I think any surgery for a child, no matter how minimal, is emotionally fraught for the parents. I may be biased but I think with a special needs child there are – well - maybe not more worries but special worries. Because Little Man understands and operates younger than his 6 years it was very hard to explain to him what was going to happen. I know his ENT doesn’t see him enough to understand his limitations so it’s not all that surprising he was unprepared for how freaked out Little Man was by the anesthesia mask. I did warn the doctor that although Little Man listened calmly to his description and seemed unconcerned, that it was not going to go smoothly once we were in the operating room. I don’t think he fully believed (or maybe just did not fully appreciate the magnitude of) my warning until I was pinning my screaming, flailing son to the gurney while he and the nurse tried to still his thrashing head enough to get the mask in place. I cried the whole time I pressed his little body down and sang his favorite lullaby and eventually he succumbed. I then cried my way out to the waiting room.
Unfortunately - in addition to the delightful start to the process - Little Man had a reaction to the anesthesia and stopped breathing during the surgery so they had to intubate him. What was supposed to be a 30 minute procedure ended up taking an hour and a half in the procedure room itself and four hours in recovery. Little Man appears fine now, other than a sore throat and some itchy stitches (and he would have had the stitches regardless). Mama however is traumatized by guilt - for restraining him while he cried and begged me to help him and they gave him the gas that could have killed him, by the scar he is certain to have, and by his pretend play since we got home, where he holds down his screaming teddy bear and smothers it with a pillow. So much of my parenting is second guessing. Is it like that with neuro-typical children? I don't have any so I just don't know.
What could I do though? I could not leave the cyst unaddressed. We had tried that for months and at one point it swelled so large that it was affecting his vision. That is when they did the needle draining. Maybe if we'd done this sooner he would not have the scar. It would not have gone any easier but I didn't gain anything by waiting either. I guess I could have let strangers restrain him. But wouldn’t that just be sparing me – not him? I guess I should have tried harder, more, longer to make sure his specialist understood how the process was going to effect him emotionally. I get so tired though of educating sometimes - especially the doctors and educators.