Saturday night had been rough. James had been in a lot of pain and was getting up every 45 minutes. I kept trying to feed him but he was in so much pain all he would do was bite and scream. Our nurse let him skip one feeding, hoping that he would eat later in the night, but come 3am he was still in pain and refusing to eat. So, it was back to the NG tube. By morning I was exhausted but James finally seemed to be handling the pain a bit better. The morphine he'd had before bed didn't seem to last as long as it usually does for him but now he was tired so that 6am dose hit him fast.
While they were doing the procedure the nurse had noticed me taking pictures. She didn't mind at all but was curious to see some of the shots. I told her I was in no way a photographer, just kind of picking it up as a hobby. She liked a few of my shots and made an interesting comment. She mentioned that it was cool to see this experience through the eyes of a parent. She said that how I took the pictures and where I placed my focus was much different than if she was taking the pictures as a nurse, which would still be different than how a surgeon or doctor would compose the photos. It was an interesting idea, and it would be really cool to compare photos from those different perspectives. And if James was older, it would be neat to see how his pictures would look and what his perspective would be on the situation.
As soon as James had a moment to catch his breath and the pain from removing the JP's had subsided, he instantly began to perk up. Hour by hour he became more like his old self! It was like night and day! He was allowed to go off the monitors in between his 3 hour check-ins for vitals and was already much more mobile. He was rolling on to his sides (not on to his tummy but on his sides), reaching over his head for toys, scootching all over his crib to explore the space... it was incredible! He was even able to sit up without pain now which made for a much happier boy. And since we were able to get him off the monitors for longer periods of time, we'd been given the go ahead to take him for a walk outside! Fresh air and sunshine do a person good and I think it was just as beneficial to Chris and I to be able to take him outside as it was to James himself.
I'm glad we were able to get outside for a bit too because with the Q3 feeding schedule I basically wasn't allowed to leave his side. And as beautiful as this hospital is, and even with having a private room (we got lucky on that one), that feeling of being stuck in one place really gets to you. I had been going for lots of walks of course and the sunshine is wonderful, but hospitals are busy and noisy, and if I'm not able to get some quiet I like to at least get in a workout to let off some steam. Since that wasn't an option I had to improvise. I did about 10 minutes of intervals on the stairs switching between sprinting, skipping steps, and leg lifts, then with baby in tow I did some goblet squats and then lunges down the hall. And apparently I did a pretty good job because my legs were actually sore the next day. Win!
Monday, July18, 2016
The rest of the night had actually gone really well! James had needed another dose of Advil at midnight but otherwise had an uneventful sleep. I got him up for feeds every three hours, and he was able to go right back to sleep afterwards without any issues.
Come morning we were excited to hear what they would say in rounds. I mean at this point we'd checked all three boxes. He was on room air and wasn't desating lower than 80, he had exclusively breastfed for 24 hours and had a good poop, and all his tubes were out! But of course being Monday morning, rounds got off to a slow start. It didn't help that we were also one of the last rooms on rounds. So while rounds started at 7:30am, they didn't actually get to our bed until 9:45! The good news was they were happy with his progress! It sounded like we might even be discharged that day! The last thing we needed to do before that could happen was an echocardiogram, a chest x-ray, and a physicians assessment. Chris had taken James for the echo earlier that morning while I waited for rounds, and we were now off to the x-ray lab. I don't know if it's because the technician was different but this time around they let both Chris and I in the room for the chest x-ray. I can't imagine that was very comfortable for him postoperatively, but it needed to be done. Interesting thing was we got to see that he now has 6 chest ties instead of 5 like he had after his first surgery. But things looked good as far as we could tell, so we headed back up to the room to wait for results.
After a few hours with no update on the situation we decided to bring James down to the cafeteria for some lunch. By the time we got back they informed us that they had received all the medical reports back and he was cleared for discharge and flight, but we still needed the physicians examination and our doctor had just left for a meeting. She handed me a folder and told us she would come get us when he was ready. So we headed to the beach to pick up the treasure life beads to add to his collection and then waited in the labyrinth for our call.
The exam was a little bit slower than usual but that was because our doctor had a medical student with him who was getting to practice on some patients. It was kind of cool to watch that whole process and helped me to learn some new things too. I feel like I need to pick up an anatomy and physiology textbook... and maybe do more research into echocardiograms... just for curiosities sake. It fascinates me. I'd be a terrible nurse or doctor but I'm endlessly curious about, well pretty much everything. Maybe I'll bug Devon to borrow one of his textbooks when he gets back to Winnipeg...
But with that, we got the final approval and we were DISCHARGED! I still can't believe it! Only 6 days after open heart surgery, one full week in the hospital, and we were cleared to leave! My heart is so full of gratitude right now I could burst! The prayers, the messages of support, even emails from complete strangers who had found my blog one way or another who wanted us to know how our experience had helped them even if it was just gave them someone to relate to, it has been incredible. The medical teams were outstanding, and the care we received was fantastic. The littlest gestures make a big difference. When we first got to the ward and our nurse offered us water... every little thing makes a difference.
To celebrate we headed back to the hotel so I could have a nap. lol. Then we got dressed up and headed out to Whyte Ave for sushi and then Menchies on 109 for frozen yogurt. It was just what we needed.
More updates to come but for now, we pack.