arachnoid cyst part 4 – the surgery

06.01.2013 Day -1 — pre-surgery admission

it was a sunday and the admissions office was open for half a day only. so we admitted mupig at 12noon. he immediately became very popular with the nurses because when they were drawing his blood for the various tests, he did not cry and was very cooperative. i was pretty impressed too. the last time both of them had to be put on IV drip, they cried and screamed like little piglets about to be slaughtered and made into roasted suckling pigs.. hahaha..

for his bravery, mupig earned a load of stickers from the nurses!

naturally he was very happy. and since he was in such a good mood, his appetite was really good too. so good that he didn’t want to go to bed at night because he wanted to eat all the things.

knowing that we would be awake at 5.30am the next morning to prepare for the fast, i chased him into bed.

tb went home to sleep.

but both of us were so worried that we didn’t sleep ;__;

07.01.2013 Day 0 – surgery

today, a nurse came in at 5.30am. all intake of solid food should be done before 6am and mupig should stop any intake of clear fluids (water, apple juice, ribena etc) before 9am. tough, ne!

from then on it was waiting and waiting as we were told that the operation would be scheduled in the afternoon but nobody could tell us the exact time.

finally, we were led to the operating theatre (OT) just before 1pm.

i changed mupig into the surgery gown. he was wearing his cute thomas the train underwear inside 😀


inside the OT, a cheerful team of anaesthetists worked on getting him to inhale the sleeping gas. they didn’t have to try very hard as he was so obedient that he fell asleep very soon.. 真是个头脑简单的家伙好孩子!

after he was knocked out, i gave him a long kiss on his cheek and left the OT unwillingly ;__;

i was already dead tired but when i lay down on the couch, i couldn’t sleep at all. it was terrible X'(

sometime at 4.30pm, a frantic nurse rushed in and removed mupig’s name tag from the bed. she said “your baby’s operation is over now and will be transferred to HD (high dependency). there is no need to stay in ICU. ”

i jumped up from the couch and she told me to go to the OT before dashing out of the room.

what?? we had been told (by the surgeon himself) that the surgery would take about 2-3 hours and the preparation, cleaning up, and setting up of ICU would take another 1-2 hours so we were naturally a bit confused that the surgery was over so fast. the most confusing thing was the surgeon also said that mupig would need to stay in ICU for at least 1-2 days. so it did seem a bit strange that he was being transferred to HD ward directly.

anyways, i rushed to the OT. i was so nervous that i could really feel my heart in my throat. i didn’t want my baby to wake up with a room full of strangers. he would naturally be scared and confused.

my heart sank when i reached the OT. the blur-as-sotong nurse had mistaken mupig (bed 04) for another baby (bed 09). she apologized to me and told me that mupig’s surgery was still in progress and advised me to wait for news back at the ward.


really disappointed.

at 5.30pm, i finally received a phone call from the OT!

i bumped into the surgeon (dr low) just outside the OT.

cJ: how is he? is he awake already?
dr low: yes, he was awake after the surgery. in fact, he was too awake. he couldn’t find you and was so agitated that he was thrashing things around. we had to sedate him again to calm him down.

the surgeon then told me that the surgery went very well and there was very little bleeding. *happiness*

a nurse at the OT brought me to the ICU and i saw my baby lying inside the cot. i didn’t take any pictures because he was damned scary to look at. his eyes were partially closed and his mouth was open and his breathing was very heavy.. i wanted to cry.

there were different tubes on his two arms, some measuring device on his toe, some stuff plastered on his body for dunno what measurement, and he had a catheter. the nurses tried to put diapers on him but they couldn’t find anything big enough so actually that was quite funny to look at.

the funniest thing was, one of the staff handed me his cute underwear in a sealed bag :’D

although we had planned to spend the night at the ICU, we were urged to go back. the nurse explained that visitors could only sit on the chair inside the ICU and were not allowed to sleep, so we would not be getting any rest. furthermore, there were many staff monitoring each patient round-the-clock so if there was a need, they would alert parents immediately. she also added that we should try to sleep more at home because the first few nights out of ICU would be the toughest for parents.

we were convinced by her and went home for the night.

i still could not sleep -__-

every time i closed my eyes, i would see my baby alone in the ICU.

what if he wakes up in the middle of the night and cannot find mummy?

