Tonsillectomy eve was upon us, and Asher was excited--but not about the tonsillectomy. First, Grandma showed up. Grandma herself is like a present; but she also came bearing presents: a new outfit for everyone and a new Book of Mormon action figure for everyone! We had to go to a soccer team meeting that night, where Ryan got nominated (by me) (he wasn't there) (ha) to coach the games and where the kids played in the splash pad fully clothed. Finally, we went home, where Ashie got to do what he'd been anticipating for a full two weeks: open the present from Aunt Lynnie! She'd thoughtfully put together a super surgery survival kit for Ashie that had stickers, notebooks, scratch off coloring sheets, and a gift card to buy popsicles with. She included three of everything because she is sweet, so Reed and Lila were pumped, too! Next Ashie got to open Reed's gift: a new lego Mixel to build while Ashie recovered! After the gifts, Ryan gave Asher a priesthood blessing. Once the kids were asleep, Ryan went to the store to spend Ashie's gift card (as directed by Asher). Instead of popsicles, Asher chose to get the third and final Mixel in his set, which he was quite excited about.
The day of the tonsillectomy came. Thankfully, my mom had driven to Vegas the night before to help for a few days. Ashie and I had to be at the surgery center at 6:30. We woke him up a little early to help him shake off some of the grogginess we knew he'd had, and let him watch domino videos in bed with us few ten minutes or so to help him wake up. Before we knew it, we needed to go!
Asher was the first surgery scheduled for the day, which was nice for two reasons: first, because he wasn't allowed to eat between midnight and his surgery, and because his surgery was so early he didn't really have time to get hungry; and second, because the waiting room was empty and check-in was quick. We passed some time working on a Spider-Man scratch off picture from Aunt Lynnie's gift. Before long, we went back for Asher to get weighed, measured, and to get his vitals checked. After changing into his surgery clothes, we got to wait a little more. Asher was happy though, because we brought the iPad and he does not often get to play the iPad. And he and Monkey totally matched, thanks to Ryan's clever idea and a few cuts and stitches by me in the sample clothes we got during our tour.
The anesthesiologist came to talk to us and Asher got to choose a chapstick flavor for his mask: orange. The anesthesiologist also gave Asher a Woody toy to borrow for a while and told Asher a surprise was waiting for him in the surgery room! (The surprise turned out to be a Buzz Lightyear. Asher got to push a button and see his wings pop out!) He asked if Asher wanted to sing songs or hear stories while he had the medicine. Asher chose to hear a story about the beach. I asked him about it later and he told me that he just couldn't hear it because he fell asleep too fast :)
Soon, a nurse came to take Asher back. Asher got to ride on his bed like a car, and push the button that opened the door to the operating area. When we reached the red line, I gave Ashie a quick kiss and off he went!
The surgery went well and didn't take long and before I knew it, the nurse was taking me to the recovery room. She warned me then, and the check-in nurse had warned me before, that most kids wake up inconsolable and thrashing and it's just not great. Coming out of anesthesia is confusing and scary. They had even lined the bed rails with extra blankets so Asher wouldn't hurt himself. When I got to him, he was still under. He'd stir every once in a while, and it was my job to keep him from rubbing his eyes--apparently anesthesia makes them itchy--so he didn't accidentally scratch himself. I also got to keep the humidifier mask near his mouth, to help keep his throat from being too dry. We kept waiting, but he'd only momentarily lift his head, feel me start rubbing his back and hear me tell him to relax, and then would lay right back down! After about an hour, the nurse had me rouse him, and in a few minutes we coaxed him into taking a bite of an Otter Pop. A few minutes later, another bite. Then a few minutes later, two more. Never has Asher eaten an Otter Pop so slowly.
Finally, he'd finished two Otter Pops and been observed long enough to go home. Hooray! At home, he immediately settled onto the couch to watch a movie. We passed the morning watching movies, eating tons of jello--he wanted ice cream but was only supposed to have clear foods on day one--and building his new lego Mixels. When Lila went down for her nap, I had him lay down for a nap, too.
Then he turned on us.
