Donavon was a great navigator. He loves maps now that he knows how to look at one! He pointed out roads and landmarks. He also pointed out all of the White Castles along the way. (We don’t have one in Fort Wayne and on his very first trip to Riley, we stopped at one on the way home. Joe and all three kids had their very first White Castle’s experience!!! They loved it!!!)
When we got to Riley Children's Hospital, we were a bit early so we decided to take our time and walk around a bit. We found the gift shop and we also found McDonalds right next to the Cafeteria. Very cool! Downstairs, in the lobby, there is a huge water fountain which, if you sit around it long enough, makes you have to pee. J Finally, we took the glass elevator up to the Main Stay Surgery department and checked in. Apparently, we were the last ones for the evening. They asked all the questions and had Donavon weighed and put into a gown. Then we waited… and waited… and waited. With Donavon’s anxiety, we talked about the surgery off and on and when he became too emotional, we would pray, me and then Donavon.
They brought in some water for Donavon because they didn’t want him to get dehydrated, and then informed us that Dr. Cain was running behind. At that point we were shooting for 7pm. We weren’t upset by the change of plans. By all means, we understood that there were complications or delays in the surgery prior to Donavon’s and that pushed back schedules.
(Side Note: TV doctors are NOT real. Doctors going from patient to patient with no breaks are totally phony. After being in surgery, they have to take a break. They have little lives in their hands and I wanted our doctor well rested before he began working with my son!)
The tough part about waiting so long was that Donavon had not taken his afternoon meds so he was beginning to ‘rebound’. For those who are not familiar with this term, it is the act of bouncing back from his medicated state. When Donavon rebounds, he gets emotional, moody, anxious, and clingy among other things. The staff in the surgical unit was great. He ended up with about half the treasure chest… A new beanie bear, two painting windows, two coloring books, crayons, a car, and a bunch of stickers! We also were told that all the TVs had DVD players so we brought 4 movies from home. Thus began the 3 days of Super Hero Squad, the TV series. In between distractions, we prayed and cuddled.
7:15pm and here comes the nurse with some medicine and a rolling bed! The meds were to calm his nerves! AMEN! After about fifteen minutes, Donavon was on cloud nine. Giggling, smiling and talking, a lot of talking. He was still nervous and we prayed.
At about 10 till 8, the OR nurse came in with the anesthesiologist and they told us they were ready for Donavon. We prayed and Donavon gave me a hug and a kiss. Then they wheeled my baby away. It had been a long day and now it was finally here. He was now in God’s hands, and the surgeon’s.
I sat for a second after they wheeled him off. The nurse came in and startled me out of my daze. She told me I needed to get my stuff and go eat and then head to the waiting room for the OR nurse to call me. I had small suitcase with both of our clothes, my purse, his book bag, and a train case with toiletries. That was a lot for just me to carry, and was awkward to lug around Riley at 8 o’clock at night. I headed for a burger and a coke since I didn’t eat lunch out of respect for Donavon and his fasting. I got the food to go and headed for the waiting area on the second floor. It was above the waterfall. The first thing I did was eat. In between bites, I set up my computer so that I could inform Joe of Donavon’s progress. I had been in touch with him off and on with the computer but reception was not great in the waiting area of Surgery. Now I had a good reception. I loved video chatting with him over the week. It helped us feel close and helped Donavon with anxiety!
At 9:30 I finally got the first call from the OR nurse. She apologized for taking so long since they try to call every hour. She first told me that Donavon was a trooper and wanted to hold her hand. Before they put him to sleep, he looked up at her and asked her if she would pray with him because he was a little nervous. When she said that, I quietly shed tears of pride and joy for my little man. All on his own, he trusted God and thanked him for the nurses and doctors. She said, when they put the mask over his face, he giggled and went to sleep. At that point, they began the work of inserting IVs and giving Donavon a similar procedure as an Epidural, called a ‘coddle’ so that he would not feel anything. All went smoothly and Dr. Cain was now working on Donavon. I have to admit that I was floored by the way God kept him calm and that he was a witness, even on the OR table.
Off and on I chatted with Joe and my mother to pass the time. I played on the internet and went down to get some coffee from McDonald’s. I prayed and did everything I could think of to stay awake. I got the second call at almost 11pm. She apologized once again for calling late. The report was as follows:
Dr. Cain had scoped out Donavon’s bladder and kidneys. There were some complications. (My heart sank. The surgery was only supposed to be 2 hours total. We were going on 4 hours.) Donavon was okay but they had to change some plans and do some things differently. At ll o’clock they were trying to finish up and Donavon would be in recovery as soon as they start to close up. Dr. Cain would come out and talk to me in detail about what took place.
I held back tired emotion and prayed, thanking God for keeping his hand on Donavon and the surgical team. Then there was more waiting. About 11:30pm, Dr. Cain came out of the elevator and walked over to where I was sitting. He shook my hand and sat down in front of me.
Donavon is doing fine and they should be calling me back to recovery area real soon. He started the procedure with a scope of his kidneys and bladder to see exactly what they were working with. The wall of a bladder is supposed to be smooth and slippery like the inside of your mouth. Donavon’s was inflamed and scarred and looked like basket weave. Because of that, he had to reinsert his ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder) behind the bladder where the bladder wall was not as scarred. This took longer. He inserted two stints as well and tightened the opening of the bladder. He removed the fluid pouches and last but not least, opened up the entry of his penis so that he could urinate more smoothly.
As soon as I shook Dr. Cain’s hand, I called Joe and relayed the message to him and then to my parents. They did not finish with Donavon until after midnight (the resident closing him up and the anesthesiologist beginning to wake him up plus whatever else they have to do to finish up) and called me back into the recovery room. Donavon was the only child in a large room that looked like an ER with beds and cribs and equipment set up at stations lining all four walls and a big nurse’s station in the middle. The lights were mostly out except the entrance lights and the lights above the nurse’s station. Donavon was groggy and not moving much but definitely awake and (as the nurse informed me) started talking to her as soon as he woke up.
About 15 minutes later, they checked his stats for the last time and packed up his IV and monitors to take him to his room. I was grateful to be able to get into the room that we would be in for the rest of our stay. Off we went to the 9th floor!