Saturday, February 21, 2009

Surgery #1 Review

Disclaimer: Understand the photo might be tough to look at. However, seeing it in person, I can tell you the photos make it look worse than it is. When we started looking at this stuff online, weeks ago, we were amazed at how much was going on. Then, seeing it in person, our reactions were along the lines of "Oh... it's not as bad as we feared." Then we see the photos we took, and realize it looks like what we've already seen online.

So... it's not as "unnatural" as it appears. We'll explain all that below.

Yesterday's surgery went well. There were some unexpected positives, and one minor complication. There were no problems with the three procedures they went in for. In fact, at this time, his left ventricle is doing the job it's supposed to do. All the blood into the body is being pumped from the left ventricle.

What they're watching very closely is the LVOT (left ventricle outflow tract), which is the area immediately below the aortic valve, which is the last valve before blood goes out into the body. This LVOT area has the possibility of tightening up and not allowing sufficient flow out of the heart. If this area maintains its current status, Eli will be able to retain his now-3-chambered heart permanently. Only the two atrium are combined into one. However, if the LVOT begins to tighten, they'll have to combine the aortic and pulmonary valves so there is only one outflow from the heart, effectively giving him a 2-chambered heart.

The other thing they're watching is the VSD (ventricular septal defect), the hole in the wall between the two pumping chambers. This hole is large, and they need it to stay that way. Typically, they would opened up this hole, just like they did on the upper chambers, but the defect hole was so large, they didn't need to. It also needs to stay large for the way they've replumbed the heart.

Pray for both the LVOT and the VSD to stay large.

The only complication was the re-attachment of where Eli was hooked up to the heart/lung machine. Once they patched up those arteries, one of them didn't want to stay closed. They stitched it a couple times before they finally had to repair it with some artery material from his left arm. Dr. MacDonald's only concern is the possibility that scarring could lead to some restriction in that artery, which feeds the brain. In his words, "But I don't suspect that will be an issue. Everything looks good."

So an explanation of what you're seeing below.... Eli is actually breathing on his own. The ventilator is there only to control the saturation of gasses he breathes. We breathe outside air, which is 21% oxygen. Right now, he's being sautrated with 60% oxygen. More oxygen attracts more blood flow, and they want the blood flowing through the lungs for healing and everything else our blood typically does for us.

The two large tubes resting on his belly: Those are chest tubes, and they are not that large going into him. They're about as big as a pencil lead, and are suction to help get rid of all the fluids. The blue coil of wire sitting on his chest are wire leads to his heart. They are there in case they need to pace his heart. They haven't had to use them, so far.

He has a few IVs. There are a pair of main artery trunks going into his navel, and another main trunk in his right wrist. You can see the one on his wrist with the red "Artery" label. I think we counted 16 different medicines going into him last night. These don't all come in individual IVs. Each IV input has a "T" so another can be tagged along right behind it. The collection of spachetti next to his right knee is part of this trunking system. All that mess combines down to one tiny IV.

On his right thumb and left big toe, you can see the flesh colored cloth. Those are bandages to keep the O2 monitors on. These are only touching the skin, not penetrating it. Running under his left foot is simply a catheter. He hasn't learned not to wet the bed, yet. Around his right calf is a blood pressure monitor.

It's a lot to take in, obviously. But this isn't nearly as invasive as it looks or sounds. Come by and see him, we'd love visitors to help us pass the time.

Here's Eli, only one hour after surgery and all the technology we're so thankful for.


Bonnie said...

I cc'ed you, Tanya, on my email to our friends in Kinshasa, Congo, asking them to pray for Eli. May the prayers of God's people around the world be lifted up for you and Eli, and for those who respond to his medical needs.

Thanks for sharing Eli with us last night. What a handsome little guy!

We know God will use this situation to glorify Himself and draw people to His kingdom because there is nothing wasted in His economy!

Loving and praying for you!

I Really Ought To Be Doing Something Else... said...

The Martinez family is praying for you from Alabama.

Chris, Suzanne & kiddos

Anonymous said...

I want to come and see you and give you a huge hug. But we have colds and would never dream of it! We have been praying endlessly with all of the others and can't even imagine your level of exhaustion. Hang in there Tanya - you just gave birth, I haven't forgotten that- you are being strong for everyone - I give you a big cyber hug right now! God is clearly sustaining you through this and it is so apparent how he is working. We continue to pray - The Ayers Family

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the informative update and we praise the Lord for what he has accomplished in Eli's life so far. It is great to know how to continue to pray more knowledgeably in the days to come.

He is a handsome boy and he has a great family to belong to. We continue to entreat God for the health of Eli and the strength and peace for the rest of the family.

Anonymous said...

Tanya and Jason, we have been thankfully updated via Grandma and are sending you our prayers, love and hugs. It is clear that God has chosen you two to bring to this world Eli with his fragility. What a compliment and testimony to your Faith and is confidence in you both! He's equipped you two with a Faith to be seen as a beacon to all who are blessed by being around you. We are praying through hopeful hearts that He surrounds you and Eli with the Holy Spirit to comfort you and sustain you. We are praying for the valve and hole to remain large like you said; prayer for healing and strength for Eli - what a little trooper he already is. He's just precious and we are so happy for you both. We love you and are sending you hugs! :) Kristi and Blair

Anonymous said...

Tanya & Jason,

The Hirschfield Family is also sending prayers your way. Eli is such a handsome boy. Thank you so much for sharing him with us. Your faith and God's love will get your whole family through these trying times.

Please know that you are in our hearts and thoughts.

The Hirschfield Family