In late April I shared with you that my 4-year-old Hannah had an umbilical hernia that required surgical repair. Finally, on Monday, she had the procedure. It was a completely non-urgent surgery, and so she was bumped from her first scheduled date. Then, the alternate date was during our week in Bamfield, so we didn’t take that one. But, really, I was kind of glad for the delay. I was in no rush, and dealing with her baby brother during the procedure was undoubtedly easier at almost 14 months than it would have been at 11 months.
Outside the hospital
Hannah’s surgery was in the afternoon, and so she was allowed to have clear fluids for most of the morning. I have to tell you, nothing makes a pre-surgery fast more exciting than allowing a 4-year-old to eat popsicles for breakfast. She is actually disappointed that she can’t repeat that particular experience. For whatever reason, she handled the fast really well. I heard other kids really whining to eat, but Hannah didn’t, thankfully. Heaven knows we have enough whining at other times, but occasionally my kid pulls through for me.
In the gown, playing in the waiting area
The surgery actually went much better than I expected it to. The staff at BC Children’s Hospital are fabulous, and they really do cater to children and make it as easy on them as possible. Prior to the surgery they put some numbing cream on Hannah’s hand, held in place with some tape, to prepare for the IV. Hannah did have to change into a hospital gown, but she was able to keep her own socks, underwear, and doll with her. She spent most of the hour-plus wait playing in the play area and watching the TV they had. When it was time to go in I was able to put on a cap and gown and hold her.
All suited up and ready to go
In the operating room Hannah sat up on the table, and I stood beside her with my arm around her. She held her doll and the staff blew bubbles to distract her while they inserted the IV. She didn’t even feel it, because of the numbing cream they’d used. Then, while the nurse and I supported her they gave her the anesthetic and she just fell asleep. They didn’t even make her lie down until she was under. She sort of knew there was something going on with her hand that she wasn’t completely happy about, but she didn’t even really have time to become upset and she didn’t cry at all.
Slightly groggy on the way home, clutching the wand she got as a prize
Sitting and waiting during the procedure was the worst part. The surgeon came out after about half an hour and let us know that it had gone well and they would be coming to get us any minute. Then we sat there for about 20 minutes gnawing our fingernails. But Hannah was fine when I went to see her, in spite of being groggy. Although she insisted that she ‘wasn’t even sleepy’ and wanted to play some more. About 20 minutes later they let us go, and by the time we got home an hour later she was pretty much her old self.
The surgery wasn’t fun, I’ll admit it. But I’m glad that we did it, and in the end it was really as quick, easy and painless as they could possibly make it. That is the part I’m glad of, most of all.