Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cath Lab 2 Report

Yesterday was Eli's second chance to see if he is eligible for the next phase of his surgery journey, the Glenn. We need blood pressure in the lungs to be low enough before we can proceed. He failed this test in July, so we gave him some time to grow into his anatomy, then tried it again.

Eli's lungs are still not sufficient. He still has pulmonary hypertension, the blood pressure in the lungs is too high. We need the blood pressure in the lungs to be 1/3rd (33%) of what it is in the rest of the body. At the first test, it was roughly 58%, but measurements were hard to obtain because his numbers were so erratic at that time. For yesterday's test, everything was much more stable, but pulmonary pressure was still in the 44% area. The positive side is that he's made signifcant progress, cutting the gap in half. He is, indeed, growing into his anatomy.

This test also verified, with certainty, what we have for months thought to be the case. During his first surgery, the band around Eli's pulmonary artery was not installed tightly enough. This band is used to reduce bloodflow from the heart into the lungs. It obviously has direct influence over the blood pressure in his lungs. It is adjusted by watching blood oxygen levels as it is tightened. Hind sight tells us that Eli's blood flow and direction is so chaotic, the numbers they used to adjust the band were not accurate. Technically, they could tighten the band, but this would require surgery, opening him all the way up to tighten the band. The alternative is to wait, and let him grow. The band will stay the same size, and he will grow larger, making the band relatively smaller. This is obviously a MUCH less invasive path, and the obvious choice.

So what now? Now, we wait and grow some more. We'll test again in a few months, but any specific timeline has not been established. Our cardiology appointments have been reduced to every 2 or 3 months, rather than monthly. Eli doesn't have any pressing issues at this time, so there's no need for such close monitoring. Our job is to keep him healthy, because any cold/flu would still be extremely bad for his sensitive lungs. We will continue to stay shut-ins through this nasty winter. Christmas and the holidays will be quiet and a little lonely for us this year. We look forward to a return to social life sometime next year.

So to the positive notes. The procedure itself went very well. We didn't even need to stay the night! Eli was... sit down before this hits you... AHEAD of schedule! They let him go home with us after a few hours in the recovery unit. This was such a huge relief because it meant that not only could we sleep in our own beds, but Eli would not be cared for by a nurse who was also caring for 3-6 other sick patients.

In addition, he was also sent home with a slight fever, which they don't normally do. While the fever is now gone, it was very encouraging to be told that he was being sent home with us because we've cared for him so well and understand everything better than other parents. The doctor made it clear to us that he trusted us with Eli's sensitive care, which is why we were sent home before we should have been. Earlier that day, his anesthsiologist asked us some specific detailed questions about Eli, which Tanya was able to answer. As he walked away, we heard him tell the other team members, "It sure is nice to work with parents who just know." Later, in recovery, we heard the charge nurse say "Just ask the parents. They're experts with Eli."

Am I bragging? Yes. I have an awesome wife, and Eli has an extraordinary advocate. Tanya's never second best at anything she wants to do, and Eli's care is a perfect example. I am extremely proud of her, and glad to have her as my partner through this journey.

Please pray for continued health for us all, especially Eli. Pray for protection from what has already been identified as a terrible flu season. And pray for Eli to grow, grow, grow! We continue to be humbled by everyone's outpouring of support, and could never thank you enough.


The Moore Family said...

Yahooooo Eli, keep on truckin kid, we are all praying for you and look forward to hearing more positive news!

Tamara B said...

yipee! What great news. I would love to see pics of our growing little guy if you would have time to post some... if I need to go to FB to see some, then I might just run to the library to see him :)

The Favelos said...

We have been praying for you guys from Cancun~! Glad Eli is on his way to being ready for the next surgery!