Pediatric Surgery: Don’t leave home without this ONE thing for your child.

My six year old had surgery yesterday. The Doctors called it minor. My mom brain, screamed MAJOR. The calm professionalism of Brenner Children’s Hospital and Dr. Atala was beyond my expectations. They are truly experts at what they do.

When we walked in at 6 AM sharp, there was a very long line waiting at the we will cut you surgical check in station. It was solemn and quiet with patients and their friends or family sweetly whispering their words of support with the occasional back rub, knowing nod, or arm around the shoulders. David and Wade took seats in the waiting area and I took my place in line to check him in.

Then among the subdued patients and their support system standing by, there was The Loud One. You know the type, right? The distant family “acquaintance” that no one really knows that well who stands in the midst of family members asking “Where are ya workin’ now?” and then spends the rest of the time being funny and loud and laughing at his own one liners?

Yep. That guy.

I had one of them right behind me. For 30 minutes. He was pretty funny though and it gave me something to focus on to pass the time. By hearing his conversations, I know all about him and his family. I do hope his baby starts sleeping through the night soon because his wife is really sleep deprived. And I hope the interview he went on last week pans out and he gets that dream job.

Anyway…

It was finally my turn and when I heard “I’ll help the next in line”, I whisper screamed, YES!!! In my head. And then walked quickly to the desk and told the receptionist my son’s name. When hearing he was six years old she informed me I was in the wrong line, raised her manicured hand and gestured with a apologetic smile that I needed to go around the corner to Pediatrics.

What? Nooooooooo!

Story of my life. Always going up the down Escalator.

The pediatric section was awesome, and thankfully there was not another line to wait in. I apologized for being late and explained that I stood in the wrong line for 30 minutes *behind a woman wearing her slippers and in front of the guy laughing at his own jokes-and if she sees him, he really wants to find a good coffee house in town-so if she knows of one, please let him know.

We checked in, found some seats and sat down.

Just one word. Tablet.

Wade borrowed a tablet to play games on. (Thanks Mimi.) I don’t know if he really knew anything that went on yesterday. His eyes were glued to the tablet and he would  look up long enough to acknowledge a question from the medical team with a nod or quick answer before lowering his head and proceeding with Angry Birds, or Planes, or whatever other game he switched back and forth between.

You’ve heard the phrase “Best thing since sliced bread” right?

The tablet falls within that category. When kids have surgery, don’t leave home without it. If you don’t have one, try to borrow one.

When they rolled Wade down the hall towards the OR,  and David and I stood there screaming *NOOO, Don’t take our baby!!”, Wade never looked back. He still had the tablet and was clumsily tapping the screen with his fingers as he tried to continue playing, even though the medicine they had given him had already taken control of his fine motor skills. We saw them turn the corner and watched the bed with his little body lying in it, slowly roll out of sight.

I would like to know if he completed that level of Angry Birds before is body went limp and they pried the game from his fingers. No one will ever know.

We took our seats in the adult waiting room because you can’t eat in the pediatric waiting room. And we all know that waiting rooms are so boring that most people start snacking on things. And if you don’t have anything good with you, you resort to buying the vending machine crap that all of a sudden tastes better than anything you’ve ever had before.

It’s a novelty.

Three Mini Chips Ahoy cookies for $2.50? “Yes! Oh gosh YES!!!” And give me some of that vending machine coffee while you’re at it.

So yes, if you eat, you have to do it away from the children. These kids haven’t had anything to eat or drink since midnight the night before so pulling out a large Yoohoo and oatmeal cookie and slurping it down all while winking at a three year old and saying, “What’s wrong little fella…you hungry?” verges on emotional abuse. The receptionist told me that. In her own much more professional words. But still – it meant the same thing.

After surgery I was able to go see Wade in recovery. Only one parent could go in at a time so I handed off my pink iPAD to David who gladly accepted it, so he could watch YouTube as he was getting tired of playing Angry Birds on his iphone. I love the fact that I can lovingly caress my iPad and look through my lashes at David and say,

“This is what your iphone wants to be when it grows up.”

I asked David if he wanted my pink ear plugs so he could turn up the volume. He looked at me as if I were crazy. Which doesn’t really make sense because he was ALREADY holding a pink iPAD. I mean, at that point did it really make a difference in manly-hood? I don’t think so.

Men. They just aren’t good at analyzing situations.

Wade had just woken up and in his foggy state of mind he didn’t reach for me and call out “Mommy!” as I had hoped he would. He didn’t grab my hand and pull me close so I could wrap my arms around him to keep him safe. He didn’t need any motherly comforting.  No, nothing like that.

He looked at me through half closed, drowsy eyes, and mumbled;

“Where’s my Tablet?”

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All Pediatric hospitals should have tablets on hand to offer kids before surgery. I’m a huge believer in the benefits it has on keeping kids occupied and the stress levels pretty much non existent.

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Disclaimer:

 *We didn’t really scream “NO, Don’t take our baby!” That was a lie and I would feel bad if I didn’t clarify that.

* I didn’t actually tell the nurse about the woman wearing slippers or the guy wanting to find a coffee shop. But I really wanted to.

*Everything else in this story totally happened.