Wednesday, June 8, 2011

And Now For The Conclusion Of The Freckle Saga...

We've hopefully reached the conclusion of The Saga Of The Freckle. I say that because when you mix kids and stitches, you just never really know what you might get. Not really.

Ashlyn endured her surgery yesterday, and I have to say she did it like a pro. Not prone to nervousness, from the moment we arrived at Akron Children's Hospital, she was a bundle of anxious excitement. Every small activity was a big new adventure for her.

"I get to wear hospital pajamas? Really?!" (A big smile on her face)

"I get to breathe in an airplane pilot mask filled with raspberry chap stick?! Really??" (Hopping up and down).

"I'll take a nap on THAT bed? It looks so comfortable!" (Full-out, no-holds-barred jumping with glee).

Where could she sign up for this slice of heaven? She was ready to go.

As her mother, on the other hand, I had a tad more reluctance going into this whole magical experience.  Any of you who have had your children in surgery can appreciate this. No matter how "safe" anesthesia has become (and I recognize the amazing strides the field has taken), there is something inherently wrong about signing papers dealing with "In Case Of An Unforeseen Complication" and "Blood Donation" in conjunction with your flesh and blood.

But onward and upward, eh old chaps? I signed the papers and let the festivities begin.

She loved it all: the pajamas!, the masks!, the various tables she got to lie down on!; but most of all, so loved the idea that the freckle would be gone.

"I'll look just like Caedance now and will be able to play Trickery Games with her! No one will know who I am!" (As if we were always 100% before, right?)

When they walked her away from us and back to surgery, I surprised myself by not crying. Not one tear. That is unusual for this lady who still cries at commercials, even when they're not sad at all. (I've recently ventured over into the "Warm Fuzzies" brand of tear ups and the "Such An Accomplishment" state as well. I can't wait to see where I'll be in 10 years; probably crying at my frying pan because, "It's so beautiful".)

Our wait was, thankfully, a pretty short one. The surgery took just 35 minutes and she was back in recovery, awake and awaiting us. Her nurse said she popped awake almost as soon as she was wheeled back there and was raring to get going. We sat with her as they monitored her post op vitals, and found ourselves to be quite entertained by our still woozy daughter. She spent a good deal of the time alternating between sitting up and starting to get out of the bed, (which she was continuously "just noticing" had unusually high railings), and staring vacantly at the beeping screen of the monitor while mumbling, "That's it then, I've been hooked up to a computer, after all." Then in between these two extremes, she'd let out these odd, whimsical, little laughs, whereby she'd throw her back and grin from ear to ear. It was hard to know just exactly what to do with her, but we figured she was trying so we could sit there and be sociable, EVEN when it meant laughing along at her little outbursts.

We were on our way home with her just under an hour later.

But she didn't want to go home. Not right after surgery. That would be tacky, apparently. So instead we went to Kathleen's house, where our Patient Helper, Caedance, had been spending a special day herself. I thought for sure our dazing daughter would curl up and snooze for a bit when we got there; however, after a lunch of bananas, applesauce, and toast she was itching to move about. Still under the influence of the drugs she'd been given, she spent her time playing for a minute and then spending the next 5 or so upset about various things that never seemed to matter before. Like how upsetting it was to flush the toilet; no one should do that.

Finally she popped up and announced that she'd be resting in the guest room. We tucked her in, grateful that she was going to rest, and sat down to take a breather ourselves. Being the neurotic parent that I tend to be, I sent someone in to check on her every few minutes. And although she wasn't actually sleeping, she sure seemed to be resting and was fine, so we kept to our 5 minute checking schedule.

It was during one of those 5 minute intermissions that she decided she had healed quite enough, thank you very much, and no longer needed the outer bandage or the steri-strips covering her just hours old incision. Off they all went. When I went to check on her, she quickly burrowed under the covers, hiding herself from me: Red Flag One. I then noticed the reddish paper strips all over the white coverlet: Red Flag Number Two. Not quite putting the pieces of this puzzle together yet, the picture became crystal clear when I saw all the blood on the pillow, sheets, and blankets around her head: Red Flag Number Three.

Staying as calm as one can be in this situation, I gulped and took a look at her cheek; fearing the worst. Thankfully, the stitches were still in tact, so there was no gore to look at. Ashlyn was frantic, though, sensing she had maybe made a mistake in her "All Healed" thinking. I put a call in to her plastic surgeon and was urged very firmly to bring her back in just as quick as I possibly could get her in, if you don't mind very much, and thank you in advanced.

Leaving Caedance with Kathleen (thank goodness for this arrangement), we tore out of the driveway and hurled ourselves back in to the hospital, making it to the doctor's office just as they were closing for the day. They rechecked all the stitches and deemed them to be properly in place and secure, and put on more strips and several more "Just In Case" layers of bandages.

The entire time, Ashlyn wept.

Still under the effects of the morning narcotics, she was under the illusion that Caedance and Kathleen wouldn't like her with the bandages. Barring that, mom and dad wouldn't like her either. In fact, somehow these bandages turned her into the Hunchback Of Notre Dame and she'd be a social outcast at the tender age of 6.

Weep. Weep. Weep. Weep.

Tears rolling down her cheeks, there was no consoling her. So we thanked the doctor again and promised that we'd see him at our 3 week check and not a minute before. And we took our softly sobbing daughter out the door and back to her twin.

It was an eventful day. Surgery and a near crisis. Dan and I were both emotionally drained. Ashlyn, however, was still going strong, if still a bit on the weepy side.

Incidentally, Kathleen and Caedance happened to LOVE her bandages, and so do Dan and I. As of this writing, she has promised to never, ever, ever, ever touch her bandages again.

(But I slept very near her last night........just to make sure.)


  1. What a sweet story. Made me weepy too. You will look back and laugh at this moment in time one day. I hope you can appreciate the beauty in your dauther's exuberance at this somewhat and understandable stressful time.

  2. Love it! So glad to know this emotional stuff is not just at my house. Glad she did well and that everyone LOVES her bandages. Praying for quick healing!