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Outpatient Surgery at Children’s Hospital in St. Louis – Department of Otolaryngology Pediatric

Hailey, almost five, needed a new set of ear-tubes and her adenoids removed at the request of ENT specialist Dr. Lieu, (Department of Otolaryngology-Pediatric). Hailey has toughed out five years of constant fluid trapped in her middle ears (even with first set of tubes) and countless infections, we’re hoping the procedure will help alleviate constant pain and sensitivity issues also prevent any long term hearing loss.

Extremely kid-friendly, Children’s Hospital in St. Louis is a great facility with the best care around. Dr. Lieu’s office is located at the hospital and between Olivia and Hailey, this would make our fourth out-patient procedure, so we have frequented “Children’s” many times prior to this, but nothing in our experience would have or could have prepared us for (although we should have expected), Hailey’s difficult recovery, I’ll get to that soon.

Kim had all the paperwork completed before our arrival so checking in was a snap. We just need to show picture ID’s and insurance card at the reception desk where a concierge was waiting to take us up to the surgical center. We were immediately placed into a spacious “family” room down the hall from the operating room where we waited for Hailey to be called. We did have a couple hours to wait too, luckily the room had cable TV, DVD, and a playstation. Right outside our room was a play area loaded with games, puzzles, books and non-messy art supplies. Hailey and Kim played Guess Who? Then it was time to send Hailey to the OR.

Dr. Lieu came in to see us right before the surgery and apologized for the wait. Dr. Lieu is highly personable and genuinely interested in her paitents health. Five plus years ago when searching for an ENT, Kim and I were lucky to have found Dr. Lieu from a pool of (in my opinion) mediocre doctors that were in our (then) insurance network and we did a few interviews too.

The cartoon print scrubs gurneyed Hailey off to the operating room, bravely she went, not looking back as Kim held in a tear. Kim and I went back to the room until they called us to the recovery area which only took an hour. I had some phone calls to make so the time went by quickly.

Approaching the recovery area we could hear Hailey shouting, “The medicine made me sick! I want to go home right now!” over and over again. She was surrounded by four attendants and thrashing around when we arrived. The fact that Kim and I showed up only made her scream louder, “Take me home right now! The medicine made me sick! I want to go home now!” I’m pretty sure the nurse administered (and I wasn’t rejecting) a sedative into Hailey’s IV more than one time over the course of a thirty minute Hailey scream feast, something I am used too, but probably nothing the nurses or techs had anticipated. A few surprised passer-byers gave us the look of ‘can’t you control your child?’ a few others gave us the look of ‘been there and glad it ain’t me’.  At one point, the stubby attending nurse told Hailey that she needed to try and be quiet because she was scaring all the other children, which I didn’t appreciate her saying to Hailey at that point in time. Hailey moved from the gurney to Kim’s arms where she shrieked and wailed “I told you blueberry! The strawberry medicine made me sick! It’s in my mouth! I can’t hear! Take me home now! I don’t like this! Etc…” for another twenty minutes before she finally started to calm down enough for the recovery team to get her out of their hair. Once back in the room Hailey cuddled up with me for a few more ear splitting cry’s and the nurses shut our door on us. Kim and I half-laughed at that and I added “well we should have expected this, [from Hailey].”

Hailey crashed in my arms for an hour or so then woke up vomiting on my lap which was no surprise and normal, (well, did not expect throw-up on me). She swallowed some apple juice which made an immediate return. Slept a bit more, then woke up and stomached half a 20oz bottle of grape Power Aid for a good amount of time. At this point we were ready to go, Hailey was calm enough to say that she was feeling better and wanted to go home and sleep in mommy and daddy’s bed. Kim had signed the release paperwork and picked up a couple prescriptions from the hospital’s pharmacy earlier while Hailey slept in my arms. I Hoisted up Hailey to leave when she vomited all over me again, this time on my shoulder and inside my shirt pocket where I had stashed my ID, insurance card and validated parking pass. I took off my button down and walked her out in crew neck t-shirt. The stuff on my pants had long dried.  She also hurled waiting for the elevator, lucky for the janitors she made it to the trash can. Kim and I were about to turn around and go back to the nurses station and ask to be re-admitted waiting out any further vomiting but from past experiences, we knew that this was just part of the process, figuring she would be ok soon and we were right. Hailey fell asleep on the ride home, slept even more once we got home, had no more stomach problems and woke up the next day feeling as if nothing even happened.

Lesson Learned:
1. Have all paperwork complete and sent to hospital before the day of surgery.
2. Get the kiddo familiar with hospital prior to day of surgery (most hospitals do tours).
3. Keep photo ID and insurance card handy.
4. Get parking validated.
5. Expect your kiddo to be disoriented after surgery and expect vomit.
6. Bring extra clothes for kiddo (and self).
7. Bring work or activity to fill an hour or two for yourself and spouse.
8. Have vomit bag ready for car ride home.
9. Kiddo will sleep a lot the rest of day and next.
10. Have quiet low energy activities planned the next couple days.

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4 Responses to “Outpatient Surgery at Children’s Hospital in St. Louis – Department of Otolaryngology Pediatric”

  1. August 16th, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Stacie Haight Connerty says:

    Awwww poor girl. My nephew was in the hospital not that long ago and he kept yelling, “I hate you” are the nurses. He was so out of it and did not remember that at all afterwards.

    The vomiting is rough. Amazing how we can totally handle the bodily fluids of our children after becoming parents, isn’t it? Years ago I am certain that some kids vomit on me would have probably caused me to vomit as well. :)

  2. August 16th, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Scott (simplefather) says:

    I bet that Power Aid puke looked yummy! Luckily (but not really since we were still in the hospital) when our oldest was having issues, she was so out of it she was mellow… which is a far cry from normal.

    I always forget that extra change of clothes, thanks for reminding me.

    Also, just found your blog, and I dig it. Anyone from around St. Louis has to be good!

  3. August 17th, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Trina C says:

    Nice blog. I found you via BBC after you gave me advice about my blog. I have a hearing loss and had some fluid in my inner ears when I was younger. It is hard to beat, but I hope Hailey improves!

  4. August 19th, 2009 at 6:43 am

    Kristina says:

    My daughter had the same procedure done about a year ago. The thing that surprised me most was the wailing/screaming that occurred after she came out from being put under.

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