Yesterday, Friday the 13th, was pre-op day. I wasn't sure exactly what was going to happen other than bloodwork. Upon arrival they told us we'd be there all day. Just how long is all day, we asked. The nurse said, "ALL DAY".
We began by Cain getting weighed and measured. Then we were sent off with a folder and directions on how to find all of the places we needed to go. First was bloodwork where they took 4 vials of blood. Cain has not had blood drawn since he was a baby. He did good, but told me that it hurt. "I know it hurts baby, but its a necessity. It will be over in just a second. You're doing great Cain". I rubbed his back as she finished up and we headed over to X-ray. They took a few pics and we went back to the pre-op clinic.
We met a lot of people who had a lot of information for us. The anesthesiologist came in to explain to us just how he'd get Cain to sleep. The nurse practitioner came in to ask a million questions, to answer a few questions and to give Cain a physical. The surgeons nurse came in to talk to us a bit about the procedure and then the surgeon came in to talk to us about the surgery and his plan. He let us know that due to Cain having two prior surgeries, there may be a lot of scar tissue which may make it impossible for him to do the procedure that everyone feels is best for Cain. The Ross Procedure.
The Ross Procedure, in summary, is when they take the pulmonary valve and put it in the aortic valve's position and they put a homograft (a human donor valve) in the pulmonary valve position. Cain's current aortic valve is a homograft and due to this, he is not a candidate to receive another homograft in the aortic valve position. In the event there is too much scar tissue to perform The Ross Procedure, we have to decide what alternative to choose. There are positives and negatives to each option and we have a very short time to decide. The surgeon said he couldn't really medically make that decision for us, as they're both good options, but depend more on how we feel they'd work out for Cain in the long run. Lifelong medicine or re-operation in 10 years. We are praying that he is able to proceed with the initial plan and we wont have to make that decision on the backup plan.
After the surgeon left it was off to get an echo-cardiogram, which is essentially an ultrasound of the heart. These are a little uncomfortable for Cain because they do tend to press a bit hard and have to take images from different views....from just above his collarbone, below is ribcage and then of course, on his chest. They generally take about 20 - 30 minutes. Cain did well with this too and when this was done it was back to the pre-op clinic.
The ICU Cardiologist came in to talk to us about a study that they're doing regarding glucose levels after cardiac surgery and asked if Cain could be part of the study. There was absolutely no possible adverse effects to him being a part of it, and the thought that this information may be able to help Cain in the future made his participation a no-brainer. We signed those forms and then a Child Life Specialist came in to talk to Cain specifically about what was going to happen.
She brought a binder with pictures of the OR and the ICU. She also had pictures of the machines and explained what they do. She had a mask with her to show Cain what it looked like and she had a diagram of the heart so she could point out exactly where the valves were that everyone kept talking about. There was also a doll that had bandages on his chest and IV's in his arms and a drainage tube so Cain could know what his chest will look like when he wakes up. I think this really helped Cain to feel like he had a grasp of what was going on.
The final part of our day was when we had to sign the surgery consent forms. This required the speech of all of the risks that could, but likely won't happen. The list is one I don't want to go over here. Or anywhere. Or even fathom that can happen. Obviously we all know there is risk in surgery. Lets just leave it at that. I signed the forms, we got the instructions on when to arrive, how to wash Cain before arriving, what kind of things to bring, and we were released.
Seven hours of constant reminder over and over of what, in detail, is going to happen before, during, and after surgery, is rough. Communication is great. Keeping us informed is wonderful. But that thought running through the back of your mind that this is REALLY happening, is hard. I spent the majority of my day with a lump in my throat and when I went downstairs to get coffee, I cried in the elevator. He's 10, but he's my baby and I know I have to be strong, but this is difficult. I have supportive friends and family and I appreciate that so much. I have this son who is so strong, he's not even worried about the surgery. Yet sometimes I still feel that lump and the tears coming. I know what is coming, but a part of me feels like knowing is even worse than being surprised.
- Some of you know me from my old blog "Moving to Morocco" where I wrote about meeting my husband and, you guessed it, moving to Morocco. Well, we're back now, and I want to write about other things (but yes, we're still happily married). There's no real subject to this blog. I just want to write. If you have a subject you'd like my opinion on, just let me know. I also plan on doing advice posts. If you have something you'd like an outside opinion on, e-mail me anonymously at firstname.lastname@example.org! Thanks for reading!