Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day at Children's Hospital

I'm tired so my post will be shorter than usual and probably not as eloquent.  On Saturday night my daughter Danielle called me to let me know that she had been bitten by a friend's dog.  That alone scared me but then she told me she had been bitten in the face.  My mind immediately brought up the picture of Danielle in her beautiful dress for Homecoming and my heart skipped a beat.

As I drove to pick her up I had such a hard time concentrating on anything.  It is kind of sad how easy I adjust to taking Sam to the hospital but my mind just can not wrap around taking Ben or Danielle.

Danielle didn't sound worried as I spoke to her on the phone and I gathered strength from that.  She assured me the dog was up to date on all his shots.  But when she got into my car and I saw the depth of the gash under her left eye and the purple color on the tip of her nose which also seemed to have lacerations my mind began to panic.  We rushed to the closest ER and we began to fill out the all too familiar paperwork but when I was asked her birth date, I almost gave Sam's, that is the default that my mind naturally goes to.  I had to think about Danielle's and again my heart hurt.  This is my only little girl, my beautiful, sweet, caring daughter.  I don't want this to be happening and yet here we were waiting for the doctor to numb the nerves in her face so that they could clean and determine the extent of damage.

Watching my daughter go through this slowly peeled away whatever calm facade I was presenting.  My tears flowed right along with hers.  The doctor quickly decided Danielle needed to go to Children's so she could be seen by someone from the eye institute.  We were discharged and back in the car headed to Children's.  I kept reassuring her things would be alright, we were headed to the best place for them to help her, but I knew the questions swirling around in my head were amplified in hers.  Is her eye okay?  Can they fix the severed tear duct? Why is her nose discolored?  How bad will her scarring be?  Will she need surgery?  What about infection? How much pain is she in or will be in?

Deep breath...concentrate on getting there and take it one moment at a time...just as Sam has taught me.  The ER was expecting us and got her directly into a room but then we had to wait for the doctor from the eye institute until 3:00 a.m.  Danielle was given pain medication and had finally drifted off to sleep when the doctor arrived to do his examination.  This doctor had to inject a dye into the tear duct and see if it came through or was unable to.  In order to do this he began by inserting many different drops in Danielle's eyes, all of which seemed to burn.  He numbed and dilated Danielle's eyes and then began to use a probe, that in the eyes of a 15 year old looked like a huge needle being stuck into her eyelid.  He poked and prodded, examined her eyes all around with a bright light and then performed the test.  Danielle whimpered and I grabbed her hand so amazed at how strong and brave she was being.  When the test was finished he told Danielle that she would need eye surgery and that he would call his team and schedule it for this morning. I have long learned how to stay up all night on sheer adrenaline alone but I have never learned how to not hurt to the very depths of my soul when one of my children is hurt. I watched Danielle begin to sob and I sobbed right along with her.  We left Children's ER and got home at 5:00 a.m.  We slept for 3 hours and then had to be back at Children's by 9:30 a.m. for surgery at 11:00 a.m.

Before we left for the hospital Danielle gave me the Mother's Day card she made.

It's little things like this that keep me going, that help me to be positive, that promise me that I am blessed no matter what.  On our way to the hospital we began to joke how Danielle can tell her friends that she has already had plastic surgery at the age of 15 years old.  I told her she was opening me up to new parts of Children's Hospital that Sam and I have not experienced like the eye clinic and plastic surgery.  I told her that she can tell people she had a nose job, her eyes done and a little botox (to cover the swelling).  She wished me a "Happy Mother's Day" again and I told her, yep look at all the quality time she and I are getting to spend together (like the last 24 hours).  I did let her know that in the future we could find something more fun to do.

We checked into the hospital and she was admitted to the 9th floor.  The surgeon came in and explained to me that she would be inserting a stint into Danielle's tear duct that would go from the top tear duct to the lower tear duct and into her nasal cavity.  This clear tube would remain in place to keep the tear duct open as everything around it healed for the next 3 months.  She would then stitch the laceration below the eye and check her over.  Danielle and I continued to joke back and forth until we got to the pre-surgery unit, as I hugged and kissed her goodbye the tears began to flow and I assured her I would be there when she woke up.  I began to sob as they closed the surgical doors and her surgeon assured me she would take good care of her.  I tried to explain through my tears that although I have gone through this many times with my younger son I still don't handle this part well.  Danielle's surgery took 1 1/2 hours.

