A Tough Day of Surgery for Lewie


Wednesday, May 22nd had been on my calendar since January.  It was the day my little guy would be going to the Connecticut Children's Medical Center to be administered anesthesia to have dental work done.  My baby needed five fillings, but one cavity was so big that the dentist wasn't even sure if he could save the tooth.

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.


  1. Oh Annette, I had to stop by when I saw the title of your post in my feed. Poor Lewie! I can just imagine how awful that was for you guys. :( Kids are so resilient though!! I'm sure the memory of this day will be much harder on you than on Lewie. I hope he recovers quickly! I'm sure he'll fondly remember all the awesome tv/movie time he'll be getting as he recovers. :) XOX

  2. I give credit to the hospital for making this experience as kid-friendly, and, fun?, for child patients.

  3. Oh, Annette! Thank you for sharing this. I teared up reading your post. You are such a great and caring mom, and I'm sure Lewie will be fine! You take such good care of him. He's a big tough boy, and you're the best. -- Natalie D

  4. Oh, that sounds like the worst day! I can't imagine how scary watching him go under must have been. I'm sure it was a much worse day for you. Hopefully Lewie will remember the motorcycle and attention and the pain and unpleasantness will quickly fade from his young memory. I hope he is having a much better day today!

  5. Aww poor guy...I know I would feel the same way you did...it must have been so hard on you momma! Praying for a fast recovery for Lewie!

  6. So glad that everything went okay! What a little trooper he is :) My husband is finishing his last year in Dental school and it really does make a ton of a difference if they love what they do! So glad you found good doctors to do the procedure for you :) Hope he's healing up okay!!

  7. Oh my gosh, I feel for you. I take SUPER good care of my teeth but I have naturally soft teeth so I just get cavities no matter what. The first thing the dentist always asks me is if I drink soda. I haven't had a soda in over 30 years! What can you do?

  8. happy everything went well :) he looks like he was loving that DVD player!

  9. Poor baby! But that is neat that they tried to make him as comfortable and have as much fun as possible. Hope he is healing well!

  10. Annette I am so sorry I have not been by earlier to see this. I have not been on my computer as much lately. What a difficult thing to go through for Lewie and you. He is such a trooper! I hope he is feeling better. Wishing you and Lewie well!

    mama Hen

  11. Awww, poor kid and poor mommy! But you did the right thing. It sounds like you chose a wonderful place for surgery.

  12. Poor little guy! I hope he's completely healed!!!

  13. Hi Annette! Long time no comment (tee hee hee). I'll bet Lewie will remember the fun part of this hospital stay. Kids are remarkably resilient as you probably already know. With the pics you've shared, he can focus on the positive. Now that it's all said and done, his mouth probably feels much better, too. Sounds like the hospital did all of the right things to make Lewie and comfortable as possible. You may put on your survey (if the hospital sends them out) that a little parent prep would have been nice, too, such as, "Your child may cough and twitch after he receives the anesthesia. Sometimes there is vomiting that's why we don't want them to eat after midnight the day before surgery, etc.) I've seen little people under anesthesia and it is very scary if you don't know what to expect.


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