08.01.2013 Tuesday – Day 1

couldn’t wait to see my mupig so i went to the hospital alone at 7-plus in the morning (fat X and junpig were still sleeping *roll eyes*).

when i reached the ICU, mupig was awake and watching some cartoon DVD but started crying when he saw me ;___;


see how happy mupig was when he saw mummy <3

note that the head was actually bandaged properly after the surgery, but true to dr low’s words, the bandage did not last.. haha.. it came loose when mupig was sleeping and when he woke up he kept tugging at it, saying his head was itchy -__-


check out his poor poor left arm. there was a tube in his arterial vein, one IV tube for morphine, and a bp monitor on his thumb TuT


hence, he could only use his right hand to pick his nose — the right hand had only one tube for IV drip.

young man, don’t think i don’t know what you’re doing. mummy is always watching you!


mupig appeared very comfortable throughout his stay in ICU because he was on morphine! hooray for kickass painkillers!


the surgery scar was halfway across his head, pretty scary to look at, if you ask me..


father and son watching cartoon DVD.. why do they have the same bored expression?

ok anyways mupig was doing pretty well (it’s because of the morphine, you see..) in the ICU and was able to eat some porridge at lunch time. dr low then gave us the green light to step down directly to a normal ward as he would not be able to rest properly in a HD ward. mupig was weaned off the morphine and the arterial line, catheter were also removed in the afternoon.

as the porters were taking forever to fetch us from the ICU, the super super awesome ICU nurses helped us wheel mupig back to his ward! i think this was a first for them :’D

we went back to the same ward at around 4.30pm. everything seemed ok until mupig started to vomit at dinner time ;__;

best thing was, he vomited all over me just after i had my shower X’D

i showered again and he vomited again. luckily he didn’t vomit on me the second time *phew*

in the same evening, we met this funny female doctor, who tried to touch mupig’s wound using her bare fingers while all of us watched in horror.. anyway, she turned out to be mupig’s greatest fangirl!

dr low came over and put the turban-like bandage on mupig’s head again. the bandage came off shortly after dr low left *sobs*

later that night, the female doctor dropped by and suggested putting bandage on mupig’s hands instead of his head. since the objective was to prevent him from scratching his wound, it didn’t matter where the bandage was applied.

clever girl.

fat X and i took turns sleeping that night. but we didn’t really get any sleep because the nurses came in every freaking hour to check on stuff.


09.01.2013 Wednesday – Day 2

mupig was tired the whole day. he would stay awake for a maximum of 30-60 minutes before requesting to go back to bed, where he would fall asleep without prompt.

the bruising and swelling of the right side of his face became more apparent today.

and because he slept so much in the day, he woke up every 15-30 minutes throughout the night and each time he woke up, i had to freaking climb into the cot and pacify him. this went on until like 7am in the morning and i seriously thought that i could just die from sheer exhaustion. but i didn’t lah.


10.01.2013 Thursday – Day 3

mupig vomited again in the morning and refused to eat anything. as he kept complaining of mysterious pains and did not want to eat/drink anything, the doctor ordered for a CT scan. we managed to secure a slot at 10.30am.

the CT scan revealed that everything was normal, although there was some bruising at the site where the cyst was operated on. dr low explained that it was some pituitary gland and it would affect the stuff in the bloodstream so he ordered for a blood test to ensure that the stuff in mupig’s blood were normal. (i seriously cannot remember if it was some electrolytes or minerals or salt.. something like that lah.. now i can totally understand why my users keep referring to tinyMCE editor as tiny Mickey Mouse editor. there is no way i can remember all the terms the doctor told me so i guess it’s the same for poor IT users, hee hee..)

when explaining the CT scan results, dr low pointed out that inevitably, there would be some air trapped in the head after the surgery. this could cause the patient to become tired and sleepy easily.  also, due to the release of pressure from the cyst, mupig may experience some “low pressure headache” as he was used to having a high pressure in his head. for this, he would have to get used with it :S

the blood test result was good.

the problem was, our dear baby was still not eating/drinking and refused to go to the toilet. he only ate some fruit and one cup of steamed corn >m<

11.01.2013 Friday – Day 4

today, mupig woke at 9.45am and refused to eat anything again. he randomly requested for char siew pau so i put him in a car stroller and brought him downstairs, in search of the legendary char siew pau..

(i made the shocking discovery that one is unable to buy any char siew pau in KK Hospital! the closest thing they have is honey chicken pau)

dejected, we returned to the ward where mupig vomited all over the floor. for someone who ate so little, the amount of vomit he had was actually quite impressive. but now was not the time to rejoice over such things, so i quickly washed him up and fed him some strawberries and a few “Hello Panda” biscuits <– these would become his staple food in the next few days.

after “feasting” on the few strawberries and biscuits, his royal highness went back to sleep again, refusing to wake up for lunch.

at 3-plus in the afternoon, i forced him to eat some cherries and panda biscuits again. apparently, he was still eating too little and almost not drinking.. so the poor boy was put on the drip again in the evening.

at dinner time, he saw some noodles and sat up excitedly in bed. perhaps his movement was too abrupt, he only ate one strand of noodles before headache struck again. so he lay down in bed and went to sleep, without his dinner.

