Friday, March 21, 2008

Ear, nose and throat

First the throat... Sarah had her tonsils out on Tuesday and everything is fine. We got up at 5 a.m. and got to the hospital in half the time it would take at a civilized hour, just as it was starting to get light. Fun. She was kind of excited about the whole thing -- wrote things in her journal, asked lots of questions and sought reassurance but didn't seem overtly anxious. That is, until we actually got into the operating room. At Mass. Eye and Ear, they let one parent put on surgical garb and accompany the child into the O.R. and stay until the kid is asleep. Of course the OR is full of scary-looking instruments and harsh fluorescent lighting. She lay down on the operating table and the anesthesiologist -- a super-nice guy in his 30s, very kind -- explained what would happen and tried to distract her as he got ready to put the clear mask over her nose and mouth. But by this time Sarah was scared, though not struggling or protesting -- just had tears running down her cheeks and had such a sad look on her face that I immediately lost it, though I tried to maintain some level of composure for her sake. I'm choked up now just remembering the moment. Finally Sarah just started bawling as the doctor put the mask over her face, but it didn't cause a problem because it made her draw deep breaths and after abut five of those, she suddenly wound down and voila, she was asleep, snoring and flushed. The nurse told me to give her a kiss and sort of hustled me out of there, which I realized later was so they could quickly intubate her (since her airway had slackened from the anesthesia, hence the snoring), which is standard procedure but which I'm sure they do NOT want parents to see. They were very up-front before we went into the O.R., saying it can be upsetting to see your child put to sleep, and I'm thinking, yeah yeah I get it, but... let's just say there's a reason they have a nurse's aide outside the O.R. with a packet of tissues waiting. Funny thing is, Sarah and I did the exact same thing two years ago when she had an ear tube put in, and it wasn't upsetting simply because Sarah wasn't upset; she just took deep breaths like toe doc told her to and wasn't scared, but this time she remembered, I think.

The rest of the day was fine. I went back to her 10th-floor room and read for abut an hour until they called me back down to the recovery room while Sarah woke up. She was more bummed abut the IV in her hand than about her throat, although that's probably because she still had some narcotics in her system. After a while they took us back to the room, where she had the IV in all day as nurses checked on her from time to time. After a couple of hours she had a roommate, an eight-year-old girl, and they both watched Disney movies ad nauseam until about 4:30, when we got to go home, armed with prescriptions for antibiotics and a narcotic in case the pain was bad at night. We haven't had to use the heavy drugs, just lots of Tylenol. She was kind of subdued on Wednesday but yesterday seemed her normal self except for throat soreness when we missed her every-four-hour dose of Tylenol because I was on a roll with doing errands.

Now the ears. I found these three tests to gauge how good a musical ear you have. They look to see if you can distinguish between two similar-sounding individual notes, musical phrases and rhythmic phrases. It's harder than I thought -- you really have to concentrate -- and the results were surprising. I scored in about the 72nd percentile for rhythmic and musical phrases, but only the 5th percentile for adaptive pitch, though I improved to the 59th percentile when I retook the test and made use of the "replay" button to hear certain pairs of notes again. I did all the tests using headphones, which probably helps. You also have to keep in mind that the scoring is for everyone who took the test, and not the general population, so I imagine that those who took the test are more musically inclined and have better ears than the general population.

Finally, the nose. It's clogged with yet another cold in this Winter of Nasal Hell. The end.

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