hi sweet baby=)
1) i'm feeling less like a raging lunatic.
2) your surgery went well and you're recovering smoothly so far.
3) the first is directly related to the second.
we left you in the OR at 2:15 and they called us to come see you in the pacu a little after 6. the actual surgery only took about 2 1/2 hours. dr saad sounded really encouraged when he called me from the OR when he was done. he's not the kind of surgeon that sounds encouraged even if things didn't go well, so i trusted it. they made an incision just below the old one (just below your g-tube) which is why it didn't take quite so long (going through a ton of scar tissue would've taken a LO-ONG time). he said the hole was about the size of a quarter and it was medial to the old patch (i understand that to mean it was basically between the old patch and your spine). he pushed your colon back down into the right spot and took the old patch out. then he sewed your diaphragm back together. this is important because it means your diaphragm has grown and is a normal size and was able to be put back together without a patch. and then he did sew his patch on top of it to reinforce the place where he sewed the diaphragm back together. here's some explanation of all that...2 years ago dr rodgers put in a gortex patch (it's the only kind of patch they had then) and a gortex patch stays there forever, doesn't grow with the child, etc, which means as the child grows, the patch can (and 60% of the time does) pull at the diaphragm which can cause another hole. for the record, dr rodgers is still, in my mind, on a ridiculously high pedestal...i don't blame him in any way...that sweet bushy eyebrowed man didn't have a choice in the matter...he did the only thing he could. but yes-thank goodness for new kind of patch that dr saad was able to use yesterday. the new patches are made of pig skin and it's basically like a lattice mesh work--over 3-6 months the diaphragm grows new cells that weave themselves through the patch to form new diaphragm and the patch dissolves in that time. so there's WAY less risk that the diaphragm would re-herniate after that. PLUS the fact that your diaphragm was actually sewn to itself and the patch was only used for reinforcement....it's great news my girl=)
when they stuck you for an IV in the OR your blood was super thin and like kool-aid, so they checked a hemoglobin which was 6.7 and a hematocrit which was 19. laymen's terms: they were both super crazy low. you were very anemic and your blood was very thin and it wasn't carrying around enough oxygen to your little body parts. this is almost positively because you were dehydrated and hadn't had much at all in your tummy for nourishment in the previous two days. so they gave you some blood before they even started and it made everything better. and then was the surgery which i've already told you about.
here are some other fun facts (understatement of the century) from surgery: they did a chest x-ray while you were still under anesthesia to see if there was a pneumothorax (hole in your lung caused by surgery) and if there was one he would've had to put in a chest tube. there was no pneumothorax and therefore no chest tube. he also thought you might have to remain intubated for a while after surgery just in case your sweet lungs were having a hard time. you did not have a hard time at all when they took out the breathing tube, so you didn't have to stay on a ventilator either=) both of these things were great to hear and it meant that you didn't have to go to the picu. you got to come back to your room that you were in before surgery on the regular pediatric floor. the picu wouldn't have been so bad-that didn't make much of a difference to me, but it WAS great that you didn't need a chest tube or a ventilator after surgery=)=)=)=)=)
all in all, this means surgery was a great success and that it went far better than we feared it might. again, i will try to keep this part short, but today you are in fact having some trouble because of the fentanyl-type drug they gave you during surgery, and it makes me want to go back and smack everybody who didn't listen to me. but i will refrain=) it's not lady-like. or Jesus-like. basically you just have really thick sticky secretions (mucous) that you try and try to cough up but the fact that it's so thick and sticky would make it really hard for anybody, even if they hadn't just had major surgery and an abdominal incision that felt like it was on fire. so you need to cough constantly and every time you cough you start crying because it hurts so bad to cough. but you're powering through.
