My brave toddler went for surgery to remove an abscess from her left forearm just 11 days before her second birthday. Such a brave warrior!
The timeline went like this:
10 March: She gets bitten by a mosquito and starts to scratch the bite. The skin around the bite starts to thin and even bleeds a few times as she’d unconsciously scratch the bite at night.
15 March: We notice that the wound(s) where the bite was started to harden and swell up. Kevin even managed to drain a bit of pus from the area before dropping her off in school that day. When we picked her up, the area had already swelled up considerably – it was hard, red and felt warm to the touch. We rushed her to the GP that night and she was diagnosed with cellulitis and given Augmentin to fight off the bacteria infection.
18 March: The swell only got bigger, and harder. We decided to bring her to KKH A&E to get it checked out because it was worrying as the oral antibiotics we had been giving her religiously didn’t seem to be working. The doctors immediately suggested admission so that Valerie could be put on IV antibiotics as soon as possible. I then asked if there was any other oral antibiotic that we could try first because I wanted to avoid anything too invasive. The doctors agreed, but asked to mark out the swell so that we will know if it had grown, or not. So we left with another oral antibiotic (Cephalexin) that was seemingly stronger, and an appointment to see the specialist in two days.
20 March: The night before we were due to see the specialist, we had already decided to admit Valerie for surgery as the swell GREW despite changing antibiotics. The surgeons who saw her in the outpatient clinic agreed surgery was necessary too. And so with a heavy heart, we had to do what was necessary to rid our dear girl of this horrible bacteria infection.
This was how bad the swell was upon admission. Notice how the skin was stretched thin already due to the amount of pus in her arm.
(Bad photo because it was a really quick shot. I barely used my phone that day as I wanted to focus on her 100%.)
So the swell suddenly burst open while I was playing with her and sticky pus flowed out. Nurses didn’t do anything but cover it with gauze as she was due for surgery soon.
Napping before going down to the OT. She was scheduled to have surgery at 5pm but the porter came to take us down at 4pm.
After what seemed like an hour-long briefing that had me signing a gazillion forms, we were finally gowned up! So thankful I was able to accompany Valerie ALL the way until she was put under GA.
Note: Extremely impressed and immensely grateful for the compassion of KKH’s OT nurses who were not only a calming presence for my two-year-old, but for me too.
1. They were always smiling and cheerful, from the moment they greeted us, till I was wheeled up to the ward with her lying on me.
2. The waiting room we waited in for about 15 minutes while the OT was being prepped was a HUGE playroom. I did not expect this one bit, but Valerie waltzed in and made herself right at home. There were cars she could sit in, toys she could play with, and cartoons she could watch. She was so happy and relaxed! I started to relax too. (Thank you thank you thank you KKH, for being patient-centric.)
3. My first impression of the OT was it being a cold scary place. Heck, it was my very first time being in one! But the nurses were reassuring and played with Valerie while they were setting her up (she was sitting on my lap). They were even blowing bubbles at and with her! Then… She was slowly given the chocolate-scented GA mask and gently drifted off. The nurses carried her off me and I (reluctantly) left the OT.
My heart shattered, but I had to be strong and not breakdown.
I can’t begin to describe the worry and anxiety that almost suffocated me while she was in surgery. I could barely eat and my legs felt like led. I was drenched in cold sweat and trembled from head to toe. I only got through it with God’s supernatural strength. Thankfully, she was out in around 45 minutes.
Poor babe had difficulty waking up from the GA, though she tried her best. I sat there, all gowned up, rocking her and singing to her for about 1 hour post-surgery. In the end, I carried her and was wheeled up to the ward.
(Quick shot for memory’s sake.)
She was very groggy upon waking up. Drank a little milo, though she threw most of it up. Went back to sleep shortly after.
But after a 2 hour nap, she was back to her chirpy self and enjoyed (read: gobbled) the pandan chiffon mini cakes I bought for her from Prima Deli. Oh, how my heart sang with joy at seeing her be her cheeky self again!
21 March: My brave trooper was discharged from hospital after the first dressing of her wound!!
It was such a journey. But she walked out of the hospital with a testimony to tell of the goodness of God, and so do all of us. Praise God for His limitless strength and unconditional grace!