Thank You for Taking Care of Us

By Melissa Wert, a grateful mom


I snapped this photo moments before Nick took Ryan back into the OR, and held his little hands while his 31″, 27lb body went stiff and he succumbed to the anesthesia gas mask attached to his tiny face.

The patient advocate at Connecticut Children’s was nice enough to smear the mask with grape Chapstick, so that Ryan couldn’t smell the strong gas. It’s amazing what tiny details bring you great comfort when the entire situation feels totally out of your control. This is the face of a small boy who has no idea what’s happening, just that his day isn’t right. No eating. No milk. Anxious parents. A strange place filled with so many strangers, all looking at him.

This is the face of a dad about to bring his baby boy into surgery. Terrified but resilient, counting on the prayer we said in the car as we parked, taking every extra moment we had to not walk inside. Please keep our boy safe. Let him come out stronger, healthier, better.

His procedure was minor, but our fears were large. I’m coming to realize that as NICU parents, the feeling of having your baby whisked away from you with no idea what’s happening next returns to you all too easily. Too quickly. And likely unnecessarily. But it’s always there – the fear. The anxiety. The heartache. It shapes how you parent and who you are as parents. But it also makes you strong. Brave. Willful.

I’m happy to report we’re all back home and little Ryan is happy as a clam, back to his normal self, but with some sparkly new ear tubes we’ve dubbed his “robo-ears”. Thank you, so much, to everyone who prayed for us and sent us your well wishes. They worked.  And an even bigger thank you to the amazing staff at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center for taking such good care of all three of us. #BabyLove #DontForgetDads

Jon’s Story

IMG_0326Written by Jon’s mom, Courtney B.

My son Jon was experiencing frequent ear infections and wasn’t hearing very well, which greatly affected his overall quality of life. Through my research on ear infections I found that having so many within months of each other may require ear tubes. I immediately decided to call Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and scheduled an appointment with Dr.Tulio Valdez.

Meeting Dr. Valdez was great. He is so good with kids and my son was very comfortable with him. After the visit my son wanted to go back! And he still does. Dr. Valdez looked in his ears and suggested we try a nose spray first to see if it would clear things up… but it didn’t. So, at the next checkup he had Jon take an ear test. The ear test showed that Jon had fluid in his ears, deteriorating his hearing. So Dr. Valdez approved him for surgery to have ear tubes inserted and adenoids removed.

Let me just say, I was so scared and nervous, but all the nurses and Dr. Valdez assured me everything was going to be OK. The day of the surgery I was a mess, but Dr. Valdez and the nurses spoke with us and tried to keep Jon from being scared. He was able to play video games and they explained and showed him everything that was going to happen. On the way into the surgery room Jon was scared and crying… and so was I. It took a few minutes to get Johnny to put his mask on and fall asleep, but everyone was there to help.

I’ll never forget, I was crying so bad when I saw my son under anesthesia. The nurses walked me out of the room and hugged me, telling me everything was going to be OK and to trust them. After that, I knew everything was in fact going to be OK. After the surgery, which only took maybe 40 minutes, Dr. Valdez came to tell us everything went well and that he would be back to talk. When he returned he brought us into a room and explained how the surgery went, what he did and how it is going to help Jon.

Dr. Valdez did an amazing job. My son has not had one ear infection! It has been one year since his surgery and the tubes are still in. My son’s hearing is much better and back to normal. I couldn’t thank Dr. Valdez enough for what he has done for my son. If your child has any issues I would definitely recommend Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, and Dr. Valdez.