Thursday, March 12, 2009


On Wednesday Roan had surgery to remove a dermoid cyst above his right eye (you can see it clearly in this photo). Dermoid cysts are made up of hair, nail and teeth cells, and sometimes pockets of blood, fat, bone, and cartilage. All this stuff was on it's way to wherever it was supposed to go, and just got stuck by Ro's right eye instead, probably when he was in utero. We could have left it alone, but it was getting bigger, and the danger is that it will rupture, spreading these cells all over his face. Then he'd have to be on antibiotics for the rest of his life, to suppress infection, and to suppress the teeth, nails, and hair trying to grow on his forehead, cheeks, chin, etc. So yeah, we opted for the surgery.

Since he went under general anaesthesia, Roan couldn't eat for four hours before surgery. Only one parent could accompany him into the O.R., and we decided it would be Jay. They gave him this astronaut suit to put on, complete with shoe covers and shower cap, and I couldn't help but notice that of the half dozen other couples in the waiting room, he was the only dad going in. Was I really the only mom who didn't want to watch? When we took Ro down to the O.R., the nurses seemed surprised that Jay was wearing the astronaut suit instead of me - they started to tell me I couldn't go any further, but instead grabbed an extra suit for me. This made me feel even worse: like I was the only mom in the history of the hospital not to accompany her child into surgery. I'm glad I went, because the surgeon ended up being 45 minutes late, and it took a lot of effort to keep Roan from realizing how hungry he was. We passed the time by admiring the other Robot in the room - a 1.6 million dollar robot used for urinary procedures.

It was awful watching Roan go under. They put a mask over his mouth and nose, and he fought and fought and little by little the fight just died out in him, and the light went out of his eyes. I couldn't help it - I really wanted him to win this fight. I had a brief daydream where he knocked the mask out of the nurse's grip, rolled over into my arms, and we burst through the doors and escaped into the sun. Then I had another daydream where the nurse said, "I'm sorry, but your son is just too strong for anaesthesia. You can go home now." In reality, I gave him a kiss goodbye and started crying.

An hour and a half later they wheeled him into recovery, and I've never been so happy to see my baby crying inconsolably. He was so upset and confused that despite his hunger it took him three tries to latch on and start sucking. They monitored him for half an hour, then sent us home.

Here he is on Day 1:

Day 2:

What a shiner. The swelling should continue for one more day, and then we should start to see improvement. He's already scratched off his bandages, as if to emphasize the point that he is not a baby you'd want to meet in a dark alley. More recovery photos to come...

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