i couldn’t take it anymore and locked myself in the toilet to cry ;__;

why must such a young body endure this kind of stupid pain? people his age should experience pain from knocks and falls and canes, not from some stupid headache caused by changing pressures in the brain. *hate hate hate*

anyways, it was another sleepless night for me.. sometimes i really wonder why my children only call for me in the middle of the night…

12.01.2013 Saturday – Day 5

brought mupig downstairs for a morning stroll and little rascal refused to go back to the ward! when we went back to the ward, he refused to eat his breakfast. so fat X brought him downstairs for some McDonalds.

junpig didn’t have to go to school today so he came to the hospital for a visit!


mupig and mummy smiling for a photo. i suppose that was a moment where he was not experiencing any headache :’)


we took junpig with us when we went back for a shower. although we could shower in the hospital, it still felt better to have one at home 🙂

junpig was one happy little boy! he ate all the things that mupig refused to eat, and my in-laws brought him to Funan, where my mil bought 2 new iPads for the pigs and gave junpig a treat at his favourite restaurant (McDonalds lah, fast-food restaurant mah..)

mupig still ate very little today but i managed to convince the nurses to remove the IV line as the site was bleeding *heart pain*

13.01.2013 Sunday – Day 6

brought mupig for his routine morning stroll again.

also, mini men’s brand new iPads arrived!


by now, mupig had lost quite a bit of weight and his ribs were really visible. why do children lose weight so easily? it’s really quite heart-breaking..

anyway, mupig’s weight loss made his twin brother look like a duah bui sai.. just check out the next picture..


junpig acted like he was being ill-treated at home and in school. he couldn’t stop eating!

14.01.2013 Monday – Day 7

went for mupig’s routine morning stroll and breakfast at McDonalds. we reached the ward just as dr low was leaving to perform some surgery. he said he would like to monitor mupig for a few more days. typically, a patient would regain his appetite and behave normally on the 3rd or 4th day after surgery. however, in mupig’s case, his condition seemed to have worsened after the 3rd day and his behaviour (extreme lethargy) was also not exactly normal.

to improve mupig’s appetite, dr low ordered for him to be put on steroids.

15.01.2013 Tuesday – Day 8

the steroids worked so well that mupig ate non-stop!

dr low said we could go home anytime as long as we felt confident about it! actually, we would prefer to wait till his condition is more “stable”.

16.01.2013 Wednesday – Day 9

mupig had the symptoms of constipation and if he still had no output today, the nurses would have to insert a suppository to help him move his bowels. dr low thought that mupig might be feeling unhappy in the hospital day after day, he granted us “home leave”, meaning we could bring mupig out of the hospital for a few hours and come back in the evening!~

super smart me brought him home and guess what was the first thing he did when he came home? HE POOPED!


when we went back to the hospital, dr low suggested scheduling an MRI on Friday before we discharge. however,  the nurses didn’t manage to secure a slot for mupig and the next available slot was on the following Tuesday.. nan dao we had to stay until next Tuesday just to wait for the MRI?

cannot be right..

17.01.2013 Thursday – Day 10

in the morning discussion with dr low, he agreed that it was not necessary for us to stay all the way until the following Tuesday just to do the MRI, as we could go home anytime we’re ready. fat X and i both decided that 18 Jan would be an auspicious date to get discharged from hospital.

actually no lah, we wanted to observe the effects of reducing the steroid dosage. we definitely do not want to deal with a child who refuse to eat anything after we get home, because you know lah, my home got no IV drip and stuff to replenish his nutrients..

18.01.2013 Friday – Day 11

mupig seemed to be behaving normally and eating well so we went home at 5pm! Hooray ~

19.01.2013 Saturday – Day 12

mupig was eating very well. in fact, he was eating so well that i was contemplating throwing away all the steroids!

check out his fat face below!~


the brothers really enjoy each other’s company. sometimes i get jealous and wish i had my own twin brother..




3 comments on “arachnoid cyst part 4 – the surgery

  1. Debbie Cramer on said:

    Thanks got your blog. I’m glad your boys are well and congrats on your pregnancy, I think we are about the same now (37 weeks?). My baby was diagnosed with an arachnoid cyst of 4cm on a routine scan 10 days ago, we are waiting to get an MRI report. It would be nice to share my experiences with you and to learn more about mupig’s symptoms, surgery and outcome. All the best. Debbie

    • cJ on said:

      Hi Debbie,

      mupig is doing very well post-surgery. although the last MRI done almost a year ago showed that the cyst has not shrunk, the neurosurgeon thinks that there is no hurry in getting another MRI done since he has been doing well 🙂

      i know it’s inevitable to worry about your baby, but please stay positive. whether you choose to go for treatment or not, keep praying for the best and know that you are making the best decision for your child.

      if you don’t mind, i can get in touch with you via email.

      • Debbie Cramer on said:

        Hi cJ- I would love that. Please do. Dblcramer at gmail dot com . Have a good week. Hope you’re feeling well in the pregnancy xx