A Surgery Story

Yesterday Lucy had her surgery to repair a bone cyst in her upper left humerus.

It was THE MOST EXHAUSTING DAY AS A MOTHER that I think I have ever experienced.  Right up there with unmedicated childbirth.

We had been prepping Lucy for weeks about the surgery. She’s a very smart little thing and likes to know how, when, and why things happen, especially to her. So we told her everything that would happen, and she understood.

We were early getting to the hospital because, well, what else do you do when you are awaiting surgery? Lucy watched more TV in the pre-op room than she has in probably 3 months. I’m not exaggerating. They were late to get the surgery going as the procedure prior to Lucy’s took a little longer than expected. More waiting. We were going on 3 hours of waiting at the hospital. I’m about fit to be tied. One of the many times a nurse asked Lucy her name and she replied, ‘I’m a Costello!’.  J couldn’t have beamed more!

Finally the OR nurse, Val, comes to our room and introduces herself and tells Lucy they are going to go to a special room and ‘blow up bubbles’. She gets to ride in a wagon back there with her doll, if she would like to come. Sounds like a plan.

Then the anesthesiologist comes in. He will do a general anesthetic with a __???__ kind of device in the back of her throat to keep her breathing during the surgery. Its not intubation but she will have something in her throat. They will wait to do IV and all that jazz until she’s asleep.  Again, I’m about jumping out of my skin.

Dr Pyevich, the surgeon, comes in. Asks if we have any questions and explains how he will do an xray guided procedure to the cyst. If he cannot aspirate or fill it completely using just a needle, he will have to make a 2″ incision and go in manually to work on it. I’m thinking about having an anxiety attack.

The wagon shows up. Lucy gets in. I kiss and hug her a million times more and tell her that I love her and to be a brave girl like we talked about. J does the same. We tell her we’ll see her soon. She nods and Val wheels her away and the giant doors close.

Lucy, Val, and Cinderella

Lucy, Val, and Cinderella

And that’s when I lose it. 1/3 of my heart just went in for a surgery and I have no control over the next 1.5 hrs. J does much better than me and suggests we venture to the cafeteria for lunch. I tearfully oblige.

No more than 30 mins later the phone in the waiting room rings and Val tells us Lucy was successfully put under and they got her IV on the first try.  She will call again when surgery is over. Lucy’s surgery number on the screen changes from ‘Pre-procedure’ to ‘Procedure’. I lose it once more. I cannot stand the thought of my daughter having something put down her throat while she is unconscious and giant needles inserted into her tiny bones, causing her pain. I don’t want her to have pain!

No more than 10 mins later the screen changes to ‘Closing’. The procedure is finishing up and she will go to recovery soon. It was quick. Dr Pyevich returns to us and tells us he was able to fill the cyst completely. He will see her in 10 days and for several more followups over the next year when we will re-evaluate the cyst.

45 mins later we are still staring at the screen waiting for it to change from ‘Recovery’ to ‘Phase II’, meaning that we can come in to see her. The phone rings for the 3rd time and I answer, they are looking for ‘Lucy Costello’s family’ and that we can come back.

Lucy is sitting upright in the same chair we were in earlier, same room.  The nurses all tell us she was extremely well behaved, is the cutest thing ever, and that she was just having a conversation with the nurse about why her hospital bracelet is waterproof.  She’s quite pale, confused and wants her IV out immediately. She’s also not too fond of the arm immobilizer that she will be stuck in for the next 10 days.

We hang out about another hour while she drinks, gets sick, and we get discharge instructions and med scripts. She’s doing pretty well. We venture to the drugstore, she gets sick again, and we finally get home. I make a nest for her in our bed and she stays the entire evening. She complains her arm hurts and stays very still.

She hates that thing

She hates that thing



Today about 10am she kind of came to life again. She’s telling me stories and making me and G act out her scenarios in her head. She’s still in a moderate amount of pain and I can definitely tell when the meds wear off, just as I could overnight. She refuses to wear a shirt due to the immobilizer but I at least get her to change pants.

She’s a trooper.

Sleeping peacefully as I write this

Sleeping peacefully as I write this

To any mother who has ever had a young child undergo surgery, whatever it may be, my heart goes out to you.

I’m glad that’s over with.

-The {healing} Costellos

PS- An awesome recipe that I’m sharing. Made this week!             http://pinchofyum.com/spaghetti-pie