In January both Leila and I had a new experience; a surgical procedure for Leila in the hospital, who do you think had more going through the mind?
No need to guess, from my standpoint we were both a little anxious from different perspectives. I was the lucky one with so many adults giving me words of advice, sharing their empathy, and reassuring me all would be well. For Leila, she had the doctor’s announcement with reassurance, her TiTi, and her imagination. What goes on in the minds of the children? Leila was not looking forward to this adventure. Her two experiences of hospitals were a 10-day absence from TiTi and watching her TiTi drive away in an ambulance. Even though the experiences produced a healthy happier TiTi, she didn’t like the separation and she made sure I was aware. Now Leila would be the one separated from me.
Leila has complained of her ability to hear since she could speak. Getting school ready I requested a hearing test and learned she had fluid in her ears. We were referred to the specialist and after three visits over a period of time the decision was made to insert tubes. Once again Leila amazed me with her intensity in taking in the doctor’s information to know what was required of her. Leila could recite what was required for pre-op and was careful to follow each direction as laid out. She had to fast. She had to get up early to get ready to go. No complaints, no fuss – she just did what she had to do.
Leila admitted her fear, she had a sleepless night when she processed the fact she would be going to the hospital, and she let everyone we met along the way from pre-op to surgery know she was afraid and TiTi had to come with her. This pronouncement of fear was more difficult for me, than the actual operation. How do you help a child through the fear of the unknown?
The interesting point, her expression of fear was a matter-of-fact statement. Her Teddy would also be a patient, which alleviated some of the stress for her. He would have a mask and stickers just like her. They both had hospital wristbands. The staff at the hospital was absolutely wonderful with her, all staff no matter the position focused on her when she was present in their company.
The waiting for the operation was longer than anticipated as the doctor had to perform an emergency procedure. The 11:30 time became 2:00. During this time not only Leila; all the children in the waiting room were exemplary as they waited. There was lots of cuddling, playing, reading, and making new friends. The quietness of the waiting room is interesting in and of itself. The age range was from 4 year old to people in their 70’s. Conversations took place between strangers, some laughter, mostly quiet. If I were to hazard a guess, people were contemplating the upcoming procedure for themselves or the people they were there to support. Older patients that engaged with Leila shared words of reassurance and for one I could see in her eyes, she had some trepidation about her procedure. In fact, her words to me, “If she (referring to Leila) can be brave, so can I.” The other observation was the conviction placing Leila in French Immersion is best. Most of the children in the waiting room were Francophones and listening to both languages was music to my ears.
When it came time for the operation, Leila wasn’t going anywhere without me. Her sobs were pulling at my heart. Dr. Robinson who is a tiny woman in comparison to me decided to carry her. All I could do was smile through the tears I was holding back until Leila was out of sight. When the doctor lifted Leila I heard a grunt. I admired her even more and wondered about her back care. As I left the little room in operating area the staff behind the counter looked at me and shared kind words as I could now show my distress through the tears I had held in. And so you all know, the distress was for naught. Leila was in and out in about 40 minutes. When I found her was eating a Popsicle in the recovery room where we sat for about 20 minutes.
That fateful day was a day of amazing gratefuls:
- One of the coldest days ever and my car started.
- While driving around the parking lot looking for a parking spot, and a very nice man who just got out of emergency got out of his car and offered to park mine where he was. He told me to bring Leila inside and he would bring me the keys.
- My computer crashed and I mean crashed last Sunday. When I brought in to be repaired I was told I most likely lost everything. The repair was to be approximately $1 300 or if they sent it away $600. Bit the bullet, bought a new computer and paid for recovery of data. The phone call came as I was sitting in the waiting room. All data recovered. And yes, I am now the proud owner of a back up machine.
- A volunteer stayed with Leila in the hospital while I went to get my car.
- One of the coldest days ever and the parking arm was up because the mechanism was frozen. No parking fee.
- Leila’s long form birth certificate arrived. Wasn’t expected until the end of February.
- Leila is enrolled in French Immersion and speaks French at home.
- And the most important grateful – Leila came through her surgery without any problems.
You have a wonderful week.