Wednesday, April 17, 2013

In The End, It Was No Big Deal

On top of wrapping up my last semester at the college where I've been teaching for the past four years, looking for a new house, and trying to establish services and doctors for everyone once we move, we've also been trying to get to the bottom of Stow's ongoing gut issues. Besides recurring bouts of C-diff, he's also experienced "sluggish" growth. You wouldn't really know it by looking at him, but he goes through long stretches of halted or delayed physical and developmental growth. Those usually coincide with back-to-back minor illness that can last for months. We've begun to suspect malabsorption given the on-again-off-again diarrhea and the constantly-bloated tummy.

So, the gastroenterologist and the urologist scheduled a combined colonoscopy, endoscopy, and cystocopy. In other words, the doctors wanted to look at his colon, his stomach, his urethra, and his bladder, and they accessed these points from the nearest available points of entry. Poor Stow.

Fortunately, he had no idea what was coming.

I'd been worried about subjecting Stow to general anesthetic ever since we learned about his possible folate issues, so I consulted with the anesthesiologist several times before having the procedures done.  He assured me that research has consistently showed that besides nitrous oxide (a.k.a. laughing gas), limited use of anesthetics has been shown to be safe for children. But, even though I knew everything would probably be fine, it was hard not to worry that somehow Stow would go to sleep for this set of procedures and wake up a different kid. I tried to think about other more cheerful (and admittedly more realistic) scenarios, but I kept coming back to that one.

Our arrival time on the day of the procedure was scheduled for 6:30 a.m., so Ren, Stow and I spent the night in a hotel next to the hospital. That happened to be our anniversary, so we tried to celebrate wth a romantic lunch-with-toddler. If anyone has ever managed a romantic lunch-with-toddler, I'd like to meet them and possibly loan them a kid for a day or two. Then again, who am I kidding? Even without the toddler, lunch would have lacked romance--though it might also have lacked climbing on chairs and scattering crackers on the floor.  Of course, Ren would argue that any lunch that includes a waitress, breakable dishes, and a tip is romantic enough for him.

On the way back to our hotel, we stopped at Whole Foods, so I could stock up on gluten-free cereal and Target, so I could buy Stow some shoes that actually fit his feet.

We might possibly be the most romantic couple ever.

This is what happens when I leave Stow in the car with a sleepy, post-romantic-lunch Ren. Self -tattooing = hotel bath. Sigh.

After a fitful night of sleep for all of us, we decided to go to the hospital early. It's a certain kind of guilt you feel when walking your 22-month old into the hospital for some invasive procedures. As far as Stow knew, we were going to the playground, the zoo, the circus.  Fortunately, the hospital didn't give us a lot of time to be anxious. Stow was called back right away, and once we changed him into his sweet toddler scrubs, they brought a toy car for him to sit in. While he watched cartoons, the nurse took his vitals and prepped him for his trip to the OR. When it was time to take him back, a nurse came and blew bubbles at him as I pushed him down the hall. I wish I could've gotten a video of Stow rolling down the hall in his cool car, honking at all the doctors and nurses as he drove through a shower of bubbles, but I was too intent on being totally present in those final moments before we reached the double doors that said RESTRICTED ACCESS.

When we did, Ren and I kissed Stow on each cheek and then watched him roll away. With the bubble  container in his hands,  he happily drove off without even looking back. We got to see him make the turn into the operating room before the automatic doors closed in our faces.

It sucks to worry about your kids' health and to send them off to be poked and prodded beyond your view. But, we know we are so very lucky.  We have a lot to deal with, but it's nothing like what Gavin's mom, and Kaishi's mom, and Noah's mom have had to face. When I think about what those moms have had to endure and when I see how bravely they have faced the unendurable,  I start to worry that this blog is just an exercise in self-absorption. I hope it's not. I hope people learn from us that we can all muddle through somehow. But more than that, I hope our story teaches people to feel just a little more grateful, to laugh just a little bit more, and to offer those around them just a little more grace.

1 comment:

icansaymama said...

Dear M.o.E,
I nominated you for a Liebster Award! Please check my nomination post here: