The other day, I had a conversation with Gavin that went something like this:
Me: What’s in your diaper?
Me: Let’s change your diaper right now.
Me: Because when the doctor comes in, he’s going to want to look at your penis and balls and we want them to be clean.
Lately, we’ve been having a lot of conversations with Gavin about his penis and balls. Not because he’s showing a heightened awareness of them or anything like that. But, because he’s going to have a minor surgery on them and we have been trying to prepare him for this hospital visit the best way we know how.
Gavin was born with a condition called a hydrocele. In layman’s terms, it means he has a hernia in his scrotum and has lots of extra fluid in his balls. One might think this condition was due to Gavin’s premature birth at 31 weeks, but in fact, it’s a common condition in full term babies, too.
Clearly, by all my posts about Gavin over the past two years, this has had a major effect on his quality of life (not) and development (not) and overall happiness with the world around him (not). I kid. Although there can be serious complications from this condition (think: intestines dropping into places they don’t belong), it is not something that has held him back in his first two years.
Speaking of two years, that does seem like an awfully long time to wait to schedule this procedure, right? Kind of like we’re tempting fate by ignoring the condition? Well, the human body has a funny way of healing itself. And, sometimes, hydroceles can correct themselves, which usually takes place by the time boys turn two. We saw a urologist when Gavin was a year and, at the time, she suggested we wait to see if the hydrocele corrects itself. We went back to see her a few weeks ago, when she agreed that the hydrocele is still present and the surgery should be scheduled.
Thankfully, Sweets works at the hospital where Gavin’s procedure will take place, which means he did a lot of hand-picking. He hand-picked the urologist (and she’s been great so far). He hand-picked the anesthesiologist and nurse, both of whom are eager to take Gavin’s case. He hand-picked what time to schedule the surgery. And together, we strategically hand-picked which day the surgery would take place.
So, that’s where we are right now. Counting down the days until next Thursday when Gavin will have his balls fixed (yes, that’s pretty much what we’ve been telling him). So far, I haven’t put a lot of thought into the surgery itself (i.e., save those feelings, girlfriend), mostly because I trust we’re in good hands. But, the other day, I got a bit sad thinking about how scared Gavin is going to be. That sadness surfaced when I saw his reaction to going to his pediatrician’s office for the pre-op appointment.
He didn’t want to go anywhere near his doctor’s office. He preferred to wait in the medical building hallway while I went into the pediatrician’s waiting room to sign in. When I pointed out the kids’ corner with a bunch of toys, he shrugged and stayed put. I told him he could have a granola bar if he’d sit in one of the chairs. I was met with total indifference. Trying to bribe him with a granola bar and a view out the big windows was met with an adamant NO. I had to sweep him up, carrying him over to the big windows (in the waiting room) before he settled down with a granola bar.
You can only imagine the response I got when our name was called and it was time to go to the exam room. (In case you’re wondering, he ran the other way.) He cried and squirmed when the nurse weighed and measured him. Ironically, he was utterly charming when the doctor took a look at his penis and balls. I have no expectation that he’ll be quite that adorable when it’s time to head to the operating room next week.
In fact, I’m reminded of the last time I had surgery, which was my emergency cesarean section for Gavin’s birth. Just before I was knocked out, you better well believe I was scared (I also happened to be in a hell of a lot of pain, which led to a lot of screaming). I also remember coming out of anesthesia. I felt so drowsy and loopy. I remember Sweets being by my side, showing me photos and a short video of Gavin. I remember wanting to be more awake, but my body just wanting to sleep (which is exactly what I did).
I’m going to have to remind myself that surgery is scary for adults, so we should definitely expect big emotions from our toddler when it’s his turn. For now, though, I find peace knowing Sweets will be able to accompany him to surgery and hold his hand until the anesthesia sends him into sweet dreams.
Have you or a loved one ever had surgery? Were you (or your loved one) scared to be put under anesthesia? What was it like coming out of anesthesia?