God's Child, Our Joy

An adoptive family's journey in faith and life

Eva and her Penguin go to the Hospital

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As mentioned in an earlier post, Eva needed to get tubes for her ears. She had multiple ear infections that came back almost every time she got sick. The ears get infected because of fluid buildup and the tubes will let the fluid drain.

Once we got past the insurance hassle, we were getting ready for surgery day. It would be hard for Steph to do this alone with Eva, so we had Grandma come out and watch Eli so I could go as well. It was the perfect excuse to get some family out to meet the new baby.

The weekend before surgery, we made a shopping trip to Elder Beerman. I’m pushing Eva in the stroller when her two arms jut out the side. She’s reaching for something.

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Eva hadn’t been in the stuffed animal stage yet. She prefers things that she can throw like balls. I’m not sure if she loved penguin’s color or the ball shape he was in, but Eva grabbed him and wouldn’t let go. Usually she’ll toss toys we hand to her in the stroller. This one was different.

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So Eva now has a stuffed animal for comfort at the hospital.

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I get Eva up on surgery day, and get her dressed. She doesn’t know that today is any different than before, so she starts to motion the eat sign. Surgery is scheduled for early afternoon, which means that she can only have liquid diet until 9 and nothing after that. This is going to be a problem.

Eva has never had an issue with eating. While some kids at daycare are fussy eaters or don’t finish their meals, Eva always comes home with a report card that shows that she ate everything and more. We feed her breakfast, and then she eats second breakfast, lunch and snack at daycare. When we visited our friends, I arrived late and asked how Eva ate. “She ate her dinner and Brianna’s dinner.” I was unfazed.

So this breakfast she would have available apple juice and jello. She drank a little juice, and played with the jello. “Where’s my banana!” I’m sure she thought. She didn’t understand that jello was food and she really hadn’t had much juice in her life. She wanted banana, cheerios and milk.

Nine came and juice was withdrawn. I worked that morning until we needed to go, but I was informed that she signed “more” and “eat” a large number of times. She found the person who felt the worst (Grandma) and kept pulling those strings, but everyone stayed strong.

I came home and picked up the girls and left Eli with Grandma. We headed off to Dayton Children’s Hospital for Eva’s first surgery. We went to the surgery part and checked in. Since she was so young, they placed the hospital tag on her ankle. After a little wait they escorted us to our room.

The have cars in the hallway for Eva to ride around in. I push in the car up and down the halls. There is traffic from other children, as Eva is not the only one here for tubes.

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There are two other children across the hall here for the same surgery. One is a year old, and the other is 10 months old having had 7 ear infections. They are both scheduled to go before Eva. We all chat awkwardly in the hallway, the anxiety of putting our children through their first surgery before they are old enough to even understand is weighing us down and wearing us out.

Before the procedure both the anesthesiologist and the surgeon come in to talk to us and ask questions. It’s their last check before the procedure, and Eva is ready to go. However, the efforts are not wasted as one of the other children is pulled of the schedule due to concerns over seizures.

To ease Eva into the procedure, they give her some medicine that will help relax her and forget about the time mommy and daddy let them take her away. A few minutes later, she’s loopy.

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The time has come for them to take her back. We kiss her and hug her and tell her we love her. We put her down on the gurney to head back. There are very few things that look so wrong as a little girl on the gurney. Not that she looks so small on it, but that you feel that in a happy world, there would be no instance where anyone so young and small should have to be wheeled off to surgery.

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The procedure should take a mere five minutes, and she should be back in our room in a half hour. The procedure is rather simple, put her under via the gas, make a slight slit in the ear, insert tube and done.

Across the hall the reunion is occurring. Mom gives her a big hug and everything went as planned. While they are reunited, we get the doctor in our room. He tells us that the procedure went well, but….

To think, we actually thought we’d get through the day without complications.

Eva threw up when they started the gas. The medicine was what came up. You spend the morning preventing her from eating so that she doesn’t have anything to throw up, and they give her something right before that comes right up. They have to keep her for a little while longer to monitor her to make sure she didn’t aspirate any.

A grueling hour goes by and they bring our baby girl back to us with this notice; she’s not happy. Eva was starting to come down from the sleeping gas and medicine, and didn’t know what was going on. She was tired (as the surgery happened during her normal nap time), she was hungry, she woke up in a strange place and mommy and daddy weren’t there. To top it off these strange people trying to poke her in her hand, and when she tried to pull it, they had to poke her in the foot. When she rolled in our room, she had this splint on.

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Steph picked her up to comfort her, but there was no comfort to be had. Just picking her up was difficult, as there were now cords and IVs to contend with. Eva would bawl inconsolably, then sit catatonic. If anything changed in her sight light, say I move the penguin to the right, or we move her in anyway the bawling would start again. She’d suck every last bit of comfort from her pacifier, only to let it fall (or throw it) when her mood changed on a dime.

To top everything off, the doctor nicked her right ear lobe, so whatever cotton was in there had to be replaced often as she just kept bleeding. Every little thing that could happen happened. Each thing, though little on its own kept piling up.

The therapy dog walks into the room. Just a calm, lovely lab, but Eva was not interested and it just made her cry more. That’s when you know things are really bad, when Mom, neither dad nor a dog can calm her.

Our only friend now is time. We just needed time for everything to heal. Eventually, the bleeding stopped. Eventually they took off the splint off, and eventually the holes in her hand/foot healed. Eventually, she woke up to the point where she saw the dog across the hall and wants to see her. This time there was petting, but still she was so tired.

We take her home, but she is still upset. She eats, but we give her food in tiny portions to avoid eating too much on an empty stomach. She’s still so upset, and by supper she’s too upset to even eat much dinner. This quite possibly was the worst day of her life.

We are exhausted, and thank Grandma for being there. She cared for Eli when our attentions were distracted and helped with the daily chores so we could rest our wearied bodies.

Then the morning came. Our happy eating machine was back. Why just have one banana when you can have two? More milk please! Let’s play!

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The aftermath

So it’s been about a month and she’s shown no other bad symptoms from the procedure. The only difference we’ve noticed is that she wakes up less in the night. This is either because she’s growing into a better sleeper, or because her ears bother her less. No infections since. She has to wear ear plugs for baths and the pool. In 2-3 years the tubes will fall out on their own, with 6 month checkups in between. If they don’t fall out on their own, they’ll have to go in and get them (not very likely).

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One thought on “Eva and her Penguin go to the Hospital

  1. Yeah, about that “not very likely” to have to remove the tubes…..mine didn’t fall out and I had to have surgery to remove them. I was four years old. Also, I’m curious about the surgery…when I had my tubes put in, I wasn’t put under. I seem to remember a really weird goo going in my ears and I had to sit there for at least a half-hour, reading quietly and not running around. That’s all I really remember, though…

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