Thursday, June 28, 2012

Waiting over, now real work begins

The time seemed to pass so slowly leading up to my boy’s surgery, and then the last two days flew by so fast! We spent last Thursday doing preoperative requirements–blood draw, chest X-ray, physical with the surgical team. All day long I was counting down in my mind: “In 24 hours, they will be wheeling him into the operating room. In 12 hours, we will be leaving for the hospital.” Thursday evening was pretty laid back, with visits from friends and time spent just being together. I let him pick his favorite for dinner, so we dined on soft-shell tacos and watermelon!

The morning of surgery, we headed for the hospital early, and things moved quickly from then on. Our pastor was there waiting for us, as well as my college roommate. (Yes, we both settled in this area, a thousand miles from Indiana where we met.) After some quiet time together, it was time for them to wheel my little boy away. That was the hardest part. I kept it together until he couldn’t see me anymore and then gave into a couple of tears. Even knowing he was in good hands, it was hard to watch him go. But the staff was wonderful, and we were updated several times during the procedure. I shed a few tears again—this time, tears of joy when we got word he was off bypass, and everything was working great. Five short—but very long—hours after he was wheeled away, we were at his bedside in the cardiac intensive care unit.

I didn’t recognize him at first; he was just so small in that big bed with all the monitors and IVs. Thankfully, he was extubated already and breathing well on his own. Throughout the rest of the day, he woke up occasionally, but it wasn't until Saturday that he really started to make progress. His chest tubes were removed that morning and, by afternoon, his central lines were pulled as well. He was up in a chair and sipping water before we knew it. And, surprisingly, he moved to the step-down unit that evening. Sunday was spent with visitors and coaxing my already picky eater to eat. Nothing sounded good on his upset tummy—poor boy—but, by Sunday evening, he was nibbling on strawberries and bread and, by Monday, was willing to eat some yogurt.

I was shocked on Monday when the staff wrote discharge orders. My first thought was, “There is no way I am ready to have this kid at home!” But they felt he would eat better and we would both rest better at home. (I had been sleeping at his bedside every night with just a few short breaks each day to get some fresh air.) I think I drove 10 miles under the speed limit the whole way home; my cargo just seemed so much more precious to me!

And now, two days later, he is eating better and walking almost like his normal self. (He has lost at least four pounds, though, and looks skeletal.) He is also getting sassy, a sure sign he is feeling better. I am still watching him like a hawk. As I write this, I am sitting in the same room he is, and I confess I slept the last two nights on the trundle bed in his room. I continue to entice him with all the foods I can think of—How long can a boy live on Otter Pops?—and we even ventured outside to water the flowers together this morning. Now I fear he is feeling too good, and it will be tough to keep him calm the next couple weeks. Already, he misses riding his bike and doing jumps on his scooter!

Wonderful friends and having my parents here has been instrumental in his quick healing. We have been wrapped in prayer, well fed, and his sister has been entertained, if you call soccer camp in 100-degree weather entertained! Thank you all for the support. We couldn't have made it this far this fast without each and every one of you!

For Reflections on Nursing Leadership (RNL), published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. 

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