Striding Through Life with EASE

Dr. Dudley visiting with James at a follow-up appointment.
Dr. Dudley visiting with James at a follow-up appointment.

It wasn’t her 9-month-old’s son’s diagnosis of bilateral undescended testicles that had Stephanie of New Fairfield worried. After all, Anne Dudley, MD, their urologist at Connecticut Children’s, had assured her that James’ condition was not uncommon – up to five percent of all full-term and 30 percent of premature babies are born with this condition in at least one testicle.

Nor was she worried about the surgical procedure Dr. Dudley would be performing to correct it. She trusted both James’ Danbury pediatrician and his grandmother – also a health care professional – who highly recommended Dr. Dudley’s expertise.

She was scared of the fact her young son would require general anesthesia in order to achieve a successful surgical outcome.

“He was so tiny and the thought of putting him under – even for a short time – made me anxious. Dr. Dudley listened to my qualms and spoke to each concern, stating that general anesthetics would guarantee James would be relaxed and experience a pain-free procedure because pediatric anesthesiologists have been specifically trained to examine and sedate children,” Stephanie said.

“Because James’ physiology differs from that of adults, dosages and anesthetic outcomes will need to be different. I was reassured that pediatric anesthesiologists are not only trained in a child’s physiological needs but they also use equipment specifically designed for children. She also explained the many strict protocols the anesthesiology team adheres to, including a thorough review of patient and family history and constant patient monitoring during the surgery. As a mom you never completely stop worrying, but I had full trust in them,” Stephanie said.

A Matter of Time

Though her anxiety began to abate while James was being prepared for surgery – appreciating the attentiveness of the staff and their efforts to keep James happy, who remained his smiling, good-natured self throughout the morning, as well as a standard reassurance visit with the anesthesiologist, Michael Archambault, MD – the moment to hand off James to Melissa June, a Connecticut Children’s General Surgery operating room nurse, “was difficult.” Stephanie was bravely trying to remain calm.

Sensing her apprehension, Melissa reassured that, “James was [her] main focus” and promised to provide frequent updates through the EASE app – a free phone app Connecticut Children’s offers to parents of patients undergoing surgical procedures to remain abreast of progress while also given flexibility to “visit the cafeteria, tend to their other children, or take a needed break for some fresh air,” Melissa explains.

“Knowing that Melissa would be by his side the entire time and that I’d be receiving updates was such a relief,” Stephanie explained. “His surgery only took an hour, but I received an update about every fifteen minutes. Melissa kept her promise and it shows that Connecticut Children’s really cares about parental involvement. Through the app, I was able to feel connected to my baby. The time flew by.”

Cruising Along

James’ first birthday is coming up in September, and like other little boys his age he is making the most of the new-found freedoms mobility offers him. “People might wonder if the surgery affects his ability to walk and play, but it hasn’t. In fact, he started toddling the moment we got home from his procedure! His energy is high and he’s happy. Thanks to Dr. Dudley and everyone who helped us, my husband and I are, too.”

Connecticut Children’s Division of Pediatric Urology is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care for routine and complex pediatric urologic conditions. To learn more about our expertise, please contact our Urology Team.

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