Monday, June 29, 2009

Pre-op Testing Day

First full day in NYC. It's been a long day/night! Almost midnight and we finished dinner less than an hour ago... have not adjusted to the time change.

This morning, we went to NYU Medical Center for Hank's medical testing. We filled out some forms, one of which asked questions about Hank's birth weight, when did he get his first tooth, when were his first words...I don't know! I have three kids! I'm lucky if I remember their birthdates, let alone when they did their "firsts"! I had to improvise a bit...

The first appointment was with the pre-op anesthesiologist. She went over the admissions basics, what to expect the day of surgery, the procedure, etc... She explained the hospital's role in Hank's surgery thus; "we are like the grandparents...we take your child and love him, and then give him back to you." She was very knowledgeable and very kind. She told us what to expect the morning of the be there by 5:30 am, how to get to the surgical floor, when Hank had to stop eating and drinking (midnight) and what happens when it is time for surgery. They will administer a liquid sedative to make him woozy and then we will walk (or carry) him into the operating room. They are letting me "gown-up" and I will be able to hold his hand as he goes under anesthesia. What a relief! I envisioned him rolling by me on a gurney and me standing there in tears as he disappears behind the double doors...small, feeling alone and scared. Maybe I watch too much TV?

After the first meeting, we were sent back to the waiting room for quite awhile. Then we met with nurse Annette, who weighed, measured, tested his blood pressure and listened to Hank's heart and lungs. She also had the lovely job of drawing the blood for the blood panel. Hank had been warned prior to today, but he was still less than thrilled about it. But I sat next to him and held him in my arms and Susan held his hand... he sailed through it with barely a peep! And once again, the promise of a new Lego set danced in his head, eliciting the good behavior. Annette asked for Hank's immunization records, which of course I didn't bring with me, and gave me her fax number so Hank's pediatrician could fax it over.

We were then sent upstairs to the plastic surgery unit of "cranial and facial anomalies" to meet with Dr. Siebert's nurse practitioner, Pat. And so we had a bit more wait time. Susan went over to see if she could find a book about staying in the hospital for Hank, from the gift shop and Hank and I were called back to meet with Pat. She was great! She has worked with Dr. Siebert for 20 years and knows him well, and she knows this procedure well. She reiterated a lot of what we had already heard, and it was so nice to know that everyone is on the same page!

But she also told me a few new things...that if Hank develops a hematoma after surgery, he will be taken in to have it drained and repaired. And that the second surgery in 6 months is a revision...that they put in more tissue than is needed, and Hank's cheek will now be fuller than the "normal" side. After everything settles in 6 months, they will do a revision of the first surgery. This will also mean a short hospital stay.

After this meeting with Pat, she sent us over to the blood donation department so that I could donate blood for Hank's surgery. We got there and were given the evil eye for not having an appointment. The nurse reluctantly handed me a clipboard. I told her that I did have a cold and asked if that was going to be a problem? She said "forget it, you can't donate" and reached for the clipboard which I snatched out of her grasp and threw at Susan. "My sister-in-law will donate!" I announced. Susan, who had offered to donate if I could not, looked at the nurses and told them that she was willing to donate, but that she was on the tail end of a cold. They stared her down and asked her if she had been blowing her nose because it looked red. And with that they turned her down as well.

Feeling dejected, we made our way back to plastics, where we again met with Pat, who took us on a tour of the pediatric ward, up on the 10th floor. NYU is not a children's hospital, but they definitely make sure the kids are happy and well-cared for. There is a play room where they have music and art class. They have a library with books, videos and DVD's, they have gaming systems like Wii and Playstation and even a room outside the ward, where parents can escape and just catch their breath or break down in tears, without their little ones knowing.

The rooms are painted a pale purple with pretty curtains dividing the beds. The rooms hold two to four beds, with recliners for the parents. I asked where our private suite was...but apparently they don't exist! One parent will be allowed to stay with Hank each night. I want it to be me. So I pray this cold is gone. AND I pray that Hank doesn't get it...or the surgery is off!

Our tour concluded, Pat took us back downstairs, so we could leave. She said she would meet us prior to surgery on Thursday and would be there to update us throughout the day, on Hank's progress. She said to expect at least an eight hour surgery...maybe longer. UGH!

By the time we left, we were all hungry, so we took a walk around the hospital area in search of food. And also to get acquainted to the neighborhood in which we will reside for more than a week.
We had a nice lunch at an outdoor cafe and enjoyed the sunshine, while playing our travel game: "Would you rather" know...'Would you rather wear a wardrobe that fit you perfectly but was made of furry carpet OR would you rather the clothes you put on every morning be soaking wet?' Lots of laughs with this game... how about 'Would you rather have a TV in your forehead OR a telephone in your back?' That one cracked us up.

The evening was spent at Toys R Us at Times Square in search of the promised Lego set. But only after the death march up and down 42nd Street...because apparently none of us can read a map!

By the time we ate dinner and got ready to head back it was after 11:00 pm. Hank was so tired that I said we could take a taxi. We left the restaurant and Hank stepped to the curb, raised his arm and hailed us a cab!! He is getting very comfortable with the New York lifestyle!

So after a long day of hospitals, death marches and more, it is time to call it a day. Hopefully, we can take on the zoo tomorrow and have some fun!


  1. You guys are in our prayers! Great job with the blood draw Hank!
    What a long day.
    Have fun at the zoo!

  2. A friend of mine was just in NYC with her little boy and they went to the NYC Library Children's Section and had the most wonderful time. Just a thought for when you are there in the middle of winter for the revision procedure.