The Mask

posted by Momo Fali on January 21, 2009

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.

    Comments

  • Jodi


    Awww man, that just broke this mommy’s heart! Good luck to your sweet boy!

  • Mama Dawg


    Oh, my heart is aching for you and your son. My daughter had tubes put in when she was a year old and even though it’s been the only surgery she’s ever had (and not to compare her very minor surgery to all your son has been through…that’s not what I’m trying to do), I know where you’re coming from.

    Good Luck!

  • Ed (zoesdad)


    The medical world has made tremendous strides over the years–but it continues to fall way short when it comes to comforting scared children during procedures. All I can say is good luck and I’ll be thinking of you–an him.

  • Irish Gumbo


    MoMo:

    Mines got a little crack in it, too. I’ll be thinking of you and your son. If I could make it better for him, I would.

    (hug)

  • Lynn (Walking With Scissors)


    That breaks my heart too. Isn’t there some other way? My daughter has had two surgeries – one when she was a baby and one last year. Both times, she was given an injection.

    I hope that the surgery goes well for your little man.

  • ♥georgie♥


    awwww i will be keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers…and surely they can do something simplier before they add the mask to make him more comfy and less nervous….my heart aches for you! I would be a nervous wreck!

  • Melissa


    Um, I had surgery in June of last year and I had no mask. In fact, I thought it was a little odd that I didn’t have one.

    They gave me Versed before they rolled me into the OR and then either I fell asleep or they gave me something else, no mask.

    Could it be because your son is so young they can’t give him something to calm him before he goes in?

    Either way, I will be praying for your little guy and hoping things go better then you are expecting.

    (((hugs))) I can tell you really need them…:)

  • LL


    I’m with Lynn. When my daughter had her tubes the first time, I went into the operating room and had this tube in my hand that dispensed the gas and I cupped it over her mouth and nose gently until she was so groggy she’d never remember The Mask. If it’s a children’s hospital, ASK! Children’s Hospitals are so much better at working with parents.

  • Momo Fali


    Lynn,

    I asked if they could give him an injection instead. They said, no.

    Georgie and Melissa,

    He can’t take Versed beforehand. That’s what made him stop breathing after his tonsil surgery.

    LL,

    I will definitely ask about going back with him, but they’ve never let me before. I still always ask though!

  • Weaselmomma


    I pray that tomorrow goes smooth and easy for all of you.

  • Misty


    poor guy! I’ll be thinking of him and sending good thoughts his (and your) way!

  • Erin


    My five year old son has has ear tubes put in three times, because his ears fill with fluid and he can’t hear either. The Mask terrifies him, too. Imagine my dismay when he had cavities and the dentist told me he was going to use laughing gas on him. My son didn’t care about the pain for the cavities…he was terrified about The Mask.

    Good luck!

  • Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]


    Sending happy-time thoughts your way.

  • Xbox4NappyRash


    Best of luck to the wee man

  • Kiera


    Oh Momo, I feel for you. I hate sending my kids into the hands of a surgeon. I hope your son has a successful surgery and I hope that his recovery is a breeze.

  • Ashlie- Mommycosm


    Good luck! No matter how minor, it is always scary to hand your kid over to a surgeon.

  • Anonymous


    Yes, we know The Mask well. My 4 yr old preemie has had 9? surgeries starting with his heart surgery at 6 days old. He fights the mask with all his being. Strangly enough, he fears the blood pressure cuff and the elevator the most.

  • Michelle


    oops, it sent it before I was ready. This mama is thinking of you and your precious boy.

  • Jamie


    Is awful when your mommy heart is broken and as parents it happens all too often.

    Sending good thoughts!

  • Bean


    Aw Mo. It breaks MY heart too!! But he’s a brave one – I know he’ll do his best. Bless his little heart. We will be thinking about him (all of you!) and saying prayers. REALLY. My heart is with you. Really, really, RALLY with you.

  • Melissa


    I’m really sorry to hear they can’t give your little guy something to calm him before he goes in.

    I know as an adult how scared I feel…I can only imagine how it feels as a child.

    I will be praying for all of you tomorrow. (((hugs)))

  • Tenakim


    awwww. Good luck to him (and you).

  • Kori


    Oh fer shiz, I will SO be thinkig of you both.

  • Sadia


    Oh, Momo, I wish there were another way.

