Sunday, March 20, 2016

The truth about tonsillectomy

As I sit here, exhausted, in this very uncomfortable chair, beside my toddler who just had surgery to remove her tonsils, I began thinking. There were 7 other little girls in the pediatric room we were in who also had their tonsils removed. I began wondering how they got here, to the point where they needed surgery.

Now I know, I know..I've been told at least 16,142,561 times, "Melissa, it's not a big deal..its just a tonsillectomy", but you know what, it is a big deal. Up until this day, my daughter was struggling to breath at night but she could not convey that message to me. She was struggling to get a good nights rest, she was having behavior issues, it took us almost an entire year to potty train her, and she was getting sick ALL THE TIME. It took me many sleepless nights to catch her having these episodes of not being able to breath, it took people from my only family doubting me and making fun of me saying "sleep apnea is not a real thing", for me to fight tooth and nail for my baby. I'm so serious when I say, if you think something is wrong with your baby, follow your gut instinct no matter what other people say to you. This is so important.

As I was thinking all these things I was strangely comforted by all the little tiny snores from the 8 little girls, including mackenzee, in our room. My heart felt peace knowing that we finally had an answer to the issues my daughter has been having. I wondered if the other mothers in the unit had felt that way too. I wondered if they felt comfort in the tiny snores too..

My mind really wandered that night, I started thinking about how scary it was handing my baby over to some OR nurse that I did not even really know.. That morning when we arrived at 6 am on the dot, Mackenzee was so scared and she was crying and screaming. While in the pre-op room, trying to get her to put on the little hospital gown and pant set was so hard. She screamed and fought me, and I know it was because she was confused and scared. The nurse and I tried everything to get her to cooperate but it did not work. The nurse suggested that we give her an oral sedative to help calm her down. I was really hesitant to give it to her, but she was really freaking out so so i agreed. 

Literally five minutes after we gave it to her, she was giggling and acting so silly. She started to get loopy and I started to worry even more but I wouldn't let it show on the outside. I did not want her to see how scared I was for her. The doctor came and spoke with me about the procedure, as well as the anesthesiologist, and then suddenly it was time to go. Luckily the nurses let me hold her and carry her down the hall instead of making her go in the little crib.

Walking down the hall, I could feel my heart beating harder and faster. The nurse lead us down this hall that was covered in signs that said "Restricted access, Surgery staff only", I knew we were at the end and I'd have to hand her over. I just kept begging God in my head to keep her safe, and to be with her the entire time. I did not want to let go, I held her so tight walking down that hall and she held onto my shirt. The nurse turned to me and said, "okay mom, it's time." I said my goodbyes, I told her I loved her at least 10 times and I kissed her little forehead. When the nurse took her from me, she carried her down this really long hall. I stood there until they were in the room and the whole time Mackenzee was just staring back at me. She had the most heartbreaking look on her face. She looked confused and scared. That broke me to tears. I had been so strong and not letting myself get upset in front of her up until this point. My heart broke for her, but I knew this was the best decision for her. 

I quietly sat in the waiting room with my best friend, Gemma. Thank god she was with me because she distracted me just enough to not sit there and drown in my thoughts. We sat there for about An hour. It felt like time was dragging on and suddenly a nurse popped in and said "Mother of Mackenzee", I immediately jumped up and rushed toward her. She had told me that Mackenzee had just woken up and she was asking for me. We went down the same long hall that we had gone down before, and as we approached the recovery room, I could hear her screaming for me. My eyes started to water and I instantly started asking the nurse that was escorting me to her all kind of questions like " oh my gosh, is she ok? Is she scared? Is she in pain? Why is she crying like that? Was she given any pain meds?" The nurse would not answer me, and I started to freak out even more.

As soon as mackenzee saw me, she started screaming even harder and trying to climb up to me. I immediately ran to her and tried to pick her up, but when I got to her little crib, it looked like the nurses were holding her down. Apparently the minute she woke up, she started thrashing her body and trying to rip all her cords and IV out. The nurse said she had been crying and saying that she wanted to put on her princess pj's. I sent a nurse to go get them from Gemma, who was waiting in the waiting room. Mackenzee kept trying to rip all the cords off of her and she was still screaming at the top of her lungs. She was throwing her body and turning bright red. This was he most horrific thing I've ever experienced. I was holding my child down with all of my strength so she would not hurt herself. I saw the fear in her eyes and it killed me. I began sobbing when she ripped her IV out because I, her mother, could not even get her to calm down. The nurse could tell I was hurting and that I felt defeated. She told me not to worry, that a lot of young children actually act this way when coming out of anesthesia. I was really shocked because I have never experienced anything like this before.

Once they got her IV back in, they gave her some pain medication to calm her down and she finally fell asleep in my arms.  While she was sleeping on my chest, the smell coming from her mouth was making me really sick to my stomach. The nurse said it was because they had to cauterize the area to stop the bleeding, so I was literally smelling burnt flesh. I could not imagine how mackenzee was feeling tasting that! 

When we settled into our room, I noticed that there were 7 other empty beds in there. The nurse said it was going to be a full house and that we were going to be having a pajama party that night. Mackenzee was really excited for that.  I got her to eat a little bit of Popsicle and drink some water, and then she fell asleep for a few hours. 

Mackenzee's dad and girlfriend came and I let them spend some time with mackenzee while I went to go get something to eat with Gemma. Mackenzee was so happy to see them, it really made her feel good seeing them. Mackenzee slept a few more hours while I did some homework and then she woke up in a fit. Her pain meds finally wore off and she just wanted mama and some cuddles. She just kept asking me to take all the cords off, and to go home. She must have asked me at least 100 times before we finally were able to leave. My heart seriously hurt for her because she did not understand. This room was so loud once all the girls were settled in after their surgeries. At any given moment, at least 3 of the girls were crying and at least 2 of the machines were beeping. I could barely focus on my own thoughts and I felt so bad for these girls. The night nurses came and then we all settled for bed. The last three hours, Mackenzee's heart and oxygen monitor keep going off due to her sleep apnea. She keeps getting woken up and I can tell that she is really uncomfortable.

And here I am, writing you this message. I am currently sitting in a huge chair that is supposed to double as a "Bed" for a parent who stays with their child. This chair is so stiff and it does not recline. You know, it is crazy, when we first walked into this room, I did not even think twice about what an inconvenience it was going to be for me to sleep in this chair. All I could think about was Mackenzee and what was going to help her be most comfortable. That's what you do when you're a mother. You sacrifice for your child without even thinking about what you're giving up. Even right now, my back is killing me, my leg is numb and my stomach is killing me, but all I care about is knowing that my sweet girl is taken care of. I am thanking God for keeping his arms wrapped around me through this whole thing because I could not have done it without him.

** Thank you for reading! If your child is suffering from something and people are making you feel bad for seeking help, Do not listen to them. Follow your gut. This surgery has potentially saved my daughters life. I promise you won't be sorry for seeking help. Wouldn't you rather be safe than sorry?Love you! XOXO- M E L I S S A

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