so, yeah. ashlyn had surgery tuesday and i've pretty much been hoppin' ever since. she's kept me busy. she's a busy body and demands constant entertainment, so we've been busy playing games, watching movies, painting toenails, coloring, and trying to rest. noticing i said trying.
she did so well, though. thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers and emails. :)
we arrived at the surgery center about 40 minutes from our home at o'dark thirty in the morning---seriously early, with spidergirl accompanying us because it was too early for before school childcare and we didn't find out her surgery time until 3 o'clock the day before.
ashlyn was her typical self for the most part, but had many moments of appearing very nervous and distracted. i can tell by her blank stares and how she picks at her fingers or bites her bottom lip. my only complaint about the whole thing was how long they had her waiting in the admitting area.
once she was back in the pre-op area, you can see she was mostly smiles. they did the typical--don the hairnet, height, weight, blood pressure, oxygen level, and temperature. all with her brave face.
then she got to pick a scent to go inside her mask and decorate it with stickers. she picked watermelon which we both thought was unusual considering the other choices were bubblegum, strawberry, grape, cherry and root beer. we would have guessed she'd pick any of them other than watermelon.
then she got a cocktail of three meds squirted in her mouth and i almost missed this picture because i was bracing myself ahead of time for a meltdown to ensue or her to spit it back out all over the place. she's never been a fan of trying new things and oftentimes will express extreme displeasure---but she was SO brave and swallowed it without gagging or spitting it out. all the while doug telling me......"that's the picture you need to get."
i got it. grainy as can be, but i got it, LOL.
then, the nervousness set in. she retreats into herself when she's nervous or afraid and gets really quiet. like she's thinking of a way to escape it all.
but my quick thinking mommy brain was scanning the room for something, anything to perk her back up again. if you've been reading for a while, you probably know i usually come prepared to surgeries with little props or fun things to make everyone laugh--after being through 4 already with spidergirl, we just have this down pat.
but, parenting ashlyn has always been such a challenge with her sensory issues. i've noticed that i'm constantly thinking four or five steps ahead on how i can avoid a meltdown, or how can i phrase my questions without her getting defensive, or......well, you get the idea. it's like dancing on eggshells and trying not to crush them under your feet.
and things that have worked for spidergirl, i knew wouldn't fly with her.
so, anyway, i kinda just had to wing it when it came to distractions. that's when my eye caught the dry erase board leaning in the corner on the counter top. you know, the one that says who the patient is, who the doctor is and what procedure you're having done....oh, and any allergies. right under the board was a dry erase marker.
she looooooooves dry erase boards. i mean, she's obsessed with them. she loves to draw, and she loves to make people happy with her compliments. so she set to work with some helpful writing prompts from the three of us and when she was finished it looked like this...
and it did the trick for both her and for the staff. just moments after she finished it up and put it back in it's place dr. massick walked in and answered questions, calmed her fears, and they were off.
that's when she lost it. great big sobbing tears. she didn't want to go back alone. :(
not sure what they gave her in that cocktail but it didn't take the edge off for her at all. with spidergirl, she was always super loopy before going back. maybe it was the age difference.
about 30 minutes later we were walked back into recovery to see the more adorable, yet pitiful face ever. she was in lots of pain and staring blankly, not quite sure what to make of all of it. daddy tried to cheer her up with a little puppet show but she was having no part of that.
but the nurse took super great care of her and gave her some more pain meds through her IV and after two doses of that and sending daddy and spidergirl out to the waiting room for a bit, she was able to sleep off some of the anesthesia.
by 3:45 that afternoon i was seriously asking myself...."did she really just have surgery?" she was perfectly normal. i'm guessing flying high as a kite on those two doses of morphine-like medicine.
the next day...same thing. but was on some post-op narcotic pain meds.
two days later, she hit a wall. she did absolutely nothing all day yesterday except move from couch to the bed, back to the couch. but she wasn't feeling any pain.
now, our biggest chore is finishing up all the make-up work they've sent home from school and getting her to finish this antiobiotic without a fight twice a day for the next 4 days.
i've got a secret weapon though. Hershey Kisses. :)
seriously, all you mamas out there reading, try it! i don't use it as a bribe, but as a weapon against the nasty taste. here's how: allow them to melt a hershey kiss on their tongue about a minute before you give them the medicine....no chewing allowed. the melted chocolate coats the tongue and then when they swallow the medicine they don't taste the yucky flavored medicine as strongly.
i learned that from another mom and it's the best mommy tip i've ever gotten. :)
we're thinking she'll go back to school monday, but we'll first have to see how she feels after taking her chemo this week. that alone wears her out, so, maybe half-days for a few days to ease back into it. we'll see.
i'm glad this is behind us now. she did soooooooo much better than any of us anticipated. :)
(please excuse any typos.......i'm too tired to correct them tonight)