We didn’t have to wait long for the CT scan appointment to arrive. Thank God. As we waited, I lived in a private, tortured state. To the outside humming world, I appeared fine. Inside, I was falling apart. On an nightly basis I would frantically and neurotically research online, consuming anything and anything about Craniosynostosis.
One night, as I laid on the couch late at night, everyone else in bed, I was doing my usual search on my phone for stories, medical cases, definitions and outcomes when my worst fears were written on the screen in front of me. A potential complication of the surgery: death. Now let me say this is not a normal outcome, and the risk this surgery presents is similar to many other surgeries where this is a potential outcome.
But those words, actually seeing them written (from a reputable source I might add), so clinical and resolute, shut me down. I turned off my phone a midst my tears, made myself go to bed.
I did very little research after that point.
The morning of the CT scan, such a standard and simple procedure, I was a wreck. My stomach was so upset that I wasn’t sure how we would leave the house. George and I gathered up Taryn and headed for the medical clinic. I was a complete bundle of nerves. Couldn’t eat, couldn’t think. And again, this was just a simple sedation. I wondered throughout the day how I would handle an actual surgery if it came to fruition (and in my heart, I knew it would).
The staff was wonderful. The entire time we prepped her for sedation I was on the verge of tears. I couldn’t help but cherish, and yet loathe how innocent she looked in her hospital gown. George was my rock. He would know when he needed to step in, because I was so raw. And in turn, like any good partnership, I tried to do the same for him. Though it certainly was him who was the rock. When they started her IV, somehow, I didn’t cry. Again, I found myself looking to the sky, pinching my fingers and swallowing hard to keep my tears in. Finally it was time to take her back to the actual procedure room. The staff was kind enough to let us go with her while they sedated her. They warned us over and over that she might react uniquely when sedated. Some kids get cranky. Some go peaceful. But really, how your child will act is unknown to everyone, and not predictable at all. The medicine they would use was called Propofol. “Wasn’t that what Michael Jackson died from?” I wondered inside my head. Silly I know, but my mind was swimming uncontrollably. I felt so out of control.
I tried to prepare myself as we walked down the long corridor to the procedure room. Once we crossed the threshold into the CT area, we met the staff and placed Taryn on the table. Again, they described how she might react strangely as the sedation was administered. That final bit of warning was all I needed to give George the reigns. I knew he had to be the one to hold her. I didn’t think I could trust myself even at that point. We both gave her kisses and they began to inject the medicine into her IV. Scared isn’t even a strong enough word.
She began to fall back slowly as the medicine filled her tiny veins. And yet, she fought the sedation. My stubborn baby girl would not go to sleep. The dial on the atmosphere in the room turned up momentarily, as they rushed to give her another dose of medicine. There’s no way to describe the way she looked as she fell asleep. George kissed her. I kissed her. She grasped for our face. She looked like she was… leaving. Not going to sleep, but physically leaving her body. They rushed us out of the room as tears were flowing freely and like that the door closed behind us. The chaos was gone, and George and I were left standing in the empty hallway to head back to the waiting room, alone and in silence. We held each other up as we walked back to what felt like our holding cell. And we waited. It felt like an eternity. How could I deal with surgery? How? I could barely deal with this.
The procedure truly was quick. And though it felt like forever to us, within only 15 minutes or so Taryn was wheeled back to where we could see her. Like a champ, she came out of anesthesia wonderfully. She was happy and smiley and capturing the hearts of the nursing staff as soon as she woke up. The roller coaster of a day was finally over. We took Taryn home and snuggled her up. And then, we found ourselves waiting again… This time for real results. The hard, cold truth. And yet, this time, I didn’t google. I didn’t push for answers. I didn’t rush the doctor. For some reason, at this point, I was content being where I was.
I was pretending like nothing was wrong. 2 weeks after the appointment, we were scheduled to head back for our results. George was coming with me this time. There was no way we would separate for another appointment like this again.