Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Surgery - it just sounds scary

For the past month I've been worried about the upcoming surgery for our Angel triplet. It's a minor procedure to allow her to fully use her right thumb, a trigger thumb release. It's so minor that in undeveloped countries it probably wouldn't be done at all. To do the procedure she has to go under general anesthesia - which has its own risks.

I'm as glad as any parent would be that Angel's issue can be resolved with such a simple procedure and that it's not a major medical problem. I do find, however, that minor medical issues like this leave me and Tripped Up Daddy having to answer questions like: "Should we do it? Should we wait and see if it resolves on its own? Is it worth the risks? It's surgery, shouldn't we try to avoid that at all costs? Consequently, I've been worrying about logistics, suffering from bouts of huge Mommy Guilt and second-guessing the decision to pursue surgery.

I spent yesterday, "The Day Before Surgery," stressed and trying desperately to tell everyone, "No, I'm not stressed, just trying to make sure we're prepared." I tweeted and asked others for tips and received some great answers from Dr. Jen, and from Dr. Heather with her reflection on her own experience regarding surgery for a small child. Still, I found myself having trouble letting go and sleeping last night. Once there today, it was a struggle not to cry as the nurse took my 2-1/2 year old girl into her arms and carried her to the operating room, where I knew she would be safe, but where she would also fight the mask that brought her the needed anesthetia.

Once out in the waiting room, I posted progress to some friends and briefly checked email. I had time to eat some oatmeal and drink some coffee. Before I was even done with that latte, the doctor came out to let us know the surgery was complete, went well and our daughter was now in recovery. Seriously, I was surprised by how fast it all went. Her thumb immediately improved and will continue to improve in the future.

We had a wonderful experience today. The hardest part was the removal of the IV, and frankly, I think our Angel triplet was a trooper. She was hungry and thirsty right away. At home, we expected crankiness, instead, we got cuddles. The other girls had a good time going to play group with their grandma and our sitter.

I'm not saying surgery is always the best solution in every case, but I learned today that surgery sometimes sounds a whole lot scarier than it really is.

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