The Adventures Of Fatherhood – March 10, 2023

The daily memories are my favorite part of Facebook these days.

These memories pop up each day and some cause me to stop for a few minutes and truly remember that day in my life. In fact, I find myself at times now posting personal things to Facebook solely so I can remember each year moving ahead.

This week a memory that popped up involved a traumatic situation with Carson. Due to life’s pace and circumstances, it’s been a long time since I have reflected back to 2011 on a scary day in our lives.

Carson was 17 months old and undergoing several outpatient surgical procedures, each of which was labeled routine by the doctors but combined had been inhibiting normal growth progressions. Consequently, it was a day we dreaded and welcomed at the same time.

According to Facebook, Pam posted the morning of March 8, 2011, “On the way to Hopkins with little Carson. Should be an easy procedure, but any prayers would be loved. Thanks FB friends.” As is our community, there was an outpouring of messages that warm the heart and distract the mind during times of uncertainty. Later that night, she posted, “11 p.m. and still at Hopkins, looks like they will keep him overnight. Nothing is ever easy for this little guy.” One day later, she posted, “Finally home, a long night of vomiting/rapid heart rate and no sleep. Seems anesthesia and Carson don’t mix well. However, all is well tonight! Little man is sleeping … Thanks for all the prayers and support. Love you all!”

Reflecting on this scary time, I was grateful to have this weekly rambling to see where my head was in the days following. Here are some excerpts from the issue after the ordeal.

“Many parents have gone through this, it’s no big deal.”

That’s what I was thinking to myself, as I sat in the waiting room with Pam at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Tuesday for what seemed like a lifetime. … All of Carson’s “pre-op” procedures went smooth, leaving Pam and I to wait out the surgery together, trying desperately to ease the worries.

What makes the wait particularly difficult is all the activity at the hospital.  As we sat in the waiting room with dozens of people, including a woman waiting on word of her husband who was having open heart surgery and another lady whose husband was undergoing brain surgery, there were several bonding moments, as we all anxiously awaited updates of our loved ones.

The most exciting moments came when the doctors surfaced in their scrubs from the operating rooms. Without delving into the details in this space, there were two surgeons involved with Carson’s four procedures.

Subsequently, after about 90 minutes, one came out and briefed us on her particulars. Good news, she said all went fine. Forty-five minutes or so later, the other surgeon emerged, reporting all went well, too, and she soon after led us back to him in the recovery area.

This was a moment I will never forget. We walked around the recovering room, pushing Carson’s empty stroller along the way, and my eyes scanned the beds for a head with red hair. Finally, we found him, and it was overwhelming. There was his little body on this big mattress on wheels. He was understandably dazed and confused and expressionless for the most part. It was horrible to see because he was so out of it, but a relief all the same as it meant he was okay. That image hit me hard, and I still can’t shake it today.

Although we thought the ordeal was now over, we had no idea what was ahead of us, as Carson had some unfortunate reactions to the anesthesia, including bouts of vomiting and concerns over an increased heart rate. That eventually led us to stay overnight, something we were not expecting, making the situation worse than it should have been.

After a few hours, we finally made our way to a pediatric room with three young babies and their parents, which all seemed to have serious issues they were facing.

It was a shock to the senses, as babies were crying, nurses were scrambling, monitor lights were blinking, machines were beeping and buzzing and parents were stressing (and I was freaking out).

We were told only one of us could stay in the room with Carson that night, and I have no problem admitting Pam is better equipped to deal with a vomiting, sick little boy than I am …

Later, we talked how you can’t leave Hopkins without feeling fortunate. There are so many people, including many little ones, always there, and many battling serious, life-altering issues of varying severities.

However, that’s not what I was thinking at 4 a.m. on Wednesday when I was curled up in a bright office hallway trying to get some sleep.

Every waiting room I could find in the hospital was full. One room I tried to sleep in was across from the cafeteria, which apparently is home to a nightly game of craps among hospital staff.

Therefore, I eventually landed in an office hallway a couple floors below Pam and Carson. While I was curled up on the floor in the fetal position with a pillow and a sheet, I kept telling myself, “many parents have gone through this, it’s no big deal.”

It didn’t really help.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.