If all goes as planned, tomorrow morning at 6:00 AM my husband and I will be arriving at the hospital with our six year old son for surgery.
This is not major surgery. It is as minor as minor can be. The ENT could probably do this tube surgery with his hands tied behind his back.
But, there is enough risk to my son that they changed the location from an outpatient surgery center, to a main hospital. Plus, it requires general anesthesia and that always makes me nervous. But, more than anything…there’s The Mask.
My boy has developed an extreme dislike for The Mask they use to put him to sleep. He’s terrified of it, because he knows it all too well. This will be his ninth time on an operating table, and sixth time under general anesthesia.
Two years ago, when he was in preschool, a group of firefighters visited his class and when one of them demonstrated a breathing apparatus, my son had a complete meltdown just hearing him breathe through it. He’s that scared.
He doesn’t comprehend the fact that this surgery is no big deal. He’s certainly been through worse. He doesn’t remember having a catheter inserted into his thigh that traveled all the way up to his tiny heart. He doesn’t realize that he stopped breathing in recovery after his tonsils were removed. Or, that he had to stay in the ICU for that surgery because, for him, it was a risky operation. He doesn’t know there were times we didn’t know if he was going to live.
His only concern is The Mask.
Personally, I’m looking forward to this surgery. His hearing loss is so bad that it’s like we’ve been living with a 90 year old. Everyone walks around yelling all the time, and even with our voices raised he still says, “What?” about 50 times a day. We can even see that he’s starting to read our lips, as if to say, “I’m done trying to listen to you people. I’ll just watch you talk.”
With the exception of the moment when they wheel my son down the hall to the operating room, tomorrow will be a good day. He’ll have a lot less pressure in his ears and his hearing should be better instantly.
Unfortunately for my son, the anesthesiologist won’t let me drive him around in a car until he falls asleep in the back seat, or rock him into a deep slumber. The Mask is unavoidable. And that stupid, little piece of rubber? Well, it breaks this Mommy’s heart.