Mama’s last nerve

I know you’ve thought it, even if you haven’t said it. Admit it. “These kids are getting on my last nerve.” It likely came when your kids were bickering, crying, acting out, or just plain not behaving. I know I’ve thought it and I’m not afraid to admit it.

Last week, I realized that all those times I’d thought that about my kids when they were “just being kids”, it wasn’t true. Had they used up all my patience? Yep. On my last nerve? Not quite.

I am certain of this, because last week I was tested. Morgan went in for her second set of ear tubes, a procedure that I found to be fairly simple the first time. But in speaking with the ENT, he felt she’d have better success if he took out the adenoids too. It was one of those “sort of” elective surgeries that you, the parent, get to make a decision for. Temporary discomfort for a better quality of life and fewer antibiotic exposures. But still a decision…

The pre-op interview was on Monday. The nurse on the phone went through all the vitals, and then informed me that unlike before, she’d have an IV and more sedation. In addition, the procedure would not be fifteen minutes, but closer to an hour. The surgery was scheduled for Friday.

Here’s the thing – ENT surgeries are routine in kids. But she’s my baby, and I had a full five days to think about her being put to sleep for an hour, her receiving general anesthesia, and her having some discomfort after the surgery.

As the week went on, I started to get nervous. My facebook friends saw me unravel little by little via my status updates. By Thursday, my status update said “T-24 hours until Morgan’s surgery. Play nice with me please”. Yes, I was nearing my last nerve. I secluded myself at night after the kids went to bed, using the internet to distract me. I made sure that both the kids had a great week, knowing that Friday would be disruptive to both of them in some capacity.

The morning of the surgery came. Thank goodness my little girl is such a trooper. She really went with the flow, playing with the toys in the waiting area, using the coloring book and crayons they gave her, and looking all sassy in the oversized gown, since she was too big for the toddler one. After she received the “magic” cherry liquid that was intended to lightly sedate her she was happy and giddy. Singing songs, giggling as she stumbled around the room, and being cute for mom and dad. I watched four kids get taken back to surgery before us. All of them under the magic spell of the cherry liquid. Of course, when Morgan’s time came, she was being carried away, yelling for mama and dada. Heartbreaking. That liquid isn’t so magic to me anymore.

Coming out of anesthesia she was a trooper too. But as we watched her wake up over the course of an hour, crying, agitated, and unsure of her surroundings, I felt worse and worse. It was the toughest hour of my life. And one that will remain etched in my memory for years to come.

My husband and I spoke about it after. We were both nervous, worried about our baby, and thankful when it was over. Then, as I was thinking of how tested I felt and how hard it was on me and my daughter, I thought about all of those children who had serious illnesses. Kids whose parents have to worry through multiple surgeries, oncology treatments, and chronic medications.

It put it all into perspective. I thought I was on my last nerve with this ordeal, but clearly it doesn’t compare to what others have gone through. And now, when the kids are agitated, fighting, bickering, and I think I’m on my last nerve, I know I’m not. I’m actually thankful that my kids are healthy enough to bicker and fight. That they are walking around, needing their mama and dada, just because they want to need them, not because they are sick and hurt. Recognizing, frankly, that we have it pretty good in our house, ENT issues and all.

And in the end I know, like other mamas and dadas at their hospital with their kids, our nerves are stronger and more plentiful than we’ll ever give ourselves credit for.

Wishing you and your family health and happiness…

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