Sunshine meets the medical system

My daughter, who is relatively healthy as a child, had her first run-in with the medical community this week.

In her first year of life, she was a frequent visitor to medical facilities, but of course she has no memory.  I often thought, during those turbulent 365 days, that she was trying to see how stressed Mommy could get before she lost her mind.  And let me note here that I did not have the unending support of her father and finally left when Sunshine was 2 1/2 years old.

As an infant she spent almost a week in the hospital for severe gastritis.  I literally slept on the floor in her room.  She was three months old.  She also found the time to contract salmonella, roseola, develop a nasty allergy to penicillin, have 3 ear infections and the entire time she was colicky and had severe gastric reflux.

But after that first year, she was remarkably healthy.

Except for the ears and throat.

So she had her tonsils out and ear tubes in this past week.  Of course she doesn’t remember her infancy, so all the hospital stuff was new to her.  First, she wanted to know why she was wearing a tag with her name on it.  She was ok with the nurse taking her vital signs, because they do it at the doctor’s office.  I had to coax her into the gown.  I had to explain over and over to her why she needed her tonsils out.  Then I had to explain why I was drawing with marker on her face (you have to mark which part of the body is being operated on) .  And who the people were who were coming in to talk to me about the pending surgery.  And then came the “happy juice”.

It totally freaks me out to see my five year old daughter hopped up on Versed.  Versed is a medication that they use prior to surgery or during procedures like a colonoscopy to relax the patient.  It also has the effect of amnesia.  Patients become really loopy.  And that is what happened to Sunshine.  Within minutes of taking the medication, her eyes glazed over and she started giggling.  Slurring her speech.  Pointing to my  husband and saying “you’re funny”.  Totally unsettled me.

And then they took her to surgery.  Her right ear was grossly infected and they had to suction out a good amount of pus.  Her tonsils were very infected as well.  I should mention that Sunshine has a high tolerance for pain.  By the time she is complaining of pain, both of her ears are badly infected.  Or the strep rash will appear BEFORE she will complain of throat pain.  That is just how she is.  Probably gets it from me.

But the surgery was a success.

Then the nightmare of waking her up from anesthesia began.

When they brought me back, she was crying.  She didn’t know where she was, what happened and her throat was hurting. So I just climbed into bed with her and held her and rubbed her head.  They gave her some Fentanyl and she calmed down.  They had to observe her for two hours post op, so we took a nap.

She slept a little when we brought her home.  Then she wanted to eat.  And the repeated explanations as to why she can’t eat cookies began.  And still continue to this day.  I had told her prior to surgery that she would not be able to eat regular food, but she is only 5.  She even made her “special food” with me the day before.

Regardless, she began sucking down the jello, pudding and ice cream.  Like she hadn’t seen food in years.  That makes me question the recent battles over food in the past week.  Was she hurting during that time and didn’t tell me?

So I gave her a dose of liquid hydrocodone/tylenol toward evening.  Even if she wasn’t telling me she was in pain, I’m a nurse, I know she has to be having some pain.  And I learned that narcotics have the opposite effect on her as it does on me.  Whereas I get sleepy and usually go to sleep for a few hours, even after a Tramadol, Sunshine bounces off the wall.  She was off to the races.  Chatting a mile a minute.  “Mama, look here, Mama, look at me!!”.  Literally running around the apartment.  The child that had surgery THAT MORNING was running around the apartment.

And the next morning I learned that steroids have the exact opposite effect on her that it does me.  I gave her the dose ordered by her doctor (15mg) and she promptly fell asleep.  Steroids keep me awake.

She finally said today that she isn’t mad at me anymore.  All day Thursday and Friday she was shooting me dirty looks and crossing her arms across her chest.  She would say “I’m angry at you Mama, you made them take my tonsils out and now I can’t eat a cookie”.  Even if I explained it to her, she is only five.  I understand that.

But she is now visiting my parents.  Two and a half full days of medications, a five year old running amok, constantly feeding, watching, lecturing, her is exhausting.  And I took my chemo last night.  The break is very welcomed.

I am so thankful that she came through with flying colors.  At least one of us is on the upswing health wise 🙂 .

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