I only write about last night because I prepped (understatement here) but I missed a crucial step. I was ready for him to look scary. I was ready for that. I even looked at pictures of children coming out of surgery. I knew he would look double the size, puffy like a marshmallow and there would be multiple tubes. I desensitized myself using basic exposure theory. Check.
But what I wasn’t prepared for after.
Moms. You need to prepare for after. Not sure how…maybe it is so individualized, but I share my experience just in case.
He was more awake than I thought he would be. Fighting the sedation and aware of all. Aware but incapacitated. Can’t speak. Can’t scream for MOM.
I’ve been here sadly. I have experience that is making this journey so much worse. I have woken up with a breathing tube not knowing where I was.
I remember the feeling all too well. I remember questioning if I was alive. I knew I couldn’t speak as I tried to call for help. And I couldn’t feel myself breathing. And then I remember coming to a quick synopsis. I’m alive, but I’m dying. I I was being choked. There was something in my throat. I wasn’t breathing. It was beyond scary.
My biggest fear is this. Tears roll down his cheek. He is scared.
He wakes up every 30 minutes or so. Looks around with fear. Sometimes raises his arm which the nurses hold down.
They promise me that he won’t remember it. That he is sedated, but I question. I know I trust, but I question. I watch him following the nurses hands. I know him. He’s looking for shots. I also saw him at 3AM point with such conviction. He wouldn’t put his hand down and they let it go up as it was clear he did not have the aim to pull his breathing tube, which had been the fear the other times. It was like he had learned. He knew he wasn’t allowed to do that.
He pointed to the other side of the room.
There was a water bottle on a table a good 15 feet away.
He nodded. He had learned he couldn’t speak. This felt like a learned response to me. How? They say he is not really with it, but that seemed with it.
I ask for more pain meds, but the goal is to get him breathing on his own. He needs to “cough” for them. WHAT?! This is too much. But I also KNOW he wants that breathing tube out.
Maybe there was no way to prepare.
How would my google searches know I have a lion for a son? A child who refuses to go to sleep. A child who performs battles in his head. A warrior.
And how is he at five years old supposed to know that the foreign tubes in his body right now are not an enemy? He wants to fight.
So it has been a long night and it will be a long day.