Riding A Horsie Into Surgery

Riding A Horsie Into Surgery

By Madison Loethen

Walking into Boone Hospital Center, Kelsey and Chris Hile were nervous wrecks. They were bringing their 2-year-old daughter Riley in for dental surgery. Riley had a cracked tooth and several cavities, and her dentist recommended that she be put under general anesthesia for the procedures. They understood why it was necessary, but their nerves were still there.

“We just couldn’t believe our baby had to have surgery. We were so anxious, but the second we walked into Boone, everyone began calming our fears. The nurses assured us that it was a very safe and common procedure,” says Kelsey.

Kelsey says she was particularly impressed with Riley’s anesthesiologist, Abram Elsenraat, MD, from Mid-America Anesthesia.

“Dr. Elsenraat came in and immediately talked us through the surgery, and then turned to Riley and began playing with her. He must have kids of his own, because he was so good with her. She even called him her ‘best friend.’ Instead of having her stay in the bed to be rolled into surgery, he picked her up and galloped like a horsie back there. She was giggling, and so were we. It was so sweet. Then he came back out a few minutes later and gave us a thumbs-up to let us know she went under just fine,” says Kelsey.

Dr. Elsenraat says getting to know families and making them feel comfortable is just part of the job.

“As a parent, I know how stressful it can be to have your child undergo a surgical procedure. I feel it can be harder on the parents, as they have to wait and worry in the waiting room during the procedure.  Part of what I love about my job is helping both the kids and the parents through this process. I try to make it as enjoyable of an experience as possible and not one that leaves them with fear or anxiety.”  

Recovery Room Manager Julie Noah says special considerations are always made for Boone Hospital’s young patients.

“Surgery, no matter how big or small, can cause anxiety and fear, so our goal at Boone Hospital Center is to provide every outpatient with excellent care while focusing on their safety. We also provide parents and their children with some extra-special considerations. If our pediatric patients don’t have a ‘horsie’ (AKA Dr. Elsenraat), Boone has wagons that wheel patients back into the surgery suite in their own pajamas, with a new stuffed bear in hand. We encourage children and parents to bring a toy from home to play with to pass the time in Pre-Op and to soothe them after surgery. We are mindful of the fear of needles, so all pediatric IVs are started after the child is asleep in the Surgery Suite. Parents are brought directly to the Recovery area as soon as their child is awake. Each patient that we touch throughout the surgery experience allows our team to fulfill the mission at Boone to improve the health of the people and communities we serve.“

Riley’s surgery went perfectly, and soon, Riley headed back home to be reunited with her twin sister Kailey.

One week later, you would never know Riley recently had surgery as she celebrated her 3rd birthday.

“She was back to normal in no time. We are so grateful for the experience we had at Boone,” says Kelsey.

Riley and Kailey just recently shared the exciting news that they are going to be big sisters in February.

“The girls are so excited and so are we,” says Kelsey.