Thursday, October 8, 2009

Convalescence: a Big, Fat, Hairy Deal

So, our first full day of movement-restricted, post-surgical convalescence is now 14 minutes from over. Okay, technically it ended for Kiddo about 4 hours ago, but still. She is doing remarkably well overall, I think, given that just yesterday she was under general anesthesia and having surgery and all.

She did *not* sleep in and in fact was up by 6:10 when Hubby was heading out the door for work. I had been pulling for a "sleep in until at least 9 or 10" kind of morning, mostly because I was tired enough to sleep in until at least 9 or 10 myself, but no such luck. Flipping on the TV in my room and trying to roll over and go back to sleep while she watched Disney channel didn't buy me many more Zs either. Nope, Kiddo was all about getting herself set up on the couch in the family room so she could watch DVDs. (With the movement restrictions mandated by her doctor, Kiddo's usual strict limitations on "screen time" have temporarily been lifted and she is watching as much TV as she wants, so long as she's doing so while chilling out quietly on the couch.) Well, she mostly wanted to watch one DVD in particular.

This one:

I had picked this up almost as an afterthought when I was frantically scanning the shelves at Blockbuster looking for movies that (a) Kiddo hasn't seen, (b) were longer than 22 minutes, (c) were not objectionable in any way according to my admittedly puritanical judgment scale. I saw Garfield grinning up at me from a box on the lower shelf and grabbed it because Kiddo has developed quite a love for Garfield in comic book form ever since she discovered a few of my Garfield cartoon collection books sometime last year. She thoroughly enjoyed the Garfield Christmas special when I DVRed it in December, so I figured she might get a kick out of the DVD and added it to my pile.

She has now watched this DVD enough in the past 24 hours to have the dialogue, scene order and likely the closing credits memorized. And yet, she wants to watch it again. And again. And again.

Now, I've been a Garfield fan myself since I was a kid. (Side note: Garfield debuted back in 1978.) I mean, those are *my* Garfield books that Kiddo has appropriated, after all. I have watched pieces of the DVD (hard to avoid it when it's playing nonstop on our largest TV) and will confess to chuckling aloud a few times. But, still. This is not the height of comedy, folks. It's a talking cat. How many times can one human being watch the same talking cat cartoon over and over before one goes a little bit nuts? Four is the number, if you're asking about one's mother.

When the repeated viewings of Garfield and Co had hit the upper limits of my sanity threshold, I suggested a different means of entertainment, namely, playing princesses with me on the family room floor. Kiddo got a castle and all the Disney princess figurines to go with it for her birthday two years ago, except for Snow White. Well, as a "hey, I feel lousy that you have to go through all this" kind of a post-surgery present, I picked up the Snow White (who, by the by, is much more Snow Tan than Snow White) that matched the rest of the set and Kiddo was over the moon with Snow's arrival (even better that she came accompanied by bonus Dopey and Grumpy figures) when I showed her the set the night before her surgery. So, Kiddo was content to play princesses, with one teeny-tiny problem:

Those are Snow White's shoes, as held by Kiddo's not-abnormally-large, 6 year old hand. They're raisin sized and skinny and a total PITA to put on to the princesses' feet. Moreover, they're impossible to put on if you are experiencing double vision from recent eye surgery. That meant it fell to me, Man Hands Mommy, to repeatedly jam teeny-tiny princess piggies into teeny-tiny high heels. I don't even jam my own piggies into great, big heels, for Pete's sake. Haven't these girls heard of Birkenstocks? Perhaps a nice, sensible clog? After the assorted princesses had made like Cinderella one too many times and lost yet another shoe, I convinced Kiddo to let them just go barefoot since they were in the family room which has lovely, new carpeting after all.

Garfield and ridiculously minuscule footwear aside, Kiddo had some ups and downs today. Downs include the persisting double vision, eye pain and headaches (though, true to her general good spirited nature, she was joking on the phone to my mother about how she could see "all four of her feet" and how she was so happy to have "two cats" instead of one.) The two biggest downs include the having to stay still, calm and quiet (which, seriously, could someone please order me to lounge on the couch in my jammies, tucked under a fleece blanket with total dominion over the TV and someone to fetch me snacks and ginger ale? Please?) which is especially hard for my SPD kid, and the eyedrops. The steroid/antibiotic eyedrops that must be administered by me four times a day in each eye.

You wouldn't think that something as small as this:

could produce so much misery. Misery on both our parts, mind you. Kiddo gets her full-fledged freakout going on as soon as my hand approaches the airspace above her head with the bottle poised for action. Misery on my part because DANG, that bottle is small. (I photographed it with an ordinary sized pen and paper clip for reference. Note that is my tres cool, official Nanny Goats in Panties pen, courtesy of the ever-fantabulous Margaret.) The bottle is so small that it is virtually impossible to carefully squeeze out one drop into the squirming, blinking, bloody eyeball of the squirming, blinking, screaming bloody murder kid. I certainly don't want to miss, either, because those eyedrops are apparently made out of fairy wings, pixie dust and hens' eyeteeth. Or possibly gold, diamonds and George Clooney's cell phone number. Whatever they're made of, they're danged expensive and I'm not willing to waste them by spritzing them willy-nilly into the general direction of Kiddo's head in the hopes that a veritable rain shower of medicine might inadvertently make its way into her eyes in something akin to the proper dosage.

