Today was the day for Mike’s surgery to relieve the strain on his Achilles tendon. It was a day of surprises – and they actually began yesterday afternoon.
We got a call from East Tennessee Children’s Hospital yesterday afternoon. They wanted us to be at the hospital patient registration at 6am. “6am?” we asked. “For a 9:30 surgery”? Indeed – but because the surgery had been moved up to 7:30.
Of course, that was actually a good thing. The earlier we get in, the earlier we get out. That’s the moto for outpatient surgery! And the earlier we get out, the earlier we get home where Mike can get some rest in his own bed.
So out the door we go at 5:30 this morning. We (remarkably, for the Lee family), arrive at the registration desk early. The collect all of our personal information and send us up to our room. Nurses arrive to take his weight, length, head circumference, O2, blood pressure, pulse, and I’m sure there were other things that I missed. They asked about allergies, medical conditions (is being born a medical condition???), medicines, respiratory issues – including sleep apnea (in an 8 week old? I guess anything is possible…), blood issues, and other things that I can no longer remember.
The next step was the anesthesiologist. She came in and asked a bunch of additional questions. The one question that is important to the story is, “what is Mike’s gestational age?” And the answer is 38 weeks. The anesthesiologist flip through her chart and said, “so you’ll be staying the night, right?”
What? Staying the night??? What part of outpatient surgery requires an overnight stay? Turns out that when you add his gestational age (38 weeks) to his birth age (8 weeks) you get “46”. if the number is less than 50 then they want to keep you overnight. Apparently, if you are below the magical “50” number then you are at a slightly increased risk for “bronchial spasms”.
While we were in no way prepared for an overnight stay (dogs to care for, classes to teach, jobs to work – only the clothes on our backs, no toothpaste, no deodorant, no baby milk, no breast pump), we were actually a little relieved.
“Why relieved” you ask? While we understand that the procedure that Mike had done is the medical equivalent of getting his finger nails trimmed – we simply can’t explain the feeling when the wheel your little baby off behind the big red doors marked “SURGERY”. Having 24 hours of constant medical attention is more reassuring than having 3 or 4.
How did the surgery go? A short 40 minutes after they rolled him through those big, scary, red doors, Doctor Crawford popped in to the waiting room to tell us that the surgery went remarkably well. Not only that, but he was able to complete all of the regression with this first cast. He will need to leave this cast on for 3 weeks for his tendon to heal, but there should not be an follow-up serial casting. And when he goes back to his brace, there shouldn’t be any pain from the tendon strain.
So – all things considered – we are happy with the outlook. And we will be sure to keep you posted with the progress!
Boy – I sure was tired when it was all over!