that he can be free to play anyway. Thankfully, my mom and Ethan’s mom are amazing and one of them are usually able to help out. Once we know that Declan is settled, then comes making sure Ollie is prepped the right way. For most of his procedures, he needs to have a bath with clean nails either the morning of or night before the procedure. We also need to keep track of his food intake. For this last procedure, he was not allowed anything to eat after 6am and nothing more to drink after 11am for a 3pm start time. Yes, telling a 5 year old not to eat is rough, but he handled it like a champ.
The day of the procedure, we dropped off Declan and headed down to the hospital. Once we arrive at Helen Devos, we have to check in at the front desk for a mandatory background checks. This usually takes just a few minutes since we are frequent flyers. That day though, they were adamant about only letting me in due to COVID restrictions. This was frustrating since the pre-op nurse the day before, let us know that both Ethan and I could be present. Personally, I think trying to exclude a parent from being present while their child goes under anesthesia for a procedure is criminal. We work very hard to make sure that both of us are there for Ollie, and for each other. In the end, they let both of us through with no issues from the nurse or doctors doing Ollie’s procedure.
We were then sent downstairs to finish our check in. I went through all the questions and filled out all of the paperwork. Once they sent us to the waiting room, they returned a few minutes later to then tell us, the lady at the front desk upstairs, sent us to the wrong floor. So up we went, finished our check in on the correct floor and found a new waiting room to sit in. We were only there a minute before they took us back to our room. Ollie knows that once he is settled, he can play on the tablet. So he is quick to change and answer questions. In a flash we were left once again to wait for procedure time. Every so often a set of doctors come in, anesthesia and the interventional radiologist. They each have us sign consent for care and all of a sudden it’s go time. Ollie was wheeled away without us this time….. he is growing up and we were put back in a waiting room.
In about 20 minutes, the interventional radiologist was back saying that they were done and that Ollie was starting to wake up. We were able to see him in post op, where we found him awake and concerned that we were no where to be found. That hurt my heart. No one likes waking up to find themselves in a room with someone they don’t know. The nurse has miss read his nutritional orders and had given him some apple juice to then realize that he was not suppose to have anything for a full hour after anesthesia. So we had the awful job of having to keep telling him no to food or drink when he hasn’t had any food for most of the day.
Once he was awake enough, we went back to our original room where we had a new nurse. She didn’t seem to know anything about Ollie’s history and proceeded to ask all about his past surgical procedures. About 15 minutes into the conversation she asked a question about the size of his cheek and if it always swelled that much post surgery. That is so frustrating to me. The entire conversation she had no clue what was Ollie’s baseline and she was suppose to be watching him for post procedure complications.
Now I don’t know if I expect too much of those providing care for my son, but I do expect for a little baseline knowledge. Working in healthcare, with the same system, I know how easy it is to get a basic history from a patients chart. This history is what helps me ask the right questions and helps the family from having to recount their child’s entire medical history. This is where grace enters the picture. It helps no one to get frustrated or lash out, so we bite our tongues and answer the darn questions. Finally, Ollie was able to eat and we were able to head home, hours after we had arrived.
So no, the procedure this time was nothing like we experienced in Boston. There will be no major scars or pressure dressing to deal with. But the emotional toll is still there. Patience is still needed and grace abounds. The time spent in a hospital is unlike any other. The processes that need to happen at every step along the way are exhausting for all parties involved. So next time you have family that spend time in the hospital, even for a routine check up with a specialist, pray for them. Pray for them days before, as they start planning their day. Ask for patience and grace. Let them know that it’s ok to have a time of recovery post hospital time. A time to decompress. It’s ok….
Well I hope this helps you all understand what hospital time is like and maybe helps you know what to pray for. Enjoy the next two weeks and Halloween, if you plan on participating this year!