This past Sunday night, I set my alarm to 3:45am and 5:15am. 3:45am was my last opportunity to feed Ruby before her 8am surgery (no more milk after 4am). We had to be at Sick Kids to register her by 6am.
When the alarm went off, we did a quick transfer from crib to car seat. Ruby woke up briefly to say bye to Dad who reluctantly was flying out on a business trip the same day. (Ruby’s surgery was booked very quickly, without much warning of timing). My mom, Jane, came down to be with us for the week.
It was a beautiful sunrise. We sailed across the Gardiner as if it were a completely different city. It took us 16 minutes to get from our door to theirs. 16 minutes!! For anyone who doesn’t know Toronto, that’s insane. In traffic, that same route is a solid 45mins to an hour. Okay… enough Toronto traffic talk.
After registering, we went up to the second floor and waited to be called for our pre-op prep. Little Roo slept in her stroller while Gramma and I tried to eat some breakfast. By 7am, Ruby was in her hospital gown, weighed, and prepped. We were brought to the intake room where Ruby got her own crib, complete with toys, to wait for Dr. Tehrani (our amazing ophthalmologist) and the anesthetist.
Dr. Tehrani explained that she would be doing one of two surgeries — a goniotomy or trabeculotomy. Both relieve pressure in congenital glaucoma, but goniotomy is performed from the inside, vs. the outside. As I understood it, goniotomy is a little less invasive, but less popular with Aniridic eyes because it’s a little more complicated with their unique and unpredictable structures. I can lay out all these technical names, and try to explain them, but there’s really not much point in that. I’m not a doctor and can’t pretend to be. All I can do, and all I could do in that moment, is trust.
It’s that trust that made me feel confident when the gentle and kind nurse carried Ruby off to the OR. Gramma and I both gave Ruby snuggles and a kiss as we handed her over. As I told my mom when we left, I wasn’t sad, but I was emotional. I spent a lot of time repeating myself, telling her that I was happy Ruby was getting surgery. I was happy she was getting the help she needs, instead of feeling that helplessness I felt when no one acknowledged something was wrong.
We had two hours to wait for the surgery, so we walked to Queen’s Park to take in some nature. No joke. We saw a huge falcon (maybe large hawk?) perched in one of the windows. We also saw a billion squirrels who are far too comfortable with humans. No wonder the falcon likes it there.
At 10am, we sat waiting for Ruby’s status to change from “IN OR” to “IN RECOVERY”. There’s a big screen there where you can see where your child is at all times — pretty neat. At around 10:30, we were able to see her.
She was very hungry and drowsy. I immediately fed her and listened to the debrief. They were able to perform the goniotomy. There was minimal bleeding. It went as well as they’d hoped. Good news.
While Ruby was out, they also confirmed that the pressure in Ruby’s right eye is higher than we’re comfortable with, so she’ll need the same surgery in that eye too.
We’re letting her heal first, of course. At our check-up this morning, Dr. Tehrani was happy that there is no infection and no bleeding. Ruby was happy to have her eye shield removed. We’ll be back at Sick Kids in a week to talk what’s next.
Before we left Sick Kids, we visited the Family Center where Ruby was given her own string of Bravery Beads. Each Sick Kids patient gets a coloured string (colour coded by primary reason for visits), beads that spell his or her name, and subsequent beads for each procedure or visit at Sick Kids.
Ruby already has a pretty good little collection. It’s such a nice idea — a way for the kiddos to feel proud and strong for each accomplishment, and a way for all of us to see how far we’ve come.