Although I would not be headed into surgery until close to 11:30 we were supposed to report to the hospital at 8:00 am. So my parents and I got up and got ready. As we headed out of Ronald McDonald House, I had my princess purse slung over my shoulder. We had a few minutes to spare, so we walked over to UC Davis next door and travelled the familiar hall ways until we reached the NICU.
Because they knew they would be back for my surgery, my parents really hadn't dealt with the sadness of moving so much. But as they pulled into Sacramento last night Daddy kept remarking "This will be the last time we ..... (fill in the blank)." Knowing they may not be back again for a long time (maybe never) they decided to do a few photo ops. First up was a photo of me in front of the NICU doors. My parents spent every day for six weeks visiting me - Mommy often came twice a day - so every inch of that hallway had been memorized. It was an emotional moment for my parents seeing me walk up and down the hallway when the last time they were here it was to take me home after my six week stay. They were terrified to take me for the short ride home by themselves a few short years ago and now they had just travelled 10 hours without a second thought.
With tears in Mommy's eyes, we headed back to Shriner's for check in. As usual there was lots of hurry up and waiting. We talked with parents of several other children having hand surgery in the waiting area. There were some preop measurements and questions and they asked me what color cast I wanted - you probably aren't surprised I picked pink right? A few minutes later, though, Daddy vetoed me and chose purple since pink gets so dirty.
Around 10:30 they called us back to the preop room where they met with Dr James and the anesthesiologist. I was very serious and shook hands with every member of the medical team - just like my parents. While I played with some toys, they got me some Versed and I helped push it in. The nurses were surprised at how long it took it to kick in but once it did I was pretty goofy. But when they came to take me away I was aware enough that I was crying.
While I went off to the OR my parents went to get something to eat for the first time that day. Mommy was dehydrated, hungry and stressed and was hoping some food would help with her massive headache. Not so much and she eventually walked over to the UC Davis gift shop to get some medicine. She tried to sleep a little while Daddy listened to his headphones and they waited. Three hours later when Dr James came out to talk with them, she was feeling a tad bit better. Dr James let them know that surgery had gone well although I resembled a pin cushion since it was hard to get the IV started. Because the growth plate in my triplicate finger/thumb was going the wrong direction, it was already starting to grow a little crooked. She moved the plate some during surgery and hoped that it would correct the problem going forward. Once I am done growing (around 13 or so) she may want to do one more surgery but I should be surgery free on my hands now for many years. Yeah!
A few minutes later, the nurse took Mommy back to see me in post op. The first words out of her mouth, "Man she is a fighter!" Sure enough, I was thrashing around in the bed none too happy to be waking up with a case on my arm. Without even opening my eyes, I kept crying and pointing to my case for Mommy to see what they had done to me. Mommy tried to hold me in the chair to calm me down but that didn't help and several times I almost pushed my way out of her arms. The nurses were quick with a dose of Morphine and finally I fell to sleep - or so they thought. As soon as Mommy tried to lay me down I got agitated again so she kept holding me and they decided to wheel Mommy and I in the wheelchair to my room for the night. We picked up Daddy along the way.
We were sharing a room with a little girl and her Daddy and it didn't take long for the Morphine to wear off. I was whiny for a few minutes but Mommy got in bed with me and I settled down. Daddy went to the car to get my DVD player and I watched some Signing Time. A little later, Mommy went to get some dinner since Daddy would be leaving for the night. When she got back with her pasta, I expressed some interest in eating. Mommy wasn't sold on the solid food idea so I signed "soda" and the nurses returned with some ginger ale. That was a no go and I said very loudly and not so nicely, "No Pepsi!" So off Daddy went to locate some brown soda and returned with Coke which I drank happily.
Right as Daddy was getting ready to leave, Child Life stopped by with a cute book bag with a farm theme (how did they know?). It was filled with books, a video, crayons, toys and a little Dora doll. Mommy and I had something to keep us entertained for the night! Later, I got a visit from Tucker. He is a beautiful white Great Pyranees who comes to the hospital to visit the kids. His head was as big as a bear but he was sweet and calm and loved being petted. He seemed happy to put up with me touching his nose and pointing to his eyes and he kissed Mommy's toes. He even left me a picture of him to remember him by.
The nurses let Mommy know that if I didn't have a wet diaper by 11 pm they were going to have to catheterize me so Mommy tried a feeding hoping to get me going. The formula stayed down but unfortunately, no diaper.
Around 9:30 Mommy decided it was time to get to sleep. She settled in the bed next to me but I had trouble relaxing. I started crying and pointing to my IV site. They had finally found a spot in the crease of my ankle but it was bothering me and they had actually stopped being able to use it shortly after surgery. Mommy grabbed the nurse and she agreed it was okay to remove it at this point. Now Mommy thought this would be a quick process but I fought Mommy and the nurse for several minutes before she finally got it out. I was so wound up at that point that Mommy walked the halls with me so the little girl next to me could get some sleep. We eventually ended up in the empty teen room where I fell asleep around 11:00 pm. Knowing it was time for my catheter Mommy hoped they would get it done then but the nurses were busy so Mommy settled me in bed and we both dozed until they came in shortly before midnight.
One nurse held down my legs while the other tried to get the catheter in. For the second time that day, Mommy heard how strong I was from the nurses. Nurse A got the catheter in while Nurse B struggled to hold me down. However, I was a little stronger then Nurse B could handle and broke a leg free and out came the catheter. So Mommy took a leg while they reinserted it. At one point Nurse A asked Nurse B if she could help hold down another body part and Nurse B said rather testily "It's everything I can do to keep her leg down you're on your own." With three people holding me down they eventually got the catheter back in for a few short moments to get me started and by midnight I was able to go back to sleep.
Peyton Nicole Smith