i stayed with you in the hospital last night and you slept like a little angel. all was well until 8am and you went from peacefully sleeping to screaming the next second. "mommy! mommy! mommy! tummy hurting! tummy hurting! tummy hurting!" it was actually very cute. and heart-breaking. all at once. you were crying and hurting for a few hours and it took all morning but a little after lunch time the right combination of pain medicine kicked in and you've been sleeping soundly for a few hours now. i swear you are the sweetest little girl i have ever met. i can't even say that i'm being biased. when your nasal cannula comes out of your nose you try your hardest to put it back and hold it there until somebody helps you. what a good little patient you are. the first thing you said last night when you woke up a little in the pacu was "water" and "i'm better" and "i did it". and the occasional "tummy hurting". most definitely the most popular words coming out of your mouth today are "mommy" and "tummy hurting". makes sense to me. you are super clingy to your mommy and i am ever so willing to be at your beck and call. all you've really wanted all day is for me to snuggle next to you in bed and you keep saying "hold hands" and you'll reach around till you find my hand then pull it close to your chest and go to sleep. or keep crying and looking scared, however you're feeling at the moment. i like the sleeping better. i don't like you hurting sweet angel. but it will get better. and soon. they said when your belly wakes up your colon will spasm a little since it was up in your chest and that it will not feel good when it does, so we're not looking forward to that. but we'll figure it out. if your bowel sounds pick up you might get to have some liquids tonight and maybe some food tomorrow. IF your bowel sounds pick up and you pass some gas. you're usually very good at that. don't fail us now, sweet girl=)
every time any medical person (except dr saad and a few of your nurses) comes in the room, you look at me frantically and say "i'm better" or "i'm sleepy" because you think that will get you out of whatever they're about to do to you. smart thinking, if you ask me. i wish it would work.
you have a plethora of stuffed animals surrounding you in the hospital bed. your own little personal zoo. it's a habit that when you have surgery, we buy you stuffed animals. this time you've gotten a big fluffy snowman and a turtle (gigi named it theodore and daddy named it turdy, which gigi didn't like, so daddy came up with "toradol" instead. toradol is the pain medicine you're getting around the clock and we all are big fans. so "toradol" as your turtle's name is a happy compromise for everyone.) you also got a ladybug named lily that we get to draw on and wash off and draw on and wash off. pretty fun. that's the only real activity you've been interested in today. mostly you wanted mommy to color the hearts on lily pink and then you watched and colored your own nose with red marker. brilliant. just now you stirred around a little and reached over and touched my arm, looked up at me, and said "hi". oh there you go waving and saying "hi" to daddy. i think it's hilarious when you just say "hi" out of nowhere. especially when you're gorked out on pain medication. oh just now you looked at me and said "i sleepy" and i told you that you could go back to sleep so you nodded and shut your eyes. you really are a funny little bird. you're doing lots of cute things. i can't remember them all. i'll tell you later maybe.
i can't possibly begin to express my thankfulness to our friends and family who have checked on you. their prayers and encouraging words mean more to me than i could ever explain. they are our cheering section and so much more. i was hysterical with fear during surgery yesterday. i didn't want to even think about what was going on with you down there in that OR because it made me crazy but then i felt bad for not thinking about it and just wanting to be distracted. in the middle of all this madness going through my head i got a text from my sweet friend abby that said "keep picturing Jesus gowned up in that OR. guiding those surgeons. like...let's fix my girl again guys. on my knees, friend." and although this put me into another round of hysterics, it came at the perfect moment and gave me the peace i hadn't been able to find all day. and my sweet cousin melissa reminded me today "whenever you feel down, just remember you have so many people always praying for y'all and your miracle girl! you quite literally have your own prayer army ready to bombard heaven's gates on your behalf." thank you abby, and melissa, and everyone else who has prayed for catherine and encouraged us and stood behind and walked with us during this particular part of catherine's story. we have felt you and been strengthened by you. i am enormously thankful and wish i could hug every one of you and give you big kisses on the cheek. and then let catherine kiss you, because she gives the best kisses.
alright my angel. you can do this. i love you more than life and wish desperately i could be doing this instead of you.
bring on the gas.
ps. it has been predicted that sometime over the next couple of days i'll erase my letter from yesterday. that maybe i won't be happy with the way i was griping after i calm down a bit more. that might be right-i don't generally like to talk bad about people. it's virtuously impossible to do that and reflect Jesus at the same time. but then again i value authenticity over almost everything else, so i might just leave it there. and i am a flawed and imperfect daughter of the King walking around in a fallen world. so right now, my bet is that the previous letter will remain just as it is...but it's yet to be determined=)
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