Meet the Sullivans: Luke's Ear Tube Surgery

May 16, 2017

Luke's Ear Tube Surgery

Last Wednesday we woke up bright an early to take Luke to the hospital for his ear tube surgery. I know this is a very common procedure that lots of children have had, but in the moment when it's your baby going under anesthesia it feels huge and scary. He's so little and had no idea what was happening. I'm happy to report that everything went very well and Luke seems like he's feeling back to normal.

Before his surgery we met with the ENT and pediatrician for pre-op evaluations. Luke is in great health other than his non-stop ear infections, so we were confident everything would go smoothly, but having him checked out was another great reassurance that everything would be fine.

Leading up to the surgery we had a few phone interviews with various nurses to go over what we should expect the day of and after the surgery, as well as how to prepare. Luke wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything starting at 2am the day of the surgery and we were worried how that would go because he loves to have his milk when he wakes up (even in the middle of the night!) and wants breakfast soon after.Luckily he woke up right as we were ready to leave, so we quickly changed his diaper and strapped him into his car seat.

When we arrived at the hospital we checked into the surgery center and tried to keep Luke distracted. He didn't know what was going on, but he knew something was happening, because he wanted out of there. He's been like this since his first ear infection and any time we're in a awaiting room or exam room he wants OUT, even if the appointment isn't for him. We paced the halls and played with the pay phone (didn't know there were still pay phones out there!).

They brought us back to the pre-op area and asked us a million questions and at this point Luke was melting down. The hour that we were there before they took him back was the longest hour ever. We did our best to make him smile and laugh in all the ways we know how, but it never lasted long. We were all feeling anxious and Luke was upset and we had to stay close to this little room surrounded by a bunch of other people waiting to go into their surgeries. I kept wavering between feeling bad that we were probably making everyone uncomfortable with our crying, screaming child and not caring because I felt so sorry for Luke.

We got to touch base with the ENT and the anesthesiologist before surgery and they kind of went through a quick summary of what they'd be doing. Each nurse and doctor that entered our room asked us the same few questions; who is having surgery, why, what size etc.

Finally, right around 8am the anesthesiologist came with another nurse to take Luke back to the operating room. We knew this would be hard on him, and us, but I felt kind of relieved at this point knowing that soon it would all just be over with. The nurse said that as soon as they got to the OR he stopped crying. They laid him down on the table and gave him the gas to make him fall asleep. Keith and I went to the waiting room and watched the news, and within about 25 minutes the nurse was bringing us back to see him again. It was that quick!

As they were bringing us back to see him I could hear him crying from down the hall. I remembered the nurse telling me on the phone days before to not panic at this point because they are usually hysterical when they start to wake up. He was in this little toddler size hospital bed / cradle and the nurse with him was trying he best to keep him from tumbling out -- he was thrashing all around with his eyes completely shut. They had me sit in a chair to hold him, but he was still so inconsolable and half asleep. They said we had to stay there until he opened his eyes, which he did after about 15 minutes. The ENT talked with Keith and gave us the okay to go home.

Once we got to the car and strapped him in (still crying and upset) he drank his milk. I sat in the back with him on the way home and tried to sing to him, and he would calm down for a moment or two. He finally relaxed a bit when we got inside. He sat in my lap and played with stuffed animals on the couch, ate a little snack and drank more milk. After about 45 minutes he seemed to feel well enough to get down on the floor to play. He was still a little off balance at this point so we stayed close. A couple hours later he was ready for a nap and ended up taking his normal hour and a half rest.

The rest of the day was business as usual for him! After his nap he seemed to be feeling great and we went about a regular day at home with lunch, toys, playing in the yard and all that. I'm so grateful for all the great care he received at the hospital from the doctors and nurses, and so thankful that everything went smoothly!

We'll go back to the ENT in a few weeks to have his ears checked and we're keeping our fingers crossed that the tubes stay in and that this will mean an end to ear infections for Luke!

1 comment:

Liz | Ellie and Addie said...

I'm so glad his procedure went well! Isn't terrible how long you to wait st the hospital before they take them back? Luckily the procedure was quick and recovered well later that day. Hopefully this means the end of infections for him!!