Whew! So glad it's over! Everything went very well... a few rough patches, but a lot better than I expected.
We got the call from Iowa City on Thursday afternoon that Brandon was scheduled for "first case" of the day Friday morning. That meant we needed to be to the hospital and checked in by 6:00 a.m. Which meant leaving our house a little after four so we could stop and get gas... and make sure we weren't running late. The last time we had to be at an appointment there, we got stuck on the highway for half an hour behind a terrible accident. I didn't want to miss our surgery time if that happened again! They also stressed that Brandon could not have anything to eat - including a bottle - after midnight. Well... Brandon doesn't drink any bottles during the day anymore - he is completely onto milk in a sippy cup - but he still wakes up once to eat at night. So sure enough... he started crying at 3:00 a.m. I was planning on getting up at 3:30... but once he woke up, neither one of us got back to sleep. He cried off and on for an hour until we put him in the car at 4:00. As soon as we got him up and changed - he was happy - hunger forgotten. Then he slept almost the entire way there. We got to the waiting room at around 5:40... and it was PACKED. Turns out it was a heavy day for pediatric surgery and tubes. So Brandon was very entertained for about 20 minutes in the waiting room... walking around... making smiley faces at everyone. Things got hairy again at 6:00 when they took us back to our own private room. This is where they udpated his chart, checked his vitals and got him into his hospital gown. He had nowhere to walk, no strangers to have fun with... and started getting hungry again. At this point he had been up for three hours without anything to eat or drink. We had to stay in this room until 7:15 when his surgery started. It was a long hour and 15 minutes. During this time, we had the nurse meet with us, the surgeon, two doctors on the surgeon's team and two anestesiologists. We went over the plan for sedating him... and then at 7:15 I had to hand my baby over. This was much harder on me than it was on him. He went willingly into the anestesiologists arms, and the whole team of doctors and nurses carried my baby away from me and into the surgical unit.
Cody and I went to the surgical waiting area where we expected to be for about half an hour. They expected Brandon's surgery to only take about 20-30 minutes. So when 40 minutes had passed, I started getting anxious. Finally after 45 minutes the surgeon came to meet with us and told us everything went just as expected. He said they drained a LOT of really thick fluid from Brandon's ear... and that he should actually be able to hear better now. (Although we haven't noticed his hearing being effected). It made me feel awful that he had been bothered by so much gunk in his ear for so long. No wonder he's had so many ear infections... he's never been able to completely get rid of all that fluid! They also took the little "cyst" off of his neck -- and put three sutures in rather than having to use stitches. This is good because the sutures will just disolve - the original plan was that we'd have to get stitches taken out at some point. They are taking the little "mass" they took out to the lab to get tested... but the surgeon assured us it looks like nothing more than an extra little bit of cartiledge. We aren't worried. After he spoke with us and gave us the instructions for going home, we went back to the waiting room and waited about five more minutes before they called us to go see Brandon. We had to go up a floor, and as soon as the elevator doors opened, I could hear Brandon screaming through the double doors we had to walk through to get to him. He was awake - but very groggy - and VERY hungry and confused. While we had been meeting with the doctor, they had given him a small bit of pedialyte to make sure that he could keep fluids down. They allowed us to give him formula once we got to him - he chugged that down - and then fell asleep on Cody. He remained asleep as they moved us to "stage 2" recovery... and then slept the whole way home. We got home around 11:00 a.m. -- Cody went back to work -- and I stayed home with him. I enjoyed that time with him so much. He was pretty tired throughout the day, but also was very very happy. He took a couple of really good naps... and we spent a lot of time cuddling. He's so active now that cuddling doesn't happen much -- but it happened a lot on this day. It was wonderful.
And he is like a new baby. I have heard people say that getting tubes put in completely changed their child for the better... but I never completely understood that. I was just hoping for no more ear infections. But Brandon is like a new baby. Cody and I just spent a lot of time Friday night and Saturday amazed by the changes. Don't get me wrong -- he has always been a good baby. But he has also dealt with a lot of sickness and teething - and he has been a lot needier than Jaden ever was. By Friday night he was no longer just taking a few steps at a time, and then losing his balance -- he was completely walking. Everywhere. His balance after having all of that fluid drained is so much better. And he is talking so much more!! He babbles and babbles like crazy - like he finally can hear better. He doesn't bat at his ears with his hand as much as he used to. We are praying the tubes stay in and work their magic. It can be common for them to fall out too soon -- and to have to do the whole procedure all over again. We're hoping that doesn't happen.