My Son, Surgery and a Circus Tent of Anxiety

Today was, easily, my least favorite day of the year.  Which is saying something as this year has been crazy with events, few good.  But today I had to take my son in to get surgery.

Now, before I go further in, no, I’m not going to tell you what kind of surgery.  If you ask, I’ll just tell you “breast implants” with a straight face and then move on.  You don’t need to know just so you can give me some terrible advice or tell me something crazy like, “the lizard men are just trying to put a microchip in yer boy.”

Anywho.  We took my son to the Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, out in Cleveland.  Mein gott, that is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.  It’s pretty funny when a hospital has better art than the art museum a few block away.

Seriously, this is a courtyard there.  It's incredible.  Look at it.

Seriously, this is a courtyard there. It’s incredible. Look at it.

But despite the pretty scenery, there was just no denying that we weren’t there to enjoy it.  We made it to where the procedure was going to be done and waited.  Eventually, it was time to go in the back.  Now, the operating wasn’t supposed to start until about 10:30-11AM so at about 8:30AM we had to stop with the breast milk.

This, right here, is strike one to every instinct in your body.  One of the many things I found today which absolutely suck.

You look at your kid on an operating table (boo), wearing a tiny hospital gown (double boo) and looking at you and your wife, with this confused terror because not only does he not know where he is, but the only two people in the world he’s familiar with are just not supplying him with the food he desperately wants.  It sucks.  There’s no good way to explain to a six month old why you can’t feed him right now.  It is a feeling that sucks so bad that the knowledge that his doctor’s name was Dr. Goldfinger did not lighten the mood at all even though we should have all, in fairness, been pointing and laughing.  (Especially after my wife’s recent medical experiences which had her working with Dr. Quinn, Ms. Jackson and Dr. Hu [pronounced Who])

(For those who don’t understand, before surgery, you’re not supposed to eat as the potential of vomiting can further complicate things)

Then, once it’s time, the ana…shit, hold on, let me look up how to spell this.  I’m not even going to guess.  Whoa.  The anesthesiologist comes in to haul your child off so that they can be put to sleep.  A phrase that can’t not make a parent shudder.

One of the worst things in the world.  Another of the terrible experiences I’ve encountered today.  One you cannot pretend to understand until you experience it, is when you get to the “halfway point”.

For those that haven’t experienced this.  The “halfway point” is a point where you’re no longer allowed to be with your kid.  You stop in this hallway, you give your confused son a hug and a kiss, and they take him away to perform the necessary work.  It is heartbreaking.  Take every high school rejection you’ve ever faced and then pile on two dead relatives and you’re fairly close to this feeling.  Your heart plummets, your knees weaken and your faced with the one thing parents hate the most beyond advice you didn’t ask for, and that’s helplessness.

So, for the next few hours, you’re given a pager straight out of Saved by the Bell and given free range to go wonder the hospital and get food.  A freedom that, normally, a parent wouldn’t mind.  But, normally, your son isn’t put under with guess while people cut him open so the freedom party had a bit of a cloud out of it.  Especially when you’re put into an environment meant entirely for children.

Finally, you get a consultation where they tell you everything’s over, everything’s fine (in our case) and they explain what happened and what to expect.  Of course, nothing compares you for the moment where you actually get to finally see your child and (in my case) almost vomit and faint at the sight of where they did the work.

Poor lil’ guy

Even worse than seeing where he was injured is seeing the confused look on your barely conscious child.  My child is a being of pure emotion.  A sentient mood ring in which everything is either beloved, wonderful or terrifying.  But seeing him there, he was just…existing.  His face barely able to convey the state of confusion he was no doubt facing.

But, eventually, they let him feed (which, great Hera, did he feed) and remove the IV and let you take him home.

Taking him home is an incredible feeling.  One I feel that the current generation will never fully understand as they’re no longer allowed to wait at the airport for loved ones to arrive at a gate.  That’s all I can compare it too.  That feeling of watching all these people poor out of a gate and suddenly see a familiar face in a sea of madness and embrace them as tightly as you legally can without the state dubbing you a “murderer”.

So, he’s home now and safe and sound, but I would love to know that this is something I never had to experience again.  I’ve seen terrible things in my life.  I’ve seen people die with my own eyes.  I’ve watched people do horrible things.  I’ve seen an episode of Teen Mom.  I’d relive all those than watch my son go through that again.  Ugh.


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