A thick white envelope plopped through my letterbox this lunchtime. I rightly suspected it was from the hospital and would have the contents of Wriggles' upcoming operation in it.
Dear Parents or Guardians,
Please bring Wriggles to be admitted to Ward 1a, new Victoria Wing as an in-patient on:
DATE: 21st August 2012
**WRIGGLES WILL BE ADMITTED FOR AN ANAESTHETIC/RESPIRATORY REVIEW AND WILL HAVE PEG INSERTION AND BRONCHOSCOPY ON THE MORNING OF WEDNESDAY 22.8.12. SHE WILL NEED TO STAY IN HOSPITAL FOR A FEW DAYS FOLLOWING THE PROCEDURE**
Please make sure your child has had a bath the evening before and that finger and toe nails are short and clean. Please arrange transport home BEFORE admission. It is not suitable to take public transport.
Accompanying was a thick booklet describing about anaesthetics. Most of it I knew anyway from having gone through the finer points with consultants and nurses. It sent a chill through me though.
THIS IS REAL.
This is happening.
The bit I am a bit less fine about in the anaesthetic.
Obviously, it HAS to be done. Obviously I want Wriggles 110% comfortable and blissfully ignorant to what is being done and investigated. But it terrifies the living daylights out of me.
I am confident in the skill of all those involved and I know that general anaesthetics are very low-risk and that thousands of people a year receive them, from neonatal to the elderly, and that it is incredibly rare complications happen. I know that people every year in acute states of illness are operated on successfully and laugh in the face of anaesthetics. I am also just hyper aware that we have already been warned that the risk has increased from this recent admission, putting us in an area where in an ideal world, the surgeons would rather wait quite a while. I know provisionally a space is being reserved for us in PICU in case either something happens under anaesthetic (mostly likely a respiratory arrest) or Wriggles becomes rather too friendly with the ventilator once the anaesthetic wears off. I am so scared that we might end up in PICU again and that once more, my baby girl might be tested to her limits. I have spent nearly three weeks with her in a sedated state, and I have no wish to do so again. More to the point, I have no wish for her to be in that state as long as she lives.
Next week, is not going to be a walk in the park.