May 8, 2009


Two weeks ago, when I called to tell my mom about James having to go under anesthesia to remove something from his nose, I told her she was allowed to laugh. I knew full well this was paybacks.

When I was around 4 years old, my older brother and I were playing, and we decided I needed a hearing aid. So we did what 4 & 5 year old children do - we found a dried bean and put it in my ear. I still clearly recall doing it!

What I remember even more clearly is the doctor visit a few weeks later when the doctor looked in my ears and discovered a foreign body lodged in there. I kicked and screamed and thrashed around, and after going to more than one office that morning as different docs tried different means to get at the bean, the verdict came down: she'll need general anesthesia if we're going to get at this piece of whatever-it-is!

I also clearly remember a few days later, lying on the table in the OR, and the doctor's hand coming toward me with the mask. "Smell your mommy's perfume," he said. About the time I started to say, "That is not perfume," I was out.

So today, when we learned that James' procedure required not just mild sedation but full general anesthesia, complete with breathing tube and IV, my heart didn't skip a beat. Having been just a couple years older than James (and having survived!), I was able to entrust him to our merciful Savior.

But that's not to say that as I watched our small boy, red hair highlighted by his light green gown, heading out of pre-op in his daddy's arms, I didn't whisper a prayer, "God please let him come through safely." Then I went out to the waiting room, where Ben's mom and our dear family friend, Elizabeth, were waiting.

Daddy's heart, on the other hand, had a bit more trauma in store. He bravely took our son into the OR where it was his job to hold James while they put the mask on our boy until he fell asleep. James struggled more than Ben expected. And then when James went limp, it tore at poor Daddy's heart. The nurses didn't let Ben leave the OR right away so that he could compose himself.

But when he joined us in the waiting room, it was clear that it had been very difficult. Ben's mom joined his tears. Elizabeth graciously helped to distract Ben, and Ben's mom and I were then able to carry on our conversation.

In less than 30 minutes, the doctor arrived with a smile. Oh how that smile served my soul. He brought a print of several pictures they had taken. On the left side of James' nose, he'd found a cottony/gauzy mass that measured a full 1 cm in diameter. From the right side, he'd removed a small piece of apple. Lovely! (He also took pictures of James' adnoids as they are rather enlarged. So he wants us to keep our eyes/ears on them.)

Very soon after, a hospital hostess escorted us back to see our James. We could hear him whimpering as we came through the door. But as soon as he was in my arms, he cried in earnest. Thankfully, someone at Care Group last night had given us a heads up. And the anesthesiologist also told us that is totally normal. He said a good cry "is Nature's way of clearing out all the gas and quickly filling their lungs with oxygen."

It took James probably 20 minutes or so to settle down. He definitely seemed disoriented. He also was not happy about the IV. But he didn't want to drink anything. He took the tiniest sip of water, and the nurse said that was good enough for her. Out came the IV. On went his clothes. And back came our little boy. In no time at all, he was talking, drinking juice (something he might have had one other time in his life!) and being generally agreeable.

We had promised James that we would go to lunch at California Tortilla after going to the hospital. James and I had been there two weeks ago, after his initial visit with the ENT. And since we almost never go out to eat, this was a major excitement in his little world. Since he'd had nothing to eat or drink since before 7 p.m. last night, our boy was especially hungry. Poor guy. He'd awakened at his usual time this morning (6:30-ish) and started asking for "gefast." When we told him he couldn't have anything to eat, he played for a bit and then started telling me he was "hungy." Of course, his low blood sugar contributed to a bit of irritability as we finished preps to leave this morning. And then, on the way to the hospital, James began insisting that we stop at California Tortilla first.

But what a happy thing, after putting him all back together in the post-op area, to have him realize that it was now time for California Tortilla! This hungry boy practically dove into the chips, dipping them right into the guacamole. Then he attacked the salsa. And finally he took a bite of his beef taco. He just kept right on eating, one thing and then another. And then, he settled back, obviously satisfied. Ahhh. He carried the last four chips in their box out to the car. It hadn't been such a bad morning after all!

We have rehearsed with him all day, "James, where did we go today?" (the hospital) "And what did the doctors do at the hospital?" (took out the gunk from your/my nose) "Are you going to put anything up your nose anymore? (NO!)

How grateful we are for everyone's prayers. Thank you for carrying us on your hearts and being with us in spirit. What a blessing to have our son returned to us in better shape than we left him, even smelling better immediately!

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