closing out 2020

Whew! I took the last two weeks off from writing to focus on helping Sumner recover from his surgery and then to do some recharging for myself.

The couple of days before his surgery were busy!

On the Tuesday before surgery, we had to take him in for his COVID test as a negative result was required in order to proceed. We were scheduled to go through the drive-thru testing center at 9:30 AM. Miraculously, all three of us were ready to go an in the car by 8:55 AM. This NEVER happens! I don’t know about you all, but we’re hardly on time for anything. But all of our punctuality was for naught because the car wouldn’t start. Somehow, the battery had died. After a moment of panic, we texted our friends who live five minutes away and asked if we could borrow their car. Thankfully, it all worked out and we were only five minutes late to the appointment.

Sumner was a real trooper. He fussed for a few seconds, but had settled down by the time it was over. We were at the testing site for all of a few minutes. I love when things run smoothly. We got back his negative test result later on that night. Whew! I wasn’t really worried about it because we’ve been self-isolating for the majority of the pandemic, but it was good to get the all-clear.

Wednesday continued the scheduling jam log. I had to attend Sumner’s annual early intervention meeting to discuss his progress and continued need for services. Thankfully, dad was able to arrange his day to have “zone coverage” for that. We’ll be continuing physical therapy and feeding/speech therapy. We’re also adding one occupational and vision therapies. Our plan is to do everything bi-weekly so that we’ll only have two appointments per week. That’ll give us time to work on his stuff and to do other things. After the EI meeting, I had to see my endocrinologist for my annual appointment and do blood work. Things are going in the right direction. Lastly, we had our new upstairs couch delivered. We had decided that since we didn’t travel at all in 2020 that it would be a good time to make our home cozy (more on that another day).

The day of surgery was intense. I slept terribly due to having anxiety dreams all night. At least I was ready for it. I was the kind of professor who slept poorly prior to my students’ exams for the same reason. The adults were up at 4 AM for coffee. We got Sumner up just before we had to leave at 5 AM. He was not impressed, but fell back asleep in the car.

At the hospital, we quickly got up to the surgery area and they had us back in pre-op a few minutes later. Since Sumner has had all of his stuff handled by Children’s Hospital, they had access to all of his prior records. It definitely made things easier. Little man was in a great mood and handled the nurse wheeling him off much better than I did.

We knew that his four procedures — strabismus repair, eye exam, hernia repair, and g-tube removal — were going to take about three hours so we headed down to the coffee shop for treats. From there, I paced around the floor to get my steps and dad played on his PS vita. I was a bit anxious, but knowing that he was in good hands helped. It also helped that the nurse called me from the operating room to let me know that he went to sleep okay and that everything was fine.

The general surgeon was up first. His part went quicker than anticipated because, as it turns out, Sumner didn’t have hernias to repair. This was excellent news! You might be wondering why we had to go through this… His initial surgeon who placed the g-tube noted that he had hernias. However, she advised us to wait until he was off his steroids to have them addressed. It turns out that it was actually nothing. I’m super glad that we waited until he had other issues to address since I would have been frustrated about putting him through a procedure for nothing.

Once the general surgeon was done, it was the eye surgeon’s turn. Again, things were straightforward. Strabismus surgery is very common and our surgeon does them all of the time. We decided to take advantage of Summer being under anesthesia to have her do a complete eye exam since he’s not super compliant when he’s awake and moving. Toddlers, right?! Both procedures went well, although Sumner will need two new glasses as the exam revealed a different prescription.

Once everything was done, we got to go back and help him through recovery. He was in a lot of pain, but mommy’s cuddles seemed to help quite a bit. Once he was settled on me, his oxygen saturations improved and he was able to get some sleep. We started alternating Tylenol and Motrin to help him with the pain and we’re discharged that afternoon.

The following four nights were rough. He would be his typical playful self during the day, but not all that interested in eating. I sort of got it though since I haven’t really wanted to eat much for the few days following my surgeries. We decided to give him time and follow his lead. Let me tell you… that’s much easier said than donee when you’ve had calorie counting beaten into for your child’s entire life. Typically, Sumner is an excellent nighttime sleeper, but those first few nights were tough with lots of wake-ups and crying. I ended up sleeping with him on the couch the second night as he was waking up every 30-40 minutes for snuggles and reassurance.

Thankfully, things took a turn for the better by the one week mark. He was back to playing, eating, and — importantly — sleeping like his usual self. It’s amazing how much better our whole family is with a reasonable amount of sleep.

The last two weeks of the year were focused on our winter solstice celebration and welcoming the new year. Dad took a bunch of time off and we were able to relax and spend time together as a family. It was some of the most normal family time that we’ve had since Sumner came home from the NICU.

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