Reading Time: 5 minutes

My little angel (Alice) had to go in to hospital last week for some minor surgery. This was something that’s been on the cards for quite some time but last week it finally happened.

So, a little bit of the back story on this. When she was just a baby Alice had a couple of [what we thought at the time were] milk blisters on the inside of her bottom lip. One went but the other didn’t.

A little concerned what it was and how it might affect her speech growing up we took her to the hospital to have it checked out. They said way back then that it wouldn’t cause her a problem and it would need to be removed, but it wasn’t worth doing until she was a little older as she’d handle the minor surgery better.

And so the years went by and, as anyone who’s met Alice will contest, the “blister” certainly didn’t affect her speech at all. Phew!

At her last visit to the dentist they recommended that her mum put her on the waiting list for the surgery, which she did, and after an initial consultation a few weeks back – which showed that it was actually a cyst caused by a blocked gland – the date for her surgery soon came around: Tuesday last week.

When Alice found out about this at the dentists that time she asked me that day when we spoke on the phone if I’d go to the hospital with her; like I wasn’t going to be there?! I’d kept a half day back for this and let’s face it, even if I didn’t have the holiday I would have sorted something out with my manager so that I could be there.

The plan was: drive down early to meet Alice and her mum at the hospital for 7am, get the operation done, make sure Alice was okay and then head back home for an afternoon of work. I had no idea when Alice was going to be seen but they’d told her mum that they normally sort the children out first to save having then wait too long.

I didn’t struggle too much to get up at that silly hour of the morning and I was happy not to find a thick frost on the car which meant I could head off straight away. I had a good run down and was sitting in the car park at Medway hospital by about 6:30am, giving me a little bit of time for a quick snack and time to chill out.

I spotted Alice get out of a taxi and I headed over to the entrance to meet them, giving Alice the biggest hug and a carry for a little bit. If she was worried about what was coming she wasn’t showing it. She did mention on a number of occasions that she’d not had any breakfast and that she was hungry though 🙂

We found where we needed to be and waited for them to open properly. Alice sat and read a Cat in the Hat story – very well I hasten to add – and it wasn’t long before they were calling people’s names out to double check their details and to put their patient wrist tag thing on. It wasn’t long after that that the nurse called Alice’s name and we headed off in to the day care ward and her bed, with her name on a little white board in the shape of an elephant on it – she liked that.

We had a bit of a wait so Alice and I went to check out the toys in the play area of the ward and eventually came back with a couple of word searches she wanted to do. I say “she” but both her mum and I were asked to assist, but it was a lot of fun and it certainly helped to make the time go by a little quicker.

Both the surgeon and the anaesthetist came round to have a talk with us about what was going to happen and then the nurse put some “magic cream” on the back of Alice’s hands and covered them with special clear plasters. This in fact was a local anaesthetic, left on there to numb the area ready for the line to be put in before she went in for the surgery.

A little while later Alice got into the operating gown and just like that it was time for her to go to theatre. One of us was allowed to go to the “sleepy room” – the anaesthetist’s room – and Alice asked me to go in there with her. Because of that I had to put on a yellow surgical gown and put on some rather silly rubber shoes, which weren’t my size (too small) and were a little difficult to walk in.

Walk? We weren’t going to walk round the corridors, no. Once Alice was on her bed the nurses decided to give her a ride round the corridors, running while pushing the bed. She loved it but I must admit, with the silly shoes on I had a job keeping up, especially as I had to try and remember the way back round a load of corridors that all looked exactly the same!

Alice was looking a little bit nervous when we got to the anaesthetist’s room but while the anaesthetist and his nurse took care of putting the line into the back of Alice’s hand another nurse kept her mind off of what was going on by talking about her teddy and getting her to match the colours on the leads to the monitor pads. They did such a good job she didn’t even know that they’d got the line in!

This next bit freaked me out and I mean seriously freaked me out. They put the anaesthetic in and within a couple of seconds she was gone, eyes still wide open – there was nothing there and I mean nothing. I wasn’t expecting that and I almost burst into tears there and then. It was almost like watching my little angel pass away. Not nice and something I would sooner prefer not to have to watch again thank you very much.

All done I went back to the ward and read while Alice was in theatre. It was a little longer than they’d said, taking forty or so minutes, but when she came back she was just coming round and looking a little bit groggy. Safe though which was the main thing.

It wasn’t long after getting back to the ward that she was (1) complaining of being hungry – a good sign – and (2) keen to get on and finish the word search she’d been doing earlier as she wanted to take them in to school for show and tell, bless. I was definitely happy to see this I can tell you.

I couldn’t stay with Alice until it was time to leave because of work, but I hung around until I was certain she was okay and she’d had something to eat. After that I hit the road back home.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of my little girl. She was so brave. There were no tears, no panic, she wasn’t scared at all, and if she was she certainly didn’t show it. Love you Alice!