Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How to get your kid excited about going to the hospital

Gorge him on pizza and ice cream first. Mr. Persnickety never eats dinner anymore, and we knew he wasn't getting breakfast before surgery, so we let him eat his most favorite food before we drove up to the hotel. He was in heaven. He discovered all seven levels of nirvana simultaneously. Pizza! and ice cream! The nice folks at the neighborhood joint we got the ice cream at (mmm, they still had pumpkin) let us take our time as Mr. Nirvana savored every teeny spoonful, even though they were putting chairs on top of tables and sweeping down the floor. The girl at the counter got a huge kick out of his excitement when we ordered, telling us that was one of the perks of her job. Have I mentioned how nice people are around here?

Of course, he sugar-crashed about two seconds after we got back into the car and slept the whole way to the hotel.

If we ever do this again -- and I hope we don't -- I'd spring for a suite, just so he can sleep in one room and we can watch TV or something in the next room. Once we got him changed and resettled, we were afraid to move around too much in case we woke him.

I didn't sleep much, on account of the mattress was hard and it was an unfamiliar setting and I was worried about oversleeping and my kid was having surgery in the morning.

We each snuck downstairs to grab food for ourselves so that he wouldn't catch us. I guess we could've also fasted to show solidarity, but hey, he didn't have to drive. Luckily he didn't seem to notice the lack of breakfast, what with all the interesting stuff going on around him.

There was another couple with a young son checking in the same time we were. He was having a different type of procedure, though I can't remember what. The kiddie waiting area had these cool magnet-boat table things that fascinated kiddo, and I briefly wondered how expensive they were.

All the little curtained-off pre- and post-op rooms have little TVs in them. That is genius. Because kiddo got to watch Mickey Mouse pre-op and Special Agent Oso post-op, and it was practically as good as a narcotic. Which begs the question: If TV is so good at keeping kids in hospitals docile, why do we let them watch the stuff at home?

Anyway, the team was brutally efficient at managing kid and mommy. I took him into the operating room, they coaxed him up onto the table by showing him the neato equipment, they got the mask over his face just long enough to put him out, they suggested I give him a kiss and then reassuringly ushered me out. So clearly down to a science. I was both annoyed by it and impressed despite myself.

The hospital's downstairs cafeteria has Starbucks coffee and a huge wall aquarium. (And, DH said, pretty good omelets.) I saw a clown fish ambling about and wondered if it was there because of "Finding Nemo." Just one of those things you think about when there's something else you don't want to think about.

And then it was over. He took a while to wake up, and he was groggy and grumpy and kept rubbing his unbelievably red eyes. We offered him ice packs, but they would've blocked hs view of Special Agent Oso, so no way. He sat on the oversized wheeled recliner chair in Daddy's lap, as zoned out as he could manage to get, munching graham crackers.

And then when they gave us the all-clear to go, he spied the playroom in the back of the recovery area and threw a fit because he wanted to play with the trucks in there. So we hung around the hospital for an extra 20 minutes or so.

His eyes are still red at the edges but less so, and he hardly ever rubs them. They're turned inward a little now, but overcorrecting is common in cases like this and they might snap out a little more later. They're definitely not wandering out the way they did before. So promising, I guess.

Of course, they're going to look red in photos, so I'm not too sure how to handle the holiday card thing. Stick sunglasses on him?

I do wish we hadn't forgotten the leftover pizza in the hotel fridge. Maybe the maid got to eat it.

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