About ten minutes ago, Namine had three drainage tubes in her chest: one mediastinal (which drains the sac containing the heart) and two pleural (which drains the space around the lungs). The mediastinal drainage tube’s output had diminished to effectively nothing, so the doctors decided it was time for it to go.

That was easier said than done, when you have to deal with a child who has a panic attack every time she sees a person in scrubs. But with the nurse’s help, I held Namine (whispering into her ear the whole time I’m here, everything is okay, you’re okay) as the doctor cut the stitches and pulled the tube out. It happened fast; the tube slid out in one quick motion, with a sound not unlike squelching mud. It was then that I learned why the doctor had laid so much gauze out on Namine’s stomach: watery blood shot out of the newly revealed hole in her stomach, and I thought, it’s a good thing Jessica isn’t here. The hole was easily tied closed and overlaid with gauze and tegaderm, and then that was that.

Namine has a few things that still need to come out before she can be moved to a noncritical ICU floor, the most important being the pacing wires (which, I am happy to say, have remained unused since the OR) and the pleural tubes. Both the wires and the tubes will come out at the same time, but not until she’s been off heparin for at least four hours; until then, she’s still at pretty high risk for bleeding. But the two pleural tubes are still draining quite a bit of fluid – until they taper off, the doctors won’t want to remove them.

The worst of Namine’s issues remains her tendency to vomit when she has anything other than water. Even last night, with just a couple licks off a popsicle and a single spoonful of chicken broth, she still threw up. When the doctors came by to discuss her this morning, I suggested just sticking to water, but I was told that that’s a bad idea. So instead, we’re going to try pushing some Gatorade and see how that works.

This post is part of the timeline: Heart Repair – an ongoing story on this site. View the timeline for more context on this post.