Twisted Miler
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 23, 2002
Up North
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Ok, so my daughter was having her tonsils taken out. She had been snorring like an overweight smoker for most of her 18 months so it was time to yank 'em.

TO make a long story short, we were told by our FP that it would be done in a..... (can't find the English word; patient is semi-conscious, not really knowing what's going on). It turned out that our FP was wrong; they never do that on kids that age.

So we're going down towards the OR with our little baby. They gave her some suppository that made pretty groggy but she still knew what was going on and she was obviously very nervous. SHe's starting to talk and she decided to combine the words "scary doctor".

Now, the anesthesiologist takes one look at her chubby hands and tells us she probably wouldn't hit a veinn in the first attempt and that our daughter would flip out despite the lidocain if she had to stick away again and again. So it's straight from the mask. She (the doc) looks a little worried about it and obviously that bothers me.

So our baby slug is carried on to the operation table. She looks like a little scared princess inher green gown on the large table. She starts to cry but the nurses hold her down. At that point I think we could have calmed her down but the nurses started the mask on her and now she was obviously terrified. We've all seen people go under with an i.v. anesthetic but this straight gas thing wasn't that fast and painless. She kept struggling like a fish gasping for air (for water?). Once, she almost got out of the mask and the nurse had to ask another nurse help hold her down.

Suddenly she spots us behind the nurses. She looks straight at me with a look that says "these people are smothering me and you are not helping?" Her pupils were bigger than I've ever seen them before, her little hands clenched in frightened fists.

After this my wife cried for 5 minutes with me deifnitely getting a wobbly chin and being quite shook up. And you know what, the one nurse also started to cry (this really surprised me but I think it was because of our reaction).

All this over a stupid tonsillectomy??!? Yes, and that's the point of the story......

We should never, ever forget how freaked out and terrified our patients are. Man, if she had had some cancer or something acute and life-threatening, I can't even imagine what that would have been like. I'll tell you, even after a long weary shift, I'd still prefer our side of the syringe any day.

ps. as a side note, when she came back she had cotton balls on both her feet and both her hands. I guess the the gas-doc was right when she said she couldn't find a vein in her first attempt. More like her 6th according to my count.


gainfully employed
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10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 24, 1999
The Land of Lincoln
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Attending Physician
I hope your little one is doing better.

I assisted in an appendectomy in a 10 year old boy. After the operation, the surgeon decided to just go to his call room, and let the anesthia people talk to the family (which would have taken another 1/2 hr). I thought this was terrible, so I asked if I could talk to the family (usually a no-no where I was). He said yes. The relief on the mom's face was quite amazing. All I said to her was that the operation went fine and the anesthia people were waking her son, and would let her know when she could see him. Took less than 2 minutes, but certainly well worth the effort.

Kamikaze Dino

Membership Revoked
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2001
The Great White North
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Medical Student
Having your kid operated on is scary stuff. My daughter, who's scared senseless of doctors, had to get surgery for cervical adenitis last April (she was 14 months old). It was rough for my wife and myself as well. When she woke up. she was all groggy, but being her usual little dynamo-self, she wanted to move around and was acting like she was drunk. It was sad, funny, and scary at the same time. This experience will definitely help me deal with parents during paeds rotations.
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