“Make a Hat” Day

“I can make a hat, or a brooch, or a pterodactyl.” – Johnny (from Airplane, one of my very favoritest movies ever!)

So. I have absolutely no plans to make an actual hat today. I gotta go to the bank, get some groceries, pick up the van from the shop, get ready for tomorrow’s surgery, and MAYBE go to the gym. I haven’t decided yet if a workout makes the list but I can pretty much guarantee that making a hat will not be a part of my day.

At Columbus Children’s Hospital (now known as Nationwide Chiildren’s) it was customary for children receiving services from the surgery department to get a felt hat as part of the check-in process. “Hey, we’re going to be slicing into your stomach and removing a tumor the size of Texas. There will be blood, and guts, and stitches. But you’ll be knocked out so you won’t feel a thing. And we’d like to give you this felt hat. See? Doesn’t that make it all better?” Ben received more than one hat during his tenure at Columbus/Nationwide Children’s. And he did love it. It kinda did make it all better for him. Then again, he was three.

IMG_0083_2Here he is… age three… holding a plastic sword and wearing his felt “surgery” hat. Slaying the beast. We still have at least two of these hats in our possession. See? It’s all better.

That’s actually the tag line for The Denver Children’s Hospital… “It’s all better”. I wonder who came up with that? And were they thinking about heart patients and transplant recipients and oncology kids? Or just kids with broken bones and tonsillectomies? Sometimes it doesn’t get “all better”. Or maybe they’re just referring to the new and improved facility? It is a multi-million dollar extravaganza of children’s art work and state of the art equipment. So, I guess a potential lawsuit over this tag line could be deflected by stating that “it’s all better” just means that the hospital is fancier than it used to be, not that we’ll make your kid “all better”.

So. Ben has surgery tomorrow in hopes that they’ll get the rest of that stinky tumor. It’s currently hanging out behind his heart, clinging to the pleura (the lining of the lung) and invading one of his ribs (Man! I wish I woulda paid more attention in biology!). From what I understand, partial removal of the rib will be necessary just to ensure that they get all of the affected area. I’m trying not to panic.

The receptionist at the surgical center is a ding-dong. First of all, she asked if we received the packet containing surgery info. I said no. She said she’d overnight it to me (this was last week) but I still haven’t received it. She then asked me if Ben had been to the hospital before. If he hadn’t and was scared about coming in he could attend a surgery tour. I explained that it wouldn’t be necessary because, according to the bills we’ve been receiving and trying to pay, I’m sure we’ve funded at least part of her reception area. Or at least the little rubber wrist guard at her computer, which fights off the evil carpal tunnel. I mean, really. I know she must talk to lots of people every day, but Ben is AN ONCOLOGY PATIENT. That must clue her in that he’s been to the hospital at least a couple of times.

I just got off the phone with our ding-dong “scheduler”. I hate calling the hospital because they have the WORST hold music. It’s not muzak. It’s not anything recognizable. It’s just this horrible noise. Finally, after about five minutes of listening to the “loop” I was connected with the main receptionist. I said, politely, “Surgical Center please.” Manners were not her forte, so she briskly stated “Hold” and shoved me back to the land of hideous noise. Then the next thing I heard was “Dental Department”. Seriously? The DENTAL DEPARTMENT??? That doesn’t even sound remotely like “Surgical Center”. The nice man in the Dental Department told me that they couldn’t help me but I begged them to PLEASE put me in touch with the correct person instead of transferring me back to the main receptionist. Clearly, she wasn’t interested in helping me since she was the very person who had just transferred me to the DENTAL DEPARTMENT. So, after listening to the hideous noise for a bit longer, the nice man did the job that wasn’t his and got me in touch with our ding-dong scheduler.

She acted truly surprised that I hadn’t received her overnight package that she forgot to send to me last week. So, with my monotone voice, I said, “please just verbally give me the information.” When I speak with this tone I’m just one step away from shooting-spree. Just so you know. She then informed me that this will be an outpatient procedure. We check in at 12:45. Surgery is scheduled for 2:45. It will take about three hours to resect the tumor. That puts us at 5:45. I would anticipate at least an hour in PACU (post anesthetic care unit). And then we’ll move to a step-down room for monitoring until they deem him ready to leave. And then they’ll kick us out. Just in time for bed! It would be nice to have something a little more concrete though, since I do have a second child to care for. Oh well. When I asked our nurse practitioner last week if this would truly be an outpatient procedure she told us to just plan to stay overnight.

At least we’ll get to watch cable.

So pray for our little Ben tomorrow. And pray that mom doesn’t have anymore incidents that push her closer to the edge of embarking on a shooting spree (it’s always bad when I start talking about myself in the third person).

Hopefully, they’ll give Ben a new hat. That would truly make it “all better”.

More tomorrow. 🙂 Or not.

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