Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pre-op for the bone graft

WOWZA. It was a really long day.
We got there at 1, but they were running behind (when are they not?) so it was over an hour before we got back to the room. Once we were in the room, we saw the chief resident, Dr. A. for the initial stuff. He had a look in Rowan's mouth, looked at his chart, and ordered x-rays.
More waiting, and Dr. A. came back, surprised that we hadn't had x-rays yet. He decided to go on with other stuff in the meantime, and right when he did the x-ray person showed up. (of course)
So we went off to x-rays and Rowan konked his head on the chair when he jumped in with enthsiasm. He's my kid. But it was okay, and they did small x-rays of the top of his jaw to get a good picture of his cleft - so they'd know if they needed to graft both sides. (They do.)
Back to Dr. A., where he did the exam and talked to Rowan about what would be done, answered questions, explained the consent form, and did all that.
Then on to Dr. T. (more waiting) Dr. T. is awesome though. Talked to Rowan first about what he was going to do and how, and made sure Rowan understood just what was going on. Then he pulled up the x-rays, looked in Rowan's mouth, at the x-rays... mouth... x-rays... mouth... it got to be pretty entertaining as he figured out what his teeth had been up to in there. (A lot of crazy.) He said that he will remove some teeth as he does the graft, possibly up to 5! But they'll be baby teeth or extra teeth. Rowan is part shark. But he needed a panoramic x-ray to be sure he could see the roots to know what tooth was what, so it was back to radiology for that. They were closing, but Dr. A. grabbed someone and got them to do it, and hung out with us to make sure it was a good one before sending us over to the big hospital for pre-care.
Pre-care is the pre-admitting thing, where they give you instructions and what not. By this time it was 5:00, but Dr. A. had called over and told them we were coming, so they were there waiting for us. They checked his BP and pulse-ox, gave us the special soap, told us that we won't get the surgery time until the day before, BUT he can have clear liquids up to 2 hours before we're supposed to be there. YAY! Then we found out that Rowan needed another x-ray, of his hips. So we went to radiology (a different one this time) for that.
We left the hospital at about 6pm. So all in all, 5 hours. His actual surgery should be shorter than that.
Now, the big questions, answered....

1. How long will the surgery take? A couple of hours.

2. How long will he be in the hospital? Most kids only need to stay one night.

3. How long will he need to stay home from school? About 10 days or so. His post op is 10 days after surgery, too, so that works out well.

4. How long will he need to eat a soft diet? About 6 weeks.

5. What about pain? His hip will be more sore than his face. He'll feel pressure and numbness in his face more than pain. They'll give us tylenol with codeine for the pain, and Dr. T. will inject a local anesthetic into his hip while he's still in the OR to help out. Physical therapy might send us home with a crutch if he needs it to help walk.

6. How is Rowan handling it? It's kind of hard to tell. He says that he's doing things to help him feel more brave and not so scared, but he is scared. I told him that was okay, because I'm scared, too. And it's okay to be scared and even to cry if you want to. He is also very matter of fact about it, saying that this surgery is one of the HAVE TO instead of the WANT TO surgeries (like his nose would be) so since he has to do it there's not much to be done about it. They gave him a teddy bear in pre-care today, and he's named it Dr. Bear. It's from Build-A-Bear, so I think I'm going to go by there over the next couple of days and get Dr. Bear some scrubs to wear. He was walking around the hospital and dental school like he owned the place, and chatting up all the nurses, so he IS comfortable there. He knows he had surgery there when he was a baby, so that helps. And we're going to give him a send off at school on Wed, and have a bunch of crunchy snacks to share with his friends, since he won't be able to have crunchy things for a long time. He's focusing more on that, and on other positive aspects like all the pudding that is on the horizon.

7. How am I handling it? Deep breathing, being positive for Rowan, crying by myself when I get overwhelmed. You do what you gotta do.

Any other questions? Just ask. I'll answer them as best as I can.


  1. I just noticed this was posted.
    Thanks for the update Milli!
    It's good to cry and get it out. Makes being strong for Rowan a little easier.
    I'll be thinking of you all.

  2. *hugs you*

    Good luck, Milli. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers. I got teary and overwhelmed just reading your description of how he is handling it, I cannot imagine what you must be feeling. What a smart, brave child. He must have terrific parents :)

    Much Love,


  3. (((hugs))) Milli and Rowan. Surgery is scary stuff and sounds like you are both dealing with it admirably. My thoughts and prayers are with you guys.

  4. Hugs to the whole family. I am tearing up reading this. I know Rowan will do just great!!! And Mom will too!!!! Lots and Lots of thoughts and prayers for you guys! Love ya'll!

  5. The mom connection is strong Milli... I started thinking about you at 4am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. As soon as it was a sane time, I came down to the computer knowing Surgery must be immenent. Not suprisingly, I find it is tomorrow? I can hear in this post that Rowan and you are standing tall in wake of all this - isn't that the definition of bravery? Thank you both for going out ahead and figuring this all out for us. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Do you have my cell phone number if you need to chat? I'll send the # through email.