I wrote this post yesterday, but had trouble with the photo. Ben continues to do well today although he's already asking when he can get "up" and unfortunately that won't be for six weeks! He still has an epidural infusion which is keeping him pain-free and an IV, which he can't wait to be rid of. He was able to sit in a reclining chair for a while and had some pizza tonight.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
He made it
My son Ben had his hip and knee surgery today and I'm very grateful to be on this side of it! Here's a picture of him after he was taken from recovery up to the room he'll be in for a few days.
I wrote about how anxious I was before this surgery and many of you sent kind wishes, prayers and encouragement. Thank you for your support!
Ben was receiving excellent pain medication (an epidural) when I left tonight and he was very mellow and comfortable and enjoying watching movies on his portable DVD player (D'Arcy is staying with him). He has a large cast around his trunk (I call it "armor") and a mix of cast and bandaging on his leg that's huge. It was overwhelming to see him in the recovery room because he was also catheterized, which I didn't expect, and had so many wires and leads. Apparently he got very cold during the surgery so they had him under what looked like a giant inflatable mattress that was heated. When we first came to his bed, we couldn't see his head.
Surprisingly, Ben's biggest concern in recovery was whether he could go downstairs to the playroom to use the computer and what he was having for dinner (unfortunately, nothing but clear fluids!) He's also anxious about when the catheter can come out and when he can go home (hopefully Friday).
The day was challenging early on when Ben's surgery was delayed two hours. It wasn't a big deal for Ben, who was absorbed with video games, but it was hard for us old folks.
When it was our turn, I accompanied Ben into the operating room to be put to sleep. It was terrifying for both of us. Ben's always gone on his own in the past, but when he had a recent CAT scan, I was allowed to rub his back while he inhaled the anesthetic medication through a mask. I've never been in an OR before and I was taken aback by how massive it was, the imposing lights, the technology, and all of the frightening "materials" laid out waiting. Ben was scared and refused to get out of his wheelchair. We negotiated that I would bring him a surprise when he woke up later. We went to pick him up and transfer him to the bed and the anesthetist accidentally banged his head with her stethoscope. Unlike the CAT scan folks, who took time with Ben and showed him all the equipment first and cheered him on, she pulled the mask out from behind his head without showing it to him. Of course he balked. I tried putting the mask on Ponda Babba, his favourite Star Wars character (wearing the orange jacket in photo above), but the staff weren't patient and placed it on Ben's face. He resisted and it was horrible to force him to inhale while he shook his head and thrashed around. When he passed out we lay him down and I bent over to kiss his cheek and breathed in the foul smell of the anesthetic. They took his hospital clothes off and it was wrenching to leave him lying there so vulnerable.
I wonder why they aren't able to put children to sleep in a "safe" room and then take them to the OR? So much is done to make the rest of the hospital child-friendly, but it's cancelled out by the trauma of the OR.
The operation took about five hours and the surgeon was pleased with how it went. They removed the benign bony growths, called exostoses, and repositioned and realigned the hip that wasn't growing properly because of the mass inside. The doctor was a very caring person and reassured us that things had gone well.
The medical fellow who spoke to us in the waiting room said dozens of exostoses all over Ben's body showed up on the CAT scan. It's possible the ones they removed today will grow back. However, hopefully that won't be in a matter of months, but years.
The nurses in the recovery room and on the unit were professional, skilled and compassionate.
Thank you so much for all of your well wishes. They are truly appreciated!