Today, I spent yet another day on the surgical floor of the Children's Hospital--S had his hardware removal from his left arm. This was my fourth pediatric surgery--Iz, B, and now S twice. After Iz's surgery, someone I know told me she felt bad for seeking advice/comfort before her kid's surgery because his was "nothing" compared to open heart surgery. I told her that surgery is surgery and fear is fear--it doesn't matter if the surgery is considered major or minor or anywhere in between because no matter what, it is our babies on those tables and that is the only thing that matters. When I handed B over for ear tubes, a quick "minor" surgery, I was still scared. Not as long as Iz (and the brevity kept it from getting as intense), but the fear was still there. The "what ifs" were still there. If I could have fallen apart the way I did when Iz went back, I would have, but I had little eyes watching me and needed to be strong. Same with S--both times he went back, it was so hard. But little eyes were watching so I remained cheery and upbeat.
The fear, though, is always there, thrashing around inside, searching for a way out. It is a bird, trapped, beating its wings against the windows. It swells and grows and pushes on every piece of you, threatening to break you down, to burst forth and collapse you. In the pre-op area, I saw a Mom completely break down, sobbing, and I wanted so much to go to her and put my arms around her and tell her I have been there and I would be there again if I didn't have little eyes watching me. Pacing the hallways, waiting, wondering. Watching the clock tick by, counting the minutes until the estimated time of surgery is up, wondering why the surgeon isn't there yet, afraid that the delay means something terrible has happened. The giddiness of finally seeing the surgeon appear in the doorway and seeing a smile on his face so you know your child, your baby, your heart, is fine before the doctor even says a word.
S's surgery went very smoothly but his recovery was a little rough. It took a lot longer than anticipated and he is still feeling a little sick but is feeling better and is currently watching Mythbusters :p It was an emotionally draining and exhausting day. Every time we have a surgery, no matter how long or how "serious" it is, it is mentally and emotionally exhausting. I wonder if it will ever get easier or better or less draining? And I also really hope we never have to find out--I will be quite happy to never ever set foot in the surgical area at the Children's Hospital again!