The waiting area for families of kiddos having heart surgery was very pleasant. There were some big fluffy chairs and there were a couple of tables with chairs. There was a tiny kitchen with some pre-stocked food. My husband and I sat in the big fluffy chairs for a while, both reading. Occasionally we’d talk to each other but there wasn’t really anything to say.
We both knew what was going on. The first bit of time after our son was taken back he would have been put under anesthesia. And then it would take about an hour to get all the lines and wires hooked up.
We were notified when they started to put him on the by-pass machine. I wasn’t expecting that. For some reason I thought the bypass machine was not necessary this time. Going on the by pass machine requires a machine to pump the blood through his body and keep it oxygenated so they can stop the heart to work on it.
We then knew that it would take some time for his surgeon to cut through the scar tissue that developed all through his chest cavity. It gets harder every time and this time they had two prior surgeries worth of scar tissues to cut through. The actual repair probably didn’t take that long at all.
For this particular repair, they fashioned a new artery for him out of a material called Gortex.
Then they were done with the repair and closing him up! It happened so much faster than I expected it would. The surgeon came and talked to us briefly and explained that he did great. There was one interesting change in the surgery that he said could affect things later… Its hard to explain exactly but usually the Gortex artery that they put on will go through the heart but because the placement of his existing arteries, they had to go around it. At least that’s how I understood it.
They took him off the breathing tube before we even got to see him. He was sedated with a mild sedative that actually was doing more harm than good. This mild sedative made it hard for him to wake up, which was bothering him, and it made it hard for him to fall asleep, despite the fact that it was a sedative. So he ended up being in a haze half-way between awake and asleep for quite a while. I think they took him off of this medication some time in the middle of the night and he finally really started to sleep.
While under the sedative he couldn’t get his eyes open. He could talk and was asking for ice cream. A lot. I knew that would end up coming back to bite me! He wanted me to hold him but I couldn’t. I held his hand a lot.
The lines that were in his body were so numerous, again! This time it wasn’t as upsetting or overwhelming though. I knew why they were there and I understood better when and how they would come out.
My husband took the overnight shift at the hospital while I tried to get a good night’s sleep at the Ronald Mcdonald house. Yeah… I tried. I was up at 4am and back to the hospital before 5. I spent the little bit of time that I was awake praying. I hadn’t felt worry or been upset at all that day. I’d felt so calm and patient. I’d felt like we were just in the process. And although it wasn’t an easy process, I didn’t have any anxiety over anything that was going on.
I must bear a testimony right now. I know that God sent Angels to surround us during the entire surgery and hospital stay. God allowed His Spirit to comfort us and give us assurance that everything was going to be fine. We prayed for the surgeons, we prayed for the nurses, for the entire medical staff. We fasted on their behalf. We gave my son a Priesthood blessing, knowing that his little body would need extra strength over the coming weeks. And then we left it to God. And God took care of us.
I know there are some people out there who would attribute the entire situation to well trained medical staff and luck. And I agree that the medical staff were well trained. There is no doubt about that. But none of the entire situation could have been left to luck. I also know that not all situations turn out as well as ours did. In fact, I went into the surgery expecting many set backs. I’d even contemplated how I would handle things if my son were to not live, or to come out with more complications that he went in with. I mentally prepared myself for a month long stint in the hospital with a lot of road blocks. God knew our situation and God helped every one of us overcome the anxiety and fear that can surround these difficult situations. And He allowed us to have a complication free surgery. And for that I will always be grateful.
To be continued.