Ellie’s sleep study was scheduled for this past Friday night. I mentioned before that the mere thought of it gave me heart palpitations, so M graciously agreed to be the one to take her. I mean, it’s a shitty gig – the kid’s going to get leads and wires all over the place, and there’s a crappy little cot in the room for the parent to sleep in. And then they send you packing at six in the morning. So, I felt bad that M was taking the bullet on this one. But since I was having anxiety dreams all week about them not letting her come home from the hospital, it seemed I was not the one for the job.
Yeah, about those dreams. Maybe less “anxiety” and more “premonition.”
OH, THAT’S RIGHT. The “nothing to worry about, it’s just a sleep study!” turned out to be less than true. Her sleep study was a catastrophe. Obstructive apnea and oxygen drops so scary, the tech nearly sent her to the emergency room. An ENT consult at 6:00 on a Saturday morning. Admitted to the ICU before noon. Tonsils and adenoids yanked by 4:00. Sleeping in a haze of morphine by 6.
And so, here I am, typing on my iPad and staring down another night sleeping 20 minutes at a stretch in an uncomfortable chair in a hospital room. Trying not to completely freak out.
I can hardly express the visceral reaction of her being admitted to the hospital where we spent so much time when she was a newborn. Of course, any parent would be stressed if their kid was hospitalized. But as the graduate of a 72-day stay, there is a drop in the pit of your stomach that says, “oh god, please, not again.”
Because, having traveled a hospital road before, we know all too well how unpredictable this can be. While her tonsils were large, and adenoids apparently “huge,” and certainly contributing to her sleep issues, we don’t necessarily know if removing them will solve the whole problem. Ellie being Ellie, they’re wondering if there are other neuro or low-muscle-tone factors contributing as well. So she isn’t the kid they’ll send home with painkillers and a case of popsicles. No, they want her here, on monitors and oxygen and eight bajillion checks of her goddamn vital signs in the middle of the night.
Truth is, she’s doing reasonably well right now. Her level of pain after the surgery seems much better today, even in the absence of popsicles and ice cream. She’s sleeping better after a few rough nights, though now with some oxygen to prevent desaturations while she sleeps. And during the day, aside from being tired and bored, she is her usual delightful self. I’m trying to keep her entertained with a lot of YouTube videos of Elmo and puppies.
We’re in wait-and-see mode right now, which is among the shittier modes to be in at the hospital, because it feels so thoroughly unproductive. And frustrating, because I know how conservative the doctors tend to be, how high they set the standards for discharge, especially with a “complex case” like Ellie.
I will say that, now that the immediate panic has passed, not to mention now that I’ve had a full night’s sleep, M and I are a lot more ready and willing to be… proactive about getting her home. I’m not lacing up my boxing gloves just yet, but I am going to push hard against the exceedingly slow and cautious pace of the gigantic hospital. Within the next day or so, I’m going to need to have some pretty compelling reasons why she is still in the hospital, or I might just yank off the monitors and march her out the door.
Try to fucking stop me.