At first I was embarrassed when I was told of the work that needed to be done on Lewie's teeth. I suddenly felt guilty about those occasional nights when my little guy fell asleep before I could brush his teeth. My dentist reassured me though that his cavities could be a result of multiple things--sticky and sugary snacks, fruit juice, or even genetics. "Some kids' teeth are just softer and more prone to cavities than others," I was told. I guess this made me feel a little better.
I dreaded today but did my best to conceal it. "Lewie, the dentist is going to work on your teeth today, so they're nice and healthy," I told him. "We're going to go to a building where there's lots of elevators, and I've been told that they may even allow you to drive your very own car." This last comment was enough reason to get Lewie excited. Drive his own car? Well, this prompted questions like, what did the car look like, how big is it, and could he drive it for a long time? Of course, I didn't have all the immediate answers.
The transition before surgery and the anesthesia was smooth. All the nurses and staff at this particular hospital LOVE their jobs, and it shows! Everyone greeted us with a warm and friendly smile, and Lewie was welcomed with enough "high fives" to last a lifetime. The ID bracelet he needed to wear was called his "driver's license," and he was told that very soon, he'd be allowed to pick his very own car or motorcycle to ride to the surgery room. During the surgery prep, Lewie was told he'd be wearing his very own hospital pajamas, and that Mommy would have to dress in silly pajamas too. (I wore a yellow gown that was referred to as the "banana outfit.") Lewie was told he could choose the scent for the mask he would be wearing. "Do you want bubble gum, watermelon, or banana-berry?" the nurse asked. "Banana-berry," Lewie answered without hesitation. He agreed the scent did smell good, and she immediately coated the inside of the mask with it.
As we waited for the anesthesiologist and the dentist to come and explain everything to us, Lewie had a chance to watch Cars 2 on his own personal, hand-held DVD player. After all the information was discussed and signatures were collected, Lewie finally could pick his own vehicle to drive to the operating room. To my surprise, he not only chose a motorcycle but a "police" motorcycle. He drove it down the hallway and was way disappointed when, in less than two minutes, he was told he reached his destination.
As we entered the operating room, for a minute, both he and I cringed. There was no hiding it; this room looked like an operating room, and there were at least seven doctors, nurses, and/or doctors in training all dressed in scrubs, scrub caps, and masks. "You can pick up Lewie, and have him sit-up on the table Mom," the nurse said. I put on a fake smile and did just that. Then I held his hand, as Lewie was told to take deep breaths into the mask. His goal was to try and blow up a balloon that was connected to the mask, but with each breath, I watched my little boy become weaker and weaker until he was coughing and then collapsed into the nurse' sprawled out arms right onto the operating table. At that point, I sobbed uncontrollably. "It's okay," the nurse reassured me, "the coughing and the muscle twitching is all normal." I was happy I managed to stay strong for my little guy who was obviously very nervous during those last few minutes, but at the same time, I felt overwhelmed. My little boy was trusting me; did I make the right decision? How could I get this metal image of my little boy's limp and lifeless body out of my head?
The recovery after the surgery was just as difficult to handle. My little boy woke up crying in pain, and because his mouth was all swollen, it was difficult to understand him. The nurse gave him some morphine and several ice pops, but when it was time to try and change him from his hospital pajamas, he started vomiting uncontrollably. We all tried to comfort him. The nurse even gave him his very own Lion Webkins stuffed animal to take home.
Now, at home, he's vomited a few times and is still not ready to eat any solid foods. While his tooth surgery has been labeled a "success," I still wonder if today will have a lasting impression on Lewie. Will he remember it because he got to drive a cool motorcycle, or will he remember it because he never felt so much pain before in his life? I guess only time will tell.
|Lewie showing us that he's getting surgery on his teeth.|
|Chillin' out watching Cars 2|
|Still relaxing with his own DVD player.|
|Checking out the cool motorcycle . (He wanted the 'Police' one instead of the red one.)|
|The last smile before surgery.|
|A final stop at the emergency room.|