I'm going to try my best to recount the events of the last two weeks, but you'll have to forgive me if there are gaps in the story. You'll see why in a moment.
The afternoon following Aiden's surgery wasn't too bad as he was still somewhat out of it and would fall asleep at random times for various amounts of time. He felt good enough at one point to go for a golf cart ride around the neighborhood, so I took that as a good sign. He wasn't having much as far as food or drink since his throat was still so raw and I'm sure his stomach was probably full of anesthesia medicine. That night was a little rocky for his sleep routine since he had been out during surgery, some more that afternoon and he was still out of sorts in general.
The next morning, I took Alli to school before I headed to work while Mommy B stayed home with Aiden to help him recover. From what she told me throughout the day, he was doing awesome. He just wanted to play outside and have fun - so Mommy B took him to the park that morning. He ran around and played just like he normally does, and even though he didn't eat much of anything, he did ok with staying hydrated. The biggest thing we were worried about was having to bring him back to the hospital due to dehydration to get an IV, which is a common occurrence after a T&A. Overall it seemed like he was full steam ahead on his road to recovery, even though typical recovery time is anywhere from 10-14 days. However, that night was another rough one as he was up constantly throughout the night. We weren't sure what was causing him to wake up, but luckily it wasn't too hard to get him back to sleep pretty quickly.
I stayed home with Aiden on Wednesday and "worked from home" so Mommy B could take a break and go back to work. Well, as luck would have it he was now feeling the full effects of what had just happened to him two days earlier. He got up for the day and could barely talk. He basically just mumbled and pointed to everything he needed - which wasn't much. He wouldn't eat a thing, and would barely touch and fluids I tried to coax him into drinking. His throat hurt so bad that he wouldn’t even swallow his own spit. I spent the majority of the day wiping drool from his lip and pulling saliva out of his mouth because he wouldn't swallow it on his own. Not to mention he was also running a low-grade fever. I tried explaining to him that the more he drank, the better he would feel - even though it hurt. This also made the task of administering any medicine darn near impossible. I kept trying to talk him into it, and he just wouldn't even try. At one point in the afternoon I was so worried that his fever would go even higher and we'd end up back in the hospital anyway, I pinned him down and tried to get some medicine in his mouth… unsuccessfully. He spit it all back out and became a blubbering mess. I was right back in the Operating Room - but again I'll spare you the details.
Mommy B finally got home from work and had picked up some fever-reducing suppositories on her way. We concluded that the only way to get his fever down without him drinking anything was going to have to be the hard way. So that night after we gave them both baths, Mommy B did the dirty work and was able to get some medicine in him. It definitely seemed to help, but he was still up a few times throughout the night. I could be mistaken, but I believe this is when he started complaining that his "belly hurt." We could only conclude that he was probably still working some of the IV drugs through his system and he hadn't really eaten anything of substance since Sunday night. So each time he woke up throughout the night and complained about his belly hurting, we just told him that he was probably hungry. He obviously didn't understand that part of it, but managed to get a little sleep here and there.
Thursday Mommy B stayed home with him again and I went back into the office. He did a little better for her that day, but still wasn't eating anything. He did much better for her with drinking, so that was good. She was able to get a little more medicine in him that day to at least keep his fever at bay. After another night of crappy sleep, Tatsy took over and stayed with him on Friday while I took Alli to school. She was so cute - asking when Aiden was coming back to school because she missed going into class with him. I even poked my had into Aiden's class and told his teacher not to expect him back that week. All the kids asked me where Aiden was and if he was feeling better yet. I told them that he was definitely better, but wouldn't be back until the following week while he healed up some more.
Memorial Day weekend was finally upon us, and I was holding out that he would turn the corner that weekend. The complaints about his belly hurting were becoming more frequent, and they continued throughout the long weekend. The weather could not have been any nicer in Charleston that weekend, and it killed us all to have to be cooped up inside while Aiden healed. I think the person who wanted to be inside the least was the poor kid himself. He was doing better during the day, but he still wasn't eating a whole lot and hadn't had a bowel movement since the night before his surgery. The weekend came and went without seeing any family and barely making it outside to enjoy the weather. One day while Aiden was taking a later afternoon nap, I grabbed Alli and took her to the pool. There was nobody else there (since everyone and their Ohio mother were at the beach) so we basically got to swim around all afternoon by ourselves. It was a nice change of pace and I'm sure Alli appreciated getting out and about a little bit. During this whole process, Aiden had been getting in the habit of not only waking up in the middle of the night/morning, but also coming all the way downstairs and wanting to get into our bed. Around this time, we let it happen because the poor kid sounded like he was in serious pain and just wanted to be next to his Mommy. As a result, I often found myself sleeping on the top bunk of his bed and even taking a shower in the play/guest room bathroom so as not to bug him and Mommy B using our master bathroom. Another sad side effect of the last week is that the kid has lost a ton of weight. He was never that chubby to begin with, and now he looked like skin and bone. We can see just about all his ribs and his arms look like little noodles hanging off his torso. It physically hurts me to see him like this, but I have to keep telling myself that he'll put the weight back on soon and it'll all be a distant memory.
