Last week Jake had surgery.
He had his tonsils and adenoids out. We were prepped to the nines for this surgery. We knew all the health risks, all the potential complications, all the possibilities of what could happen during (or directly after) the surgery. We knew what to expect from the day. Surgery, recovery, and then off to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) to be monitored for 24 hours. None of the knowledge actually made the experience easier, but at least we were armed with the knowledge of what to expect.
But here are a few thoughts on what they don’t tell you…
…What they don’t tell you is how helpless you will feel. Holding your child in the recovery room after surgery, hearing him scream “mommy, mommy” over and over again, his tiny little body racked with pain as he realizes that all is not as it should be. Waking up in the middle of the night to your baby boy crying out, awoken from the restful healing quality of sleep because the pain of swallowing is too much to bear. Knowing that as you snuggle him close, softly stroking his hair and singing into his ear to calm him, you are helpless to take away his suffering.
…What they don’t tell you is the emotional roller coaster that your child will be on, which coincidentally correlates closely with the intervals of pain medication he is receiving! One minute he is playing outside, running around, oblivious to the events of the past few days. The next minute he coughs unintentionally, and the reality of the pain he is experiencing comes crashing down around him, causing him to run back into my arms in tears.
…What they don’t tell you is that your child’s tiny voice, which was just finding its way in the world, will change. That the little “mommy” which has become so dear to me no longer sounds the same. And in a small way, I mourn the loss.
…What they don’t tell you is how much of a failure you will feel like. When your stubborn, obstinate child (traits that will serve him well in other circumstances!) refuses to eat or drink, and will not take pain medication. When you have tried everything in your arsenal to get him to swallow something, anything. When you have tried to hide Tylenol in a bottle, in every sort of food and drink imaginable, and to no avail. When you are sitting on top of your precious little boy, pinning his arms and legs down and sobbing every bit as hard as he is, trying to get him to swallow the medicine that will bring the relief he desperately longs for. It is heart-wrenching.
I know this is a season. I am aware that this, too, shall pass. And I firmly believe that the surgery was the right decision. But today, it hurts.