Monday, November 15, 2010

My Little Patient

Bridget was diagnosed with strep for the first time the week after Alina came home.  Since then, she's had it six times, and her tonsils were staying huge. 
Waiting, watching Little Bear

Each time she began to get sick with strep, her tonsils would become even more swollen and she'd have trouble breathing at night because of it :(.  So, we did some research, had a consult with her ENT and made the decision to have them removed.  

Last Tuesday morning, Bridget and I packed our bags and drove to Nationwide Children's Hospital.  We valet parked (thank goodness for that option, since I packed like we were going on the Amazing Race) and went straight to the surgical floor for check- in.  

Pre-op, Ready to Go
Before long, we were called into pre-op, where Bridget was given a quick check-up and where we met with each member of her operating room team.  Well, I met with the doctors and specialists while Bridget watched Little Bear ;).

A nurse brought Bridget two handmade dolls (one for her, and one for Alina) and a play doctor's kit.  Another nurse brought the mask they planned to use to put her to sleep, and it was strawberry scented, which Bridget thought was "Yummy!".  She kept sniffing it and placing it on her doll's nose :). 

She was then given Versed, a medication to make her sleepy and to ease the anxiety of separating from me and being in the operating room with a bunch of strangers.  I wish they had given me some, too.  Watching her being rolled away in a hospital bed was hard for mommy :(.

But the surgery only took about 20 minutes and went very well.  

After Surgery, Little Bear again :)
While Bridget was in the recovery area, I went to get my parent badge and a keycard to access her unit (she stayed overnight in the hospital, as is typically recommended for kids with Down syndrome or other health issues).

I took our bags to her room and ate a quick lunch before they brought her in.  She was awake and alert.  She even eeked out a hoarse, Hi, Mommy :).

Bridget was such a little trooper in the hospital.  She was very polite, saying a sweet little thank you to anyone who brought her a popsicle or ice, and shouting a hearty NO THANK YOU when she didn't want something (like pain medicine by mouth, or having her blood pressure taken).

After surgery, Enjoying a Popsicle
Overall, she seemed to be in very little pain that first day and night (she was stuffy, a little warm and a little restless, though).  

She kept wanting to get up and walk around the floor, and so we did.  Lots and lots of times.  We played in the play room on her floor, checked out the vending machines in the waiting room and visited each of the four nurse's stations (several times each).

She ate a full dinner and drank so much that she peed the bed in which we were both sleeping.  

Bridget caught on to me using the nurse's call button and began leaning over randomly, speaking into it saying, Um, red.  Okay.  Thank you. (I'd like a red popsicle) and, Juice.  Ice.  Thank youOkay, bye!

She also was quite fond of having her blankets straightened and having her pillow fluffed :).  She kept climbing out of bed trying to do it herself.

All of this (walking, requesting popsicles, straightening the bed) went on through the night.  The nurses kept telling me that Bridget would be "sleep off" the anesthesia.  But she didn't.  When she finally fell asleep, the shift changed and her new nurse came in to check her vital signs. Then she fell back to sleep and a fire alarm went off (a false alarm, but still...seriously?).  Between all of those things, beeping monitors and sharing a bed, the two of us rolled around, walked around and watched Little Bear through the night.

There's a reason they say that you don't get any sleep in the hospital...because you don't! 

Bridget's doctor showed up at 6:25 a.m. to check on her (I was awake and dressed) and cleared us to leave.  It's a good thing...we were both ready!
From her Preschool Classmates
I have a few other notes, details and tips from Bridget's surgery and recovery experience that I will post here soon.  Check back for those if you are interested.  And if other parents of kids with Ds have questions, please ask! 


  1. WOW, what an amazing little trooper!!!! Love that she caught on to the call button. LOL Sounds like something straight out of Samantha's book.

    Glad everything went well. Can't go wrong with Little Bear, too! :-)

  2. glad you're all well :-)! xxx

  3. Sounds like everything went well. I love how you said she was still very polite through her whole hospital stay despite the surgery. So cute! So nice too that she has the language skills to tell you what she wants, etc. Matthew's not quite there yet. Of course, he's also a year younger than Bridget. But I'm so glad our kiddos are past this. Looking forward to reading about the recovery. :-)

  4. Awww.... brings back some memories. I don't know why they feel that kids with DS have to stay overnight if they do not have any active health issues. I hate sleeping/trying to sleep in a hospital. Sounds like she copes really well!

  5. I am so glad everything went well. :)

  6. so glad to hear that everything went well! :)

  7. For some reason I thought I had commented on this post. hmm..guess I'm officially losing my mind! Bridget's experience went WAY better than Josi's did. ugh! What a time we had. I'll spare you the details but needless to say, if Nadia needs to have a T&A (which judging by her wall-shaking snoring she probablly will) then I'm going to get an IV of tranquilizers while she gets her IV of fluids. ha ha!