Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Pre-Op Results

The day started with the friend who was supposed to watch K during the pre-op appointment emailing me to let me know that one of her kids is still sick. Since we can't risk exposing L to anything, we had to find someone else. Thankfully, I have great friends who stepped up and we found a fun place for K to spend the afternoon.

We arrived at the clinic only to find that the receptionist seemed to have no idea who we were. After a little sojourn in their waiting room, they sent us over to the hospital where we waited in yet another waiting room *for a long time*. We finally got escorted up to the pre-op area where we met the PA, the anesthesiologist, some of the nurses, and the child life specialist. We filled out paperwork and got the run-down on what to expect before, during, and after surgery. L was also given an EKG, chest x-ray, and had a few tubes of blood drawn. After 3 1/2 hours, we finally headed out.

So here's the plan. We arrive at the hospital at 5:15am and report to the front desk where we'll be escorted back up to pre-op. They'll give L a drink that'll make her rather loopy (that'll be fun) so they can hook up some of the lines and tubes that are needed before the surgery begins. The surgery will be about 4 hours long--only 15-20 min. are required for the actual VSD repair, the rest is all the opening and closing.

After the surgery she'll be moved to the recovery room and ICU. She'll be kept partly sedated since she'll rival a Borg with all the tubes and wires running in and out of her. Can you imagine a 3-year-old *not* pulling all those out? We'll only be allowed short visits, but she'll have a nurse assigned exclusively to her full-time. By the next day or so, most of the tubes will be out and we'll move to a step-down room where we'll be allowed (required) to stay with her. After a few days there, we can go home. L will have to watched pretty closely for a little while for fever and such and to make sure that she doesn't rough-house or fall and try to catch herself with her arms. After all, the breastbone will have just been separated and it takes 4-6 weeks for a broken bone to heal. We also have to keep her away from germs as much as possible; I can't even imagine coughing or throwing up after all that!

Let's swimming or hot tubs. Showers are good, but we can't let her stand and have water pouring on her chest for long. No picking her up under the arms. No dance class, Sunday School, Bible Study, or anything else where she could pick up germs or fall. Really, it's a pretty good time to do this since most activities are off over Christmas and we won't miss as much as any other time of year.

The child life specialist (that's a person who's sole job is to distract the patient during tests, keep them occupied and entertained, and just make sure that the whole hospital stay goes well for them) brought L a book that explains the whole procedure, with illustrations so that the parents and kids understand what's happening. I was looking through it tonight with K and L and they had lots of questions (K: "All those tubes look freaky!" and "Why is that in her neck?"; L: "Why is she sleeping on her bed?").

As we got ready to pray at bedtime, L reminded me not to forget to pray for "my hospital my heart". She knows that something's going on, that she's going to the hospital, and that they're going to fix her heart, but she's not real clear on what that means. K has a much better grasp on the details and she's worried about her little sister. My friend who watched her this afternoon said she was very quiet and thoughtful today, so I think we're going to have to do some extra explaining and reassuring. Thankfully, Grandma will be here to distract her and keep her routine going.

1 comment:

Lysa TerKeurst said...

Dear Valerie,
You are the WINNER!!! I told Leigh from POG about you and your daughter. I had not picked a winner when I told Leigh goodbye on the cruise so the gals signed their names on a photo and gave me their greatest hits CD to give away. I randomly picked the winner, but I think God knew exactly who needed to win- you! So, congrats! Please post your e-mail address on my latest blog post and I'll connect with you for your mailing information.
Please know that my family and I are praying for you, your daughter and your whole family.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Sweet Blessings,