The Day of Ear Tubes

Micah had Ear Tube Set #12 installed today. Both tubes were out in a record-setting 3 months. That's stellar. The doctor put in a tube with a relatively short life span of only 12-18 months, but we're all in agreement that when we get 3-8 months out of anything we put in, we just go for what we think will work with his tube-expelling ear drums, cross our fingers, pray hard, and hope for the best. His right ear is sporting an Armstrong Grommet tube that's normally used for smaller kids. The doc is hoping it gets a better grip than the U or T shapes. But his left ear canal is so teeny tiny that she couldn't get the same type in that side, so he's wearing a U-tube in his left drum. Either way, they'll both be coming out sooner than later. I am not a pessimist; in fact, I'm an optimist. But after 11 sets and 10 years, I'm now also a realist.

And now that the stats are out of the way for my own record keeping, I'll tell the story of the day.

Obviously this is not our first time at the surgical rodeo, so when we realized that we'd been assigned a nurse that didn't know us, we cringed. Breaking in new staff is always a good time. And she started off on the wrong foot by trying to put the sticky leads on Micah as soon as she walked in. We don't do these things with Micah until after he's sedated. Less trauma, less fighting, less stress. But I did appreciate that she set them aside when I explained that to her, and she didn't say another word about them. She did chuckle, however, that Micah asked for a hot dog. I promised him one after surgery.

The anesthesiologist came in and asked if I had any questions. I did not, but did remind him that Micah needed anti-nausea meds because otherwise he comes out of anesthesia so sick that it prolongs recovery immensely. The problem, he said, was that those meds were given via an IV, and the procedure didn't require that an IV be started. I weighed the pros and cons in my mind for .00000724 seconds and said, "can you start an IV to give the meds?" He didn't seem extremely thrilled that I'd suggested that option, but neither did he say no. He asked about giving Versed to help with separation anxiety and the tolerance of the mask in the OR, and I said we chose to decline. He wasn't very happy with this choice either, so I explained that it tends to make Micah sick, and he's mature enough now that he doesn't really fight. He's not happy about it, of course, but he doesn't fight. That did not make the doctor happy.

I told Sam, who was working in the next department over, that I'd just talked to the anesthesiologist. He said maybe he could go into the OR with Micah to help with the separation and mask. He'd ask at the Same Day Surgery desk. The result of that conversation was relayed to me by an OR nurse who told me that Sam wouldn't be able to go into the operating room because of HIPAA violations. I gave him a weird look, because Sam works at the hospital and is under the same HIPAA contract that the anesthesiologist is, and the nurse understood the look because he said, "I know. I don't understand it either, but that's what he said. I'm sorry." I thanked him for asking, though.

When it was nearly time to take Micah back to surgery, the anesthesiologist came back. He asked if we gave the Versed. Sam told him no, and explained again why. The doc becoming frustrated that he wasn't getting what he wanted, and dove into a speech about how it helps with the separation anxiety and toleration of the mask. (Again.) Sam explained that Micah went into the last few surgeries without it and had no problems but that still didn't help the doctor's attitude. He was sure that Micah was going to be a fighter. He said that he didn't like masking kids that were fighting.

Our back and forth discussion about this drug that Micah didn't need was starting to get a bit out of hand, so I thought I'd take things down a notch and try to figure out what the doctor was so worried about. Maybe there was another way that I could reassure him that Micah would be fine without it. So I asked, "I'm not sure what problems you're anticipating..."

And then I was quite rudely interrupted by the doctor who said, "If you've had bad experiences in the past I'm sorry. I'm not sure what they could have been but we're trying to prevent them."

He poked the beast. "My bad experiences are with doctors who don't listen," I said as I glared at him.

Clearly, he understood. "If he doesn't take the Versed, another option is an intramuscular shot that relaxes his muscles. That might help in the OR," the doctor replied.

That's not an option.

"No, I'm just going over the other options so you know what they are."

And I'm telling you that that is not going to be an option. Micah is not getting that shot. (By this time, my voice had flattened into that DON'T YOU DARE MESS WITH ME tone that everyone knows means business because they tried crossing their mother once after she used that tone and lost the battle. And were so scarred from the losing of it that they never forgot. EVER.)

I said that Micah wouldn't fight. He wouldn't like it, but he wouldnt' fight.

The doctor said he just wanted Micah to be as comfortable going into surgery as possible.

I said that if he truly wanted Micah to be as comfortable as possible, he'd let Sam go into the OR with him.

He couldn't allow that because it would be a HIPAA violation.

But Sam works at the hospital.

I understand that. But we just can't allow it to happen.

He's under the same HIPAA contract that you are.

We've had others ask this before. It just can't happen.

Have those others worked at the hospital? (Because I was so mad at this point that I just wasn't going to let it go. What idiot argues with the mother of a child going into surgery?!)

Honestly, I don't remember. (He said with a very exasperated huff.) I just want what's best for the patient. I know you're the mom and you know your child better than anyone else, but I have my hands tied in this matter. It's a hospital code.

At the hospital that my husband works for. If Micah's dad can go into the OR with him, that would be best for the patient.

All I can do is talk to the admins. It's really up to them.

Thank you. (Because at this point I didn't really have anything else to say.)

And the next thing I know the Head of the Operating Department was in our room handing Sam a pair of scrubs that he could wear into the OR. And Sam got dressed and we all walked Micah down the hall and I said goodbye to the party at the OR doors and Micah was a trooper, because he always is.

When Micah reached recovery, the nurse that was new calmed him when even I couldn't, and stood and rubbed his back forever and ever until he fell asleep. She had the hands of a grandma, and clearly they had grandma magic in them. She went over our discharge instructions and handed me the envelope that I tucked into my purse and almost tossed into the trash at home because I know all about discharge instructions. I'm glad I didn't. I found this inside.


ericsmommy said...

omg what a day you had, but so glad they let Sam go in with him. What a beautiful nurse you had Get better soon Micah

Flea said...

Awww. Best nurse ever. I'm so glad your day is done and that SOMEONE listened to you. :)

wendy said...

So glad Sam was able to go in with him! Glad he had a nice nurse that was gentle and caring. Enjoy your hot dog when Micah!!

wendy said...

I meant to say Enjoy your hot dog when your feeling better Micah!