Sunday, February 18, 2007

Little Doctors and Golden Pigs

We were out of the house for almost 9 hours today! And the kids still managed to be on good behavior. Amazing!

The day started with daddy making waffles (yay!) and then mass, during which the kids behaved incredibly well (yay!). We hit lunch after and then headed on to The Children's Hospital for the Skippy Pre-Op program. Skippy is the kangaroo mascot of the children's hospital at Brackenridge in Austin, and I am incredibly impressed by the facility and by the care taken to make these kids comfortable. The tour started with the coordinator and assistants taking all the kids and parents into a room with a doll dressed in scrubs. We all got a tub of goodies -- stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, air mask, oxygen mask. The guide explained what everything did and the kids got to play with all the stuff. Then we are all given the scrubs, shoe covers, mask, and hair cover. Yes, even mom and dad! After that, the tour began.

Here we are all. Don't we look medical?

Chenchen's surgery is scheduled for March 2, and from what I could tell, we were the only family in the group with an overnight (possibly 2 night) procedure. So I had lots of questions (yes, there is a shower in her room! yay! I don't do well with grunge ... unless I'm on a book deadline).

The tour took us first to the Panda area where we'll meet with the nurses, docs and support staff for the checking of vitals, etc. There were all sorts of toys around and CC so wanted to play on them RIGHT THEN. After a bit of time there, they took us to The Doors -- the place at which the kiddo parts from the parents. This is the one part that I could have been happier with. I know some hospitals give kids "sleepy juice" so that it's not so brutal when mom and dad go away. Here, though, no. But the folks assured us that it usually goes well, with the kids riding a trike or something. Fingers crossed!!!! We leave a lovey so that as she's coming out of the anesthesia, she'll have her stuffed kitty with her. And they swear that the second she starts to wake, they come and get the parents.

We went into the surgical room, and they showed on a stuffed kid-sized doll how the mask goes on (they get to choose the "flavor" of the gas) and the kiddo falls asleep. They stressed that they don't wake until the doctors say so, so that the kids don't "feel anything." I think it was that part that concerned Catherine. She pulled daddy aside and told him that she was scared for Chenchen. She's so sweet, and loves her sister so much, and she's old enough to understand ... but not fully. We had a long talk tonight and I told her about my surgeries (5! Yeesh!) and that I even had one surgery when I was CC's age. I think that helped a little. She understands the why, but it's hard not to be scared. Goodness knows I'm a bit scared, too. But at least I've got years and experience to temper that against. Hard when you're 5. And CC, bless her, doesn't get it at all yet.

After the surgery room, we went to the "wake up" room, at which point we gave back the scrubs (but got to keep the rest). CC kept patting the gurneys, and was fascinated by the IV tube, so I'm hoping these are all good signs. I guess we'll know when we know.

Please keep the good thoughts coming!

Here's another pic of Doctor Catherine and Doctor Isabella

After the hospital, we finished up with Chinese New Year at a local asian market. I cannot believe I forgot to take pictures! The kids got their faces painted and got many balloons (I must remember to post yesterday's balloon story). And we ate good food and saw a really cool martial arts exhibit! Catherine was so excited because she's in the Black Belt Club now (which means she's working toward it, not that she has it.) Tomorrow, she tests for her yellow belt. I think I posted this pic already, but here she is right after she got her half-step up orange:

And then home, where don and I vegged with an episode from Buffy Season 6 (**not** a stellar season, at least not yet) once the kids were in bed.

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