Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Day 21, Post Op Fontan (May 8)

This moment three weeks ago we were sitting in a waiting room as Eli was in surgery.  That day he endured two major reconstructions to his heart, placement of a pacemaker, and several units of blood all totaling over eight hours in the OR.  After talking to Dr. Abraham in the late afternoon he asked if we had any questions.  I blurted out "Did you get lunch?"  He smiled and calmly (because I've never heard him anything but calm) said, "No, we just plow through and get the job done." 

Eli's wound vac dressing change went fine today.  His sedation was even better than it was Monday.  Monday they put a dry washcloth over his eyes because he didn't like the bright lights they needed.  Today we did that as soon as he was starting to "phase out" and aside from the occasional grunt or hand motion he was very quiet.  The wound looks great.  I am astounded at how well it is healing.  The wound vac is a miracle invention.  The other day I told Dr. Belcher my only wound vac experience was on the backside of people who were eighty and older.  He just smiled and said, "Now you see how they're supposed to work!"  Dr. Abraham wanted to be present for today's dressing change so he could assess the wound.  He hadn't seen it since last Friday.  Eli's next change is scheduled for the day after tomorrow, which will be Friday.  Then they'll do it again on Monday.  Today, Dr. Abraham said he wouldn't be surprised if they don't replace it when they take it off Monday.  At that point he'll have to make a decision about how to close the rest of it (let it granulate/"fill in" with new skin or use stitches).  Just the fact that Eli's healing so well and we can even think about stopping using the wound vac is mind blowing to me.  I don't even care if they need to put the wound vac on for a few more days after the change on Monday.  To be that close is exciting!

Eli's chest tube is still draining a fair amount.  The past three days he's averaged 100-120cc/day (between 3 & 4 ounces).  That's not a lot but too much to handle on his own without a chest tube.  Hopefully he starts putting out less and less and we can talk about setting a day to remove that.  Things are moving along slowly, but he's getting better.  We just keep saying that we knew his surgery was going to be huge and it ended up being an even bigger surgery by the necessary mitral valve repair.  Chest tubes and infection are not to be taken lightly, but we keep saying at least he's beating and breathing.  We'll deal with the rest as it comes!

Eli is sleeping now.  About 15 minutes before his nap the nurse turned off his oxygen.  That hasn't been done in days and we need to assess how he does on room air.  He quickly went from 95% to around 90%.  Basically he's ranging from 89-91% with the occasional 86 (that's the lowest I've seen).  Once he got up to 92%!!!!  I took a photo of that and sent it to Bryan!  Ideally, they want him to be in the low nineties without supplemental oxygen, but if he stays in the upper 80s Sara's phrase was "we'll deal with it."  As the fluid from his chest tube decreases his oxygen levels may stay a little higher.  Time will tell and we've got plenty of that in here!

Today is National Nurse's Day.  I want to thank all the wonderful nurses I have the privilege of working with (when I get there!).  I also want to thank all the incredible, caring, intelligent, quality nurses who've taken care of Eli not only throughout this hospitalization, but the last two and a half years.  I couldn't begin to name them all and I'm afraid I'll leave someone out.  Let's try it this way:

- the nurses at Cullen Medical who take care of all four of us and many details of Eli's care so we don't have to mess with it
- the nurses at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital.  There are too many to name so I'll attempt by department (and I'm afraid I'll leave one of them out!):  Sara Bodenmiller (cardiac NP) and the nurses in the cardiac office, the OR nurses (especially Susan who was Eli's surgical nurse for his Fontan and the abscess drainage), the preop nurses, PICU nurses and NPs, the nurses in the vascular lab where Eli's PICC line was put in, the third floor nurses and NPs, case management nurses, the nurse liaisons who keep us informed during Eli's procedures, the recovery room nurses, and all the behind-the-scenes nurses who do things I don't even know about!
- Tracey, nurse at Dr. Kumbar's office (Evansville cardiologist) and the others who we don't see as often but always help out when we need it
- the nurses at Williams Brothers HealthCare Pharmacy who help coordinate Eli's feeding tube supplies and will be coordinating his home IV therapy (whenever that may be!)

So, if you know a nurse, give some credit to him/her.  I think I saw that it's also Teacher's Week as well as Nurse's Week.  Isn't it funny how teachers and nurses are celebrated around the same time as Mother's Day?  Parenting, teaching and nursing have to be the most rewarding careers that can emotionally drain you five minutes into your day!  Thanks to all teachers (including my momma!) for all your hard work as well :)

In yesterday's post I had alluded to the fact that there may be a shortage of blood (just me speculating since it took so long to get Eli's unit for transfusion).  I don't have any more info regarding blood supplies, but did find out that there is a blood drive in Washington this week for anyone who's interested.  It's at the Birdcage (Washington Catholic gym).  The Red Cross will be there collecting units on Thursday, May 9 from 12:30pm - 5:30pm.  If you want to help out, this would be a good chance. 

Another organization who coordinates blood drives around the state is Indiana Blood Center.  You can get to their website here and see if they have any blood drives in your area.  Also, you can always contact your local Red Cross to see what their schedule is.  Thanks for all the responses about blood donation from my last post!  Take care and thank you for the support :)

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