Since I had already been through it once, it came as no surprise to me when our pediatrician strongly suggested that our youngest son should have a procedure done to have tubes put into his ears. His constant struggle with ear infections was something that I was anxious to put behind us. But the morning of the procedure, I was still nervous.
Our youngest son was not quite a year old at the time. To avoid extra stress with our other two young sons along, my husband dropped off me and my babbling baby boy at the front of the outpatient center of the hospital. My son played quietly with his favorite book as I filled out the paperwork. I could feel drops of sweat trickling down my back as I read the disclosures of the possibility of the worst things happening when the patient is in the hands of the doctor. My mouth grew dry and my hands shook slightly as I signed the waiver and prayed silently that my little boy would be fine and it would all be over soon. After completing the paperwork, all we had to do was wait.
I read his favorite books and watched his happy eyes as they followed the illustrations that filled the pages. My heart stopped when his name was called and I felt a wave of nervous nausea. It was difficult to keep smiling as the nurse lifted my son from my arms. I watched the confusion on his face as his eyes continued to follow me as they moved toward the door. I couldn’t even blow kisses as they walked away, his big blue eyes the last thing that I saw before the door closed behind them.
As I fought back crying in the crowded waiting area, I began to search inside my purse for something to help with the dryness that was taking over the inside of my mouth. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I found a lollipop in an inside pocket. I welcomed the sweet berry taste, hoping that it had never been a reject from any of the kids. Not likely, I told myself since it had ripped so easily from the wrapper. I was happy to think about anything else as long as it took my mind off the wait.
As they had promised, the procedure did not take long. After talking to the doctor about the success of the operation, I quickly grabbed my baby gear and followed the nurse to my baby boy. I brought all the things that I knew would be familiar to him and hoped would make him happy. His favorite stuff toy and soft blanket, a pacifier and many other things that I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t need. Still, I wanted to be prepared. But it turns out that I wasn’t.
When I greeted my baby, he was agitated, inconsolable, and wouldn’t come near me. The sight of me seemed to make it worse. As my heart broke, the nurse gently held and rocked him side to side. “Sometimes the anesthesia makes them groggy and disorientated. It will go away.” I nodded without a word as the tears fell down my cheeks. It wasn’t until about twenty minutes later when my husband arrived to pick us up that our son finally seemed to recognize either of us. He held his soft, chubby arms out wide ... for his daddy.
The first of what I am sure will be many occasions, of times that I will feel slighted. Unimportant in the scheme of things. My son now had his ear tubes and hopefully, would no longer suffer painful ear infections. It has been a success so far.
Edited by Jody Smith