I can’t think of a single time when the phrase “change of heart” has not been used figuratively, but in Namine’s case, it’s literal. Her entire body is getting used to her heart’s new physiology, and that comes with some drastic changes – not the least of which are a fluctuating fever, heart rate, and oxygen saturation. She spent much of yesterday satting in the mid-eighties, but she is once again in the mid-nineties, now that she’s asleep.
Her body has essentially been damaged, after all – deliberately, intentionally, true; but injured nonetheless. Now is the recovery period, and it’s going to be a rough time. Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier, unfortunately. Having a support system in place helps, and we’re grateful to have my parents and sister here to help so much.
Today – although, I suppose now that’s yesterday – Namine got another wire removed; this time, the arterial line. The worst part is always the removal of the tegaderm adhesive. She also had the dressing changed on her central line. (That had to be done sterilely; I never really thought about it before, but of course it needs to be sterile; it’s the line going right into her heart.) In the OR, the placement of the line resulted in quite a bit of bleeding, so there was gauze underneath the tegaderm. Because the gauze and dried blood can result in an infection, a dressing like that needs to be changed every couple days. But in redressing the line, the nurse didn’t need to place any more gauze; after cleaning up the old blood, she placed new tegaderm adhesive and that was it. The dressing now only needs to be changed once a week. (Going by the surgeon’s initial thoughts, we may even be out of here before it needs to be changed again. Here’s hoping.)
A delicate balance needs to be struck in Namine. It’s a critical time, here in post-op, because they’re limiting her liquid intake due to the fact that her chest tubes can’t come out yet; they’re still draining blood, so they need to stay in a while longer. They need her to stay hydrated, but she also needs to pee enough (or “have sufficient urinary output,” if you prefer doctorspeak) so that she doesn’t retain liquid – that’s happened to her after other surgeries, which they’d like to avoid. She’s able to eat, but her appetite is still not really back yet, so she’s just taken nibbles of food here and there.