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Operation day: a cystoscopy and deflux in a 1 year old

This is the day we’ve been dreading since Dillon was 6 months old; the cystoscopy surgery to correct his urine reflux at the Evelina Hospital, St. Thomas’s in London.

The pre-surgery preparation notes the hospital gave us during the pre-assessment appointment were really useful; informing us of when he could eat and drink last prior to his admission, what to expect of the general anaesthetic, pain relief following the op etc. 

As soon as we arrived at the outpatient ward we were shown straight to Dillon’s cot for the day. We had a 4 hour wait before his op so thankfully the ward (Beach) Dillon was in had a nice little play area with plenty of toys to keep him occupied.

During our wait, the anaesthetist came round to talk to Dillon’s Dad and I. She was very reassuring and spoke to us about how the anaesthetic would be administered (gas mask because of his age) and that he should feel no pain whatsoever. The anaesthetists monitor his heart, pulse and provide fluids (via an IV) during the whole procedure. 

The surgeon also spoke to us briefly to confirm the procedure and also confirmed the whole thing should be totally painless and that Dillon will feel nothing following the op. Again, he was totally reassuring. 

During our wait for the op the nurses looking after Dillon for the day kept us informed of waiting times. Dillon even managed to take part in a music lesson outside the ward along with some older children who are in for longer. The Evelina has a fantastic hospital school to continue to provide education when children are staying at the hospital. 

The dreaded sinking feeling you feel when you’re told theatre is ready for your 15 month old son is totally terrifying. The short walk to the anaesthetic room felt like ages but really was only about 30 seconds.

The part we had fear the most : the anaesthetic!

When we got to the room the anaesthetists were full of smiles and happily waving upon greeting us. Dillon’s Dad sat on a chair holding him while the anaesthetist held the gas mask over his face. He didn’t like it one bit and put up a fight by kicking his legs and crying – he fell asleep in less than 20 seconds. Even though you know it’s safe and for their own good it still breaks your heart to walk away seeing the mask on their wee face – there were lots of tears for us parents!

We were told we’d have about an hour and a half wait but after 50 minutes Dillon was in recovery and awake from his anaesthetic. When we went down to the recovery room to see him, our cheeky little one was cuddling one of the nurses – he has such an eye for the ladies already!!

The cystoscopy and Deflux itself is a quick 10-20 minute procedure whereby the surgeon inserts a chemical call Deflux into the bladder (via a catheter) and injects it nearest to the valve where the urine is flowing back to the kidney. Because of his age he had to be put asleep as there is no way he would lie still for the doctor. 

The nature of a cystoscopy and Deflux means Dillon has to go back to the hospital in a few months where he will be put under general anaesthetic again for a mag3 test. With this test his bladder will be filled with a fluid which can be detected on an X-ray. Hopefully when he urinates after coming round from his anaesthetic the doctors will be able to see if the urine no longer flows back in to his kidney and he will be fully urine reflux free! And hopefully this will mean no more trimethoprim in the evenings for him. 

The whole experience for Dillon was pretty much forgotten straight away. Three hours after his op and a good sleep you would never be able to tell he had a small operation earlier in the day. He was running around everywhere!

For the parents it’s much harder I would say. To think your little boy will be operated on is a terrifying and heart breaking experience. The general anaesthetic I would say is the hardest part. We couldn’t fault the staff at the Evelina; we were kept well informed throughout and communication was very clear. 

And Dillon was so smiley and giggly after that it has all been forgotten. The thought of the whole experience is harder than the actual day. 

If your child has something similar coming up, it’s so easy to worry but try not to (I know, worrying is in our job description), your child is in good hands and more than likely they will have forgotten about the whole experience after a good nights sleep. 

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