The Hard Part

We headed into Children’s for a day of pre-op testing. We knew today was going to be the hard part for all of us. I knew there were going to be needles involved. Kal did not. I knew this would was going to be the hardest day for him. Kal did not...or so I thought he did not. Apparently, I was wrong.

We headed up to the Catheterization Pre-op area and immediately were greeted by a very familiar and friendly face-Megan. We were so excited to see Megan, who we have not seen in 6 years and who, by the way, looked exactly the same. It was comforting to see her there, like seeing old friend. Hard to explain how seeing Megan just provided a layer of comfort.

When going over the day’s activities, blood work was mentioned and Kalvin instantly went into a state of panic which everyone seemed to take note of. We all gathered around Kal, trying to convince him this was all going to be easy peasy. He really wasn’t buying any of it. As we went off to get x-rays with numbing cream bandages applied to his arms, he repeatedly tried to fight back the tears as he asked about the needles. We kept reassuring him that it was going to be so easy. None of which really worked. AT ALL.

Once the chest x-ray was complete, a wonderful nurse, Maureen, met us to take us to radiology for our lung scan and blood draw. Yet another wonderful thing about Children's, everyone quickly picked up on Kalvin's anxiety and the "A Team" was called in to draw this kid's blood. They also decided to combine the lung scan and the blood draw into one event, all on their own. I didn't even have to suggest it! A needle is required to shoot the radioactive dye into Kal's hand so they can calculate his lung capacity in each lung through a nuclear imaging machine or "tube." For a boy petrified of needles, combining the blood draw and the dye insertion really makes a difference. All the difference, really. Maureen chatted with Kalvin about his chair lift ride last night at Ski Bradford. She did an amazing job of distracting him and building up his confidence. She was simply great.
Once we arrived in radiology, the "A Team" was there to greet us- a team of three AMAZING nurses. The A Team, Maureen, Lars and I all worked diligently to ease his mind and soul. It was overwhelming to witness this team in action. You could just tell they love what they do and are really good at it. They genuinely appeared to be taken in by Kal. They kept saying how wonderful he was, what a great personality he has- even as he tried to fight back his tears and argue with them about the necessity of the blood draw. Finally, Nurse Diane said, "Kal we don't care if you cry. Let it out. Go ahead and cry. We don’t care. We are here to help you," and he seemed to relax a bit.

He doesn’t' miss a beat, this boy. He is so in tune with all that is being said and all that is going on around him. The nurses kept reassuring him, "There are no tricks in here. We will tell you everything that is happening, every step of the way."

And they held true to their promise and reassured him of each and every step. It made a difference. They, made a difference today.

Once it was all said and done, Kalvin laid on the tube and took his shot like a brave boy. Everyone was shocked, except Lars and I. We knew the anxiety leading up to the event was the worst part for Kal. The hardest part. Once the needle went in, a teary eyed Kal looked up at us all and said, "That is it? It is in? Wow, that was easy." And that was it. Hardest part over...for Kalvin.

We headed back up to the cath pre-op area where Lisa greeted us and administered the EKG and blood pressures. We joked with Kalvin about how this use to be the hardest part for him. We had to keep him still as an infant and a toddler while the EKG ran. We tried desperately to keep his arms and legs still while the blood pressure cuffs squeezed each limb and if we didn't-we would have to start the process all over again. It was draining on everyone involved. Now, ironically, this is the real easy peasy lemon squeezy portion of the day. Kal was hamming it up-calling Lisa, "Lis" who then reciprocated by calling Kalvin, "Kal." Lisa made it a really fun part of his day. A great way to wind down the afternoon before the big day.

Tomorrow will be rough for Lars and I and for the doctors working on him. I can't explain the emotion that comes over me when I am in that Hospital. My eyes well up at various times of the day and always when I least expect it. My breathing seems to stop. And time stands still as I watch things going on around me in slow motion. I don't even know what triggers all these reactions half the time. The memories? The thoughts? Baby Isabelle upstairs recovering from her second major open heart surgery at 5 months old? A stranger passing by? A mother, weeping out loud in the elevator, trying desperately to hold her cry until Kalvin is off the elevator? All of it? It is all hard. The hard part.
We left the hospital and headed for home. We stopped briefly to get something to eat and to get Kalvin some new sneakers, his foot was measuring two times bigger than his current shoes. He was so upset to learn that he does not fit into "light up" sneakers anymore. We forced him to buy a new pair even though they don't light up. He was not happy. We tried desperately to convince him they were very similar to Tom Brady's sneakers in hopes this would make him think twice about the new shoes. He wasn't buying it. He turned to me in the parking lot and said, "Mom, I am sorry, but these sneakers just aren't my style!"

Really, I thought. At seven, you have developed a style? I guess he has. He is his own little person. I am so attached to his style, to this little person.

Then he began sharing some of his apprehensions about the next day, "Mom, I am scared for tomorrow."

"Why?" I asked, "What are you afraid of?"

"I'm afraid I will wake up in the middle of the surgery," he said.

I reassured him that the doctors know just the exact amount of medicine to give him to keep him asleep as long as they need to finish their work and that they can always administer more of that medicine if need be. He seemed to believe me. He seemed to relax a bit.

Then he said, and ever so seriously, "Right mom. The hard part is for the doctors tomorrow, not me."

There are six entries in total relating to Kalvin's cath lab.  You can read them here 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in order.  Thanks for stopping by.  We love to hear your thoughts and comments!

No comments:

Post a Comment