    The one time I’ve had a child under general anesthesia, we didn’t know that the hospital allowed only one parent to be with her when she woke. She was nursing and I had the boobs. My husband was a wreck.

  • Captain Dumbass


    I’m really sorry for your little man. You can’t really explain to him that it’s for the best and will help him, but you have to hold onto that for yourself.

  • meleah rebeccah


    Now my heart is broken. I will be praying ON MY KNEES all day for your son and YOU.

  • Rhea


    Poor little guy. I feel for him. Scary.

    They usually sedate kids a little beforehand, if you ask. Maybe you could do that? some kidn of anti-anxiety or something. I think they gave my son oral Verced?

  • Ashley


    Hugs. I always liked the mask as it wasn’t a needle, I can’t imagine what it must be like to be either of you. But, here are some hugs and I hope things go great!

  • Tara R.


    I’m so sorry your little guy is so afraid. I can completely empathize with dealing with kid phobias. I hope the surgery goes well and that he’s up and at ‘em very soon.

  • Christina


    Poor guy. I hope everything goes as smoothly as possibly tomorrow and his fears will be behind him.

  • tanya25m


    Hope the surgery goes well. My best to you all.

  • Bec


    I’m sorry Momo :( I hear him on not liking the mask. I only had it for pain relief during my c/s, but it was horrible because I couldn’t move anyway.

    I can still remember when they wheeled Erin away for her minor proceedure, it still brings me to tears. I can’t imagine doing it 9 times :( I hope it goes well and that he does have instant relief and that getting back to a word with no yelling is nice and easy.

  • Piper


    Lord I ask you to bless them and keep them. Make Your face to shine upon them, and give them peace.

    Thank you for never leaving or forsaking the Momo's.

    <3

  • Monica


    Don’t know how you do it, Momo, watching him go through everything he has already had to deal with.

    I am willing to bet money that you’ll be writing a post with one of his classic lines, uttered to an orderly, a doc, or a nurse, that will have us all laughing ourselves silly.

    Can’t wait to hear it, and to hear that all is well despite the evil Mask.

  • O My Blog!


    Praying that He will give your son peace and strength.

    Surgery is no fun :(
    >>>hugs<<<

  • Jamie E


    I hope it went well. My kids always freaked a little about it too. We would ask for a mask to play with while we waited for surgery, it helped a little.

  • DysFUNctional Mom


    Oh, I wish they wouldn’t have to use the mask. Poor kid! T-bone had tubes in his ears twice, and I was terrified both times. I had no idea brain surgery was lurking in our future! I know what you mean about looking forward to the kid actually being able to hear though, that’s a nice treat.

  • A Buns Life


    I hope everything went well today! I’m thinking of you all.

  • Jared


    Hoping everything went well for your little man today!

  • Tom


    I heard things went okay and am here a little late with our thoughts and prayers. Just wanted you to know that we’re thinking of your son and you all too.

  • Sharon


    I’m a lurker, but had to delurk because your a mom, I’m a mom, and if moms don’t reach out to each other, then this world is a lost cause. I read above that he’s fine and did well (but didn’t want you to think I was commenting to win a prize!). My heart goes out to you – to watch your child in pain or in fear….there’s nothing worse. You’re an incredible woman, he’s a very lucky guy.

  • LeeAnne


    I’m glad to hear that the surgery went well. Being a mom is so hard! You are such a trooper and your son is very lucky to have you!

  • Heather


    How maddening that they won’t/can’t find a way to make this less scary for him. I’ll be thinking of all of you.

  • Natalie


    here’s hoping for a smooth time tomorrow. poor little guy!

  • Rose


    I’m so sorry that your son already knows enough about the mask to be scared of it. That’s so sad.
    I’m crossing my fingers that it goes well today.

  • Jaina


    Poor baby. Couldn’t they at least give him some sort of something to make him mostly sleepy before they put on the mask?

  • meleah rebeccah


    I am so happy surgery is over and you both survived. But still. My heart breaks for what y’all have to go through.

  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from The Tooth Fairy Needs to Bring Me a Drink - Momo Fali's
    Tuesday, 19 February, 2013

    [...] and cry and FLAT OUT refused to breathe the laughing gas coming through his strawberry scented mask. I knew this wasn’t going to go down as planned and when the nurse told me to show him how [...]

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