Things have been going along pretty well, post-Monkey-carving. Some might even say TOO well. (Please cue up the foreboding music of your choice right here. I’ll wait.) Despite my fears that post-surgical Monkey would be a giant ball of pain and anguish and HULK ANGRY HULK SMASH misguided energy, for the most part, post-surgical Monkey has been calm and agreeable and positively robot-like in his apparent inability to recognize that he might be in any pain at all, most of the time.
In fact, I was just reading Jean’s post about Jack’s recent dental work and laughing that slightly hysterical “Oh God I’ve been there” laugh that one does when having a there-but-for-the-grace-of-God moment. Because that’s kind of what I expected, this week, was a neverending MAKE IT STOP thrashing from my son. But no. He’s been perfectly fine. The model patient. Particularly if your patient is evidently impervious to pain.
We were thrilled. We were also, it turns out, perfectly positioned for a giant hubris smackdown. And as these things tend to go, I was completely unprepared even though afterward it was CRYSTAL CLEAR exactly what had happened.
My downfall was that I tried to use logic and good sense. It went something like this:
“Monkey is doing so well! He’s not reporting any pain, and he’s even starting to eat soft foods! And narcotics are nasty things, and because he’s doing SO VERY WELL, I think I will try transitioning him to Advil, now. All that Lortab cannot possibly be good for him, particularly when he’s doing JUST FINE.”
(Go turn up the volume on your ominous music. I’ll wait.)
Yesterday morning I gave him Lortab. And he was perfectly pleasant all morning. I quizzed him—again, as I query him constantly and he must think I’m pretty stupid, by now—as to whether or not he was having any throat pain at lunchtime, when he was due for another dose. “I feel fine!” he insisted, as he’s been doing.
“Great!” I said. “Let’s switch to Advil seeing as how you’re doing so well!”
Now, I still planned to give him Lortab at night, just in case, but Advil for the daytime, when he was feeling pretty good, seemed like a logical step.
I made two critical errors: First, you would think that three+ months of him, I don’t know, NOT REALIZING HE FELT LIKE CRAP and subsequently LOSING HIS MIND on a regular basis would’ve primed me to the possibility of his not necessarily being able to signal me that things were not continuing to go well. I mean, you would think that, but YOU WOULD BE WRONG. And second, I gave him some Advil at noon, figuring I’d do a second Advil dose later in the afternoon, and then Lortab at bedtime… but I somehow spaced and didn’t give him that second dose of Advil.
And so it happened that I was in his room putting away some laundry when he emerged from his first post-surgical shower (I think figuring out how to put the sticky earplugs in his ears to protect his tubes took longer than the shower itself…). “How’re you doing, buddy?” I asked.
“I’m fine,” he answered. As he does.
Well. I opened up his pajama drawer and it was just about empty. Even after putting away the jammies from the laundry, I could see that he was missing several pairs. And I’d just done the laundry, so I knew they weren’t in the hamper. This left a few different possibilities; dirty laundry sometimes migrates to other locations in his room, for one thing, and also occasionally when tasked with putting his clean laundry away he sees something shiny and stuffs clothing in odd locations so as to be done more quickly.
I turned to him and said, “Where are the rest of your pajamas?”
“What do you mean?” he asked, pulling on a clean pair.
“Your pajamas,” I repeated. “A bunch of them are missing.”
“They’re probably in the hamper,” he said, with a shrug.
“Monkey,” I said, getting a little testy, “This is the clean laundry. I just did laundry. There’s NOTHING in the hamper. But half your pajamas are MISSING. Did you put them away somewhere else? I’d like to know where they are.”
And that, my friends, is when Monkey Had Enough.
I will spare you the full description of the scene of carnage that followed. In retrospect—he probably had ZERO pain medication in his system by then, probably felt really crappy, was probably on sensory overload, probably probably probably I should’ve just not been so concerned about the damn pajamas at that moment in time and instead should’ve come bearing smiles and hugs and massive doses of Lortab, but that’s not how it went down.
Instead there was a meltdown. And a “I have had enough of this, young man, go to BED”down. And a subsequent sitting-in-his-bed-screaming-down, which I swear must’ve peeled the scabs right off his wounds and scared me half to death because HOW could he even achieve that level of noise four days after surgery, and how could it POSSIBLY not hurt him beyond measure when the paint was positively curling right off the walls?
Then there was Lortab. And cuddling, and apologizing (both sides), and finally—sleep.
So I think I’m just going to keep him on the Lortab for now. Actually, maybe forever. Because the knee-jerk OH GOD NO HE’S NOT ANY BETTER HE’LL NEVER BE ANY BETTER THIS IS OUR LIFE NOW panic attack I had last night—before getting ahold of myself and realizing that hey, he was in pain—took about ten years off my life. So basically, he has to take the Lortab or I do, and I need to stay sober so I can drive. So I think the necessary course of action is clear.
Now I just have to find a doctor who’ll keep prescribing it for him until he’s, I dunno, 18 or so.