Thursday, April 28, 2011

LO's (Very Minor!) Medical Adventure

On Monday, we had to take LO down to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis for a (very, extremely minor) outpatient procedure. I am proud to announce that I did not freak out in any way except totally and completely.

All right, that's a bit of an overstatement. I only imagined all kinds of terrible outcomes to this (very, extremely, remarkably minor) procedure despite the fact that we were putting our son in the hands of some of the best child caregivers in the state/nation.

LO had a minor skin issue that needed to be taken care of in an outpatient setting (rather than in the doctor's office) in order to spare him any pain. He was given anesthetic, which is what had me most concerned. Because of the anesthetic, he was not allowed any food/breastmilk as of 4 am the night before.

This was possibly the hardest part of the entire procedure. My alarm went off at 4 am, and I threw on my steel-reinforced sports bra, as the little man now knows exactly where his bread is buttered (to coin a mixed metaphor) and will pull at my clothes if I'm not exactly speedy about opening Mom's Kitchen. The alarm woke him up, and he wanted to enjoy the boobie buffet before going back to sleep. I offered him a bottle of water. This was accepted gratefully, and then LO wanted to know when he could have the real deal. While I calmly explained to him that nursing was verboten for a few hours, he was not willing to listen to a rational argument. After 20 minutes of alerting the greater Lafayette area of his sad plight, I was able to rock him to quiet and get him back to sleep.

We got up at 6 and started our morning routine. Except, of course, for LO's usual enjoyment of second/third breakfast. He was not a happy camper. It got worse at this point because he was not even allowed to drink water, not that he ever confused H2O for his preferred brand. We bundled LO in his car seat and pointed the car Indianapolis-ward.

We chose to have the procedure done in Indy because the children's hospital would have pediatric anesthesiologists, but there was an unintended side benefit: LO drifted off to sleep in the car. We were going his favorite speed of 67 mph, and it was an overcast, gray day. Perfect sleeping weather. The child cozied up under his blankies and let slumber steal over him, amid sad thoughts of how Mom and Dad didn't like him anymore. He sobbed a little in his sleep every so often, making sure that I felt just as wonderful as possible for putting him through all this.

As per usual, the nap brought back our young Mr. Smiles, and carrying him through the outpatient center and seeing all the other children and families waiting for potentially more serious procedures helped me to put things in perspective. This really wasn't a big deal. We were being uber-cautious.

The nursing staff made a big deal over LO, which is always gratifying. Of course J and I think he is the handsomest young man who ever there was, but it's nice when other people seem to think so, too. As our nurse told us, they were fighting over who got to take care of the adorable baby in recovery. LO Chaim B, ladies' baby!

Despite the nonchalance of LO's doctor, the anesthesiologist, the nurses and J, I still cried a little when they took him away to the OR. Thinking about how much worse it probably was for other families didn't help me at that point. My baby was going off with strangers and I couldn't go with him. And as my wise great-grandma Fannie used to say: If I cut my finger and you cut off your arm, my finger still hurts. My finger hurt like a mofo, metaphorically speaking.

It was less than half an hour before they brought him back, still a little sleepy, a tad cranky, and never happier in his short life to start nursing. It was lovely to hold him.

J and I decided to head to our favorite part of Indianapolis for lunch. Broad Ripple reminds me a little of our old neighborhood of Clintonville in Columbus, and it has a great many neat restaurants and shops. We stopped in an Indian restaurant with a lunch buffet, figuring it would be a quick meal so we could get our little man back home.

Though he was sleeping the sleep of the weary and just when we pulled up, LO awoke as soon as we were in the restaurant and started fussing. I pulled him onto my lap and tried to rock him a little bit. One of the waiters, seeing that LO was being fussy, pulled a high chair over to us. "This is for my friend," he said to me in a thick accent. That was when I decided to leave a big tip. LO continued fussing until we realized that he badly wanted the sag paneer, curried chicken and mango pudding on our plates. We distracted him with naan, and he indicated he would accept the substitute.

"I just didn't want to feel left out," he told me.

By the time we got home, LO was pretty much back to normal. At 3:30, I stretched out with him on the futon to try to get him down for a nap. Around 7 pm, we woke up--both of us showing off our incredible ability to stress-sleep.

It's three days later, and as far as LO is concerned, Monday was just a day when I was inexplicably being mean about nursing. He will not remember the (very, extremely, remarkably, ridiculously minor) procedure, which is exactly what we wanted. The doctors and nurses took great care of him, and in another few days I may stop having random adrenaline surges, followed by long periods of lethargy. As J put it, being a stress-sleeper is not necessarily the best response: "Holy cow, the British are coming! ZZZZzzzzzzzz."

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