We like to mark memorable days in our house by doing memorable things, that normally involve Doctors, Nurses and varying different drugs. On the twins 5th birthday party (to which we had 57 small children coming), Libby-Sue marked the occasion by having a grand mal seizure that popped her into hospital for three days. On Halloween, three years ago, instead of dressing up in our immaculately bought costumes and hitting up the neighbours for sugar, Molly was finally diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and we spent the night preparing for a life long battle with sugar needs.
Lets not forget about the Christmas that Libby-Sue was diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia.
So, it was no huge surprise when the letter dropped through the door confirming that Owen’s mastoid surgery (to sort out his buggered up little ears) was going to be on New Years Eve.
But it was day surgery, and the surgeon himself reassured me weeks before that we would be out by late afternoon, five at the very latest and free to pursue our evenings entertainment if Owen felt well enough to stay up and join in the celebrations.
New Years Eve 2015 arrived and I dragged my exhausted self out of bed at 5.45am. Because I was plagued all night by the popular condition of ‘Imust notoversleepitis’, consequently I slept very little. The worry of watching one of my kids go for yet another general anesthetic (eleven in five years – not that I am counting).
I gathered up my abnormally excited little boy and we set off for the hospital armed with games, technology, food and bags of Prosecco to take to my friends that evening.
The girls slept on for another hour until their Dad got them up and brought them to the Day Ward to join us just after 10am.
By which point Owen and I had been cursed.
Our surgeon, came to chat to us about the surgery around 8am. He explained Owen would be under for around four hours and the procedure was tricky as the ear connects to so many other nerve sites. He pre warned that more surgery would likely to be done in nine months to a year, to reconstruct the inner ear, as this procedure was all about removing the damaged ear drum and getting rid of the chronic infection.
Then I made my first mistake…
I asked the question….
Is it at all likely we won’t go home tonight?
…then we were cursed, as he laughed and said…
Of course you will, it’s a day procedure, only one child in two years have had to stay overnight….
My kids love odds like that…. It inspire their medical competitiveness.
The girls arrived and we lingered by our hospital bed, Owen showed remarkable reserve as the girls tossed Croissants around and gobbled down breakfast as he adhered to his nil by mouth ruling.
The time came to take him to theatre and for the eleventh time (not that I am counting) I watched as my child fell into an artificial slumber and he was wheeled away from me to be left at the hand of doctors.
He was in surgery for four and a half hours.
In hospital time that is about 3 weeks. By 2pm I was fidgeting, worried, and wanted my boy back.
By 3pm I had him in my arms.
By 4.30pm the morphine had well and truly kicked in and I was ready to give him back to the surgeon as his energy levels flew sky-high.
By 5pm I was itching to go home.
At 5.15pm the nurse said we could leave at six after the surgeon had seen him.
At 5.30pm we asked if it was normal for his ear to be dripping blood and swelling rapidly.
At 5.45pm I had to sit down as the red, bleeding mass that was my son’s ear was making me feel faint.
At 6pm the surgeon came and said the following…
My, in thousands of ear operations that I have performed, I have never seen that happen before.
As said, my kids like to beat all odds.
A blod clot, he had a blood clot in his ear where they had removed cartilage to rebuild his internal drum.
A bloody blood clot, never been seen before in this surgery….
We were not going anywhere. My girls who had behaved impeccably during their 9 hours in hospital with their brother collapsed into synchronised tantrums, miserable in the knowledge that our New Year plans were off and they were going home to bed.
My son, exhausted by surgery and with morphine wearing off, descended into tears.
The Prosecco in the car breathed a sigh of relief when it realised its cork was not being popped that night.
The girls went home, I saw in the New Year with Bryan Adams and Owen with a cup of lemon squash and a microwave curry. At 2am I took my son to theatre for our twelfth general anesthetic in five years, our second in 24 hours.
At 3.30am I got him back, the morphine sent him to sleep and finally my eyes could close.
It was a New Year we will never forget.
And of course, we can only improve from this years beginning.
Happy New Year!