05 Knocked Out
Updated: Sep 6
As a parent….Masons first general anaesthetic (GA) was horrendous to experience. From the doctor’s perspective, a textbook and well-received example, it “couldn’t have gone better”.
Mum would take him to his first scan requiring GA and I would take him to his first operation also requiring GA. Staff always offered to take Mason down to anaesthetists, but we believed the least we could do is stay close, carry him down until we had to leave him, even if it was tough for us.
I will always remember carrying Mason over to theatre for his first biopsy, letting him run around a little in the waiting area, whilst doctors ran through the procedure with me, so I could sign consent paperwork before being called up. Staff met us fully suited up.....covid has made everything a little less personal and you could have mistaken them for just stepping off a space mission with their breathing apparatus and helmets, I'm thinking jeez…he’s only having a biopsy?
Entering the anaesthesia room, we were met with 3 staff including the surgeon and anaesthetist, then catching a glimpse into the operating room, seeing another team of medical staff waiting, was impressive yet overwhelming how much attention our little man would receive. I sat down next to the surgery bed with Mason in my arms, talking to him making sure he kept his bunny comforter in his hand. Doctors briefed me that when they would administer anaesthetic through the cannula in his hand, that it would act fast and if I could then help by lifting him onto the bed that would be my job done.
So.... Propofol injected and in no more than 4-5 seconds, Masons pupils swiftly dilated and his eyes rolled back……..he was gone!
I quickly stood up, supporting his head and transferred him over to the bed so staff could attach breathing apparatus and various sensors. I kissed the side of his head as the oxygen mask was being attached and proceeded to walk out of the room. My part was done and now all we can do is wait, coffee and breakfast were the next priority of the day now. But… as the doors closed shut, it solidified the fact I was leaving him, walking away, as he’s lying there, unconscious and there is something unbelievably unnatural and heart wrenching about this.
Such a tiny person on an adult sized bed, tubes galore and surrounded by support machines, intentionally, all for the right reasons, all for his and our benefit, though in that snapshot moment, heart-rending to process.
Thankfully both Emma & I only felt like this the first time round & for anyone reading this who may be going through something similar, the ‘first time’ through each of these different stages was always the most challenging, we have found thereafter that we can approach with much more of a business-as-usual mindset. The following trips for scans and theatre were very casual, comparable to that quick dash to the cafe for a coffee or sandwich.
At the time of writing this post, Mason has received ten GA’s in a short space of time…we will always endeavour to stay with him through each of these different processes no matter how harrowing they may start out. After each 'knock out', he is wheeled back to us with a ward nurse, his arms stretched out, reaching for a hug and gasping to down a bottle of milk!