Monday night had arrived and it was time to get back into the routine. We agreed that even though he was only eating little bits here and there, he was acting well enough during the day to go back to school. We were hoping that this would accomplish a couple things - 1) get him back to his normal schedule, 2) get him playing and active again so he wouldn't think about things as much, 3) hopefully get his digestive system kick started. He had had a single bowel movement in a about a week's time, so I'm sure there was more in there that needed to make an exit. Well, since Mommy B had to get up early that morning and head to work, I decided to get up with him throughout the night and try to get him back to sleep on my own. After falling asleep at around 8pm, he woke up at 9:30pm, 12:30am, 2:30am, 5am, and was up for good at 7am. Each time he woke up crying and writhing around in his bed in pain, complaining that his belly hurt. At that point we tried to explain to him that he probably was stopped up and needed to poop in order to feel better. Well, this wasn't happening in his mind… so all I could do that night/morning was rub his back until he fell back asleep. Even though we were all dragging that morning, I took them both to school on my way to work. He was actually somewhat excited to get back to see his friends, and they certainly were excited to see him. He was a little clingy at first, but luckily his teacher was able to come over and peel him off me without too much trouble.
The rest of the week basically continued much the same way. He would do great at school, but would still wake up 3-4 times per night complaining about his belly hurting. It felt like we had a newborn in the house again, as everything became a blur and Mommy B and I were too tired to do much else. Towards the end of the week, he was finally eating somewhat normal portions again but still hadn't had a decent bowel movement. At this point Mommy B and I were growing concerned that almost 2 weeks had come and gone and he basically had one small poop to show for it. We were worried that his nightly troubles were because he was constipated and had become too scared to try because of how much it would hurt. So Mommy B got some laxatives to give him in hopes of softening things up so that it wouldn't hurt so much to go. Well, they didn't work - at all. I've never seen that happen before, to anyone. Here we were, pumping this kid full of food and laxatives and nothing was coming out. Mommy B and I just looked at each other and said "When he needs to go, he'll go."
The weekend rolled around and even though he still hadn't pooped, he seemed to be feeling much better overall. We decided to spend Saturday morning at the beach before Alli had a birthday party to attend that afternoon. On Sunday we spent most of the late morning and early afternoon on my parents boat, taking the kids on their first tube ride of the season. Due to the timing of it, by the time we got home it was too late to try to get Aiden to take a nap… so we just let him ride it out for the rest of the day in hopes that it would make him sleep through the night for a change. He was extra cranky that evening - mostly because Mommy B and I tried every tactic in the book to get him to try and sit on the toilet. We failed miserably, and eventually made him so sad about the whole thing that he cried himself to sleep on Mommy B's shoulder in the rocking chair at 7:30pm. She was able to get him into bed without waking him up while I put Alli to bed. Mommy B and I went to bed that night dreading what could lie before us that night/morning as we tried to rest up for another week of work, even though she had Monday off.
I rolled over at about 5:45am and realized that I he hadn't woken me up at all. I quietly got up, showered and began shaving when in walked Mommy B with Aiden in her arms. He had slept from 7:30pm until 6:30am the next morning! It was the first time he had slept all the way through the night in two full weeks! We couldn't believe it, and couldn't believe how much better he was that morning. He had a great day at school, and seemed to be just about back to his normal self - except for the no-pooping thing. Mommy B and I were cautiously optimistic that we'd get another full night of sleep since we had chalked up the night before to him being completely exhausted. But, I was shocked this morning when he didn't wake up until 6:45am - having slept a full night and never once mentioning his belly hurting.
I think it's pretty safe to assume that we're finally out of the woods. Knowing that we voluntarily put ourselves through this hasn't helped the guilt-factor either. But, I'm confident that the worst is behind us and Aiden is finally on the road to recovery. He's eating like he used to (a.k.a. stealing most of my food in the mornings) and back to his usual dirty "little brother" tricks with his sister. The biggest moment I think was when he jumped into the water on Sunday and began swimming around. I hadn't seen a smile on his face that big in what has felt like forever. It truly brightened my heart to see my Mr. Smiles again. And I will say that each night I've gone into his room to check on him before I go to bed myself, his breathing has sounded much better.
I'm not going to sugar-coat things - it's been two full weeks of hell. We haven't slept much over the past two weeks, and couldn't be looking forward to our upcoming vacation any more than we are. We've had to do things lately that we thought we'd never have to do (like kick a small child out of our bed or practically force feed him popsicles and ice cream), and things we thought we'd never have to do again (like convince a small child that it's ok to use the potty.) It hasn't helped that he's our "forever baby" and probably milked the attention for all he could get, either. There have been many tears shed in that time - some out of sadness but more out of frustration. I don't like always being the "tough parent" and it made me the bad guy on more than one occasion. There was a point when Dad-E was simply not wanted and only Mommy B would do. Talk about feeling helpless… night after night, while Mommy B drug her tired butt back upstairs to calm her sad child. But that all got washed away this morning when he came down stairs, hopped into my arms and said "You're a good daddy."
Aww, thanks Bubby.