Thursday, February 17, 2011

Now and Then

A few days after my 9th birthday, the powers that be decided I should have my tonsils removed.  Back then, in the "back then" times, as I like to say redundantly, kids had their tonsils removed as a sort of rite of passage.  "TONSILS?  Who needs 'em?", was the motto of the American Medical Association.

I may or may not have made that motto up.

Now they don't regularly remove tonsils.  Somewhere along the line in the past 40 years, the powers that be decided that tonsils might do something important in the body, and that taking them out as a matter of course might not be a wonderful idea.

Which brings me to yesterday.

Saige, Mr. Clean, and I showed up at the hospital at 6:55am to sign in to registration, for her tonsillectomy.   She's had strep throat so many times that her tonsils were huge and lobulated, with scar tissue and grossness galore.  Her doctor looked in her throat and said, and I quote, "EWWWW!!!!"  The ENT took one look and said, "These should come out.  How about next week?"

When I was little, you stayed about 3 days in the hospital for a tonsillectomy.  You went in the afternoon before the surgery, the next morning you had the surgery, and then you spend another day there to make sure you were all right.  Now they rip 'em out and send the patients home, as soon as the patient can eat some ice chips and speak.

Well, maybe it's not that soon after surgery, but the patient is only in the hospital for a few hours.

The one thing that is the same from then to now is the pain you have after a tonsillectomy.  Your throat hurts.  I remember how excited I was to get all the ice cream I wanted, and after one taste, it was yucky and too thick and I couldn't swallow it.  I was bitterly, bitterly, disappointed.  I told Saige that the things that felt best and tasted best to me were plain ice chips and jello.  (Mom made me blackberry jello, which was delicious, and I don't think they make that flavor anymore)

Right after surgery, Saige's blood pressure dropped dangerously low, and she developed a horrible itchy rash from the morphine they gave her.  Hmmm...  I get hives and rashes from IV morphine.  Maybe it's a genetic problem?   They kept me away from her while she was in recovery.  I knew her surgery was done, so I couldn't figure out what happened.  When Lamp and Erma had their various surgical procedures, both kids asked for me immediately after they woke up.  Saige, on the other hand, figured, "Eh, why bother her?"

Anyway, of course I took photos.  Back in the back then times, it seems that most parents didn't take pictures the way a lot of us do now.  Oh, our parents took the mandatory Christmas pictures, with the kids in their jammies by the tree, or the obligatory Easter pictures, with all the kids in matching church outfits lined up in the back yard, but I like to document just about everything.  (The pictures our parents took assume a Christian upbringing.  I assume most people of Jewish or some other faith don't line up their kids for an Easter shot.)

Back then there was  no internet, either, and so there were no You Tube videos showing various tonsillectomies.  We had to sit and watch several of those the day before Saige's surgery.

Fun family times!

Here's Saige pre-surgery, cuddling Donkey, who was a gift from her Daddy right before he passed away.  Donkey has been with Saige through thick and thin, and even though he's dirty and stitched up in places, and needs saran wrap on one leg to keep his stuffing in, he means a lot to Saige.  In fact, when my mom was facing chemo and surgeries, Saige insisted on getting her a special teddy bear to cuddle.  Mom named hers "Hey Yew", because the chemo meds were made from the yew plant.  

Here's Saige right before she was taken back to the operating room.  She has her lovely hat on, and her IV is in her hand.

This was the lovely view from the hospital room.  To be fair, they are building on an annex to the hospital, but that view we had was certainly ugly and uninspiring.

Finally out of recovery, Saige is writing about how low her blood pressure dropped to Mr. Clean.  Her throat hurt too much for her to talk at that point.
Awww!!  Doesn't this just make you want to hug her??  Kids coming out of anesthesia are so pathetic, and as I said, Saige didn't feel very well at all.

I don't remember coming out of recovery, but I do remember how scared I was that my Mommy and Daddy wouldn't arrive at the hospital before I had to go to surgery.  (Parents didn't spend the night then, either)  I had been told they'd do a urinalysis before my surgery, and the night before, it still hadn't been done yet.  I was really scared to press the button to call the nurse to ask her, so finally I gathered my courage and went to the nurses' station to ask about it.  The nurse laughed at me, but it wasn't a mean laugh.  Oh, and she had me do the whole pee in the cup routine after I asked about it.

My mom drew a picture for me before the surgery.  My doctor's name was similar to Villain, and Mom drew an old fashioned villian lurking over me with a big knife in his hand.  I thought it was funny then.  Now I wonder what Mom was really thinking!  

I remember before my surgery the nurse came in and spelled, "It's time for her s-h-o-t", which was an injection nicknamed the hypo, and was supposed to relax me. Instead it had me climbing the walls.  Oh, and I was VERY offended the nurse spelled out shot, as if I were a little kid who couldn't spell easy words!  

I remember after surgery Mom fed me the ice chips, after I gagged at the nasty ice cream.  

Dad was in and out then--I'm sure he was working and taking care of my siblings during the times he wasn't at the hospital.

I remember leaving the hospital in the wheelchair, and how warm the lights were as I was wheeled out towards the front entrance to get in the car.

I also remember that it was there that I lost my very cool winter stocking cap, the long colorful one with the ball at the end of it. I loved that cap, and have never had another one since.

When I got home, my siblings wanted to know all about my surgery, and my sister, Emmie, had a planter for a get well gift for me.  It was a lady with a raised glove, and inside was some sort of ivy plant.  I had that for years, until it finally broke during one of my many moves.

Saige's sibling, Dr. Lampshade, completely forgot about her surgery, even though he and I had spoken the day before and I'd reminded him of it.  (He had court.  All of his under age drinking charges were dropped, by the way.  He also no longer has to perform community service, because he bonded out.)  The other siblings remembered, mostly because I was texting them to remind them as Saige underwent the cauterizing tool.

We were at the hospital for almost 10 hours, which really isn't all that long, I guess, for someone to have surgery, recuperate, and go home.

However, it seemed really long to Mr. Clean and me.

Though he kept busy watching videos on his Ipod.

I should point out that back then, when I had my tonsils removed, there were no Ipods. Heck, there was no cable television to entertain patients and families, either.  No wonder Mom was drawing pictures of villains for me.  There was nothing else to do!

So, we'll see how Saige does over the next few days.  I realized that the pharmacy wrote the wrong dosage of pain medication on her bottle of liquid vicodin.  I knew the nurse said 15ml, but the label says to give Saige 1 tsp, which is 5ml, according to the syringe I got.  She's supposed to have 15ml every six hours, according to the paperwork we have, and what the nurse told me.  No wonder the poor kid keeps waking up in horrible pain!

Stupid pharmacy.

Anyway, that's it for this update.  Go in peace, be warm and filled.

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