I am SO happy to report that C. made it through his heart surgery and is doing well in the ICU! Truly, we cannot thank you enough for your prayers and support through this process. For those of us on the "front-lines," it's been hard to see a child we care about so much being poked and prodded for days and then knowing that his heart was being stopped during surgery this morning... I can't describe adequately what that feels like. We were so happy that (CDA volunteer and med student) Michelle was allowed to be in the operating room with C. so he really was never alone, just like we told him he wouldn't be.
To go back to this morning... Sarah had her last night shift for a few nights with him (very limited visits while he's now in the ICU), and then this morning, Danyelle and I walked over to the hospital to see C. before he was taken back. At about 8am, a nurse came in to give him a sedative. We didn't think it was working that well until she came back about ten minutes later and asked him to stand up, and he nearly fell over. We prayed for him, and then she carried him to the operating room... And the wait began.
We were told that a doctor would come out to speak with us about the surgery before they began, but no one came. That seemed to be the theme for today, unfortunately. We'd been told earlier that the actual operation would only take about an hour and a half, but it would be around 4 hours until we'd be able to see him again. We waited and waited for an update, and we never did get one. Finally at almost 11am a nurse came out, and I asked her if she knew anything about how it was going. She didn't, but said she did know that he was still in the operating room. About an hour later, Sarah and I couldn't stand it anymore and went back into the ICU in search of him or info about him. We saw him laying in a bed, hooked up to lots of tubes, with Michelle by his side. One of his nurses told us to give him a few more minutes and then we'd be allowed back to see him.
Well, as was the theme, no one told us when we were officially allowed into the ICU so we took it upon ourselves again to get in. It was so much harder seeing him than I expected it to be. He was hooked up to several different IVs, a breathing tube, and several other things that I wish I could tell you what they were. He was still asleep, as they were not yet ready to extubate him. Our visit was very brief as it wasn't an official visiting hour. We were told to go out to lunch and then come back at 3pm when visiting hours began and we could speak with the doctor.
We headed out to lunch, and when we got back, we were anxious to hear how he was doing. One by one we were allowed back into the ICU to see him. As soon as I walked in and held his hand, he opened one eye and squeezed my hand. His nurse said he was stable and doing well. I started stroking his head which made him open his eyes a bit more, but it also made some of his levels drop, so that wasn't good. We really can only stand at his bedside with him. Touching him/rubbing his head/holding his hand/talking to him is a bit too much stimulation at this point.
He will be given sedatives for the next couple days as he begins his recovery. The good news is that his breathing tube was removed at about 5pm, so he's already breathing on his own! He can have visitors for one hour, twice a day, so we're anxious to go back tomorrow and hear how he slept tonight. Because Sarah and I live within walking distance of the hospital, we'll be taking on his ICU shifts which should last 3-5 days. After that, he will be moved up to a regular room for a few days before being discharged.
This has turned into a bit of a novel, so I'll stop now and leave you with some pictures :)
Last picture before his heart surgery!
Time to go back and he was already out!
My turn to go into the ICU... Do I look official?
We were told we weren't allowed to take pictures in the ICU, but Michelle took this one right after his surgery ended. She also took many pictures during his surgery, but I'll spare you the details.