Edward had his first surgery yesterday at 19 months old. After 10 or more ear infections in the first year and a half of life, we finally broke down and had tubes put in his ears. They used to do this for kids all the time, but I guess the current trend is to avoid surgery if possible, so we waited until it was clearly not getting any better and he was diagnosed with a slight speech delay.
In getting this procedure setup and underway, I was dealing with several offices, one being the surgeon's office, one being the main hospital folks, one being the pediatric surgery people, and also a little bit the anesthesiologists. The instructions that I was clearly given stated that he could not have solid food after midnight the night before the procedure, and only clear liquids in the four hours preceding the surgery. To me, this meant that, say, five hours before the surgery he could have non-clear liquids, like milk. In fact, when the surgery folks called to ask if we could move up the time, I told them about the milk, and they said not to worry.
When we got to the hospital and got him all signed in and into his cute little baby hospital gown, I was informed by a grumpy someone or other that all dairy products, including milk, count as food, and he was not allowed to have them that day at all. She did not seem to believe me when I told her that someone in her very department had told me earlier that day that it was fine. Then the surgeon walked by and told us that it was no problem at all. The anesthesiologist came over and told us we just had to wait an extra hour. I have to tell you, it was very confusing, and way too much drama to be dealing with, as I wondered whether or not I had just doomed my son by giving him his morning bubba. My advice to other parents: stop feeding your children about a month before surgery. It's easier that way.
Edward was in a fine mood as we sat out our time in the play area. He was smiling and laughing and engaging in his favorite activity, smashing things into other things. He flirted with all the nurses and seemed very happy to be there. I guess no one told him what was about to happen.
The surgery was very quick, only about fifteen minutes. My wife went in as they gassed him into unconsciousness, and then came out to wait with me until it was all over. Tubes in, fluids drained, good as new. He was awake already by the time we got to him again, and he was no longer happy. They said that the anesthesia would make him confused and angry for about 30 minutes after he woke up, and they were right on the money about that. He basically screamed and thrashed for half an hour, and then calmed down, had some apple juice, and resumed smiling.
I think his hearing has improved already, and, though it is a small change, he does seem to be walking a little steadier now too. Balance is better, hearing is better, and he has not suffered any long term problems, at least in the short term. We'll see what tomorrow may bring, but I think he got through it like a champ, and I am praying for a winter free from ear infections at last.