Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

March 22 Surgery

So we made all our phone calls. The girls went for breakfast and by the time they were back B and S were here.

Here is the family room on the 3rd floor of the Burrard Building for Transplant families. There is a TV, Microwave, fridge, coffee maker. A table with a lamp and phone. Tons of comfy chairs and couches we can lay out on. Although far from the surgery ward, it is still a very comfortable private place to wait.

Waiting during the surgery with my stuffed Tinman from L and R.

B and N came too. so the room was packed. We have phoned everyone in town.

K took Olvia, Jeanie, Tenike and Kajsa swimming. Dylan and Scott rented videos and ate junk food all day. Papa was on the 10:15 ferry and then had to drive K home with the kids. So he got here around 3 PM

E  was finished and in the CCR room by 12:45 PM. We all saw him but just for a minute.

F had been here in the morning when he dropped D off and G came by and had a chance to see E was okay and then headed to the Hospital to see his Dad. The girls took my van and left around 4 PM. B, S and Papa left at 5.

D is spending the night here with me and the nurses strongly recommend I get some sleep. If E should wake they will probably put him back to sleep while they adjust his medications. It is easier for him and them if he is asleep. the first 24 hours are critical. Papa will go home and take care of S and J for the night. J will come home tomorrow morning.

The nurses want us to sleep. She will call me if he should be very with it or if anything comes up that is of concern. But she said to get some rest. She didn’t think I should be recording this experience with the camera, in case things went wrong. I said if for some reason I don’t want to develop them and see them, I don’t have to…… but I wanted to have a way to show the kids in the future….

D and I bought some sushi to eat later and L is bringing her things down around 7:30.

Phone calls, phone calls, phone calls. It seems I have talked to the world.

L came at 7:30 with D’s overnight bag and a wee bit of food for us. He was able to get into see E for a few minutes and was on his way around 9 PM

D and I went to the chapel. Second time today. L and I went this morning during the surgery. Papa, God love him said he would take care of the kids and bring them to the hospital whenever it is time but in the mean time not to worry about them. I called Hutch, Mary and Syd tonight too.

They told us (Antoinette, E’s nurse) that his hemoglobin was low so they had to give him a blood transfusion of about 3 pints of blood. He still isn’t awake but his eyes are slightly open. We came back to the room and lights out at 9:30 to try to get some sleep.

12:30 am

Antoinette phoned us at 12:30 to tell us that on a chest x-ray there was still blood showing in his chest cavity and that they had to give him two more pints of blood. They had called Dr. Lichsteinstein in and had taken him back into surgery to discover where he was bleeding. the Doctor came out to talk to us after the surgery to say that he was bleeding from the sternum bone so they had cauterised it. Nothing to do with his new heart.

We waited in the hall another half hour til Antoinette brought us into see him. With the problem now gone, his vital signs are better and they will now be able to wean him off some of the drugs which are keeping him asleep so if there are no further set backs the plan continues for him to become more and more self-reliant and less tubes and ventilators etc.

So it is now 2:10 am, I have taken a happy pill so that I don’t get all scared and weepy. I need more sleep to stay strong. We will try again to get some sleep.

We did fall right back asleep happy about his vital signs improving. But the waiting had been devastating to us.. I was so worried!

5:30 AM

Antoinette called to say that E was awake! We jumped out of bed and ran to the room. We were so excited! Antoinette met us at the door and took us both in to see him. He was awake. He still had the tube down his throat and is unable to speak. But he could hold my hand. Tears were coming from his eyes and I know how happy he was when he opened his eyes and realized he was alive! I spoke only a few words to him but it agitated him not to be able to respond. But his vitals were good and the plan was for the medications to be gradually cut back and slowly be able to have him self-reliant. To have that ventilator removed will be unreal.

The realization for him that he was alive must have been incredible. The determination that he has had to beat this thing I am sure will help him be on an incredibly fast paced recovery.

We had no control over the deterioration of the old heart. We had no control over when he would receive his new heart. But we do have control over recovery. He will put everything he has into becoming physically fit and by hook or by crook play and coach hockey again…

The stress at 2:30 AM was nothing compared to the elation at 5:30 AM. We were hugging each other and chatting so fast that I ran right into the door between the Recovery room and the hall and it started to tilt. The nurses came out smiling telling me that i wasnt allowed to take any souvenirs with me !

Finally asleep

We fell back asleep again. We woke at 8 AM. So lets see that is about 7.5 hours of sleep .. That should help greatly with my brain cells functioning.

Hutch phoned back and left a message on my machine. She was so thrilled she was in tears. B and L have called already. D has her eyes in now so is a fully functioning person so we are slowly getting our gear together so we can face what the day has in store. I phoned Papa and told him the nights activities but he said he would have preferred if I had started with the good news first! But he was thrilled to hear that all is well and I will call him with the milestones of the day. It was Rays birthday yesterday. he told Papa that it was the best birthday present he could have had.

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