Some of us might have fond adolescent memories of the punk band The Ramones, whose hits include a song called, “I Want to be Sedated.” The song is catchy, and it articulates the angst of our generation as we were coming of age. But this song doesn’t resonate with me so much now that I’m a dad with a fierce instinct for protecting my children. In fact, I find myself screaming, “No, I don’t want sedation,” even as I tap my toe to the tune.
Our little guy had to go to the hospital this week to get some imaging done on a dermatoid cyst near his eye. In order to perform the CT scan, the doctors had to sedate him to keep him still enough for the scan. That was difficult for me and my wife. There’s something very unnerving and scary about watching your baby lose consciousness, even when you know it’s under the careful supervision of medical professionals. I don’t doubt their skills in sedating babies, but it still runs contrary to my instinct to see our little guy being his energetic and vivacious little self.
Something is wrong if he’s low energy, lethargic or listless. All the tubes and wires and machines made it feel all the more wrong. Cognitively, I know his life isn’t in danger, but instinctually, the situation felt all wrong. I had to resist the temptation to unplug everything from my baby and run out of there with him in my arms. But alas, cooler heads prevailed. The technicians completed the scan and monitored our little guy as he regained consciousness. We had to hang out at the hospital for a couple of hours to allow him time to nurse and monitor his condition as he woke up. All went well, and we got home just fine, though he was groggy the rest of the day.
I’m already nervously looking ahead to the next visit to the doctor when they will drug him up again as he goes under the knife to get the cyst removed. I know it needs to happen, and I have to talk myself down from the ledge (metaphorically speaking). I’m sure we’ll get through that procedure just fine, as we did with this one. Still, I cringe at the thought of seeing him unconscious with all those tubes and wires again. The scene of a sedated baby resembles death a little too closely for my comfort.
If the Ramones were alive today and had kids, I wonder if they would still be wishing for sedation.