July 24, 2013

From bad to good

One week ago today, SB finally had her follow-up MRI. Hubby summed the experience up well that night before bed when he said,"I thought today was going to suck, but it was actually a pretty good day."

And it was. As much as having to take your child to a hospital to be placed under anesthesia for a medical test can be. I had a lot of anxiety going into the event. But I had hope, if not complete confidence, this time around would be better than our last.

And it was.

From start to finish, our day was very different from last year. Every staff member we encountered was wonderful. I will say this, when you write the kind of letter I wrote last year to the hospital's administrator, everyone knows you who are the next time you show up.

The anesthesiologist SB was assigned to was the head of the department. He came in to speak with us. First, he acknowledged our experience last year and once again apologized for it. Then he explained a couple of different options to try to keep SB from having another episode of emergence delirium.

We chose the one we were most comfortable with and felt was in SB's best interest. It involved administering a special drug via IV along with the anesthesia, after SB was unconscious from breathing gas. It meant she would take longer to wake up after the procedure, but increased the chances she would recover normally from there.

One very sweet moment stands out to me. SB had chosen to wear her favorite Ariel nightgown to the hospital, and was allowed to keep it on for the MRI. As the anesthesiologist held the mask to her face and she breathed in the gas meant to initially put her to sleep, he cradled her head in his arm and sang softly into her ear, "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid.

It brought tears to my eyes. Once she was unconscious, I kissed her forehead as they worked to set up the IV to administer the second anesthesia drug and the special medicine we had agreed to. Then I joined hubby in the waiting room.

The procedure took about an hour, during which time our nurse came out periodically to tell us SB was doing great. Which was much appreciated. After it was over, they choose a special room to place her in as she recovered. It was in a quieter location, and they felt it would be less stressful for her.

Even though the waiting room was full of patients waiting for their MRIs, the anesthesiologist stayed in the room to monitor SB himself. Only when he was satisfied she was doing well did he turn her care over to the nurse.

SB did take longer to wake up than last time, but I could tell immediately things were going to be different. Her progression seemed far more normal. She was a bit disoriented and uncoordinated. Not unlike someone who is drunk. But there was none of the aggressive rage and violence we encountered last time.

The only issue we experienced was when SB insisted on walking out of the hospital, rather than riding or being carried. She refused to budge until we allowed it. The nurse agreed as long as I held on to her and made sure she didn't fall.

Once home, we spent some time cuddling in my bed, and enjoyed a family movie on the couch with popcorn. The next day, SB returned to camp at her preschool, and all was well with the world.


And, just as I felt the need to write a letter to the hospital's administration about our negative experience last year, I took the opportunity to write another last week, sharing our positive one and making note of the anesthesiologist's incredible care and attention.

I'll be sure to share results with you once we have them.



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