Have you ever seen someone faint? Their body goes stiff, their eyes roll into the back of their heads, and down they go. Now imagine the person fainting is your child. The utter shock of seeing someone pass out is amped up by fear when it’s your child.
My husband and I took our 7-year-old daughter, Riley, to the hospital early Friday morning for a routine tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. We sat patiently in an outpatient room, our daughter perched on the hospital bed, as the kind nurse quickly reviewed the procedure and explained the day’s event. And then the nurse started talking about the IV she’d be administering.
Now, we’ve always known that Riley is sensitive when it comes to needles and blood, but since her exposure to needles and blood has been small over the years, we never understood how real that fear is. The fear is real, ya’ll! The nurse started swabbing the top of my daughter’s hand so she could apply numbing gel. First my daughter jerked back, almost as if stun, then she stiffened, her eyes rolled back in her head, and she passed out cold. My husband was on the other side of the bed and caught her so she wouldn’t hit her head. Honestly, I thought she was she having a seizure or something—it was so unusual, I had no idea what was going on. A few seconds later, Riley woke up, sat up abruptly, and then promptly passed out again. Once she woke up the second time, we kept her lying down and managed to calm her down.
She was so worked up by the thought of an IV that she howled, “Mommy, Daddy, don’t leave me!!!” as they wheeled her back to the operating room. Utterly heartbreaking. She’s normally cool as a cucumber, so this display of outright fear was atypical of her usual personality.
Needless to say, they ended up doing the IV back in the operating room once she was already asleep.
After the surgery, she was groggy and miserable, as to be expected. Her little body reacted poorly to the anesthesia, so she threw up on two different occasions while we were in the pediatrics recovery room.
When it came time to remove the IV, we were confident she was going to faint again. My husband coached her on deep breathing while the nurses worked. They had several nurses in the hall on standby, just in case she went down again.
Finally, 12 hours after checking into the hospital, we were released and allowed to go home. Miss Riley had a miserable night after we got home, but would you know? The very next day she was back to being her bright, bubbly self, and she’s barely complained of the pain.
Friday is a day I don’t want to repeat anytime soon.