Illogical Fear.

I have to admit that I debated whether to post about what I’m feeling right now.  After all, I’m not proud of it.  But, I can think about nothing else and so there is no use trying to fight it.

I’m scared.  Truly, abnormally, freaking-out-inside, scared over something I cannot control and really should not fear.  Logically, and intellectually there is no reason to be as afraid as I am.  Nevertheless, here it is.

My son is having general anesthesia, for the first time, when he finally undergoes an MRI of his brain on Monday.  You see?  I told you it was not a logical fear.

Because my son’s EEG was abnormal (evidencing sleeping seizures), it is standard procedure for him to undergo the MRI to rule out any physiological reason.  This is our third scheduling of the procedure as the first two scheduled dates found him with a virus and I did not want him to have anesthesia under those conditions.  The MRI is to rule out any gross anatomical structural abnormalities, like a tumor.  So, I guess what I really fear is both the anesthesia and the possible findings.

Why is this crazy woman smiling?

I know anesthesia is safe.  My son has asthma.  I’m a lawyer.  I’ve seen a lot of screw ups in my day.  But logically, I know the overwhelming odds are that he will be just fine.  That doesn’t help.  I still worry about what they are giving him, how he will react, whether it will make him sick or unable to breathe, etc…  So there is illogical fear number one.

I’m also afraid the MRI will reveal some physiological problem.  In his book, our pediatric neurologist writes, “The finding of abnormal EEG in the ASD population almost never has a structural abnormality of the brain morphology on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans obtained after the EEG is performed.”  So, it is highly unlikely anything abnormal will be found on this MRI.  But there is that ugly world “almost”.  That word scares the bejebbies out of me.  Illogical fear number two.

I know it is my job to remain calm when we go in and I know it’s not about me.  I know I have to hold him and comfort him when they give him the IV and sedate him for the procedure.  Goodness, I know many of my bloggy friends’ children have undergone actual operative procedures under general anesthesia and have done just fine.  This clear and factual information does not quell my fear.  I just cannot stop the feeling in the pit of my stomach.  My heart is racing and my mind will not rest.

I don’t want him to freak him out being over or under prepared for it. I’ve done a little bit of preparation with minimal details.  I’ve told him we are going somewhere where he will get a little needle and take a nap, and that mommy and daddy will right there when he wakes up.  He seems unimpressed and unconcerned.

Now, if only I could be…  Any suggestions?


About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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18 Responses to Illogical Fear.

  1. blogginglily says:

    Totally get this. With my first daughter I lived in near constant fear of SIDS. If i didn’t hear her regular breathing on the monitor, I was in her room checking her. Irrational fears suck.

  2. Kelly Hafer says:

    Prepare yourself right now for the when the anesthesia takes hold. I don’t want to scare you – you have enough on your plate. Just know that the sleep happens nearly instantly, he goes incredibly limp in your arms, and it IS alarming. I cried – it was just out-of-this-world bizarre and, redundancy here, like nothing we’ve experienced before. Know it’s going to alarm you. They told me, but I didn’t really understand until we saw it.

    I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed and sending prayers your way.

    • solodialogue says:

      It’s good to be prepared as a parent. I know how even though they prepare you – you are not really prepared. I will try to process this so I don’t totally freak out. Thank you for sharing and thanks so much for the prayers.

      • Kelly Hafer says:

        Note: we had something other than a gas mask. We had, believe it or not, Propofol, I swear. Spelling may be off here. So, my point is, if you have the mask instead, pay no attention to my comment. 🙂

        Also, they have numbing “lotion” that they can put on T’s arm to help with the IV. Also, request they wrap him like a burrito. It helps hold them without the workers having to be concerned with getting a little fist in their nose.

        Keep us posted.

  3. I know exactly how you feel. Getting an MRI for Little Miss freaked me out for months! We actually declined MRI’s for her the first two times they were suggested because of our fears.

    But here’s the deal… hopefully, you will get a great anesthesiologist — like the one we had for Little Miss. They have a little mask and they should introduce it to T early in your meeting. Our anesthesiologist explained the mask and even let Little Miss choose a scented chapstick to put inside to make the air that came through the mask smell like fruit. They let her play with the mask until it was time for the procedure and become familiar with it.

    When it was time to get started, they made her comfortable on a bed and gave her the mask. The gas was already flowing and it took just a couple breaths before her eyes started to droop and she went peacefully to sleep. I was with her during this part and sang her favorite lullabies. It all took about a minute. After she was asleep, they told me I could leave and I did.

    They did the hard stuff — like run the IV — after Little Miss was out. She didn’t feel a thing. There was no distress and no discomfort.

    Don’t get me wrong — I was TERRIFIED while she was under. But it came out just fine. She eased out of her sleep, had some juice, and we went home.

    Now, the MRI part — so, we did find abnormalities. Big time. And you know what? I’m glad. Because now we know. We know that what is going on in Little Miss’s head is the result of an injury and we know we’re on the right track with getting help for her. That in itself was worth it.

    You and T are gonna be fine. I know you had a bad experience with the EEG tech, but anesthesiologists are NOT techs. They are doctors with lots of training and often lots of experience to back that training up. And even if they do find something unexpected in T’s brain, I know that you will do EVERYTHING In your power to get him the treatment he needs. You have the strength and the courage to make this a happy ending, Karen and I know in my heart that’s what you’re going to have.

    Hugs and positive thoughts for you — and if there is anything you want to chat about offline, you know where to find me.