He woke up about 45 minutes into the nap, crying, and basically cried the rest of the day. Apparently the surgery medicine had worn off. And, since Asher weighs hardly anything (38 lbs. to be exact), he couldn't have narcotic pain killers. And because he had a tonsillectomy, he couldn't have ibuprofen. That's right, we were stuck with Tylenol. Asher would cry for medicine and we'd still have almost two hours until the next dose. We did find two things that distracted him: Ryan or I telling him a real-life story about us or about him and watching short, cool videos. That night, after we could finally give him another dose of medicine, I had to lay with him in bed for 45 minutes, telling him stories about himself, until he finally stopped whimpering and crying. Even then, he couldn't fall asleep, so the two of us went to "sleep" in my bed.
I'm using the term "sleep" loosely there. Even when Asher was asleep, he was tossing and moaning. He woke up many, many times crying. And the darn medicine didn't seem to be helping at all. Finally, about 3:45 a.m., I got the idea to turn on the apple tv radio, which he used to use during naps. And hallelujah, he finally fell into a somewhat less fitful sleep. We rested until 6:30, when he was up for the day.
Wednesday and Thursday were not great. The nights were worse. Asher was a pretty good sport about drinking, until Thursday afternoon, when he started taking the tiniest of sips. He also didn't really want to eat and when I did talk him into eating, he'd only take a few bites. He was so weak and just looked miserable, poor boy.
On Thursday, we did have one happy note when we got a package in the mail from my sweet visiting teacher, Tanya Capson. She knew Asher had just had surgery and that we love Harry Potter, so she sent him the softest, most amazing blanket with the Gryffindor crest on it! Asher did not want to wear clothes for basically the entire week (seriously), but he LIVED in that blanket. It even replaced his beloved b-ball soft at bedtime.
Grandma gave Lila and I haircuts while she was here :)
Grandma had to leave Thursday night, so we were on our own Friday! I planned to take the stroller to school drop-off, but Asher really didn't want to ride in the stroller, so I let him try walking. He was fine on the way over, but when we had to go back to the car he was totally out of energy--so I had to carry him all the way back to the car. I needed to use one hand to hold Lila's hand and, as it turns out, 38 pounds of Asher on one arm is quite heavy. Friday afternoon was happy, though, because Asher ate the entire serving of oatmeal I gave him! It was only just over half an IKEA bowl, but still! I took a picture of the empty bowl because I was so pumped. Starting Thursday, he did want to take small breaks from screens and we spent time mostly making paper bag puppets and coloring 1,000 color-by-number pictures. By Sunday, he was totally bored but still not up to his regular activities, so we really had to stretch on things to do. Luckily, Ryan had a winner of an idea: we had a few unbuilt kids' building kits from Home Depot and spent a happy afternoon hammering and gluing.
On Saturday, we had soccer opening day. Ryan took Reed for the early stuff, then Asher, Lila, and I went to watch the team parade. After the parade, Ryan had to go to work, so the rest of us got to wait for Reed's picture time--which was scheduled to happen in 1.5 hours. The day was one of the hottest in August and everyone, especially Asher, was just not happy and not comfortable. And I'd forgotten the tylenol, so we were late on a dose, which didn't help.
Every day got a bit better. Once he started eating a little more, he had a bit more energy. We started doing mini-meals every 2-ish hours, since that's all he could eat anyway, and the change seemed to help. He kept coming into our room crying every night, and ended up spending a large part of each night sleeping with us. We were so sad to watch him tossing and turning and his sleepy moans were so, so sad. Poor boy. He also wanted me to hold him, which was out of character. Usually, if he feels yucky, he'll come in and lay next to me for about 20 minutes, then want to go back to his bed. And he doesn't want me to cuddle him or put my arm around him or anything. When he was recovering, though, he wanted to be held all the time. Anyway, last night (Tuesday, 9/1/15), he finally slept the whole night in his bed!
We are now 9 days post-surgery. Supposedly, most kids are back to normal by about 10-14 days post-surgery. I think he's definitely close. He's eating better, he doesn't ask for medicine before his dosage time, he's drinking great (powerade worked miracles in the fluid intake department), and he has a little more energy. He's still very, very tired by the end of the day, and gets worn out so easily--we played on the playground for 10 minutes while waiting to pick Reed up from school today, and I had to carry him back to the car; and earlier, we went to play with balls at the church and after about 15 minutes he was ready to go home--but he's definitely improving.
Here's to hoping that once he's fully recovered, we'll be glad he had the surgery :)