Dr Obaid office called and said Doc would be out of town on 13th so rescheduled for April 27th, 9:00 am
Cook Children’s called and said surgery rescheduled for 2:00 pm
Kymee could eat baby food or have formula until 6:40 am on the 4/26
She could drink clear liquid until 10:40 am
We needed to be at the hospital at 12:40 pm for check-in and pre-op
Woke Kymee and made her eat – oatmeal mixed with formula & applesauce
Kymee refused to drink the clear liquid – we tried both coconut water & apple juice, she had about ½ oz
Arrive at hospital (really it was closer to 12:50 – which I needlessly worried about)
With Mom, Dad, Emylee, and Grandma
Checked into hospital
Reported to Pre-op for vital signs & countless questions asked over and over again by every person who saw Kymee (don’t you think maybe the nursing staff should talk to the anesthesiologist and the surgery staff so they don’t have to keep repeating the same questions?)
Were told by the nursing staff that Dr Obaid had arrived at the hospital an hour and a half late so our new scheduled time of surgery was 3:30 pm.
We were informed on the procedure of surgery:
1) I would hold Kymee as the sprayed “kiddy valium” up her nose – this would prevent “Mommy separation anxiety” – and she would not remember anything. I ask if I could get some too.
2) They would wheel Kymee back to surgery, she could bring comfort items with her. We chose her wubby, a silky blanket which she loves the texture, and her stuffed bunny.
3) The anesthesiologist would place a face mask on her which would knock her out. I got to choose the flavor: cotton candy. Emylee said this was cruel, because she would grow up with a subconscious aversion to cotton candy – a cruel fate to live with.
3) They would administer an IV after she was already out – so she would not feel a thing.
4) The surgery would take around 2 ½ hours
5) After surgery, she’d be in recovery room than moved to a private room where we could be with her, and if all went well, we’d be going home in 24 hours.
I asked if Kymee could have a vanilla flavored pacifier since she hadn’t eaten since 6 am. The answer, “No, it’s just unfair to the child to give them a pacifier when they won’t be able to suck after the surgery.” My reponse, “And it is somehow fair that my child hasn’t eaten for 8 hours, and we have nothing to keep her happy?” “Sorry.” the nurse replied, “That’s the rules.”
Aunt Kim arrived. We were sent to the ‘play room” to await surgery. We waited. And waited. And waited. 2:00 the original time came and went, so did 3:30. We continued to wait.
The nurses informed us Dr. Obaid was stuck in surgery and it would be a couple more hours. Poor Kymee and her tummy. Surprisingly enough, she was happy and played – and showed very few signs of being hungry, which is very rare for her. We chalked it up to answered prayer. I knew one friend was fasting and praying for her all day, many posted prayers on Nelson and my facebook, our church was lifting her up to God, and our whole speech and debate team was praying for her as they prepared and competed in the Regional Tournament.
Nelson, Emylee and I hadn’t eaten, so we left Aunt Kim and Grandma to watch Kymee and we headed to the cafeteria. When we returned Kymee was asleep in Aunt Kim’s arms.
The anesthesiologist consulted with us and told us he would talk to Dr. Obaid and see if we could give Kymee clear liquid while we waited. He returned to give us a choice. “We can give her clear liquid, but she have anesthesia until 2 hours after consumption. Dr. Obaid believes that the surgery he is in is not going to last the full 2 hours, so if he gets done and Kymee is not ready to go under anesthesia he will bump the patient after her into her spot and she will have to wait til he is done with another surgery. So, we can give it to her and take the chance, or you can hope she gets into surgery before the 2 hours. What would you like to do?” Kymee was surprisingly happy. We said no liquid, we want the next surgery spot. WRONG CHOICE – Kymee was not wheeled into surgery for another 2 hours and 30 minutes.
When they said they were ready to take Kymee, we circled around her, laid hands on her and prayed. I couldn’t pray out load – because the tears were choking me. The nurse gave Kymee the “baby Valium” arranged her on the surgery bed along with her wubby, bunny and blanket; I kissed her; and at 5:10 they wheeled her away.
The family relocated to the waiting room, which was pretty much empty. Stephan arrived with Taco Bell and a hug. Uncle Mark arrived with more hugs. Nelson changed the channel in the waiting room from the “Royal Wedding of WIll & Kate” to the “Texas Rangers.”
About an hour into surgery the phone rang, Emylee answered and handed it to me. The surgical nurse was letting us know everything was going as planned and they were slightly ahead of schedule.
Two hours after they’d wheeled Kymee away, Dr. Obaid arrived dressed in his scrubs. “Everything went perfectly. No problems. We’ll be moving her to recovery in a few minutes, then in about an hour, she’ll be moved to a room where you can join her.”
We all sighed a breath of relief and praised God.
About 20 minutes later, Dr. Obaid returned and said, “We removed Kymee’s breathing tube. She didn’t like that too much, so we put it back. (What do you think he really meant with those words?) I am transferring her over to ICU for the night. You can move over to the ICU waiting room and they’ll tell you when you can go in to see her. It may be a while, so now might be a great time to grab a bite to eat or a coffee.”
Grandma decided the day had been long enough – so Stephan took her home. Mark and Kim stayed with our stuff, and Emylee, Nelson and I headed to Starbucks – just in the nick of time. They were giving their “last drink” call.