So, yeah, that? Not the fun part. Even less fun is how her tears are blood right now. Okay, fine, technically they're just bloody, not actual straight blood, but the effect is still quite disconcerting despite all the advance warning from helpful surgical staff. Also staining - Kiddo's pillowcase has some icky spots on it now, as does the shirt I was wearing yesterday.

Now then, let's talk about the ups. Kiddo has had several phone calls and emails from folks wanting to check up on her, and has felt well enough to take some of the calls in person. Kiddo loves to talk on the phone anytime for any reason, so having calls *specifically for her* is a huge thrill. She also spoke with her surgeon last night when he called to follow up on her. I don't think he speaks to many of his actual patients when he makes such calls, being a pediatric eye doctor and all, but Kiddo heard me say hello to him and requested a word. She gave him several, specifically "You know, I did NOT like what you did to my eyes, because now they're bloody and they hurt and I do not EVER want you to do that to them EVER again." Heh.

Kiddo also has had some visitors. Her in-town grandma came over yesterday and today her aide from school came over, bringing a lovely, large card that Kiddo's classmates made her. Kiddo also had a visit from one of her Daisy troop friends who lives a few blocks from us and with whom Kiddo plays during recess just about every day. She walked over with her mom and younger sister, and they came bearing get-well gifts to boot. (Who doesn't love presents? My kid sure does!) They baked us some delicious apple bread (which Kiddo and I both enjoyed during her dinner), lent Kiddo some books with tapes so she can listen while she's reading (though she was getting frustrated with the difficulty her vision was giving her with reading earlier today) and brought us the most beautiful bouquet of flowers. I had far greater appreciation for the flowers than Kiddo did, but I guess that's to be expected when one of us is six and more into endless viewings of Garfield and Odie and the other of us is closing in on 38 and has had more experience in the realm of bouquets. One can never have too many flowers, I don't think... at least I never have!

I'll leave you with a shot of the patient, listening to Howard Jones on her iPod (yes, along with appropriating my comic books from the 80s, she's also appropriated my 80s music) as she ate her orzo in chicken broth and a slice of apple bread for dinner, sitting at the table with the flowers:

Here's a close up of the flowers, because they're beautiful enough to warrant their own close up. Despite being meant for Kiddo, they really brightened up my afternoon!

At least they'll be something to look forward to when Kiddo invariably wakes up too, too early again tomorrow and wants me to get up, too...
or maybe I could just put the Garfield DVD in now and let it run so that it's playing when she gets up...


Ann said...

Best wishes to you guys as you get thru this! (you know I mean the 1000 showings of My niece had surgery for strabismus, and it really did help her. I can't imagine how scary it would be to have your child in surgery, no matter how "simple" or "routine" it was. Glad she's doing well.

Teresa said...

Hi Sweet Smiths! Glad recovery is going well. Just think, with double vision, she's getting twice as much Garfield as you . . . . and still needs more! Maybe it speeds healing. hee hee

As for eye drops. if you don't mind some "pro" advice . . . for the kids at work, I give them a baby doll with blinking eyelids, and a bottle of saline. I have the child put drops in the baby while i help baby hold her eyes open (since they close automatically when you lay the doll down.) Then, once the patient gets the hang of it, I asked them to do it without my help. Or for some kids, I even make the doll wiggle, turn away, scream, carry on (usually with phrases the patient's been using!) A little role-reversal goes a long way. some kids get the idea quick, and tell the doll "hold still, please" or "your job is to open your eyes." you can also coach: Wow! It's hard to get the drops in when baby is wiggling and closing her eyes! Why do you think she does that? What can we do to help baby hold still? What will help baby to keep her eyes open for the drops? This gives the child a chance to practice her coping skills vicariously. Then just prompt her to use them when it's her turn to get the drops.

Hope that helps, good luck!

Anonymous said...

Didn't you know? The eyedrops are made of Fairy Eyelashes! Which is much more expensive than mere Fairy Hair. Because, obviously, harder to pluck out those lashes from a screeeching fairy than to simply collect the cast-off hair.

That's why fairies hate drug makers.

On a more serious note, I hope for a brief and less screamy convalescence for you and for sweet Kiddo!

Creative Junkie said...

I love how you find the humor in this entire situation!

I'm so glad the surgery went well and she's recuperating. And if that bottle has George's cell phone number in it, I'm going to be all over it.

Crazy Sister said...

Did you ever see the Friends episode where they have to gang up to get eyedrops into Rachel?

Givinya De Elba said...

Still thinking of Kiddo as she recovers, but also of her parents! I really feel for you with the eyedrops. I think Anna-Lucia nearly re-opened my c-section scar the other day when I was trying to wash her hair. God forbid we ever have to put eyedrops in her eyes. We'd need to put her under general anaesthesia. And how the heck would we get THAT into her in the first place?

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Forget the pen, that paper clip is HAWT!

Hope the kiddo is all better soon!