February 2000 – Here we go, back to the Hospital for Sick Children! This time, we went to the day surgery wing, instead of the out patient clinic.
We arrived in Toronto the afternoon prior to her surgery so we could try to have some time to do a couple of fun things – swim, go out for dinner, stop in at the Disney Store in Toronto’s Eaton Centre. The doctor’s office instructed us to arrive at the hospital by around 8 and her surgery was scheduled for 10. We spent two gruelling hours in the waiting room - Amanda alternating between clutching me and crying and finding a new toy to play with. And, as these things happen, the surgery was delayed. So, not only was Amanda tired and terrified, now she was starving! We met with the anaesthesiologist and a wonderful nurse who would be taking Amanda into the operating room. Unfortunately, because Amanda was going into an actual operating room and not a procedure room, they wouldn’t allow me to accompany her. My poor little punkin had to face that long walk without me! Both of us were a mess – but Amanda managed to walk in there under her own steam. We were told surgery could take about an hour and a half so we headed to the cafeteria to grab something to eat. When we went back to the surgical floor, we went into the waiting room, staffed by some awesome volunteers. They record your name, the name of your child, and when they went in for surgery. When Amanda was in recovery and able to see us, they would call down to the waiting room and one of the volunteers would take us to see her. It seemed like an interminable wait! Dr. Levin and his assistant – a wonderful post-doctoral fellow who’s name escapes me – came in to see us to tell us it was all over and had gone well. Unfortunately, we still had a difficult road ahead of us. Amanda would need a steroid drop every hour, day and night, to combat the uveitis that can often flare when there is any kind of eye surgery. We also had to stay in Toronto for a couple more days so Dr. Levin could monitor the uveitis to ensure it wasn’t reaching a critical level. We thanked him and breathed a sigh of relief that at least the surgery was over.
Finally the call came that Amanda was in recovery and beginning to wake up. They only let one parent go in at a time and I’d be damned if I was going to let it be Tim!! Poor guy never had a chance! They did let him come in intermittently while I stayed with Amanda. She sure wasn’t a happy camper coming out of anaesthesia! They did give her Zofran – an awesome anti-nausea med that is part of their post-op protocol. When she was finally more awake and alert, she had absolutely no nausea. If I could’ve found the anaesthesiologist to hug him, I would’ve!!
After a few hours, we were allowed to leave the hospital. We went back to our hotel for a bit and relaxed. Amanda dozed off and on for a bit. We then decided to take a walk down to Eaton’s Centre for dinner at East Side Mario’s and a drop in to the Disney store. Well, we made the trip to the Disney Store without incident but we weren’t so lucky with dinner. Shortly after we ordered, Amanda was curled up in the fetal position with her head buried in the bench seat. She only had a plastic shield covering her eye to protect it, so she was able to see light – which was absolutely excruciating for her. We got our dinner “to go” and raced back to the hotel where we sat in a darkened room and Amanda again dozed off and on. She was none too pleased to be woken up every hour on the hour for a drop – well, truth be told, neither were Tim and I! It took two of us to give it to her – one to give the drop, and the other to hold her down! It was an exhausting night and morning broke with three grumpy people!
We returned to HSC for a check. Dr. Levin confirmed that, as feared, her uveitis had flared substantially and that was the main cause of her light sensitivity. He said, over all, her eye looked good post-operatively. We returned to our hotel where, much to Amanda’s delight, she was able to go for a swim as long as she didn’t dunk her head. We got some gauze patches to minimize the light hitting her eye and we had a very peaceful evening.
Back to HSC for check number two where Dr. Levin’s assistant informed us her eye was in trouble. The uveitis wasn’t responding to the hourly prednisone drops. He told us that, unless we were able to get some oral steroids into Amanda’s system, he would have to admit her where it could be given intravenously. Unfortunately, the pharmacy at HSC didn’t have pediatric prednisone but our local pharmacy did. He would have a bottle waiting for us when we got home. The dr thought this was a reasonable compromise but told us we’d have to return to HSC the next day, Saturday, to see if the oral meds were working. We should be prepared with a bag for Amanda if they weren’t working – he would be admitting her. He apologetically told us that he would have to bring his children with him to check Amanda’s eye – his wife was working and he had no one to watch the kids. Believe me, him bringing his children with him was absolutely inconsequential when given the option of admitting her to the hospital or being able to go home!
We returned home – all of us exhausted and in dire need of a nap! We all had a quiet lay down and were very grateful to be home! The pharmacist (or my drug dealer as I affectionately refer to him) delivered a bottle of pediatric prednisone as promised. We all had a very good sleep in our own beds – even if we were up early to head back to Toronto for another check up! We arrived at the hospital around 10 and the doctor arrived shortly after us. He gave us the good news that the uveitis flare had calmed down substantially and she didn’t have to be admitted to the hospital. WOO HOO!!! We very happily drove back home!