Be warned, I’ve written a book this evening. If you like text, feel free to plow on ahead.
Hey, everybody. After being away from the computer for a couple days (but it feels much longer!), I have lotsa news of both my girls.
First, Jessica is back home, after being in surgery yesterday and spending the night at St. Luke’s last night. She was originally going to have surgery at 7 in the morning, but the surgeon took one look and said this is too deep, we can’t do this here (that is, the clinic room). So they did the surgery at around 4 in the afternoon.
The incision where she had her C-section was massively infected, so they opened it up some more – but not entirely, as we were afraid they would – and cleaned it out. She now has a device called a VAC attached to her, which drains the wound of yucky stuff. She will remain attached to said device until it is completely healed. She’ll also be going to a wound care clinic 3 times a week. Got the first appointment there tomorrow.
Now for Namine. Yesterday she was extubated at around 11 in the morning. She surprised us all by breathing all on her own. She no longer has any airway obstruction – her too-small jaw, which is farther back than it should be, had been pressing her tongue against the back of her throat, blocking her airway. It apparently is no longer doing so, even though her jaw looks no different to me than since she was born. The bad news is that her paralyzed left diaphragm gets in the way of her breathing. I told you last time that it was going the opposite way – turns out that is untrue. Normally, the diaphragm in resting position is down. Well, Namine’s left is permanently stuck in up position. This, in turn, prevents her left lung from inflating properly, so she quickly tired while breathing on her own and starting having trouble; the doctors had expected this, so the nurses were prepared to quickly intubate her again, though this time through the nose.
I’m gonna break off into a little stream of consciousness here, and go into squealing-parent-gushing-about-his-child mode. I heard Namine’s voice for the real first time yesterday! When she was born, she didn’t cry; remember that she had wet lungs and her airway was blocked. And boy, was she ever mad yesterday. Especially when they put on what my mom called her “aviator’s hat” (I’ll upload some pictures shortly – they’re on my sister’s camera). Once they determined that she could breathe on her own, they fitted her with this little cloth cap with straps that had a device attached which monitored her breathing. Of course, she doesn’t have it any more because she’s intubated again, but once the extubate her again she’ll probably have that once more.
So anyway, once she was intubated again, the doctors told me that she’d need another operation, and soon – one called diaphragm plication, which involves “tacking down” her left diaphragm, so it wouldn’t interfere with her breathing. They told me they’d want to do this in a day or two. So with that, I left to be with Jess before they took her away. (Remember, Namine is at Children’s Hospital on Wisconsin Avenue, while Jessica is at St. Luke’s on 27th.) While I was at St. Luke’s, I got a call from one of Namine’s doctors. They had an opening, and they wanted to do the surgery that same day. So I left St. Luke’s, headed back to Children’s. I signed the consent form, talked with the doctors, all that parent stuff and Namine was taken away for surgery at the same time Jess was. I cannot convey through mere words the amount of anxiety in waiting, not knowing what was going with my two loves. At 6 in the evening, Namine was brought back to her room in the PICU. The surgeon informed me that her left diaphragm had been severely elevated, and was no longer; the surgery went fine, no problems, and that he has total confidence that the next time she’s extubated, she’ll do much better.
Fast forward to this afternoon. I called the nurse taking care of Namine at around 4, since I knew I would be unable to get around to visiting her today. She had healed so well from yesterday that they had already taken out the drainage tube from the site – nothing was coming out of it anymore, so there was no longer any use for it. The doctors are now confident that she can be extubated tomorrow. They’ll most likely do it in the morning. Natch, and I won’t be able to be there for it, since Jess has her appointment.
Holy cow, can I carry on. Sorry about that, but there was a lot to tell.