The Rugrat’s Back

As measured by lack of sleep and surfeit of tension, we likened the experience of Noel’s operation to the first week of parenting– but without the accompanying novelty of a new-born. Yes, the drugs DID work, but as the surgeon warned us (and I didn’t mention in the last post on this subject), his prescription to ease Noel’s pain caused constipation. By the weekend, we had a baby who was feeling less pained and was now desperate to run around, but could not be given that freedom because of the catheter and related tubes and bags – and whose unhappiness at being confined was seriously compounded by the painful inability to do a poop! (This is the kind of thing only a parent will appreciate: the sight of a baby sitting on a high chair blowing his cheeks up until they’re red, and then crying and screaming in frustration because his bowels aren’t doing what nature has taught him.) Keeping him immobile was a little like holding a kitten in one’s arms for day after day, and when we were finally scheduled to have the catheter removed on Sunday, my wife could not wait. Literally so: on Saturday morning, after another sleepless night, she called and begged to bring the appointment forward a day. To no avail.

But all’s well that ends well. The procedure yesterday was over almost before it started and when we got Noel back to the house and set him free on the floor – well, the comparison with the kitten comes back to mind. Our own cat seemed pretty pleased to have his play friend back, too. For their part, the doctors seem satisfied with how everything has gone, and we don’t have to bring him back in for over a month. Noel, who’s not so young he doesn’t know that a medic’s outfit spells trouble, will be thrilled with that news: we saw more smiles and heard more laughter from him in the first hour he was home yesterday than in the whole of the previous week.

Noel and Bixby: The Rugrats return to their natural habitat.

We know we’re far from unique in having a baby in need of surgery; indeed, just talking among my ski group, I learned that the ski instructor had a daughter require similar surgery at just five months, and another skier has a grand-daughter who went through an operation while in the womb. I’d like to pretend we weren’t unduly worried about the whole process, apart from the remote (but real) chance of something going wrong in the operating room. I’m sure that a few weeks from now most of this will all seem happily in the past – and of course, Noel himself will have no recollection of it as he grows up. (This is all, touch wood, assuming that the procedure has proven successful.) Still, it felt really cathartic to share the experience with iJamming! readers, and we do appreciate all those who sent their best wishes over the last week. Some of you I’ve know well for years, some I’ve only met online through this site. But at times like these, I feel like we’re all part of the same family. Cheers.

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November 2021