I want to start by saying that Texas Scottish Rite for Children is an amazing place with an amazing staff. They immediately put me at ease, and the love they have for the kids is so obvious. We got to the Day Surgery Unit at about 7am and met Melanie, the nurse for that area. Amelie was the first surgery of the day so it was only us for a little while. The anesthesiologist talked to us and then finished reading Amelie’s file. The nurse Melanie was so sweet! She got Amelie weighed and told us that we could turn on the TV if we wanted, but Amelie just wanted to check everything out in this new place.
Throughout our waiting Melanie had books and toys for Amelie.
A band for me and a band for Amelie; she messed with these for a long time.
I got her diaper changed and into the gown and one of the hand unit Fellows came to talk to us. He told us what the goals were and what he thought they might try to do. Then a little while later Dr. Ezaki came to talk to us and she told us what her goals were and how long she thought it would take. Her goals were much more complex than what the other person said and I was feeling GREAT after talking to her. She has a wonderful way about her and we had heard over and over about how wonderful she is in the field.
Then, after about the 12th person asked us if Amelie had any known allergies and “when was the last time she ate or drank,” it was time for them to give Amelie the meds to make her relax and not be so worried when they took her away. She was really woozy by the time the anesthesiologist, Dr. Wall, came to get her. At this point I was ready for them to start the surgery and get the ball rolling; the waiting was getting to me.
Once they took her off to surgery Melanie suggested that we go down to the cafeteria and get some breakfast. Scottish Rite has this awesome cafeteria with all these different food stations and it’s tasty! We had a peaceful breakfast and answered text messages and emails while we continued to wait. We were asked by a volunteer if we were here to take photos (since Mike had his camera bag) and we told him our daughter was having hand surgery. He asked who was doing the surgery and Mike said, “Dr. Ezaki.” The guy got this happy look on his face and said, “She is in good hands. She’s the best in the world.” As we got off the elevator he said, “Day surgery?” Mike said yes and he laughed and said, “Figures.” (like it’s Dr. Ezaki, of course it’s just day surgery). We had a good laugh about that and Mike started making jokes about how “we have the best hand surgeon in the world – 17 people have told us so”. So he was making Facebook status updates and comments and saying we need to sell shirts. We were just enjoying ourselves as we waited to hear from the surgeon. Our friend Randy read the Facebook status and quickly registered this site: WeHaveTheBestHandSurgeonInTheWorld.com. We laughed so hard that I cried – thanks Randy (you earned your stay at our house this weekend).
Then Dr. Ezaki came out to talk to us and show us the photos of Amelie’s hand before they put the cast on. She told us she was able to separate the fingers, save the end of her middle finger, which she originally said she wanted to save but there was a chance that it might have to be removed. That was great news! She also said, however, that there is a gap in it without any bone, so they might have to do a bone graft at a later time. She also talked about some curvature in her pinky from it having been attached to the other finger so long, and therefore they would have to do some other things because of that, but it was really over our heads, so we’ll just have to wait and see what comes next. In all it couldn’t have been more encouraging, and seeing those pictures of that previously jumbled mess of fingers all separated was amazing!
A short time later Melanie told us that Amelie was awake and not screaming so they decided to bring her to us. She whimpered a little when she saw us, but they got her mostly unhooked and in my lap. She seemed confused about what was on her arm, but otherwise just looking around a little fussy.
Melanie gave Amelie some pain meds and sent me down to the pharmacy to grab our prescription to take home. We waited around another 30 minutes or so and were reminded another 15 times not to let her go near water or get the cast wet, or even play outside or get too warm at night (so that she wouldn’t sweat). We were basically told we had no excuse since she wasn’t in daycare – it was our job to keep that cast clean and dry for 3 weeks. I told the surgeon I would turn on my OCD switch. We left for home about noon and got Amelie inside the house and settled. She was pretty irritable and very annoyed by the cast. Every time she tried to use her left hand and the cast came up she would start to cry in frustration. We gave her the next dose of pain medicine and put her down for a nap. Once she woke up it was the same happy Amelie we have grown used to; sweet girl who is just rolling with whatever comes along. She was following Nadia around and playing like a happy kid. At one point I was on the floor with her and she stood up and did a somersault while holding her cast out so it wouldn’t touch the ground. Then she sat up and laughed.
They told us to give her apple juice so she wouldn’t get constipated and not to give her too much food in case she threw up, so Mike headed to the store. She liked it, but kept making this crazy sour face. She finished the cup and asked for more. Mike had to get the camera out to snap some photos of that face.
I took a video of her while Mike and Nadia were at the store.
The surgery couldn’t have gone better and we can’t wait to see her hand in three weeks!