Steve and I took a pre-surgery tour yesterday afternoon of Children's Medical Center, where Jack's surgery will be. We opted not to bring him with us, because for one he's too little to really benefit from seeing the place in advance, and also because we could concentrate better without him there.
I'm really glad we went, for lots of reasons. It helps us both to be able to picture where everything is. It also takes some of the stress away now that we know how to get there, where to park, where to check in, and all of that. We got good information about how they handle the anesthesia -- we will give Jack a raspberry flavored sedative liquid before they even put the mask on him, so he should be plenty calm and relaxed. They even put a bubblegum scented liquid in the mask so the medicine doesn't smell so bad, something I remember from when I had my tonsils out. Everything is bright and cheerful, and there are lots of good toys for Jack to play with while we wait. We can also take a pager with us so we can go to the cafeteria during his surgery, a nice option. Amazingly, the hospital employs several concierges, who can arrange anything from emergency toiletries to hotel accomodations. Steve and I agreed that it would be well worth the money for us to get a hotel room near the hospital and spend the night there. If Jack's surgery is, say, at 8:00 AM, we'd have to be there at 6:00 to check in, which would mean leaving the house at around 4:00 to make sure we got there on time. Screw that -- I'd much rather pay for a hotel room than try to navigate traffic and a cranky kid who we can't give any breakfast to on a day that we're already stressed. Steve joked that we should ask the concierge a lot of questions about whether or not the hotel has a bar, when last call is, and how often the room's mini bar is restocked.
Of course, at the same time, the tour was upsetting. The other families on the tour all had their kids with them, and the kids were all much older than Jack. Probably the next youngest one was around 3. Jack just seems so little, too little to understand all of the reassuring things that the tour guide said, for example, about your "special hospital gown." I know he'll be in good hands, but I can't help but being scared.
Oh, we also learned that the hospital's mascot, Dr. Bear, is often around to say hello to the children. That's cool. Less cool is knowing that they also have a brigade of clowns there to "cheer up" the patients. Creep us all the hell out, is more like it.