Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Avocadoes & Adenoidectomy

One of the great benefits of living in Southern California is the fruit trees. Avocados -- which I hated as a child, and only ate the prawns off the top with the pink sauce when my mother made them -- are plentiful, cheap and juicy here.  They're not the dry, cold, listless things I remember from my childhood.  Minky loves them and often will mash one up with a little lemon juice and salt as a snack.  It's the perfect convalescent food -- soft, sweet, easy to swallow, nutritious.

Yesterday's adenoidectomy went smoothly until she came out of surgery and started to thrash about.  A somewhat strict and not very nice English nurse told her to "stop moving so much" and I had to restrain myself from punching the woman on the nose. It might have been that she reminded me of Matron.  Poor little thing wasn't even awake, had no idea where she was -- it must have been awfully frightening.  "It's called delirium" said Pam, the nice nurse.  We'll give her some Demerol.  A double dose of Demerol didn't seem to do the trick and so some Fentanyl was added to the cocktail, which already included the Valium-like stuff they used to calm her before the IV was put into her arm, and the anaesthetic.  Little thing was stuffed to the gills with meds.  I held her hand and looked at her with the oxygen mask over her nose, the cuff on her arm, the IV in the other, the gauze under her nose to catch blood, the ice packs over her eyes and throat.  "I feel like I'm not pretty," said the little voice, barely awake.  "I feel like I'm a bad patient."  Pam, the nice nurse told her she was one of the best patients they'd ever had and that it wasn't her fault that she was flailing like a fly on its back.  I sat on my hands in case Nurse Ratchet came back and told Minky that she was lovely and she was doing fine and the pain would be gone soon.

As it is with these places (which also do colonoscopys and minor plastic surgeries) they like to get the patients out as soon as possible. The efficiency is mind-blowing, almost military.  From the lady at the front desk who asks, it this how you spell your name, is this your address, did I spell your road correctly, is the phone number, is this the social security number, to the nurse in pre-op who buzzes from step one to step ten so that there is no way for you to interject or you might mess up the system ( I had already started to sign the paperwork in an effort to prove my own productivity skills, when she asked, "I assume you are the mother?" ) to the whole shebang of the recovery team.  You're assigned one nurse (in Minky's case, the lovely Pam) unless there is a complication (delirium) and then three or four magically appear. Once the drugs kicked in and she started to sleep, the nurse was already trying to get her clothes on so that she could go home.  An orderly with a wheelchair arrived smartly and the child was given a pillow for her flopping head.  Somehow we got her in the car and home, and by another feat of sheer will, she managed to walk into the house with her hands on my shoulders, my hands on her waist, till we both flopped onto the bed.

I think there is a lot of pain involved.  She's taking tylenol (acetaminophen) and vicodin and still doesn't seem to be entirely comfortable. There is ocean (saltwater) spray for the nose, warm water and salt gargle, ice packs.  There is frozen yogurt (Pinkberry original/pomegranate swirl). There are scrambled eggs (she hates scrambled eggs -- I add cream and whisk them vigorously in the pan with salt and pepper so they turn out more like a savory custard).  There is Haagen Daz.  There are mashed bananas.  There is apple sauce (with a dollop of sour cream).  And there are, of course, avocadoes.  Lovely big fat avocadoes, fork-squished with a little salt, the perfect slider accompaniment to the huge vicodin pills.

It's been a day of Gossip Girl, Law & Order, Ellen & Oprah.  I've made a bed up on the sofa with a soft white cotton blanket, two pillows and her Norwegian duvet.  The dogs have piled on (black & white on white is very Architectural Digest, don't you think?), and in between chores I snuggle into the other end, so that our wiggling toes meet in the middle, rather like Charlie Bucket's family.


LPC said...

I hope your daughter feels very much better very soon.

Glenland Ladybird said...

Oh sympathy Bumble. I remember the long wait when OnlyGirl was in theatre.Dundonian bairns returned after minor ops to parents stuffing them with irn bru and sweeties which they promptly sicked up and the process started all over again..At last the girl came back delirious and on morphine and what good was I? Where is the parent training? They hand you a baby and you haven't a clue how to put a nappy on but then you catch on and this parenting thing gets easier until that is you come across an out of the ordinary.Operations don't happen every day; perhaps they do to nurses and doctors but parents need TLC until they get the hang of it all.
Best wishes to your girl for a speedy recovery