Surgery makes me sick


In his scrubs before surgery, Deane was all laughs and smiles.

Deane was in a great mood this morning. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him laugh and smile so much in a hospital. He has certainly never been so happy while waiting for surgery. 

He was goofing around with Dad, demanding hugs, refusing to pose for pictures and pretending he was going back to sleep. As we waited, he listened to recorded stories – cracking up at his sister’s dramatic delivery.

All that disappeared when time came to go to the operating room to get his g-tube. Usually, it’s Dad’s job to take Deane in to surgery. It’s the one time I play the frail female card.

But today Deane asked me to take him in.

We had a movie playing on his iPad as we wheeled down the hall. It had little effect on the level of his screaming. I lifted him on to the bed and held his iPad so he could see it. He kept screaming. Two doctors held his arm as they put in the IV. More screams.

The anesthesiologist had decided not to do a general because it is such a short procedure. They used a drug that “made him unaware of what was going on,” the doctor told us many times.

Unfortunately, this meant Deane was still awake and very aware of what was going on when I took his glasses, gave him a kiss and walked away with his iPad. I could still hear him scream as I walked through the doors into the waiting room.

Up welled that familiar tear-inducing, stomach-churning feeling. No matter how old he gets or how many times we’ve done it, leaving our child behind those surgery doors leaves me queasy. A parent is not supposed cause her child pain, no matter how positive the eventual outcome.

Deane was in surgery for more than an hour. The feeling came and went. I ate although I had no appetite.

Finally, a call came that the doctor wanted to talk with us. On the waiting room board showing children’s progress from the OR to the recovery room, there was nothing beside Deane’s name. What did that mean? The queasiness swelled.

Eventually both the anesthesiologist and the doctor came out and said, although it was more complicated because of the location of Deane’s stomach, it had been a success. A few minutes later we were told we could go see him in the recovery room.

As we washed our hands by the door, we could hear our son’s scream – not as strong as before the operation – but distinctively Deane. As we walked toward our son, the queasiness evaporated.


4 thoughts on “Surgery makes me sick

  1. Ijeuma, I totally relate to your message here! I remember when Mark got his gtube (under a general, though) and the several other times, we’ve parted in the surgical waiting room or the other rooms along the way to the O/R. It is so very difficult to walk away and not feel the nausea you described.

    It’s been a number of years since we’ve been in that room…and we’ll be back there in November. In our household, I’m the one who takes Mark back to the O/R, it’s as if that’s “normal” so if Peter did it, that might be a sign that “this is serious”, so I know I’ll be the last one to kiss him and pass him into the care of the team.

    So hard, isn’t it?

    Did you see this one?


    Louise Kinross (Bloorview/Bloom blog etc) posted it on the “Parent Voices at Holladn Bloorview FB page. Interesting to read an MD’s perspective on supporting her child through a fairly minor medical procedure.

    I sent you a FB message – can we talk sometime? I can share g-tube experience!


    Posted by Alison Bowen | September 23, 2013, 11:20 pm
  2. big up for Deane! bravest kid that I know.
    Keep up with the blog
    Thinking of you guys ….from Asia


    Posted by Chris davies | September 24, 2013, 6:56 pm
  3. So pleased the operation was successful. Love to all.


    Posted by Rita Davies | September 27, 2013, 3:08 am

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