    • solodialogue says:

      Your experience and your perspective make me cry – don’t worry, it’s an appreciative cry. When I talked to the anesthesiologist, they did not tell me they would use gas – this may be because of his asthma – I don’t know… They will be putting in the IV while he is still awake. This scares me too. And you are right about the findings – I do want to know and get him everything I can to help. I cannot put it off anymore for his sake. I’m counting on your heart to be right. xoxo

  4. Julie says:

    It’s scary. Yes. I wish I could give you a way to feel calmer about this (other than hard core drugs or a lot of booze). When Dylan had a general, it went smoothly but he did wake up crying which I’m told is normal (kids freak out because they wake up someplace strange). I’ll keep you all in my prayers for a smooth MRI and normal results.

    • solodialogue says:

      Trust me, Julie, I already thought about the lot of booze part but I’m not sure how that would go over so early in the morning…;) Yes, I can handle the crying – that means it’s over and he is awake. That’s all I want. Thank you for your prayers.

  5. Jen says:

    Karen I know how you feel. It’s hard to watch your little guy go under. My guy had a minor surgery back when he was three and had the gas mask, too. They were really good about introducing it to him first so he didn’t freak out. It was a little scary to see the effects of the drug and how quickly it knocks them out. I think the waiting was the hardest part of the surgery. He did wake up crying and also threw up from the anesthesia on the car ride home. Poor kid. But the surgery was a success and I believe it helped him in the long run. I’ll be thinking of you and T in my prayers!

  6. Grace says:

    If they are going to put the IV in while T is awake, maybe they could give him some sort of sedative beforehand to make it easier? When Ryan had his tonsils out, he was wasted on “giggle juice” when they wheeled him away from me. And I fell apart a little bit, but it was perfectly fine because I had my ex-husband there to comfort me. (<–That's sarcasm, for anyone who doesn't know me.) The doctors did the IV when they got him into the OR, but he was so looped out he didn't really care.

    I don't think your fear is illogical. Not to say that anything bad is likely to happen, but as a mom you worry about your child, and that is completely natural. I'm sure you will all get through the procedure just fine, but I completely understand that you can't relax until it's over.

    Just to be on the safe side, you should probably bring a barf bucket in the car for the ride home.

  7. Lana Rush says:

    All the responses are helpful and Karla gave you a great description of what to expect. You’re going to do fine and T’s going to do fine.

    Now – as for your illogical fears. There is not a thing illogical about any of them. My goodness, it’s your duty as a mother to have these fears about your kiddos! I would be worried about you if you weren’t worried.

    Here’s what I tell myself in these situations: (You don’t mind if I talk to myself for a minute here, do you?)

    (First conversation with myself) – Yes, it’s scary to have these tests done. It’s scary to think of what the results might reveal about my child. I might find out something perfectly horrible and then what? I just don’t think I can take it!!

    (Second conversation with myself) – Yes, you can take it and you will. No matter what the test results are, at least you will KNOW. Then you can deal with it. It’s the unknowns that make things scary. These test results mean you can DO something. And you know how much better you feel when you can DO something. Now take a deep breath and let’s get ready to rummmbbble!

    You’re going to do this thing, Miss Karen. And you’re going to do well. You just watch and see.

    And know that I will be praying for you through the weekend but especially Monday morning…

  8. Lizbeth says:

    I used to work as a pediatric OR nurse before I went into management. The worst part of dealing with kids in the OR was the parents. The kids are so accepting of what’s going on and they just go “OK!” while the parents, who know what’s going on, are FREAKING OUT and rightfully so–its their baby they’re handing over for us to take care of. As parents I’m not sure how we can really deal with handing our kids over to strangers and bank they are going to take care of your child. As an old pediatric OR nurse, trust me, those guys will take care of T as if he was their own.

    For surgery, it all depended on what was being done and what Anesthesia and your MD wanted done. I can tell you that some kids go down hard and come out hard, if that makes any sense. They don’t remember it, but you do. And some kids puke after surgery. Ask for an anti-puke drug if you’re worried about that. And like Grade said, bring a bucket for the car.

    And it’s perfectly normally to be scared. I think you’d be crazy no to be. That’s you little boy….

    Hugs and I’ll be thinking of you.

  9. **ugh** I’m so sorry! I get your fear and don’t blame you for it. All things needle freak me out and don’t even get me started on anesthesia. Like you, the only thing that keeps me from losing my mind are the overwhelming statistics that really, he’ll be okay. My daughter will have to undergo an operation soon (totally routine I’m told) to remove a dermoid cyst from her eye. She’ll need general anesthesia then too, so I totally feel your pain!! But like you said, you’re a lawyer, you know what the facts are. That’s not going to stop the unwanted feelings, but I like to think a little repression goes a long way!! **lol** Good luck and I hope things turn out as best as possible for you both. Not just for the actual procedure, but also in terms of the findings. Totally routine results and a little guy who nonchalantly asks for ice cream or a truck or something!!

  10. Aspie Mom says:

    You’re not irrational at all. You are an adult that read the fine print and knows this is real life. You do your due diligence. Then you have to go ahead. Just like you take the car out every day.

    And I think, if you think it through, that you want all the information you can get.

    What makes me irrational is the fear of NOT getting the anesthesiologist who lets my kid get used to the mask, who wants to hold him down. The one that, when I ask if they can do the IV after, I can see in their eyes they realize it would be OK, but they refuse anyway.

    (And, as someone from a drug-sensitive gene pool, I skip the drug and take my chances with the puke.)

  11. Big hugs from a fellow chronic-worrier. I know he’ll be fine, but I’m sorry that you both have to go through such a stressful thing. Keep us posted!

  12. ElizOF says:

    Hang in there, all will be well… It is a procedure that he will be handling well and our prayers go out to you and your family… Keep us posted. 🙂

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