Today's contributor is the awesome Mom blogger from The Aspie Side of Life. She doesn't have a name, though... I'm to just call her "AspieSide," which I do, but when I do it, I do it in kind of a whisper and with jazz hands. Now you try....
This past summer my 14 year old son had to have a tonsillectomy. I had lots of friends and co-workers tell me that it is rough for a teenager but he would be fine. Rough for a teenager? Great, what about an aspie teen with anxiety and ADHD?
I tried my best to tell him everything that would happen at the hospital. He did pretty good overall but apparently forgot to tell him that he would need to change into hospital clothes. Clothing is a big deal to him because of his sensory issues so this caused quite a bit of anxiety. He kept repeating “I don’t care if they get blood on my clothes, I want to wear my clothes.” Once I finally got him to change his clothes he repeatedly asked if my co-worker Jane could draw his blood. This only went on for about an hour.
He was very cooperative with staff and was very polite when he asked the nurse to take the blood pressure machine out of the room because it was too loud. It was off, I didn’t hear anything, but apparently it was making an awful noise. Then the nurse anesthetist made the mistake of asking if he wanted orange bubblegum scented mask for his anesthesia. That brought on a very loud “are you crazy” kind of response from him. I told her to just go unscented. She said oh, that smells like a beach ball and kind of crinkled her nose. Relief on my child’s face, “yeah beach ball”. Yeah beach ball!
When they take him back he says he is okay to go by himself. I looked at the nurse and she nodded her head and said he would be fine. I figured he would be cooperative but again requested they get me immediately when waking up because I wasn’t sure how he would be when he woke up.
They did not come get me. I am sure they thought they knew what they were doing. When they finally take me back the nurse that has him is clearly visibly shaken. My son is grumbling how he wants water and she gives him a little water while trying to explain she doesn’t want his stomach to get upset. “I don’t fucking care, give me water.” She looks a little frightened and of course quickly gives him water.
She explains that he is doing fine but was disoriented when he woke up. I immediately apologize because I am surprised anything in the room is still in one piece. Her eyes get big and she takes a deep breath. “He was fine, he is a really big guy though”. I don’t ever ask what he did. He is angry and aggressive and demanding water. I ask him if his throat hurts. “No, I just want some fucking water.” I have to give him credit for not saying “fucking” too loud. He must have remembered he was in the children’s hospital and he isn’t allowed to swear around children.
He is visibly getting more upset and I am starting to get anxious. I pulled the nurse aside and tell her to try pain medication. I explained that he may be in pain and not able to express it appropriately. My husband starts babbling about how he said he didn’t have pain. SHUT UP, honey! Thankfully the nurse listens to me and he takes the pain medicine. In a few minutes he is calm and quiet and eventually falls asleep.
My husband had to leave for work and I didn’t dare leave his bed side. They finally let us go home at 1PM. Around 5 PM he is starving and only allowed to eat broth, jello, or popcicles and then we can slowly increase his died to soft foods. No tomato, milk, or citrus for a while. Crap the only soup he eats is tomato. Can he live on popsicles?
Finally I remember he does eat the soup broth at his favorite restaurant. They say they do not have containers for soup take out and we would need to bring in containers. Whatever I will bring in whatever you want. I am not sure how that is legal but dear lord no one tell on them because to this day he wants only their soup when he is sick.
After all of that he threw it up. Not because he ate too much but because the noises on his video game were too loud and it made him dizzy. Yeah, of course, why didn’t I think of that. So he is miserable, on bed rest, and can’t play video games. Awesome.
The following week was very stressful for both of us. He did not like his pain medication or his antibiotics. He would refuse to take it and then scream in pain which made his throat hurt worse. I told him to flip me off instead of screaming at me to protect his throat.
We tried different flavors of medication, mixing it with other fluids, using popsicles or other food as chasers, nothing worked. He would be starving but couldn’t eat because of his throat or tired of the few food he could eat. He wouldn’t let anyone else near him, only me and only sometimes, and it was never pleasant. His sleep schedule was all off and he would wake up in intense pain but refuse anything until he woke up completely. It was really quite heart breaking because I couldn’t do anything. I thought about taking him back and telling him to put an IV in him but I figured that would be too traumatic.
Yeah sure, he will be fine. In the end he was fine but it was the worst week of our lives.