The ICU waiting room was packed – hardly a spot available. More “Prince William Royal Wedding” previews on the TV. They finally called us back – only Nelson and I to start with, then we could have no more than 4 by the bed at any time.
The ICU consists of a row of “rooms” divided by curtains. Their were a few glass front rooms where children with contagious disease were kept. It was a sad and daunting place. We were ushered to bed 14 – the corner room.
I had lost all track of time by now – I just wanted to see and hold my baby. Seeing – Yes. Holding – No. She had so many tubes and wires it was hard to see any skin on her tiny body. She was completely drugged out.
The Nurse told us that whenever she wakes up she fights the machines and tries to pull the breathing tube out. The ICU team had already re-intubated her once. So the goal was to keep her as drugged as possible with morphine and some other pain killer I can’t pronounce, so that she would not move or wake up. We were NOT to stimulate her or talk to her. We were also told we were not allowed to get naked behind the ICU curtain – Seriously??
We brought Mark and Kim into the curtained off room with us, just then Kyme began to stir. She thrashed on the bed – I grabbed one side of her and the nurse the other. We held her down as blood squirted out her mouth and nose and she fought us holding her down. She may not quite be 18 pounds, but she is a strong little girl! The nurse upped her morphine until she settled down.
Mark, Kim and Nelson left to go have a stiff drink – while Emylee and I settled in for the night.
A couple more times Kymee began fighting and I helped the nurse hold her down. Every time she began fighting, she lost more blood – the nurse was starting to get worried that she couldn’t stop the blood flow. Around 2am the nurse called Dr. Obaid. Her gave her a surgical trick to stop bleeding, that she had never used before. Soak gaze in saline and some sort of prescription and place in her mouth. The pharmacy was called to make up the concoction.
Meanwhile the head ICU doctor on-call was called in because Kymee wouldn’t stop thrashing and pulling out her ventilator. He suggested it may be placed too far down her throat and that was why it was bothering her.
Around 3am, the ICU doctor, 2 nurses and the respiratory technician stood around Kymee’s crib and Emylee and I looked on. They slowing pulled Kymee’s respirator out mm by mm. She stirred, and continued to bleed harder. They retaped the breathing devise to her little face and stuffed her mouth with soaked gaze strips. They upped her morphine. She stopped breathing completely on her own – the machine took over. This was probably the scariest moment of my life. After a few minutes, the bleeding stopped, but she was still unable to breath on her own.
Kymee was to drugged to move, let alone pull her breathing tube out any more. She looked peaceful. I did not feel peaceful.
Around 6am, Dr. Obaid called for a status update. He told the nurse that she needed to take down the pain meds, or Kymee would not be able to breath herself. And after taking down the meds, they could begin weening her from the ventilator.
7:00 came a shift change – the night nurse had sat by Kymee’s bed all night, holding her whenever she thrashed.
Around 8 am, Dr. Obaid arrived. He stood next to Kymee in his suit, along with the ICU doctor, two nurses, the respiratory technician all in scrubs. Dr. Obaid assured us everything would be ok – but the look on his face said otherwise. I could see the worry in his eyes as the removed the breathing tube, and the day nurse had tears streaming down her face, and Kymee took her sweet time taking a breath, and then she cried. Dr. Obaid smiled and said, “That is the sweetest sound I’ve heard all day, if she can cry she can breath.”
It was the first time we had heard her cry, and it was a funny sound. It sounded almost like a newborn, not a 10 month old baby. Before the surgery she had had an open “Ahhhh” sound to her cry, now with a palate between her nose and mouth, the sound was small and hallow.
They replaced the ventilator with a nose tube which delivered oxygen and a prescription to open up her air passageway.
You could see Kymee improving all day by leaps and bounds. We were now allowed to hold her, and she responded to us as best she could. She was on heavy pain meds, but not comatosed with them as before. She still wasn’t eating at all by mouth, so there was no chance of her going home.
Dr. Obaid ordered another night in ICU.
In the middle of the night she began running a fever, far above what she should. Our night nurse had returned, and she let me hold her as she stripped her and gave her a cold sponge bath, trying to bring down her temperature. Her fever broke after about and hour, but it would still spike every so often throughout the night. In the morning in broke for good. I however caught the chills, and just couldn’t get warm no matter what I did.
A family in church had provided us food – lots of
it. We ate in the ICU waiting room and shared our dinner with a couple of families there. One told us they had been living in the ICU waiting room for 3 months while their son had had 3 heart surgeries. This is the first home cooked meal they’d had in all that time. God multiplied the loaves and fishes and blessed so many with a simple meal.
In the evening, we were moved to a private room, where the nurses only check vitals and give pain medicine every 4 hours. So, we were able to get a little sleep. Kim switched places with Emylee and joined me on night shift.
One by one the strings and tubes attached to Kymee had been removed, the glow-in-the-dark toe and the IV port disappeared last,
We sang along with Kymee:
“I’ve got no strings
To hold me down
To make me fret, or make me frown
I had strings
But now I’m free
There are no strings on me”
After 4 worry-full days and 3 sleepless nights, I was ready for a new challenge – caring for a recovering baby from the comforts of home, surrounded by my loving family and friends and an ever attentive barking hound dog.