The thing that made me the most anxious about Jackson's surgery was the recovery. I worried about the amount of pain he would be in and how it would be managed. I wondered how long it would take him to be comfortably mobile again, whether the pain meds would make him feel nauseous or affect his appetite, whether it would hurt his little belly to eat too much, etc, etc, etc.
It was easy to manage his pain and movement in the hospital. Between the morphine and innate self protection, he was very still and cautious. I didn't even pick him up until the next day because I figured if he was comfortable, I didn't want to risk hurting him. The morning following surgery he was less than thrilled about getting his breathing treatments, so I decided to hold him like I do at home to see if that would help. Mike gingerly lifted him from the bed and handed him to me and he easily took his treatments. After we had finished and placed him carefully back in his bed, I was shocked to see him clumsily hauling himself up to sitting in his little codeine haze.
By the time we got home that night, he was insisting on standing up and walking again. By Monday morning we had transitioned to plain baby Tylenol (no codeine) and he was crawling on his belly to retrieve toys under his bed.
Each day the site is a little less tender, and after only a week I can freely change the dressing, clean the site, and turn the button (to prevent adhesions during the healing process) without having to restrain little arms and legs from protesting. In another week, he will have his first post-op weigh in, and will be able to take a regular bath again. The latter excites me very much- trying to keep a toddler reasonably clean via sponge bath is a world of challenges in and of itself.
It astounds me how adaptable we are, how quickly our minds and bodies can adjust to extreme changes in such little time. This time last week I was nervously trying to secure carseat restraints over a fresh wound with shaking hands. Since that day I have mastered enteral feeding pumps, the art of checking all components every two hours all night long, the subsequent art of 3am sheet and jammy changes when leaks happen, how to take cover from tornadoes with a child attached to a tube (takes some creativity) and begun to segue into yet another 'new normal'. Jackson has gone from a rambunctious toddler, to a very sore surgical patient, and back to a rambunctious toddler who sometimes pokes at the little nub beneath his onesie.
The experience is no longer looming over us like a black cloud, and there is great relief in that. We weren't able to avoid it, and there are still a few melancholy tears for that. But the time has come, as it always does, to move on. And so now we try to enjoy each moment between the last time we held our breath and the next, both getting and giving all we've got.
Great Strides 2012!