Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pacemaker Installed

Eli had his pacemaker installed yesterday. Surgery went very well! He's in the PICU recovering now, while we're at the Ronald McDonald House enduring a little down time during shift change.

What did yesterday look like for the non-patients? Well... we woke up at 4am, after staying up past midnight because we couldn't sleep. We made some of the strongest coffee we've ever made. We really love our new coffee maker! It's the thermal mug type, so there's no burner under the pot and the coffee never tastes burnt. It's just so much smoother. Anyway... then we hit the road with our little red head.

5:30- Arrive. Sign in.
5:45- Go through all the normal pre-op stuff: Weight, height, when did you feed last, etc.
6:15- Got our pre-op room. New nurse asked all the same questions.
6:45- Met with anesthesiologist, Dr. Greaves. Asked all the same questions again.
7:00- Met with surgeon, Dr. MacDonald. This is the same surgeon who did his first surgery. We admire/respect him immensely. He told us it would be 2 hours after entering the OR before he was needed because they'll be setting up arterial lines, IVs, etc. He was noticeably relaxed. He had just come in from his morning swim. 2 miles!
7:30- We prayed over our little boy, and they wheeled him out. He smiled at us.
7:31- We stayed in the room a while, cried and held each other. It was so much harder to let him go this time. For his first surgery, he was 40 hours old, and we'd never even held him. He's 11 months now, and we've laughed with him in our home.
7:45- Breakfast in the cafeteria. CHCC's cafeteria is really great, for a cafeteria.
8:00- Searching to find a comfortable place to "crash" for a few hours. The basement has a couple areas that are very light on traffic and very far away from the main entrance, where all the people with coughs/colds wait. Once we settle in, Tanya naps while I burn up the batteries on the laptop.
9:30- First phone call. All the lines are in, incision started. Everything's well.
10:00- Restless and laptop batteries are low. We stroll casually through the halls.
10:45- PICU waiting room is too crowded. NICU waiting room has no Internet access, but we watch the last half of "California's Gold" with Huell Howser. If you don't know who he is, you should! Unintentional stand-up comedy.
11:00- Settle into an admin corridor, directly above the main entrance. Maintenance staff is working on ladders above the ceiling. Fire alarm goes off. This happened during his last surgery, too. I feel like I'm at work again. Listening to their radios, we find out it came from the construction area. Again. I have a little empathy for them. :)
11:30- Second call. "We're all done! Meet us in recovery." Recovery? Does that mean they extubated?
12:00- Third call. "Sorry, he's fighting extubation a little, so he'll go straight to PICU instead." That's what we thought was supposed to happen the whole time.
12:15- Meet with Dr. MacDonald. Everything went well. No problems!
1:00- Finally get in to see our little boy. He looks so tired. Still sedated and intubated, but wiggling around, and keeps rubbing at the breathing tube.
1:30- We watch them extubate him. Pretty simple, but he's stuffed up. They hold a mask over his face for a few seconds until... he cries! Hooray!
3:00- They step him up from a regular canula to a high-flow canula. He has some upper airway swelling and could use a little assistance sucking that air in.
4:00- We leave to get food. We force ourselves to leave the campus and go to Macaroni Grill. Dr. MacDonald encourages us to do so. Honey balsamic chicken for me, chicken parmagiana for Tanya.
5:30- Check in to Ronald McDonald House. The (lack of) Hospitality Team is so incredibly inefficient. Rock music is playing over the speakers through the hall way. It's a little disheartening that it appears they've lost their focus as to why they're there. I know it's a work environment for them, but it's supposed to be a temporary landing pad for parents in crisis. A peaceful "safe" place. Oh well, we're all human. Just get me my key, we don't need the tour, again.
5:45- Walk back over to sit with Eli.
7:00- Shift change. We have to leave for an hour. Just then, a friend calls to offer company. He meets us in the cafeteria and we drink hot chocolates and enjoy friendship.
8:00- Back to Eli's room. We're beginning to be able to calm him now. I rub my fingers over his eye brows to keep him resting. He had become agitated while we were out. All his kicking nearly pulled out his arterial line (his only IV, and also used to constantly read blood pressure). A little mommy-sedatives helped to keep the medical sedatives to a minimum.
10:00- Getting ready to head to bed. It's been a long day. Just as we do so, Eli quickly turns WAY blue. His oxygen saturation monitor isn't working, either, so we don't know where he is. The nurse begins scrambling to figure out what's wrong. 2 more nurses come in and start figuring out what's wrong with the saturation probe. Respiratory therapist comes in and starts tweaking his air feed, blasting him with straight oxygen. He's pink again, but that was a scary 45 seconds, and they still don't know what's wrong with the probe. Electronics-tech-daddy sees the probe doesn't appear to be getting power and asks them to check where it's plugged into the main monitor. Tada!
10:15- Nerves settled back down... try to head out again. Eli is sleeping peacefully. Why the little event? We don't know.
11:00- I'm not sure what happened at 11. We never quite saw the clock reach that point.

Today, Eli continues to make progress. His swelling is already decreasing and his breathing troubles are beginning to ease. His cardiologist, Dr. Heragu, came in and verified Eli's pacer is doing what it should, and the vendor, Medtronic, trained us on the monitor we'll be taking home so we can download the information out of his pacer and send it to them via phone line. We'll do this once per month.

Here's Eli's latest. Last night, after surgery. He only has one IV, the red line coming up over his belly. The rest are EKG stickies and his pacifier tether.


Bonnie said...

Well, in the words of Huell Howser, "Oh Wooooow!"

God knit Little Man together ~ nothing unknown about Eli to Him. He continues to be on the throne and we get to witness His gracious care of His little one.

Love to you both, to Little Man, and of course to Paige, because she is!

Andrew said...

Thanks for the detailed post, Jason. Sounds like you packed a week worth of living into one long day!
We'll keep praying.

Anonymous said...

We are so glad that things went well for your little red head. Praying that that continues and Eli can keep growing strong and healthy! From Aliya to Paige - I miss you! And, yes, we know Huell Howser, he's our source of entertainment too! The Ayers Fam

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your day with us! Know that you are floating on lifted prayers.