Monday, June 18, 2012

Post-surgery analysis

If you’re not one of those people who look for patterns in everything (which is probably a good thing for you), then you probably haven’t noticed that my blog is always posted the third Monday of the month. Last month I spent most of the time talking about our 15-month-old son Elliot’s battle with ear infections. Well, this month’s blog has arrived at an odd time. Just 24 hours ago we were leaving Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano after Elliot’s ear tube surgery. I was hoping that this blog could be a nice contrast between the “old” and “new” Elliot. But alas, I am always a big advocate for making declarations after a large enough sample size, so it would be quite hypocritical of me to declare after only 24 hours that Elliot is a “new” boy.

I will, however, tell you some funny things that have happened in the past 24 hours. I think it is basic human nature to let the power of suggestion make you look too far into things. Once you have an idea planted in your head, you start seeing it manifest everywhere. For example, being the hypochondriac that I am, all it takes is for someone to casually mention that the first symptom of the latest scary disease is for your nose to itch, and as if on cue, my nose will be itching.

So when we got the list of potential changes we might notice in Elliot post-surgery, we couldn’t help but jump to a few conclusions. One thing they tell you is that the child will be able to hear much better. In cases like Elliot’s, babies have so much fluid in their ears that they are essentially used to living life as if they are underwater at all times. It went on to say that they may suddenly be annoyed by everyday noises that they perceive to be too loud. Hand in hand with this is that parents may notice a marked increase in their child’s speech development, as they are now able to hear everything crystal clear.

On the way home from the surgery, we both patiently waited for Elliot to finally share his inmost thoughts with us. Thus far all we’ve been able to get out of him is the occasional “mamma” and “dada.” Now that his ears were clear, there was nothing stopping him from launching into a soliloquy. I was waiting for him to break the ice with “Dad, what are the Rangers going to do if Oswalt is ineffective?” Did he say that? Nope. He just cried.

So we got him home and set him down. We both watched to see if his wobbly “drunken” walking style would now be replaced with a graceful gait. But he just cried more. Then we decided what he really needed was some good old-fashioned TLC. That was the trick. He calmed down and slept off the crazy experience that had just happened to him. When he awoke, he seemed pretty much exactly the same kid we’d had before — just a happy little guy.

We decided to push our luck and take him out for a celebration lunch. (AKA Mom and Dad needed a celebration lunch for holding it together all morning while their little baby was operated on.) This was where we noticed a side effect that we hadn’t seen on any of our paperwork. This boy was hungry! He proceeded to devour a meal that I am not sure I could have finished, and when he was done, he was still asking for more.

That was just what Lauren and I needed to see. This whole big “surgery” was officially over, and the entire ordeal lasted no time at all. The staff at Texas Health Plano was amazing, and we literally never waited for anything the whole time we were there. And by lunch our little man was ready to move on with his new pain-free life.

I’m hoping I don’t have to write any more illness-related blogs for a while, but next month I will definitely update how the surgery has worked for Elliot with more than just a 24-hour sample size.

Jordan Echols is a Marketing Manager for Texas Health Resources and Dad to one son.

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