Yesterday was A Very Long Day.
After a fitful sleep, I was up at 5 am to feed, dress and drop Miss 8 off to a favourite Auntie, and then onto the hospital with a starving and thirsty Mr 10.
Mr 10 needed surgery. Fairly urgent, but not emergency surgery, but scalpals and stitches required all the same.
It wasn't a huge deal. Just day surgery and, the paediatric surgeon - who was lovely - played it down nicely and said C. should be in and out, and we'd be home by lunch time.
The staff and surrounds were nice, and C's much loved Teddy was able to come too. He even had his own ID sticker!
I loved the signs telling parents to keep their mobiles turned ON ... so that medicos could reach us quickly and easily as soon as there was any news. Or our little ones came to, crying for us!
Mr 10 was anxious about the op, as you would be, and had made me promise I'd be there when he went to sleep and when he woke up. (Well d'uh, of course he didn't even have to ask!)
His Dad and I both accompanied him to whatever you call the room they go in before the theatre, and at the last minute, by the science of 'eenie, meanie, minie, mo' C. decided that his Dad should suit up and go with him to the Falling Asleep Stage, instead of me.
I wasn't at all peeved - I'm all for the kids having a good relationship with their Dad - but I was mildly disappointed I wouldn't be the last face C. saw as he went off to sleep.
We all had a giggle at his Dad in his gown and hat - especially as K., recently recovering from surgery himself, had one shoulder in a sling, so the hospital gown made it look like he had a chubby tummy.
And then C. gave me a kiss and went off, clutching Teddy with one hand, and his Dad with the other.
I really admired how well C was handling everything, but when K. got back, he was visibly shaken.
C. had decided at the last minute the surgery Wasn't Going To Happen. It took two doctors, a nurse and his Dad to hold him down. K. said he kept it together fine until the gas kicked in and his little boy went limp in his arms, his eyes rolled back in his head and he went unconscious. I don't think K. would mind me sharing that a bit of moisture got in his eyes right about then.
Despite our differences, I really felt for K. at that moment.
There is nothing worse than seeing your child helpless or putting them through a scary and/or painful experience. Even if it is for the very best of reasons.
In any case, given C's battle against the gas mask, I was probably lucky C. had chosen his Dad to take him through after all.
(The last time C. needed serious medical treatment, it took an orderly and a nurse and me to hold him down - and he still managed to get loose and, accidentally I hope, headbut me! He is seriously strong when he gets in that fight or flight mode!)
The waiting was horrible. We'd been told to expect 20-30 minutes, instead it was more than an hour. C. had taken a bit longer to come out of it than they had thought, and of course every extra minute was excruciating.
Everytime the phone rang in the parent waiting room, anxious parents would jump and look at each other. There was kind of a silent lottery where the parent most likely would answer, and the rest of us would either feel jealousy or relief depending on who was called up.
When we saw our little man post-up, he was teary and distressed. In pain of course, and crying about being held down prior to surgery. He was itchy beyond all crap - a fairly common reaction to morphine - and almost made his nose bleed scratching it. But he was okay.
He did come out with some funny, spaced-out sayings, that are funny now but weren't at the time. Like: 'Did they take my penis off? Did they sew it back on right?' (Clearly there was some pain in the nether regions). 'I wish I had a big needle up my bum instead of surgery'.
It took him hours to come out of an anaesthetic properly and he needed more pain relief as well. He ate and drank then threw up multiple times, and he wanted to pee, but couldn't. All fairly standard stuff, but upsetting when it's happening to one of your kids.
Eventually, about 8 or 9 hours after I'd expected to bring him home, Chase and I left the building. (We'd expected to be in the ward for only a couple more hours when Chase got out of theatre, so as soon as he was sitting up and eating, K. left).
I hadn't left C's side since K. left, except once to do a quick pee (sorry for the overshare), and again to grab his prescription before the pharmacy shut. (You'd think they'd send it home with you wouldn't they?).
K. had dropped off some sushi for lunch before he left, so at least I'd eaten, but I was starving by the time we left and could have murdered a coffee.
Chase brightened a little when he realised he was getting a wheelchair escort to the pick-up zone while I walked a zillion miles to the parking station and emptied my credit card into the pay machine to get my car out.
I know they all do it these days, but I think it's pretty cruel the way hospitals discharge patients before they are properly over a nasty procedure.
Poor Chase moaned and cried all the way home, in between alternatively dozing off and talking in tongues.
"Are we home?" he said, five minutes after we left the hospital. "Not yet," I said. "Well why is our house in the middle of the road?"
And he zonked out again before I had to answer.
I drove as slowly as I dared, as other drivers honked and tailgated us. I had no idea quite how many roads were full of bumps and potholes until last night! (Note to Main Roads: There are way too many!. Also? There should be a temporary flag or sign you can put on your car when you're transporting an ill or injured people from A to B.)
My sister-in-law had done a sterling job spoiling Miss 8 for the afternoon, and unasked and very kindly, had prepared dinner for all of us. Kebabs, snags and salad had never tasted so good. Even C. managed a sausage before zonking out again.
I had to practically carry him up the steep stairs into our home, and he cried all the way as every step hurt. (And yes, I managed to put my back and neck out again)!
Finally, the poor little dude was lying on his bed with a light blankie over him ... tucking him up would have been too painful.
I had to get up to him a few times, but he didn't throw up half the night as I'd been warned, though today has been challenging.
The boy who won't eat bread is now craving jam sandwiches! They were the first thing he kept down after his op, and I think they're his latest comfort food.
Finally, tonight some of C's colour and humour has returned. He rallied enough to call his sister a term of endearment earlier. (Well, that's if 'dickweed' counts as an affectionate term).
Later, when I told C. he was being very brave after surviving a tricky gentle shower, he said: 'Tell that to a body part that doesn't hurt.'
Tee hee ...That's my boy.
A serious note: I am well aware of how very lucky I am that C. only needed minor surgery and that he was able to come home last night. There are so many kids who go through way more painful and scary procedures, and I hope that their parents don't think in any way that I am unaware of the fact that what we went through was nothing compared to what they endure every day. We are lucky that C's problem was relatively minor, and that he's highly likely to make a full recovery. But my blog is kind of my (somewhat public) diary, and I needed to write about yesterday. I'd spent the previous day running on adrenalin, and when it all caught up with me, I needed to write.
That doesn't mean I think we're badly off, because I know how truly lucky we are. I know others are not so lucky and my heart goes out to all of you. But that doesn't mean I don't have the right, as a parent, to stress about my own child and express my own feelings as well. And I hope you will indulge me by allowing me to do that here.
For me, writing is a way to process my thoughts and feelings. It's healing and therapeutic, and it often sorts things out in my mind. It's one of the reasons I blog, even the overshares!
And finally: I was glad that my Ex and I were able to be there together for C. when he needed us. It's so important for separated parents to show their kids that they still have two parents who love them, and that they will be there for them. And I think K. and I were able to do that.