The doctor met me in the waiting room and asked me to follow her to a conference room but before she closed the door I needed to ask, "Did everything go okay?".  She smiled and nodded and said "I want to go over everything with you."  She explained the tear duct surgery to me again and said that everything went well.  She told me that she had closed the laceration below Danielle's eye except for one small area that was missing a section of her skin.  She didn't want to pull this close because it would pull the eyelid down.  She felt it would still heal well and the scar would not be very noticeable. She explained to me that they reopened the lacerations on her nose because they didn't realize how deep they were.  They cleaned them and stitched them close.  She said she had some concern about the discoloration of the tip of Danielle's nose and asked the ENT plastic surgery unit to do a consult.  They felt that the discoloration was a bruise but wanted her to be seen for a comparison when she returned for her one week check up.  She said her eye was unharmed and that we could expect a very good result from the work that was done.  She explained the need to watch for infection although Danielle will be on antibiotics for 10 days and to report any increase in swelling, discoloration or fever.  She will need to be seen in one week by the eye institute and the ENT plastic surgery unit.  I thanked the doctor and she left.

The anesthesiologist came out next to let me know that she handled the anesthesia well and that they had removed her intubation tube.  She was groggy but slowly coming around and everything went well.  We chatted some more about Danielle and Sam and I thanked him for his help too.  One of the things I have always liked at Children's is how each of the doctors involved take time with you to explain and answer your questions.  As I entered the recovery room Danielle was just beginning to open her eyes and lift her head.  The ENT plastic surgeon gave me her review and concerns regarding Danielle's nose and the discoloration.  When I was finally left alone with Danielle and her nurse I looked over her nose and her eye and cheek.  It looked much better than the day before and I was amazed at how smooth her skin and stitches looked.  I reassured her that she was as beautiful as ever and that everything went well. She moaned softly as she came out of her grogginess.  When asked her pain level, she said a 5-6.  She was given some morphine and I began to explain to her that she had an eye patch on which is why she couldn't open her left eye.  She was thirsty and we started with a popsicle that took her a while to eat as her tongue and mouth began to function again.  We moved up to sips of water and then she was transferred to the ninth floor.  She would need to eat, drink and walk before she could leave the hospital.  After picking up her medication, gauze, eye pads and some hard candy we returned home at 5:30 p.m.  She is tired, sore, a little swollen but she is doing great.  I promised her I would not post pictures of her pre or post surgery (I mean she is 15 and this was way beyond a bad hair day).  She even wants to return to school tomorrow.  She will not be able to take gym class or participate in sports for a couple of weeks.

As I get ready to go to sleep I am thankful for great surgeons, great ER's and I am hugging each of my children a little tighter again tonight.  My husband surprised me with beautiful outdoor flower arrangements and Ben surprised me with a really big card (and I mean a really big card, I put Danielle's next to it for a size comparison) and he made the envelope.

My Mother's Day was not what I had planned but I am thankful, blessed and happy this evening...but most of all tired.  Good night everyone, to all my Mom friends I hope you had a blessed Mother's Day!


  1. Oh Sue! What a Mother's Day!!! God is so faithful though. I'm glad your beautiful daughter has such a fantastic Mom and that she has been getting wonderful care. The Great Physician is "on the job" and I'm praying for her swift and full recovery. XO

  2. Yikes! So sorry all this happened. Sending healing vibes Danielle's way!

  3. Sue, my thoughts are with you.

  4. Sue, my thoughts are with you. Jeanne S. :)

  5. Prayers go out for you and Danielle, and your whole family. I pray that God will speed healing for Danielle and that any scars (physical or emotional) will heal quickly.

  6. Sue, you are a very special mom and your children are very lucky to have you! Hugs, and all the best to Danielle for a speedy recovery!