I’ve said this many times…..There’s a lot I have learned I wish I had known earlier; the role of pharmaceuticals drugs being one of them. As I’ve written about before, by our 3rd cast Nora was really having a tough time with the entire casting process. She knew as soon as we got to the surgical wing of the hospital what was about to happen and she was scared and terrified and when it came time to have a cast trimmed or removed we went through an even more terrifying process. I’ve also written about the amazing help we found through a child psychologist and play therapy but I haven’t talked yet about drugs we have used that fall into the sedative category.
There is a big taboo around even the justified use of drugs like Valium and Xaxax, probably because they are also drugs that are abused often and have addictive qualities if not taken properly. Then you throw in the idea of prescribing these drugs to children, toddlers even… and people are often quick to judge and question and let fear take over . Heck even I did. When the idea of prescribing Nora a dose of Valium before any cast trimming or removal was brought up, I was initially frightened. Scared I could accidentally over dose her or she could have some crazy side effect, like stopping her breathing. But we were desperate, desperate to take that terrifying fear away from her. So we decided to try it. It was incredible. It worked amazingly. It did just as her child psychologist said it would. It made her relaxed and just as though she didn’t care much. She still got a little nervous and cried for a brief second or two, but that was it. Since then we’ve learned to take her casts off ourselves so we bypass this entirely now for removal, but cast trimmings are always something we might face with each cast. I’m relieved to know we have this in the back of our medicine cabinet if needed.
Then there’s the drug called Versed. This little number was recommended to us at our third casting when Nora was terrified, crying and hiding in the play room on the surgical floor before her casting. This drug is a bit complicated though. It’s a drug administered only in the hospital before surgeries to relax a child and it also produces amnesia, so when they wake up they won’t remember what all went down beforehand. The downfall is some kids do not react well to this drug when they come out of anesthesia and are erratic. So it was a gamble. Nora was already one of the lucky kids who has an even tougher time than most coming out of anesthesia so the idea of giving her something that might make that part even worse didn’t sound like a gamble we wanted to take. So we sucked it up and dealt with a scared child beforehand who screamed and screamed while we held the mask to her face that made her go to sleep in the OR. It was very hard for Matt and I emotionally but we just did it. You do what you have to do.
It was at our fifth casting when our anesthesiologist recommended it again. This doctor was a straight shooter, former army doctor and very easy going, he told us he thought the chance of her reacting poorly on the other side was low and since we’ve been to this horse and pony show before we know what we are doing and how to handle a rough spell anyway. So we decided to try it. This was a choice I wish I had made two casts before. I can’t explain how it felt to take my little 21 pounder to the OR and put that mask on her face and she was cool, calm and didn’t have a care in the world. As she laid there sleeping on the surgical table, I let out a huge sigh of relief. It was then the anesthesiologist said “there’s a special little place in heaven just for the person who developed Versed.” I couldn’t agree more.
So if you are going down this road of casting, surgeries, and difficult procedures and your child is having a tough time and you are too…please ask your doctors about your options. They can make a big difference.