This week was the week that Ethan had an operation on his finger. It was his first-ever operation and first real hospital experience. Apart from our trips to A&E when he was younger for tonsillitis and his autism diagnosis appointments. Oh, and how can I forget the trip to the hospital for his MMR booster which required three nurses and us! Apart from his autism observations all of these past trips to the hospital have been traumatic in some way for him. But this was his first real hospital experience requiring him to be taken away from us. For him to have a procedure where he would need to cooperate to be knocked out. To say I was nervous is an understatement.
Thankfully his operation was on Monday. We didn’t know what time he would have it done but he couldn’t eat breakfast that day. This was a big change in his routine. Ethan likes to stick to his routine when it comes to his food. When he has to eat it and the order he has to eat it in. We were able to manage his exceptions at first.
Ethan needs to know what is happening and what to expect. It was very hard for us to prepare him when we didn’t know ourselves. We were put in a side room on our own which was great for Ethan as he is unsure of people he doesn’t know. Ethan is scared of all things medical he won’t even let me take his temperature. That morning he was amazing for the nurse when she needed to take his vitals. She couldn’t take his temperature but he let her put the heart rate monitor on his finger. Which was more than she could do during our Friday appointment. He also let her put numbing cream on his hand and his medical ID bracelet around his wrist.
The anaesthetic team came to visit Ethan a few times. We were very honest with them that it would not be easy to knock him out. They discussed all the options that they could try. The first step was a pre-med that could make Ethan go drowsy or have the opposite effect. They would also allow Darren to go with Ethan when the team tried the next steps. We all wanted Darren to be there to help if Ethan put up a fight. After giving Ethan the pre-med they had a twenty-minute window to take him down for the operation. This helped us prepare for Ethan’s expectations. Thankfully the pre-med worked on Ethan and putting the cannula in his hand was easy according to Darren.
Ethan’s operation was only going to take twenty minutes. They took Darren to the recovery room after an hour. Ethan was an absolute star but coming out of the operation was hard for him. He went into full meltdown mode about wanting Mcdonald’s pancakes. Thankfully the nurse was on hand and got him some of his normal breakfast favourites. He found it all very distressing because all he wanted to do was go home. In his mind, he had had his operation so now it was time for home. We had to stay for over an hour to make sure he was OK. But the nurses were amazing and made it possible for us to leave the hospital as quickly as possible.
The operation experience went much better than I was expecting it to. But I must admit I spent the rest of the week recovering from the stress of it all. I had been living on my nerves since our trip to A&E on Wednesday night. I’m sure one day we will look back and laugh about Ethan’s finger accident.