Posted by Chris Perez
The time finally came for Nolan’s cardiac catheterization. We knew it was the next necessary step before Nolan’s surgery, but we were both pretty nervous about it. We got someone to watch the other boys while we left the house bright and early to be at Levine Children’s Hospital. I mentioned before that I love LCH: it’s bright and cheerful and has a very cool and colorful lobby. This time, though, as we were checking in for Nolan’s procedure, I was just flooded with memories about Nolan’s first surgery and very lengthy recovery. I quietly asked God over and over to make this quick and painless with a fast recovery…I didn’t think I had the strength to practically live at the hospital again.
We were escorted up to a room where a nurse had us put Nolan in a gown, which was comedically too big for him, and she took his vitals. The anesthesia team came to chat with us for a little bit before we were finally told that it was time to go to the cath lab. Unlike Nolan’s first surgery where he was wheeled there, I got a chance to carry him. That was good. I needed that, big time. As we walked through several hallways and waited for the elevator, I held Nolan closely and tried to whisper confident things to him…all the while my legs felt like jello. But here’s the funny thing: Nolan had started doing this thing where he really liked playing with my facial hair. Whenever I would snuggle with him, he would reach up and rub his hands on my face and coo softly. I loved it.
There, as we waited for the elevator, Nolan did just that. He reached up and rubbed my face…it felt like he was saying, “It’s ok Dad…I’m going to be fine.” And then I felt fine. He’s ok, I’m ok.
We went down to the cath lab waiting area and continued to play with Nolan and make him smile. Meanwhile a nurse brought little stuffed animals for Nolan and his 2 brothers. It was very sweet…LCH is the BEST. Eventually it was time for them to take Nolan back…and we were escorted up to that big waiting room that I hated so much.
We got word that the anesthesia took a long time…apparently Nolan is a very difficult stick, and the procedures would finally begin. While we were waiting, someone with the GI Team brought us this creepy doll (I named it Ming Fu) that demonstrated Nolan’s new G-Tube button, along with some literature about the button and how to remove and replace it. Wait,what? Yes…this tube would be pulled completely from his body if it was pulled hard enough…and if that happened, we would need to know how to put it back in. What the what? That’s NASTY. I was NOT thrilled about that idea, nor was I enamored with the fact that we’d be replacing the button every few months. Ugh what was next?
We got word that the GI procedure was complete and went well. The doctor came up and explained everything to us and even answered a few questions about Nolan’s diet and spitting up problems (the kid was a faucet). Then we waited for the cath to be complete. When that was done, we let out a hugh sigh of relief and were escorted to see Nolan. He was in a post-op room: he had been extubated successfully and he was quite a bit cranky. The nurse told us that they had a hard time finding a good place for his anesthesia iv, so they had to go in through his neck. Poor baby. He was a little achy from all the procedures, so he got some pain meds and eventually he fell asleep. We stayed to comfort him, even as he got moved up to Progressive Care. Within a couple hours, he was doing just fine: