WOW! It’s been a LOOOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGG day (kinda like this post you are about to read). You may have seen my Facebook post at 3am this morning. I woke up and could not go to sleep because I was afraid I would either sleep through the alarm or it wouldn’t go off at all. So, I just lied in bed waiting until 5:15.
We arrived at the hospital at 6:05, received our pager disk, you know, the kind you get a restaurants that blink and vibrate when your table is ready and waited. We were called up to the 18th floor around 6:20 for Nathan to get situated in the holding area before surgery. We were the first ones to check in this morning at the desk. We were also the first ones to be sent to the holding area. However, we were the last ones to go back into surgery.
Yesterday we were told that we would have a 7am start time. When we got to the holding area, it was changed to 8am. As we waited, the anesthesiologist came to visit and advised that we would start closer to 8:30. There had been an emergency surgery overnight for a child and they were getting the room ready.
At 9:30, I finally asked our nurses what was taking so long. they told me that it shouldn’t be too much longer. The emergency surgery was just finishing up (more on this later). Finally, at 10:10 the surgery team came back, gave Nathan his first round of anesthesia and whisked him away (4 hours late).
We knew that we would be receiving updates every 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Mika and Mary, our two awesome nurses, were the ones to give us updates throughout the day. The first update came at 1 1/2 hours in as planned. The news was good. There was less scar tissue than they had expected around Nathans heart from his previous two open heart surgeries. This should make things much easier to work around.
Update #2 came about 2 hours later. Mary came to visit and told us that the esophageal ECHO (you can read about that here) showed what they had expected. They put Nathan on a heart-lung transplant machine so they could begin working on the 2 valves they were repairing. As we were chatting with Mary, Dr Mackenzie was beginning the process of “installing” Nathans Pulmonary Valve and Tricuspid Valve.
Our next update was 3 hours later, we spoke with Mary again. At this time they were closing up Nathans sternum and stitching him together. They needed to see results of a 2nd esophageal ECHO before they were completely finished. We should see Dr. Mackenzie shortly.
About 45 minutes later we were called in to see Dr. Mackenzie. He had excellent news. Everything had gone well. Nathan was moved into ICU and we were allowed in to see him around 8pm. He was sleeping well and under sedation and anesthesia. We decided to leave for the night to get some rest ourselves.
While we were in the waiting room today we encountered a very distraught mother. She was between dazed confusion and hysterical crying. We were unsure what could be so devastating. The longer we waited the more we heard about her situation. (you really can’t help over hearing things in a very large open waiting room via phone conversations) What my Mother-in-law eventually discovered is this was the mother of the child who had overnight emergency surgery and had pushed Nathans surgery back by 4 hours.
As the hours passed, thing we more dire for this child. She was a twin and only 5 days old. She had developed some irregular breathing overnight and her father called 9-1-1. She was rushed to TCH and was immediately rushed into surgery. She had blood in her lungs and several infections. The doctors worked on her for several hours and were not able to make things easier for her. She wasn’t going to make it through the night.
My mother-in-law and I witnessed the christening of the healthy male twin in the waiting room of the hospital. The priest also performed a christening on the baby girl shortly before her death. The entire family had made their way to the hospital today to pay their last respects to a tiny baby.
I had mixed emotions as the day wore on . . . . I was so very happy that Nathans surgery was going great and he was progressing as expected. Each time I walked out of the consultation room with a smile on my face, I felt guilty as I looked upon the family that was losing a life as each minute passed. It was hard for me not to be happy but, to openly display my emotions in front of them, while they are experiencing a great loss, was not fair at all. I didn’t know what to do, except be myself.
Please pray for this little girl (only 5 days old) and her family. I don’t know their names. I doubt we will see them again.
After witnessing this family’s worst nightmare, my Mother-in-law shared with me an experience she had when Nathan was just 2 1/2 weeks old, of not knowing if Nathan would make it through his surgery. She had no previous knowledge of his heart condition before he was born. It was not until several hours after his birth and nurse passing on info she wasn’t supposed to pass on, that she became aware of Nathans condition. It was at this time when she realized and understood she had to accept the Lord’s will.
Life is precious . . . . worth every penny