Quick version in case you don't want to read this whole post: Catelyn is doing very well and says "I love my new tongue."
Papa, Catelyn and I left at 5 AM Wednesday morning to drive to Sacramento for the surgery at Sutter Memorial Hospital. She was scheduled to be the first surgery of the day at 7:30 so things went smoothly. The hospital was a little hard to find, down some pretty narrow streets in a nice neighborhood.
We checked in, signed paperwork, Catelyn was weighed and measured. She was a little concerned that she was at the hospital. She'd had some trauma at the doctor's office recently so she's been pretty scared of being seen by doctors. I told her that Dr Evans (she asked if he was Uncle Evan) was going to help her tongue not be stuck anymore and we were at the hospital so the nurses could help him.
We were walked over to the patient room where Catelyn had a bed w/ a child's gown and pajama bottoms waiting. She also had a brand new Diego tree house play set w/ Boots, Dora, Diego and horse figures to play with. There was a wonderful lady named Monique there who was a child specific counselor to help the children feel calm and safe. She explained about the tools the nurses were using to check Catelyn's heartbeat, look in her ear, etc. She was so nice and it helped Catelyn feel calm. They also brought Catelyn over a little DVD player to hold on to and watch while nurses came in and out to talk to me.
The nurses, anaesthesiologists and I decided to give Catelyn a medicine before the surgery that basically makes her forgetful so that she won't be scared and won't remember having been away from me during the surgery. After she had taken it the anaesthesiologist came over and asked Catelyn what her name was. She started to spell it but got confused after "C". I told her she didn't have to spell it, but what was her name? She said "Catelyn" and the doctor was impressed that she could remember that after taking that medicine. Just before it was time for her surgery Monique let Catelyn choose a toy to take home from a huge box that she brought over. Catelyn chose a flower shaped bug catcher w/ tweezers and a magnifying glass. Here is a picture of her w/ it, taken from my phone.
Dr Evans came over and said everything was ready to go so they wheeled Catelyn over to the operating room. We were told that it should be a very short procedure, probably around 20 minutes and then we would go over to the recovery room where it would be around 45 minutes for her to wake up. Dad and I hopped over to the cafeteria for a quick bite and then went to the waiting room.
Dr Evans came in at 8:10 to say that she was done and everything had gone well. I asked a few questions about if she would be in much pain, diet restrictions, tongue exercises, etc. Basically she should eat mostly soft food the first day, nothing crunchy like Doritos, take Tylenol when needed and let her rest and take it easy the rest of the day. He told us to sit tight until the anesthesiologist got her settled in the recovery room and they called us back there.
About 8:20 the anesthesiologist (who was pediatric specific btw) came to walk us over to the recovery room. He told us that the procedure had been a bit more substantial than he had anticipated so they had put Catelyn "further down" (asleep). She was fully asleep and had an IV as well as a tube to keep her mouth open and her tongue down. I wasn't prepared for the way she looked.
She was perfectly fine, I just had never seen any of my kids w/ an oxygen mask after a surgery. Lydia's surgery they let her wake up quickly and brought her to me afterwards. Catelyn stayed deep asleep like this until 9:00 when the nurse tried to gently stimulate her awake. She raised the bed, took her mask off, removed the tube in her mouth, stroked her forehead. Catelyn wasn't stirring. 10 minutes later the nurse decided to take her IV out, which forced Catelyn to rouse. She was really groggy and it took another good 10 minutes to get her dressed and sitting up.
When it was time to go, the recovery nurse brought Catelyn (Papa was carrying her) into a room w/ shelves full of stuffed toys and had her chose one to take home for herself, and also one for her baby sister. She chose a large pink flamingo and the nurse gave her a little pink bunny for Lydia. We had to get a bag to carry all of the toys and presents that Catelyn got while at the hospital.
On the drive home Catelyn was playing w/ her "new tongue" and learning to do new things with it. She said "The hospital helped me. My tongue's not stuck anymore." Since then she has started to learn how to "click" with it but is still learning that the tip can be lifted up to touch her top teeth. She's feeling good and doing well. If you made it this far, thanks for reading!