Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The day my son had surgery and I didn't even know about it

August 9th, 2016
8:15 a.m.

Right now, this little guy is in under general anesthesia for an endoscopy and a biopsy.  He's the toughest guy I know.  

We entered the same-day surgery unit where he was weighed and checked into a room.  I helped him into his hospital gown, stopping him from putting it on backward.  He chatted with nurses who came in and out, and we walked with him as he was wheeled back to the procedure room. We stood with him as he fell asleep, laughing at the corny jokes of the anesthesiologist until his eyes closed.  I kissed him on the cheek and we walked to the waiting room.  As I made myself a cup of mediocre hospital coffee, my mind drifted back to late April of 2014.  

I was in treatment, sitting in an afternoon group, and I was called down to the office.  As I walked in, the office manager, Cassie, told me that my husband had called with some medical information about our son.  She said he'd had a procedure for some health issues he had been having and the biopsies came back confirming that he had celiac disease and eosinophilic esophagitis.  Now, keep in mind that I am aware that while these diseases are life-altering, they are not life-threatening.  You might even say they aren't a "big deal." But, for a woman standing in a treatment facility hours away from her son who she didn't even know was sick, it WAS a big deal.  And, these were just two more diagnoses on top of the many he already had.  He was my baby.  And I was the last one to know he had something else wrong with him.  I cried.  I got embarrassed.  I got angry.  I asked why Chad hadn't even told me that Ethan would be undergoing surgery.  And the answer?  He didn't want me to worry........and he was afraid I would leave rehab. 

You see, I vaguely remembered that Ethan had a consult scheduled with a GI specialist.  Just seven months prior, he had ended up in the hospital for nine days with a collapsed lung.  It was during that time that they noticed he had some internal bleeding coming from his intestinal area.  It was during that time that I spent those nine days in the hospital with him, withdrawing and detoxing from opiates.  It was during that time that I laid on the floor of a nasty shower because I was so miserable I couldn't stand up.  It was during that time that I went unconscious on the couch in my son's room while a doctor was talking to me and had a Code Blue called and was rushed to a nearby hospital by ambulance.  It was during that time that I begged for them to let me go back to the Children's Hospital with my son and willingly admitted that I was going through opiate withdrawal.  All of that had been a blur, and somehow I had forgotten about the follow-up appointment for Ethan with the gastrointestinal doctor.  Mother of the year, right here. 

It is crazy to me how much drugs can change a person.  I had not started using when Ethan was born, and I was "that mom."  You know....the one who carried germ-x everywhere.  The one who didn't allow people to hold him because he was a preemie.  The one who used a wipes warmer. The one who asked people to not smoke anywhere near him.  The one who only took two or three of the pain pills they sent home with me from the hospital because I was nursing.  The over-protective, by the book mom. The mom who had him on a schedule, who put him to bed with lullaby music.  The mom who bathed him every night and lathered him in calming bedtime lotion.  The mom who read and sang to him any chance she could get. 

And now?  Now I was standing in the middle of a treatment center, a hundred miles away from my family, the room spinning around me, hearing that my little boy had been put to sleep for a minor surgery and I wasn't there.  What's worse?  I didn't even know about it.  

Today every move I have made throughout the entire morning, I have imagined Chad doing alone. Helping Ethan get ready for his himself.  Answering all of the nurse's and anesthesiologist's himself.  Walking to the OR behind the wheeled hospital himself.  Holding Ethan's hand as he fell himself.  Kissing his cheek and telling him himself. Sitting anxiously in the parent's room awaiting Ethan's name to be himself. Getting the test himself.  Learning a new way of cooking and himself.  I was gone for all of that.  And, I had A LOT of catching up to do when I got home.  Life, as we knew it, had changed.

But, today, I was there.  I helped him every step of the way.  As he was falling asleep, his eyes kept drifting back to mine.  Making sure I was there.  I was there in the waiting room, anxiously waiting for his name to be called.  I was there when the doctor gave us the results of the procedure.  I was there when they called for Ethan's parents again and escorted us back to the recovery room.  I was there and stood by his side, rubbing his soft little face encouraging him to wake up.  I was the first face he saw when he opened his eyes.  I fed him his favorite treat, a red popsicle, as he woke up.  I held the miniature can of Sprite to his mouth as he took little sips.  I stood by his bedside and played with his hair until he asked me to leave it alone and not mess it up!  I signed the discharge papers, and I walked beside him as they wheeled him out to the car.  And I went home with him.  

There are so many things I have missed out on.  So many times that I should have been there, but I wasn't.  But, one thing we learn about in recovery is making "living amends."  I can't go back and change the fact that I wasn't there for important moments.  But, I can do everything within my power to make sure that I am there for all future ones.  And, the only way that I can continue to do that is to stay clean and day at a time.  

1 comment:

  1. You are an amazing woman misty. Your words touch my heart. You have an amazing gift of putting your thoughts into well as singing!! I am so proud of the woman you have become and it's exciting to see you grow!! I loved this entry!!