Tuesday was MRI day. A long day.
Into DOSA (Day Of Surgery Admissions) at 7.30, he was, as per usual, second on the list. This time around we had a little bit of a twist, Alex’s port needed flushing. Rather than have to go upstairs after his MRI, put numbing cream on, wait for 30 mins and then be accessed and flushed, the lovely nurses in DOSA said they could access and flush his port before his MRI and then they could use his port line for the anaesthetic rather than put a cannula in his hand (which he hates). Numbing cream went on without a fuss, and while we were waiting for it to take effect we saw the lovely Doctor Claire who Alex has been seeing in ENT. We said hello, and since she was there I thought I’d ask her a quick question. Alex had surgery for grommets 5 weeks ago and has had an ear infection ever since. I wanted to know if I should take Alex to the GP to get some oral antibiotics as the drops didn’t seem to be clearing it up. Instead of saying yes yes take him to someone else not my problem, she told me to get one of the nurses to page her before Alex went in for his MRI and she would come and take a look herself!
Once the numbing cream had taken hold we went into the next door ward’s treatment room to be accessed and flushed. Alex was very good and was very patient through the whole procedure, sitting on my lap on the bed very calmly. A nurse appeared at the door and said it was time to go, so off we went to the holding bay. Sitting downstairs we said a quick goodbye to the DOSA nurse who had taken us down and Alex (who knows the routine better than I do) asked to put a sticker on blankie. When children take toys or blankets into a scan like this the staff put a sticker with their name on it just to make sure it stays with them. I said sure no worries and went to get blankie out of my bag. Only problem was blankie wasn’t there. I’m not sure I can convey here the depth of the panic that ran through me. Blankie has been one of the most important things in the world to Alex since before he was diagnosed, a source of comfort and a constant to cling to when everything else was scary and hard. Blankie has got us through a lot of tough situations and to loose her is simply unthinkable (yes blankie is a girl). Leaving Alex with his friend nurse Lyn I raced back upstairs and caught up with the DOSA nurse before she had made it back to DOSA! The only place I could think blankie might have been left was the treatment room where Alex had been accessed. Thankfully that is exactly where I found her. Breathing again for the first time in 5 minutes I headed back downstairs. Alex was chatting happily away to the nurses and was happily unaware of the drama.
Alex has a particular routine when it comes to anaesthesia, he gets to hold the mask to his face, smell all the colours (red, yellow, pink, green, purple, orange and blue), then everyone has to sing the rainbow song. Part way through the song the anaesthtist turns on the gas and he falls asleep just as the song ends. This time, for the first time, he had his port line in and the anaesthtist just attached the syringe of propofol and he was asleep in 10 seconds flat. I wasn’t aware of how fast it would be and hadn’t sung the song or really prepared him for it, he was expecting his usual routine and all of a sudden he was waking up in recovery. Needless to say that he was more than a little bit cranky when he woke up. Nine times out of ten he has a smooth wake up, the tenth one is epic.
When I figured out that he was grumpy about not having his usual routine (which was tricky since he just wanted to yell and scream rather than talk) I managed to get him to sit on my lap, we gave him a mask and ran oxygen through it and sang the rainbow song. After that he calmed down a bit, some more snuggles and a bit of playschool and he was back to being happy.
As we hadn’t had time to page Dr Claire before hand I asked one of the nurses if it was possible to page her now. She actually came in in between patients(!) and had a quick look in his ears. She said to keep up the drops on one side for another 2 days and took a swab of the other side since it was looking a bit nasty. We had an appointment booked for the following week so we thanked her profusely and said we would see her on Wednesday.
After ice cream, jelly and milk we were on our way home.
The waiting is never fun, but fortunately this time the wait was only a few days. Alex’s oncologist – Dr Ram – said it perfectly so I’ll quote him here verbatim;
“It’s all good, no discernible change”
Big smiles all round really
We saw Dr Claire on Wednesday, turns out that Alex has a yeast infection in his right ear, probably because he has had drops in there for so long! so we are stopping the drops and hoping that the ear will dry out and all will be well.
We’ll keep you posted