The night before Annie’s surgery, Mike and I told the girls that we’d be leaving before 6 AM for the hospital, and that we’d wake them up early.
“Okay, you can wake me up however you want, but just don’t use a foghorn in my face,” Katie advised. Duly noted–even though we don’t own a foghorn.
The prospect of surgery being performed on your own kid isn’t appealing. I was more concerned about the anesthetic and its side effects for Annie. Both my mom and I have had horrible reactions to it where we end up constantly vomiting–kind of like the Energizer bunny (you’re welcome for the visual). I certainly didn’t want Annie to deal with that. We prayed that surgery would go smoothly and quickly, and that she wouldn’t experience any problems with the anesthetic.
Annie was concerned that the procedure would hurt. We explained that she would be given medicine to make her sleepy so she wouldn’t be awake to feel the pain. (We avoided using the term “put you to sleep” because of the story Gramma Kalling told about Mike’s older brother Steve who broke his leg as a little kid. A week prior to his accident, the family dog had been put to sleep. So, when Steve was told not to worry, and that he would be put to sleep, he of course panicked, not wanting to end up dead!)
We arrived at the hospital and were directed to the waiting room, where Katie made herself comfortable.
And where we killed some time with Torri, Annie’s beloved stuffed dog (and photo bomber).
And also where Daddy made Annie laugh:
About an hour later, we were directed to Annie’s pre-op room where the nurses and anesthesiologist met with us to discuss procedure. We had an ASL (not Spanish) interpreter provided through Life Links video, which worked out well.
Annie was amazingly calm and good-spirited as the nurses prepped her.
The nurses explained that Annie would drink some medicine to make her sleepy within ten minutes and then she would have anesthetic administered via IV once she got to the surgery room. Good plan!
“You’ll get to drink pink Princess juice!” the anesthesiologist told Annie.
She just gave him a look.
I don’t think she was too impressed with the taste either. But boy, were WE impressed with its comical affect on Annie!!
“I think the pink Princess juice made her cuck-oo!” big sis Katie exclaimed, circling her finger over her ear.
“If you cut your foot off, I’ll cut mine off too and we can trade!” was Annie’s reply.
Yep, I think you’re right, Katie.
She spent a good five minutes singing silly made-up songs and had us all busting up!
Then she said Katie needed to wear a hospital cap too. The nurse agreed and promptly got one out for Katie.
Then Annie declared that Mommy and Daddy needed a cap too!
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Good times, good times.
By this point, it’d been past ten minutes, and I was starting to wonder if Annie would ever get sleepy.
“Do you think the medicine is working right?” I asked the nurse.
She laughed and said that it would knock Annie out soon. O-kay then.
They started to wheel Annie out to the surgery room. We walked alongside her, smiling, talking, and still laughing at her silliness. The last image we had of her as the doors closed was her hand up in the air waving good-bye as if she were headed off to some great adventure.
Katie, Mike, and I went back to the waiting room where we had to wait less than half an hour before Annie’s doctor came out and told us that all went well, but that two pins were needed instead of just one pin. So she’d probably need to wear the cast for four weeks instead of just two. The good news was that he was still able to perform a closed surgery and didn’t need to make an incision.
After just 15 minutes in recovery, they told us we could go see her. We walked into her room, expecting to see her sleeping, still under anesthetic. But she was awake and not a happy camper. She was crying and begging to take her cast off. Hard for a parent to take–and such a drastic difference from the happy child we had just an hour ago!
But after taking in some pain meds in her IV (and after praying for her relief), Annie fell asleep and slept for an hour. When she awoke, she was fine and declared that she was ready to go home! (Later, we would find out that Annie has no recollection of the first time we saw her out of surgery–so she doesn’t remember being in pain and crying.)
Ready to go home!
After Annie was dressed, the nurse brought her a wheelchair (which she wasn’t too keen about having to ride, surprisingly). We started out for the elevators only to have to return to the room because the fire alarms were going off, rendering the elevators temporarily out of order. Fortunately, it was just a fire drill and a few minutes later, we were on our way to home sweet home!
We are amazed and humbled by the prayers of many family and friends (including a little boy from Annie’s kindergarten class who told her that he would be praying for her. The night before surgery, his mom said that he prayed at dinnertime “for Annie, her broken arm, her surgery, to keep her safe, and to get better soon.”)
Prayer is indeed powerful and God is faithful.
Annie spent the rest of the day sitting comfortably on the couch with the iPad (a life saver!)
We are now on day four post-surgery and Annie has not been in pain. Her temporary cast is big and bulky (not many t-shirt sleeves will fit over it!) but hopefully it will be replaced with a smaller cast during her follow-up appointment in a week.
And hopefully this is will be the first and LAST time Annie has surgery!
Life is entertaining enough without any more trips to the hospital.