"I have come that they might have life and have it to the full..." -John 10:10b

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sedation with a Side of Juice

Those of you that know us also know that Éva had to have a minor heart surgery in April of 2007. She has a very common defect called Coarctation of the Aorta and it caused her blood pressure to be very high in her upper body and almost non existent in her lower body. Anyway, the surgery she went through corrected the problem and all has been well since. Well almost all.

Although Éva has suffered no physical set-backs from the defect or the surgery, she has suffered some emotional ones. Éva is a happy child. She has a great sense of humor, an infectious laugh, and a smile to die for. She's a little cautious when meeting new people (she does NOT get that from me)but I wouldn't say that she is the text book definition of "shy." But put her in a doctor's office, and it's a completely different story. She screams and wails throwing her body all over the place at the sight of a stethoscope and teal latex gloves. Any nurse or doctor that dare to come near her...beware.

She wasn't always like this, mind you. It has only been since the surgery. She had to stay 5 days in the PICU at Kapiolani and Paul and I were not able to spend the night with her. I wasn't allowed to be by her side as she fell asleep before the surgery and I wasn't allowed to there when she woke up (I'm still angry about that to this day). At 8 months old, most infants are suffering from separation anxiety...throw this on top and you have one very traumatized child.

Well, although the surgery was a great success, Éva will still have to go in every year for a routine Cardiology appointment just to make sure that every thing is as it should be as there is a 15% chance of the defect re-occurring. They'll do a simple EKG and a sonogram of her heart. June marked one year since her last cardiology appointment and so off we went to see her doctor. And of course, she was in hysterics. She wouldn't let the doctor even come close enough to breathe on her. Because of this, he concluded that she would have to be sedated in order to get the information he needed to be sure that all was well with her heart.

Today was sedation day. I woke Éva up at 5am to be sure that she could have a cup or two of juice before I was to cut her off from all liquids at 5:30. She gulped down one and a half cups of a juice/water combo and was in ecstasy as I normally don't allow her juice until lunch time. We arrived at Tripler Army Medical Center at 6:30am to have her admitted as an outpatient. We then walked up to the 6th floor Pediatric Sedation Unit in the PICU and she had her vitals checked (which required me to wrap my legs around her lower body and hold her head still with one hand while the other hand was wrapped around her upper body and she was screaming the whole time). The anesthesiologist came in and told us that she preferred not to use an IV but to administer an oral sedative. Paul and I like this idea and we agreed. A dose and a half and 30 minutes later, Éva was a bit punchy but there was no sign of that completely "zonked" state arriving anytime soon. So they gave her a shot in her leg and that knocked her out in about 2 minutes.

And I have to say this. She was hilarious (after the medicine, before the shot)! I hope to never witness my sweet, innocent child in an intoxicated state (after the age of 21 of course) but man, did we get a taste of what it might be like. She laughed at anything and everything...and it was the Goofy laugh...Gha-chuck-chuck. And she slurred her words something awful. It took her almost 30 full seconds to tell me that a duck says "quaaat" as she says. It was pretty funny and Paul and I were laughing so hard that I had tears in my eyes.

All that changed, however once the shot was administered. She was mid sentence and all of the sudden, her eyes started darting back and forth and her head just fell back into my hands, eyes still half way open. That was hard to see. I can't explain it. It's so...wrong...to see you're lively, quirky little girl like that...like a zombie almost. The tears of laughter quickly turned to tears of concern at that point. Of course, she was fine...but it just didn't feel fine. Nurses would walk by and say things like, "they're so nice when they're like this." I understand what they mean, but it didn't feel or look nice to me. It felt weird to look at my funny, active girl laying on her back, hooked up to monitors. It wasn't the sweet sleep that all mothers love to peek in on after bed time...no, this was different. It was...wrong. That's the only way I know to describe it. I know it was necessary...but it was just so weird.

The cardiologist came in shortly after and the whole procedure took about 20 minutes. All was well and she was given a clean bill of health. No big deal. Now, all we had to do was wait for Éva to wake up, drink a bit of juice to prove she could keep it down and we'd be on our way. Easy-peasy.

We were originally told that she would wake up in about 30 minutes. But that was before she was given both the oral medication and the shot. 2 hours later, our baby girl started to show some signs of consciousness and we started to pack up our things. All she had to do was drink some juice and that would be a cinch because she asks for juice constantly and I usually have to cut her off after 8 oz. Well, this very loopy toddler didn't want juice. She didn't want anything but to be held and cuddled, and that was understandable. But an hour and a half later...not so understandable. "Just drink the darn juice!" She wouldn't take it. And the anesthesiologist insisted that she drink some before we go home. I asked for a syringe so we could feed it to her the way you would give Tylenol or Motrin, the doctor wouldn't agree to that (I still don't know why). Finally, at noon, our nurse convinced the anesthesiologist to let us go if we agreed to call them when she did finally eat or drink something to assure them that it hadn't come back up.

So we make our way to the car and get both of the girls in their car seats (Izzy was a total trooper, by the way...slept most of the time). Of course, as soon as the car started, what did Éva ask for? That's right...juice.

2 comments on "Sedation with a Side of Juice"

David Reed on September 11, 2008 at 8:25 PM said...

What a day!

Katie on September 11, 2008 at 8:26 PM said...

Poor Eva. I'm so glad she's doing great though!