The night before Munch’s wandering eye surgery I couldn’t sleep. Not only because The Munch was getting her eyeball cut open the next day, but also because The Munch was getting HER FUCKING EYE BALL CUT OPEN THE NEXT DAY! I guess the thing I was most nervous about was the anesthesia. It would be a real bummer if that shit killed my kid.
We had to wake up at 5:45 in the morning to get to the hospital on time. The Munch was in good spirits, and there was a beautiful sunrise on the way. Seemed like a good day to stay alive. When we got there we were waiting in the waiting room and a mother came out from the back where the surgeries were taking place. She was hysterical, and collapsed in her husband’s arms to weep. Munch’s dad and I looked at each other and were like “holy shit.”
The woman was crying because she had just watched her kid go under, which was obviously pretty traumatic. I looked at Munch who was peacefully coloring, and knew I was in for a fucking experience. Yet because I am a good New England woman who was raised by WASPs, I also knew I would probably just keep all my feelings deep inside and have mental breakdown later when it was appropriate.
When we were called in, we went to the back room to get prepared. They gave The Munch hospital pajama’s to put on – which was probably the most traumatic part of the story from her perspective. The Munch did NOT want to wear these tiger pajamas. She is SUPER compulsive about her clothes, and seriously wears the same outfit for 3 months in a row. Getting her to change her clothes is like trying to change the mind of a religious fundamentalist.
But you know what? Because The Munch is a good New England child raised by WASPs, she kept all her feelings inside and put on the outfit. There were a pair of yellow sox she didn’t want to wear, because she NEVER wears socks inside, but when the nurse asked her to put them on, she complied.
The Munch was then poked, prodded, examined, and check out. She did everything she was asked, and was extremely cooperative. The nurses and doctor kept saying “what a good listener she is,” and “she is so composed and brave!” Which she was! She knows how to be stoic in times of stress, but I also knew that she wasn’t expressing what she was actually feeling – because she learned from the BEST!
The Munch was then asked what flavor she wanted her anesthesia mask to smell like, and she chose watermelon. When it was time to take her back, I had to put on MY blue hospital gown and doctor’s hair net. And holy shit I did not like that… especially since I and been wearing the same thing all week.
I held Munch’s hand, and we walked to the operation room – both in outfits we did NOT like. The room was filled with nurses with their blue masks. Munch was told to lie on the bed, and when she did, her little body looked so small. The nurses started strapping her down, and put the anesthesia mask on her face.
Toni: Does it smell like watermelon?
Munch nodded her head, and looked around. I put my hand on her heart, and started doing reiki on her. (I of course am a certified reiki practitioner which is a type of healing touch – I mean you can’t be a new age mom and NOT practice reiki. It’s in the handbook). The Munch looked into my eyes and I smiled at her. You can’t act scared in situations like that! Even though in my mind I was thinking “ummmmm this is so mother fucking scary, maybe this was a bad idea.” I was trying remain calm as Munch’s tiny body convulsed as the anesthesia took over.
Nurse: This is totally normal… nothing to worry about. She is already asleep.
Munch’s eyes rolled in the back of her head as she thrashed around. Then suddenly, she was still. It kind of looked like she died.
Nurse: Give her a kiss on her cheek.
I kissed Munch on her cheek and everyone looked at me.
Nurse: Are you okay?
Toni: Of course.
I went back out the waiting room and immediately sat down to meditate. So yeah, maybe it is kinda weird to be sitting on a waiting room floor meditating, but that is the kind of person I am. I then did some distance reiki on Munch to support the surgery. Which also included whispering and weird gestures. Again, because that is how I roll.
The TV was on, and I could hear Curious George. It was the same episode Munch was watching on the drive to the hospital. It made me think of her, and wonder if the sound of Curious George would forever mock me if something terrible happened.
After two hours the doctor came, told us everything had gone well, and that she was sleeping. The doctor explained that she was going to go do another surgery, then come back and check on Munch because if she had over-corrected/under-corrected the eye, she was going to have to do another surgery that day.
