A Cog in the Wheel

After stressing out and obsessing over Lola’s surgery for three months, we were raring to go early Wednesday morning – 5:30 in the morning to be precise. I can’t explain to you just how scared we have been…terrified that there would be some complication involved in her procedure, leaving her with lifelong impairment, etc. I’ve been researching everything pertaining to this surgery for over a year….I’ve scared myself into oblivion on so many levels. But we decided to go ahead – we signed consent – as we feel it is the best possible choice for our daughter.

We were having the surgery done at the Foothills Hospital, rather than the Children’s Hospital, due to the fact that the Foothills has an Interoperative MRI that ACH doesn’t have. We were then to be transported to ACH with some of her surgical team (Anesthetist, etc.), to recover in ICU.

That didn’t happen. In fact, none of it happened. My sister flew out from Ontario to help us, and to offer moral support. She flew home the next day. The surgery was cancelled – just like that.

It didn’t even occur to us that this was a possibility, as it was never mentioned in any of our pre-op meetings, nor in our pre-op phone conversation the afternoon prior to surgery. No mention. So we were flabbergasted when “someone” (she didn’t introduce herself) marched up to the stretcher, whic was occupied by me and Lola, and said, with a smile on her face “Well, I guess you knew it was a possibility. Surgery’s cancelled. No bed for her in ICU.” At this point I wasn’t capable of speech. We were sitting outside of the MRI suite/Surgical suite. I had just signed consent for the MRI, and was still crying as I said goodbye to my daughter for the umpteenth time that morning. There are no words to describe how painful this has been.

At this point, Steve and I shut down. Lola started screaming because she hadn’t eaten in 14 hours, and had been amazing through all the pre-assessment (she slept, in fact). Height, weight, blood pressure, blood cross-matching, questions, endless forms, admission information, temperature, more endless questions. For nothing. We had been up since 4am, since that’s the time that we needed to give her her meds. Now it was 8:00 am. Where we were silent, my brother and sister were not. They demanded answers. It was absolutely ridiculous. Apparently the recent flu outbreak bumped us from our ICU bed. We weren’t angry about that at all – it happens. I’m actually just sad to think about a little one being so sick in the night that they are moved to the ICU – the thought is terrifying. We were upset with the way we were treated. Basically, it was “No bed – we’re done with you.” At some point, we were labelled “very upset” and a manager was brought in to give us paperwork to fill out. The woman who informed us was defensive and unapologetic. “You have to expect that in a city of this size…blah blah blah.” She said that “someone” was supposed to have called us yesterday to let us know it was a possibility. Nobody would take ownership.

So we’re trying to put this all behind us, and forget about what our sweet girl had to endure – for nothing. We’re trying to move on from focusing on the negatives, like Aunt Paula being out 1000 dollars in airfare, not to mention two days off work – for nothing. And don’t even get me started on the tremendous amount of stress this has caused us…..leaves of absence from work to be changed, childcare issues, schooling, bus, etc. But I digress. I don’t want to waste anymore energy.

Our surgeon was great – explained the situation, tried to pull strings to get us a bed – to no avail. He was honest, and he was human. It was refreshing. He agreed to find us the next possible date for her surgery – which will be January 22, 2013. Of course, if the flu outbreak continues, this will change. Now we fully understand this possibility.

So we are focusing on good things – family and friends who are there for us, near and far, praying, sending messages, and loving our girl. Whether they’re sitting with us, or going for Starbucks runs (Thanks, Uncle Sean), or reading updates on Facebook with worry weighing heavily on their minds, they’re supporting us in many ways. We are counting this time as “bonus” time with Lola who isn’t post-surgery, feeling awful, etc. – she’s doing butt-busters on her bed, and throwing her toys around the place. And don’t get me started on the snuggle-time. Pretty awesome. Liam was so very excited to see us when he got off the bus – it was amazing to see his face light up. So there we are – trying to find the good stuff.


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4 Comment

  1. Prayers for today…

  2. It truly was an unbelievable situation and the lack of compassion from the unknown lady was truly shocking. Gill forgot to mention that the Neurologist himself had to escort us from the operating room doors. It is sad to think that another small person was sick enough to need an ICU bed but It could have been handled so much better. Thought and prayers are going strong tonight and tomorrow as you all venture back to ACH in the morning. And while I couldn’t be with you person I’m with in heart and soul.

  3. They say that truth is stranger than fiction. There’s no hyperbole here; what Gillian wrote actually happened, and it was shocking to watch. Ever since Lola got sick, I’ve noticed that people in the medical profession fall squarely into two camps: those who show true compassion and empathy for their charges, and those who perform their required tasks with a robotic disdain. This case was clearly the latter.

    • Totally agreed Sean. Funny that was a conversation I had today too. I don’t think, from 3 provinces away, we can fully realize the extent of it all. My heart just broke for you guys when I found out. Tomorrow’s going to be a good day! Love you guys. xo

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