Last week we went into the hospital for my son’s second Cath procedure. The doctor was unsure if we would only be there a few hours or if we would be there overnight so I packed a big backpack with clothes and books and tablets and water bottles and toys.
We had to wake up really early in the morning (5am to be exact). Since he was going under anesthesia he wasn’t allowed to have any solid food after midnight and could only have clear fluids up until 5:30am. I woke him up early to give him apple juice and then we sat around cuddling for a while.
We took off to the hospital at 6 and I sang to him the whole way over. I have to admit that my thoughts ran along the lines of “What if he knows he won’t come out of the anesthesia this time and that is why he is being so cuddly?” But I kept reminding myself that he would be fine. I trust God, I trust the surgeons.
Upon arrival he received a super cute stuffed dinosaur and we oogled their fish tank. We were taken back to change and prep and he was hooked up to all the wires. We had our briefing from the anesthesiologist (dude, is it just me or are the doctors getting younger? This guy looked like he could be my little brother…) and the doctor who would perform the procedure as well as our cardiologist.
Two things were added last minute- he was eligible to participate in a medical study involving a new device that is used to measure pressures in the heart. It sounded like a good cause with no risk so we went for it. The doctors also decided to put a scope down his throat to perform an internal echo-cardiogram. This added another 15 minutes or so to the procedure but gave even better views of the heart to be used later.
Once he came out of the surgical room we were taken to the PICU while he came out of anesthesia. Kids in the range of 2-5 years old deal with what the nurse called emersion (they are emerging from the anesthesia and spell check will not like any way that I spell that, its not a real word…), the feeling of being drunk or high. Its disorienting and can be hard to handle. He also was very nauseous and at one point dry heaved quite a bit. I was glad when that was over because he looked miserable.
It took him about an hour to feel well enough to be moved back to the cath lab recovery room where we literally just sat and cuddled for several hours. I could tell when he was finally back to normal because he suddenly sat up with a broad grin and started demanding crackers. He scarfed 4 full graham crackers and two apple juice cups and was still requesting more when we left.
He fell asleep on the way home, ripped his neck bandage off the next morning, wanted extra cuddles all weekend, and now has a beautiful nasty green bruise on his neck where the cath line went in.
Overall, the doctors were very optimistic about what they found. He didn’t have any extra veins or arteries that had grown in to replace the cut ones (did you know they even did that?), his pressures were perfectly where they need to be, they got the extra heart pictures they needed to rule out a four chamber repair instead of the Fontan procedure as well.
I’m glad nothing went wrong. Its reassuring for when the next surgery comes up in about 2 months.