We Hurt Them Because We Love Them

I am sitting in the waiting room at the hospital.


The room is full of chairs, and those chairs are full of people. Strangers - waiting to go in to surgery, or waiting with someone who is waiting to go into surgery. Lots of people. But I feel acutely alone.

Half an hour ago, I was in this same waiting room with Wyatt. He was making all the people in the chairs laugh with his hilarious dialogue as he explored the waiting room fish tank, bouncing on feet clad in his 'fast shoes', peeking out below his pajamas.

He was making the nurses laugh when they took him back to change into his funny hospital gown and take his stats. How he thought everything was funny and wonderful and new. How he was so excited to take a ride on the 'driving bed'. How he thought the nurse was simply hilarious for suggesting he wear that funny looking hat. No thanks, lady. I'm onto you.

And then, after the nurses assured me that they would take really good care of him - and I believe them - they wheeled him away from me, and sent me back here. To this waiting room. To these chairs and these people.


My mind is panicked, my heart is breaking, my Wyatt is in hands that are not my own - and I am asked to sit here calmly? To read magazines?

I know that a tonsillectomy (and even more so the accompanying adenoidectomy) is a very standard procedure. I know it's supposed to be no big deal. The doctor does dozens per day. Wyatt's tonsils were optimal for the surgery. No reason to fear.

And yet - I cannot help that I am a mother. And that this mother's heart is irrevocably linked to her children. To their well-being. To their happiness.

And that even though they go over the procedure a hundred times with me, tell me exactly what is going to happen to Wyatt while he is in their capable hands (but so far away from mine) - they cannot tell me what Wyatt will be thinking. What he'll be feeling.

If he'll be scared?

If he'll wonder why I'm not there next to him in that bed with the 'elephant nose' that smells like strawberries and makes him sleepy?

Or if he'll just think everything is funny, and not miss me at all?

Wyatt's tonsils are healthy. Pink, round, and too big. The problem is not that Wyatt gets sick. The problem is that Wyatt can't sleep.

It began when we moved, and when my pregnancy with Henry began to be turbulent. Wyatt is an empathizer, and so after the hundreds and hundreds of concerned conversations William and I had about our boy who was not sleeping - we decided to wait. Wait and see. Soon the baby would be here. Things would calm down.

Then Hank was born.

And things calmed down, and Wyatt calmed down - but still did not sleep.

Every night, several times a night, he would wake up sobbing, running to find us in any direction that his sleepy mind could take him. Sometimes we had to chase him up the stairs.


I have had nightmares for as long as I can remember, also. Hereditary? Was this a gift I gave my sweet, feeling, empathetic son?

But then, one afternoon, after a particularly bad nightmare (there was a dark man with bad eyes that was growing along his wall), I snuggled in next to him in his bed. His brother and sister were also miraculously asleep - and so I rested there, stroking his hair while he fell back asleep.

That's when I noticed it.

The gasping. The startling. The jerking, fidgeting, snoring.

The breathing. Then stopping. The waiting for his chest to rise, again. The gasp.

I knew what that was. I had seen that, before. That was sleep Apnea - and had no business tormenting my three-year old!

Doctor Glade agreed. No business. So we did the sleep study.

Wyatt was diagnosed. Surgery was scheduled. Tonsillectomy. Adenoidectomy. The date for surgery was scheduled six weeks out. So I had a month and a half to fret. And fret. And fret!

Friends tried to comfort me - it's no big deal, he'll do great! - but I had the anguish of soul of a mother who was willingly and deliberately subjecting her sweet boy to the pains of the scalpel and the ensuing weeks of recovery. I was going to have to drive him to the hospital - him chatting innocently about the diggers and construction trucks he saw along the way - fully knowing what he was going to be going through, while he really couldn't have any real idea.

We tried to prepare him. Be completely upfront and honest about what was coming. But with all our attempts to explain, he only had a vague idea of what his tonsils were; let alone what losing them would mean.

