Monday, April 15, 2013

The Operating Room

In the last post I talked about surgery on one’s child and how that no parent wants their child to experience pain and anxiety. Mighty Z’s biggest fear is blood work, and although I have tried to make it better for her, I have failed in that arena.


The next part of surgery that brings fear and anxiety is the waiting room.  Each one of us parents who have sat in the surgery waiting room knows what it’s like.  We sit there with blank expressions on our faces waiting for our child’s name to be called so we know that all is ok. We hold our breath as we “try” to pass the time by reading the same sentence over and over in the book we brought. Our faces are covered in worry as we stare unblinkingly at the computer screen.


When Mighty Z went back to the operating room, her daddy and I joined the ranks of helpless parents in the surgery waiting room.  After a while Mighty Z’s name was called, and we popped up to go speak with the surgeon who had done the first phase of the surgery. The first surgeon told us what every parent wants to hear, that the surgery was very routine and our Mighty Z did great (whew!!).


Next up to bat and doing the second phase of surgery was the Electrophysiologist.  An electrophysiologist is a cardiologist who specializes in the treatment and diagnosis of irregular or abnormal heart rhythms. The Electrophysiologist was placing a loop recorder (picture of the loop recorder to the left) in between the fat and muscle directly on top of Mighty Z's heart. Back we went to wait again with the other poor souls in the waiting room. About halfway into the second part of the surgery, a nurse came out looking for Mighty Z’s momma (my heart dropped into my stomach).


The nurse explained to me that I needed to suit up and come into the operating room while Mighty Z was still on the surgery table. You know those times when a wave of helpless anxiety washes over you? Well, that is how I felt; however, courage isn’t a roar, it is a tiny voice that says ‘I will do this anyway.’  I took a deep breath, held my head high, and walked the long hallway to the operating room, where I suited up in my bunny suit and pushed the double doors open.


There lying on the surgical table was my baby. Her eyes taped down, her hair wrapped in a cloth, and a tube down her mouth. Some things mommas should never see, and this, friend, was something I can’t get out of my head. I spoke as soon as I entered (to me it didn’t sound like my voice-- it was much too strong for how I felt) I said “You needed me?” And the nod from the surgeon said, “Yes, we need you to turn Mighty Z’s breathing pacers on for us; we do not know how.” Relief mixed with bewilderment washed over me as I took her breathing pacer and flicked the switches.  I looked the surgeon in the eyes and said way too calmly for how I felt, “So how did it go?” From across my baby’s prone body, the doctor explained how the surgery went and what to expect from recovery. I left the operating room feeling a bit shaky and made my way to the safe haven of the surgery waiting room.

  Fifteen minutes later, Mighty Z’s name was called again but this time it was to say we could go see her in recovery. There she was, my sweet angel, a little groggy but awake so I could see those beautiful eyes. Recovery took some time, but I was happy to be next to her holding her juice and talking to her.
Later after transport came and brought her up to the ventilator floor, my baby slowly fell asleep and I stayed awake watching over my treasure.
Edited by Emily Joy Minich
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