Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Surgery - Date is confirmed!

Well, yesterday didn't go quite as I had planned.  It turns out that I had scheduled both the feeding therapy and the pre-op at the same time.  Oops!  Some days I feel that my mind is made of swiss cheese.  I cancelled the feeding therapy which made for a more relaxed start to our day.  (We were also thankfully able to reschedule that for today.)  Thanking God for the way that He worked out these details even when I messed things up.   

Our appointment for pre-op was on the surgical floor.  The floor with the waiting room for families and friends of those in surgery.  It brought memories flooding back of that morning in April when we handed over our little girl.  Times with friends praying and talking.  Times of longing for my little girl.  Times of wondering what was going on and hoping and praying for the best.  Even though the experience was a good one in terms of how well she did, it still has a lot of emotion attached to it.  I was surprised at how it caught me off-guard.  I reminded myself too that this was the place where my little girl's heart was made whole! 

The appointment started when they took all of her vitals including height (26.5"), weight (16lb 11oz), blood pressure, oxygen saturation (97%) and heart rate.  All looked good.  I then met with a gal that talked with me about the surgery.  I asked if the date had been confirmed which seemed to surprise her.  When she looked it wasn't "posted" and so she made a call to confirm.  We are set.

Tuesday 17 July

I had to sign a waiver for the anesthesia.  I know it's standard practice, something everyone has to do and yet it still isn't easy.  It hurts to hear each thing that "might" happen no matter how unlikely.  The hardest were at the end of the list ... brain damage and loss of life  Thankfully Eliana has had a positive response to surgery and anesthesia already so we are hoping, praying and expecting another good experience.

Since her blood workup  has looked good in the past, the gal decided that we didn't need to have blood work done at all!  Praise God!!!  I had asked for prayers about her difficulty with blood draws, but never even considered asking that she not need them at all!  What a sweet surprise.  I told Eliana that this was a good thing and she just flashed  her adorable grin at me. 

I was told that the only abnormality in Eliana's blood was the platelet count after surgery.  (Normal is 100,000 - 400,000 and hers was 900,000.  If it had been 1,000,000 then they would have wanted more testing.)  They are thinking that this was due to surgery as it hasn't been an issue prior to this.

I talked with her about how Eliana is a hard stick for blood draws (very hard time during heart surgery and ended up needing a cut-down on her arm to get the IV inserted).  She talked with me about getting her hydrated prior to surgery to help with that.  I also have the instructions on feeding prior to surgery.  (Last feed at midnight and then clear liquids 2 hours prior to arrival time.)  We don't yet know the arrival time and will get that the day prior to surgery.  Typically the youngest child goes first so we are expecting another early surgery.  This is actually easier on all of us.  The only change in her surgery time would be due to someone needing emergency surgery.  We will be praying that nothing like that happens as it could make things hard for Eliana since she won't be able to eat (which leads to being less hydrated which makes for a harder stick for IV). 

I asked about whether we would escort Eliana to the surgical room.  (We weren't allowed to do this in April due to her age.)  After 6 months this is an option.  It will be up to the anesthesiologist.  I'm fine waiting and just seeing how that works out that morning.

Last stop was to talk with a Child Life Specialist.  She is a very nice gal that I met prior to Eliana's heart surgery.  She asked if I'd seen a g-tube and I replied "Not in real life".  She then showed me 2 kinds of g-tubes and explained how they worked.  Eliana is getting the BARD which doesn't seem to be as common as the Mic-key.  The surgeon told us that the Bard is a good first one for Eliana (and hopefully last one too!).  It lies flatter.  Also the procedure doesn't involve laproscopy down the throat which I really don't want her to have!  The down side is that the tube doesn't "lock" in when getting a feeding.  That is a nice feature.  I'm trusting the Doctor on this one that he is doing the one that is best for Eliana.

So, that's about all that I know.  I'm not sure how long we'll be in the hospital but I don't expect it to be long.  I think if open-heart surgery only requires a 3 night stay then this one should be shorter.    The surgeon told us to expect 2-3 days. 

I'm looking forward to saying good-bye to the tube on her face.  I wish it were good-bye to tube feedings forever - hopefully one day!  My heart feels much better and calmer leading up to this surgery.  Though walking into the "valley of the shadow of death" and feeling God's peace that passes understanding was an incredible blessing during Eliana's heart surgery.  I am thankful for the Master Physician and know that His hand is on all of us!

Just yesterday as I was driving to Eliana's appointment and talking with God a song came on the radio that touched my heart.  He reminded me that I need not fear the future.  He is with me.  He is the reason that I have a future and a hope.  Him.  Not the circumstances with Eliana or anyone else.  Hoping in those will only leave me with pain.  I don't think it means that I won't have pain - I will.  That is part of living in a fallen world.  I do think it means that I can trust that He is with me, holding me, loving me and carrying me through all of it.  I am trying to rest in His arms, in His peace.  Some days I rest more easily than others - you would think I'd have learned that lesson by now. 

Thank you for your prayers and support.  Blessings to each of you!


PS  Will try to post more photos soon.  Still trying to figure out the slideshow.