Surgery 3.0

*I have a private blog, where I blog to Olivia, so that one day she can open it and read it. This is a blog post, I wrote to her. It was too good for me to revise to make another version for everyone else. So enjoy. 

Dear Olivia,

You just had your third surgery. Third. You are three. That is three surgeries for three years. Three. It’s such a small number. You would think I would be used to this by now. After all it’s your third surgery but its your fourth time to be put under general anesthesia. I should be a pro. Right? Wrong. I don’t think you ever become a pro at watching someone take your little baby. To put your babies life in someones hand. I think that gut wrenching, heart pounding, terrible sense of doom never leaves. It stays with you until you have your baby back in your arms. So why this time? What needed to be done this time.


So simple.

Your sleep apnea didn’t get any better after your adenoids were removed. So our next step, your tonsils. So we scheduled your surgery. May 22nd. Thursday. We would spend one night in the hospital to watch for dehydration. This would be your first overnight surgery stay in a hospital. So you still have some medical first left. We drove up the day of surgery, checked in to ambulatory care. We waited. We sat in our usual back corner of the family room and waited.


At some point we are called back to pre-op. This is it.


11:23 It has been 10 minutes since I gave you to someone else. 10 minutes since I watched them wheel you down the hall. 10 minutes that have already seemed like a lifetime.

11:30 Your name has changed from dark pink to dark green. That means that anesthesia has ended and the operation is starting. (I think or maybe anesthesia is just starting). These colors of scrolling names are my lifeline to your.

11:38 Your name is now teal. I wonder what this means. After all I’m really just guessing. Are they just now starting? Are they finished? My book is no longer captivating. I’ve only ready two paragraphs today.

11:46 YELLOW. The doctor came out. You did great!

12:15 Light pink.

12:18 We can see you. Room 16.

12:22 I get to hold you. You are hooked up to the EKG, the blood pressure cuff, your IV, your pulse ox. You have wires everywhere. But I hold you and I rock you. You refuse your popsicle, juice, everything. You receive your last dose of morphine, and slip back into peaceful slumber.


1:30 3E02A. Our bed. You have roommate.

4:00 You eat grilled cheese, pudding and applesauce.


7:00 Another pudding cup, chocolate of course.

9:00 Your passed out, your roommate isn’t.

9:30 Night terror #1

10:00 Your buddy still ins’t asleep

11:00 Night terror #2

Midnight: its your first sign of pain since surgery.

1:30am. Your still screaming in pain. Which probably isn’t helping the pain. Your first dose of pain meds since surgery. Motrin.

3:30am Your still in pain. Now you have tylenol.


4:00am I’ve asked for ox and zofran. You started gagging from the pain.

4:20am The meds arrive. I can breathe.

6:30am The resident comes in. You can leave after the fluid challenge. 4.5 ounces in 3 hours. Thats it.

7am you want pancakes.

7:55 Still nothing to drink. I’ve decided to try more oxy.

8:30 Your medicine arrives

9:30 We go to Camp Wannaplay. You made a little turtle.


10:30 you have a fever. Tylenol is next, You still haven’t ate or drank. Your grandma Wesley stopped by with Aunt Dianne, Aunt Becky and Aunt Wanda. Your not really up for company.

3:00 Your definitely not going home today. Your fever has spiked. Your dad is going home to rest. Nana is coming up to stay with use.


I’ve lost track of time. Your nana is here. Your fever has spiked. Its 103.5. I’m worried. This is really high for just a post-op fever. You haven’t ate or drank all day.

You and your roommate have become friends. As the next day approaches. We try everything to get you to eat or drink. We go back to Camp Wannaplay where you meet Jesse. The dog. We go down to the gift shop. I bribe you with toys. We got play.


You still don’t drink. At 4:20 you start to drink. But not enough. Fast forward. It’s 7:15. Your friend has gone home. You still have 2 more ounces to drink. You have 5 minutes. You chug your chocolate milk. But its too late. It is 7:30. The doctor agrees if you drink half an ounce right now you can go home. I ask the nurse for a syringe. 15mL. That is it. I squirt it in your mouth and you drink it. We are free! Thank goodness! 3 days, 2 nights. We can go home. Fastest discharge ever. The nurse got us discharged in 20 minutes. She is my new best friend.

Olivia, you are so brave and so strong. You have endured so much. But just so you know. These are the moments that I will cherish forever. The moments I spend rejoicing about the little things. The little victories that come your way. 4.5 ounces. It is a small victory. But it is your victory.




P.S. It has been 3 weeks since surgery. And you are sleeping much better.

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