So Secondborn, at the age of eight, has had his hernia surgery. The doctor made an incision, found the opening in the abdominal wall, and sewed it shut; that's what you do with hernias. This is good news.
Even better: before he sewed it closed, the doctor ran a little camera around to the other side, and made sure there wasn't any sort of incipient hernia or congenital weakness over there. There wasn't; the inside of the kid's abdomen looks fine. (On a related note, I now have a high-resolution color portrait of the inside of my son's abdominal wall at age eight. That one's going in the scrap book, believe me.) The hernia was, according to the doctor, "respectably sized" and he apparently had no trouble finding it.
Secondborn handled it well: he wasn't allowed to eat or drink that morning, but he stayed in a good mood and went off with the doctor the way he was supposed to. We'd briefed him on how he'd have a mask on his face for the anesthesia, and apparently he handled that just fine as well.
Here's the thing about getting your children (or apparently your grandchildren, for that matter) through surgery: this stuff is stressful, y'all. I still don't think I'm entirely decompressed from it.
After the surgery, they put Secondborn in a room until he woke up. When he did, the nurse asked him if he wanted a drink of water. "I can't!" he replied. "I have to have surgery!" And, of course, once he was awake they brought us in to sit with him until he was ready to go, which was just about as soon as he was conscious. We had to wait a little longer, both to let the anesthesia wear off and to go over all the rules for after-care. We also had to pick up some pain medications, mainly to get us through the first day -- after that, we should be fine with over-the-counter stuff.
So... it's done.
Now, if we can just keep Secondborn still (or, at least, not moving at full speed) long enough to heal, I think I can finally stop being stressed out about this, and start being relieved. That's not going to be so easy, though. The child only has two speeds: sitting on the couch, and parkour. Still, with any luck we can get him through this and not have to deal with it anymore.
Hm. Two additional thoughts:
1. Thank the gods for modern medicine. (Or, y'know, better yet: thank science. But either way, the sentiment stands.)
2. In the modern United States of America, this is a relatively simple medical procedure, even when performed on a child - and (in the modern United States of America) we're still spectacularly lucky that getting this surgery done hasn't bankrupted us.