Now part of me thinks that if Ben Carson is a skilled surgeon, then surgery can’t be THAT hard. But isn’t it also kind of insane that a doctor operates on MULTIPLE people a day. If I had just cut open a kid’s face, I think I would need the rest of the morning to recover.
When The Munch finally woke up, she was in a lot of pain and really disoriented.
Munch: Can I put my clothes back on?
The Nurse: We have to wait for the doctor to see you first.
We sat with Munch as she tried to make sense of the world, and I held an ice pack to her face. The doctor came and put all these eye drops in her eyes, which really stung and hurt her. But The Munch didn’t complain, and just let it happen.
Doctor: She is probably the easiest patient I have ever had.
I started to FREAK THE FUCK OUT that the doctor was going to say she had to go back in and do another surgery. I watched as she did all her doctor texts, and noticed she was surprisingly peppy considering she had just done 3 operations and it wasn’t even 10:30 am. Usually by 10:30 I have accomplished eating breakfast and not peeing on my hands.
Thank Mother Gaia the doctor was happy with her job, and said we could leave.
Munch: Can I put my clothes back on now?
We brought The Munch home, and she was pretty fucking miserable.
Munch: This was the worst day of my life! Almost as bad as if I had Becca over for a playdate!
Toni: Whoa really? And is Becca really that bad that she is worse than surgery?
Munch: She is just so annoying and asks too many questions.
Toni: Well, I hope you are nice to her anyway.
Munch: I am. I just never wanna have her over for a playdate!
The doctor had given us eye drops and eye gel to put in Munch’s eye for the healing process. But you know what you really don’t want to happen to your eye after people have been cutting it open it all day? Putting eye drops or eye-jelly in it! I knew she didn’t want to do it, but Munch’s eye also looked like a cyborg! The whites were completely red, and I felt like I should probably do what I was told.
Toni: Listen Munch, Mama will do the eye drops first, and you will see it doesn’t hurt. It’s not the stingy kind the doctor had. That kind had steroids in it. This is just plain moisturizing eye drops!
Munch: NO I DON’T WANT ANY MORE EYE DROPS!
The Munch then started to cry… but these weren’t normal tears. These were tears of blood. Seriously, my child was CRYING BLOOD! Part of me wanted to take a picture of it for Instagram. It was just so poetic, and disturbing. But even I knew that wasn’t a good idea. (Please note that was me being SUPER mature and putting someone’s feelings above my own artistic social media expressions).
Toni: Watch Munch, I will do it to myself and show you it doesn’t hurt!
I put the eye drops in my eye, and you know what? It fucking hurt.
Toni: Uhhh let’s try the jelly instead.
After an hour of negotiations and 4 cookies later I finally got the jelly in her eye.
That night I slept in the bed with Munch because I wanted to make sure she was okay. It was a bit like sleeping next to a rabid octopus who was on meth. She did not sleep the whole night. She kept thrashing, pulling at the covers, sitting up, and wiggling around. By the time morning came around I was delirious.
Toni: Munch are you okay? You didn’t sleep all night.
Munch: How do you know that?
Toni: Because you were moving around and I was right next to you! Was your eye hurting?
Munch: Yes but I didn’t want to complain. I was trying not to wake you up so you could sleep.
Ummmmm that is so fucking sweet, and obviously indicative of how many times in my life I tell her not to wake me up!!!
The Munch wanted to play with her toys, but she also was seeing double out of the eye she got surgery on. The first thing she wanted to do was make a necklace out of beads. You know what is really hard to do? String beads onto a necklace when you fucking can’t see. It was so heartbreaking to watch her attempts, and a really ironic activity choice on her end. She would eventually get the bead on after about, oh I don’t know… 45 tries or so. Then she wanted to play with her “play mobile toys,” which are literally the size of molecules. All her toys are so goddamn tiny!!!!!!!!! Why can’t they make a princess crown that is bigger than a ladybug wing?!
