Friday, October 7, 2011

Take heart

The surgery went fine yesterday.  They had given us a laundry list of things that they MIGHT have to do, depending on what they found when they got in there.  The minimum they expected to have to do was remove the band on the pulmonary artery, remove any scar tissue that had formed around it, and make sure that the artery didn't need any repair from that removal.  The other "mights" included putting another occlusion device over the VSD, attempting to sew a patch over the VSD, and performing major reconstruction of that artery - and that reconstruction would have involved putting him on bypass and stopping his heart.  Needless to say, we REALLY didn't want that to happen. We were lucky enough that everything went smoothly...they got the band removed with minimal artery repair needed, and decided after watching the newly-unimpeded flow that there were not any VSD holes significant enough to warrant further surgical intervention.  The surgeon explained to us that yes, there is still a small amount of pressure imbalance, but if Z was a brand-new patient presenting with this amount of imbalance they would not be willing to surgically repair it.  The likelihood of it being a problem is extremely small.  So while future surgery seems very unlikely at this point, it can't be guaranteed...but at least we no longer have a band needing removal looming over us.
Now we're in the phase of pain management and gradual removal of tubes and wires.  When we first saw him after surgery yesterday, he had an IV in his ankle, a central line (IV) in his neck, a tube draining fluids from the surgery site in his chest, EKG pickups all over his chest (at least 5, I think), an art line (an IV that can measure blood pressure from inside the artery) in his arm, a catheter for his bladder, and oxygen tubes for his nose.  This morning he pulled the oxygen out while he was being washed, and when they finished they determined that his oxygen levels were better OFF the tubes than when he had them on, so they didn't make him put them back in.  Later in the morning they took out the catheter and removed the art line, giving him back the use of both arms.  The physical therapist came by to help us get him started moving again, and we took a short little walk around the pediatric ICU, but that took most of his energy and he has been spending a little more time asleep since.  The chest tube is probably the next thing to come out but probably not until tomorrow.  For now we're focusing on getting him to eat a little and walk some more.

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