It has been exactly two years since my six month old daughter underwent surgery. It was and still is one of the most heartbreaking experiences in my life.
It all started when my six month old daughter was running high fever. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with her as she had no symptoms that would cause fever. First thing in the morning, I got her ready to go see her paediatrician. Thank God his clinic is near our house. I made her wear a diaper and she started howling. I thought she must be having body ache that’s why she was crying.
Her doctor, Dr. V K Khanna also couldn't figure out what was wrong with her and why she was running temperature. He told me to keep a close eye and to note if anything out of the ordinary is seen.
Once we came back home and she settled down, I thought I should give her a sponge bath, maybe she would feel slightly better. It was then when my fingers ran over her pelvic area and I left a lumpy ball. As I touched it Reya started to cry just like she did in the morning when I made her wear her diaper. The bell in my brain started to ring!
I took her to the doctor in the evening, he told us that she has got a swollen lymph node in the groin area. He said it’s very common among kids. Recently he had been getting a lot of such cases of kids who have swollen lymph nodes in their groin area, neck and armpits.
For the next ten days my baby girl was on antibiotics and off diapers. It was a rough ten days on her. But the antibiotics were not working. Her health kept deteriorating and reviving back. The lymph node kept growing in size. We also changed her antibiotics as it turned out in her reports that the current one was non- reactive. We couldn't figure out what was happening. We felt so helpless. We even got an ultrasound and they told us to continue the antibiotics.
My in laws had planned a trip to Goa to celebrate their anniversary. This was planned much prior before all of this happened.They went but I stayed back and went to my mom’s place. I got my tickets cancelled.
It was that night when my dad examined her and told me we would have to make the cut. That night was really bad. Her temperature just kept going up. Even after giving her medicine it wasn’t coming down. Me and mom kept taking turns and rocking her to sleep and doing patti to break the fever.
We somehow made it through the night. The first thing in the morning, I packed my bags and left. I went straight to the doctor. I was so grateful he saw patients on Sunday. He referred us to another doctor. A paediatric surgeon who was his colleague Dr. Rajeev Kulshrestha who practiced at Sir Gangaram Hospital.
After I fixed the appointment, Monday first thing in the morning we went to see Dr. Rajeev Kulshrestha.
After examining her, he asked, when was her last feed? I told him it was around 9:30am. He told me not feed her anything as she needs to be prepped for surgery.
My heart sank but I knew it was the only way she would make it. I looked at my husband with such worry but he said “let’s do this!” The doctor told us that such cases are very common and he has been performing a lot of such surgeries lately.
All we had to do was wait for our turn. We were sitting there in the waiting hall and we were surrounded by small kids who all come in for something or the other. We finally were called to prep for surgery. I had to change and wear an OT gown as I would have to go in and be with her post surgery. Only mothers were allowed inside. I not only prepared but prepped myself mentally saying “you can do this Aditi.” “YOU GOT THIS!!”
Surprisingly Reya was very cooperative. She didn’t ask for any milk. She somehow pulled through. I kept soothing her and rocking her throughout the entire afternoon.
We were then moved to another floor and were again made to wait as they took my little baby girl in for surgery. As the OT technician took her in, he carried on his shoulder. She smiled at us as she went inside. I could feel my throat dry and my eyes filled with tears. All I could do was be patient and pray to God that everything went well. Me and my husband both exchanged looks and we both felt numb.
About an hour later the nurse came to us and called me. She told me to follow her to the recovery area. As I entered, there was a huge room with about 10 -12 beds full of patients recovering post surgery. I kept walking by all of them one by one and finally halted when I saw Reya lying on the bed with drip attached to her hand. She had covered her face with her arms and she was howling.
I could only feel pain in my chest as I carried her and hushed her. Even though they said only mothers were allowed, knowing my husband, he somehow managed to make his way through and came to see his little baby. I still remember he held my face and told me “You’re doing great! Hang in there.” I think that's all I needed to hear to pull me through for the rest of our time there. It took almost an hour to make Reya stop crying and to settle her down.
The doctor came to see us, he told me you have one really tough baby and she was really cooperative. He also said that it was good we didn’t delay the surgery. He cleaned out all the puss and infection. I let out a huge sigh of relief.
After that we were moved to another room. I finally got to eat some food. I went the entire day without food, how? I have no idea. I guess motherhood gives you this magical power that eventually helps you overcome everything and anything.
Reya was discharged by 9:30pm. They told us to keep her on diapers as they area shouldn’t get wet. We were told to come and see the doctor the day after to change the bandage. We all were so relieved that everything went well.
On Wednesday, we went to see the doctor to get her bandage changed. Once the doctor opened up her bandage we saw a hole. He started to clean her up and he told us the hole will close by itself. He told us to see how he is cleaning her wound and said we have to do it by ourselves for the next 7-10 days until the hole closes. He took a pair of forceps and gauze and inserted it in the hole with betadine solution. I felt shivers going up my spine. He said you have to clean it everyday and make sure it doesn’t get infected.
My husband arranged a nurse to come home and clean Reya’s wound. So every morning, the nurse would come by and clean her wound. Reya would howl because it would obviously hurt her.
But as the days went by, her pain and crying reduced as she used to get her wound cleaned. The hole eventually closed. She recovered beautifully.
We finally came to the end of one hell of a ride.
She has a small scar down there. Every time I see it, I only think of the amount of pain she went through and how we all pulled through. I couldn’t have managed it all if it wasn’t for the huge amount of support I got from my husband, my family and Reya’s paediatrician. I love you guys!