On surgery & another children’s hospital

This week Nicholas had surgery. Had he’d been born full term, surgery wouldn’t be required for what is a quick, normal procedures on little boys right after birth. But, since Nicholas was born so early and so small we had no choice but to wait until he was a bit older (and chunkier!) to have the procedure performed.

We were fortunate to find a fantastic pediatric urologist to work with (I never knew I’d need to know a *fantastic* peds urologist but, hey, such is parenthood) right here in Greensboro who would perform the procedure at Brenner Children’s hospital over in Winston-Salem.

We 1st med our doctor, Dr. Hodges, back in February. He was direct in explaining how the day of surgery would work and what to do before, would happen during, and what expect after we came home. We felt confident in the decision to have Dr. Hodges become a part of Nicholas’ care team (if even for a short stint) and were at ease with the procedure in general.

That is, until about 3 weeks before the surgery was scheduled. Andy brought up his concerns over the anesthesia and the adverse effects it may have on Nicholas in the long term. We went back and forth with multiple conversations about should we/when should we/how should we in our household for the next week and a half or so. Andy read many articles (which can sometimes scare you more than is really necessary), talked to other doctors & anesthesiologists, and even had me contact our care team back at the NICU in Florida to weigh in.

At one point he was emphatic that we need not have surgery under full anesthesia and instead use local pain blocks. That was until I asked him to call Dr. Hodges’ office and tell them what he decided. He called them (probably out of a “I will show you how fatherhood is done” attitude). 20 minutes later he called me back and said (with both fear & disappointment in his voice) “Yeah, so we won’t be doing a local pain block. The nurse explained to me what actually happens during the procedure and no man, no matter how big or small, should be awake for something like that”. (This was what I had been trying to say for 3 weeks. God bless the nurse who was able to get him to listen to her!).

So, surgery was on as scheduled. I tried hard to not put myself into a tizzy over it all. Which was hard. Putting your 13 pound child under full anesthesia is scary. (And, it probably doesn’t get better when they grow to be 130 pounds either.) The night before we were to head to Brenner’s we played with Nicholas and read books and told him how proud we were of him and what a strong boy he would be tomorrow. Now, I fully understand he couldn’t comprehend what I was saying that night in the nursery as we got ready for bed. But, his soul could. And that was all that mattered.

The next morning we woke early and quietly put his Nicholas in his car seat for the drive from our home in Summerfield to Brenner Children’s hospital. As we arrived at the hospital and got checked in the nursing staff was organized, prepared, and ready for us. While in pre-op the doctors began going over the procedure and performed their “Sign this. Initial here. And, sign here.” routine. I looked at Andy and said “Are all of your questions answered? Are you OK with this?”. “He responded by looking at Nicholas and saying “Buddy, your mother is doing this to you. Not me. Mom. Remember that.” (I know he was joking (somewhat) but I couldn’t help but think ‘if something happens Andy will probably divorce me’).

Nicholas as he waited to go back into the OR.

Nicholas did fine in surgery. He woke up and was hungry and groggy but generally in good spirits. By the afternoon as his anesthesia wore off we had a few hours of hilarious episodes of him laughing uncontrollably. It was YouTube worthy (if only we had been able to capture it!). By the end of the day he was back to his normal self – happy, curious, and wanting to play with whatever it is that you have.

After surgery!
After surgery!

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