And so while my sweet boy is entrusted to hands that are capable, but nevertheless those of strangers who can't know him as I do - who can't love him as I do - I sit, and wait, and wonder and worry.

The nurse just called my name.

* * *


Would you allow me a moment to brag?

Dr. Herras and all the nurses were flabbergasted by how calm and polite my boy was after surgery. They said that when the kids come out of anaesthesia, they scream and cry.

Not my Wyatt.

No. My Wyatt was pleasant and polite when he woke up. He hasn't complained once - except to tell me that he was sad that they took his tonsils out. He hasn't bothered the IV in his arm, he hasn't tried to take off the monitor clipped to his finger.

It took minimal coaxing to get him to eat - but now he's had two Popsicles and a slushy. He's being more snuggly, but not whiny. He's being quiet, but not obstinate. He's not laughing - but he's not crying, either. He's just sort of sitting here on the bed with me, being pleasantly serene.

Word has already spread among the nurses. Wyatt is the angel boy. The one who's not freaking out. The one who is calm and funny. With all that thick hair.

And I.
I get to be his mommy!

I know this isn't necessarily how recovery will be. I know that he's probably still drugged and numb. I know there will most likely be rough days over the next two weeks. There will be crying and whining and being obstinate. But I went shopping last night - so when there are those things, there will also be Popsicles, pudding, and chocolate milk (that may or may not secretly be a protein-rich health drink).

I can't help it. I'm sitting on this bed, looking at my beautiful blue-eyed boy with those heavy lashes as he's watching Tom and Jerry go at it on the TV, and I am overcome by how proud I am. Proud of him. Proud to be his Mom.


If there was another emotion that could possibly rival Proud, right now, it would be RELIEVED.

Plus, on top of all the free Popsicles and slushies, check out his LOOT!

That's a yellow fleece blanket with firetrucks and police cars on it (do they know him or what?!)
A homemade pillow case that he gets to keep.
His hospital buddy that he got on his hospital tour last week
a teddy bear
a wooden car (that he got to take into the operating room with him)
and Buzz and Big Baby. This is the one that impresses me the most. When the cute Family Nurse brought him the car before they wheeled him back to surgery, she asked him what his favorite movie was. He said "Toy Story Three!" So she must have logged that away, and found this little toy set just for him. This is especially impressive to me because she had no idea who Big Baby was. She hadn't seen the movie herself. So she was really listening to him to have brought him Toy Story 3 characters, specifically.

And he hasn't even opened the present his dad and I got for him!

We have to stay overnight for observation, but so far? Wyatt and I have both survived the trauma!


Wendy Jo said...

my boys still treasure their hospital buddies!!!

Megan.Card said...

I'm glad to see that he is doing so well!!! I hope that the recovery goes well also. I also hope the he keeps thinking the hospital is as fun and interesting as he things it is fun. I love you both! Let me know if you need anything!

Jeff and Ari said...

What a brave boy! Let us know if you guys need anything!

Morgan -Ing said...

Go Wyatt! I hope this rough(ish) day solves the scary that is sleep apnea, and he gets good rest tonight!

Carolyn said...

Oh, I am glad Wyatt is doing so well! I hope the rest of the recovery continues smoothly. And Yay for cool stuff from the hospital!

Charms said...

Thank goodness!!! What a brave boy (and a brave mama!)

Janey - UtValleyFoodie said...

Oh man, I could totally relate. Cam has had one not so serious surgery (but still had to be put out) on his thumb & one somewhat serious surgery on his ureter tube. It's like they are doing surgery on your very heart & soul. Time goes by slow & both times I couldn't seem to go back to see him fast enough to hold him.

So glad Wyatt did so well. He really does have such a sweet face!

That Girl said...

Oh. Ohhhhhhhhhhh.

Little Prince needs the surgery. Has needed. For some time now.

I've been putting it off.