At this point Munch’s eye really hurt, but she didn’t wanna take the medicine.
Munch: I don’t want that grape medicine because it is too sweet, and so was the watermelon they made me breathe in! IT IS TOO SWEET AND I WON’T TAKE IT!
Okay, so I guess that serves me right for being an organic eating hippy who gives Munch dirt flavored gum as a treat.
I tried putting the medicine in ice-cream, but she wouldn’t eat it. I tried crushing up the pills, hiding it in Nutella, and spreading on toast – but after a few bites she noticed.
Munch: Why does this Nutella taste like grape?
Toni: It doesn’t.
Munch: Then what is this purple powder right here? YOU ARE TRICKING ME!!!!! WHY ARE YOU TRICKING ME!!?
Toni: I’m sorry! I just want you to fell better! I don’t know how else to make you take the medicine.
Munch: I AM NEVER EATING GRAPE MEDICINE ON NUTELA AGAIN!
My mom then went to the store to get “baby aspirin,” which according to my mom tasted delicious. She gave it to Munch who immediately spit it out.
Toni: Come on Munch, just eat it.
Munch: IT TASTES DISGUSTING!
Toni: No it doesn’t Here, lemme try it. I will show you.
I took one of the “baby aspirin” and chewed it to show Munch she was being ridiculous.
Toni: Jesus H. Christ that is fucking disgusting!!!!!!!!! Give me that bottle mom.
So it turns out it was just regular aspirin. Not children’s chewable aspirin. Just adult aspirin you swallow. Now not only had I taken an aspirin for the first time in 15 years for no goddamn reason, but I also couldn’t get the taste of aspirin out of my mouth for the next three days.
Toni: MOM WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?
My mom went BACK to the store and got another painkiller that tasted like cherry. Thank god Munch would take that one.
That night I was really on the brink of sanity. I was trying for an hour to get Munch to do the eye jelly, and she wouldn’t. Every time I got close, she would get super upset and run away. I couldn’t hold her down, because it is her eye I am dealing with, and you can’t force someone’s eye open.
Munch: I don’t want you to see the redness!
Toni: Munch I don’t care about that!? Would you care if I had a red eye?
Munch: No. But I don’t want my eye to be red. I don’t want jelly in my eye! I shouldn’t have chosen the surgery. I should have just seen double forever!
Toni: Dude this is the worst it’s gonna be. You’re gonna feel so much better tomorrow I promise! And then you won’t see double any more.
Munch: I don’t care if I see double… I wish I never had surgery.
Toni: You are gonna be all better soon. We just have to put the jelly in your eye to help you.
Munch: BUT I DON’T WANT ANY MORE JELLY IN MY EYE!
My Mom: Why don’ t you leave, go get some dinner – I will do the eye jelly, give her a bath, and put her to bed.
Toni: No. I am not leaving. I’m just going to put her to bed.
My Mom: I can put her to bed. You have to take care of yourself too. Just get out of the house, eat, and take a break.
Toni: No I wanna be there for her.
My mom: But she is resisting you to resist you right now. Just go. I can do it once she has settled down and in a better mood.
Toni: I’m just gonna put her to bed, then I will go.
My Mom: Let me put her to bed, you are being really annoying!!!
Whatever Mom, you are annoying!!
I put Munch to bed, went downstairs, and got dressed to go get food. As I was leaving I could hear the bath running, and Munch chatting away happily to my mom. I ran upstairs and there she was, out of bed, and in the bath.
Toni: What the dick Mom? She was just in bed!
My Mom: I got the jelly in her eye, and now she is having a bath before going back to bed.
Toni: Oh. Thanks.
All and all, Munch was really fucking impressive. It was not a great experience, but I am hoping it works for the long term,and this is the only time she has to go through it. Not to mention how fucking nice, supportive, loving, and caring all our friends were. SO THANK YOU for going through this journey with us! Especially her little friend who was so worried about what Munch went through, she watched videos of eye surgeries for over an hour to understand the experience. I am dead serious about that…