Saturday, March 13, 2010

Kiefer's pre-op adventure

It has been a long couple of days, but Kiefer is a trooper. We got up at 4:15 am on Thursday morning so we could leave for Boston no later than 5:00 am. We told Kiefer we were going to see the doctor and he said, "No! It's closed." What a smart little guy. We arrived at 7:15 am for our 7:30am  appointment and we ended up spending a lot of the day waiting... to get a chest x-ray, to talk to the anesthesiologist, to get a tour of the CICU and the regular cardiac in-patient rooms, to talk to the surgeon, to get blood drawn, to get the echo-cardiogram. Kiefer charmed almost everyone he met. He didn't seem to mind the waiting because he had hallways to run up and down, toys to play with, books to read, a playground to play on and lots of other distractions. It's a good thing because we weren't finished until just after 3:00 pm.

We then drove to a friend's house in nearby Somerville, where we spent the night before heading back for 7:00 am Friday morning. Kiefer wasn't used to sleeping somewhere new and we had a very difficult time getting him to fall asleep. He woke up at 5:00 am and said, "I want to play!" Because Kiefer didn't want to cooperate Thursday with the ultrasound (he refused to lay down for it and cried when we asked him to), he had to be sedated for it. This meant he could have no food or drink that morning and we heard more than a few times, "I'm hungry!"  Based on what they saw in the ultrasound, they would then decide if he needed an MRI, too. Luckily, they decided the MRI wasn't necessary.

When it was time for the ultrasound, Kiefer was given a little something to relax him. The nurse handed me a syringe with a little liquid in it and sugar on the tip because the liquid apparently doesn't taste great. I let him take a taste of the sugar and then when he went for a second taste I squirted the stuff in his mouth. He spit a little out and said, "That doesn't taste good!" and "It's yucky." He got a little drowsy and then the anesthesiologist was able to put a put a mask on his face to knock him out enough to do the IV to give him the other meds. They actually scented the gas like marshmallows. Pretty clever. It was hard to watch him go limp and I cried when we left him. We were called about an hour later to let us know that everything looked fine and we could come back for when he woke up.

It took him a long time to wake up! When he did, they said he could have a Popsicle or juice since he had to fast before the procedure. His eyes were barely open and he was mumbling, but when he was asked, "Do you want a Popsicle?" he said very clearly, "Yes!" and opened his eyes wider. Then the nurse asked if he wanted, red, orange or purple and he said loudly, "I want red!" He ate the Popsicle right up. He tried to hold it himself, but I had to hold it for him because they put the iv in his right arm and he had tubes, an O2 monitor and a padded block to prevent him from bending his wrist and screwing up his iv. He asked for an orange and then a purple Popsicle, so he tried every color. He was woozy for a little while, and couldn't walk unassisted, but after about 2 hours he seemed to be back to his normal self.

We're so happy to be home for a couple of days, although we've had a lot of laundry, etc. to catch up on. We're driving to Boston tomorrow afternoon and will be staying at the Yawkey Family Inn, which is family housing for hospital patients and only costs $30 a night. It's a 10 minute walk to Children's from the Yawkey. We decided it would be no fun to have to get up ridiculously early on Monday morning and drive 2 hours to Boston with a kid that is fasting and will definitely say he's hungry and wants to eat. We have to be at the hospital at 6:30 am and they will probably do the surgery about an hour or hour and half later. I'm still kind of scared because they will be cutting my baby and messing around with his heart, but the surgeon, Dr. Emani is fantastic and we know that he will take good care of Kiefer. 

We learned about Dr. Emani and what to expect and where to stay from, Erika, a woman in Western Mass whose daughter had the same surgery as Kiefer. It is a strange coincidence how we got in touch. One of my friends has a blog about children's products and I check it weekly to see what she's reviewing and enter some cool giveaways. One of the items she recently reviewed are tutu shirts for little girls. Since we know we're having a girl, I've been checking out girl clothes... it's a whole new world for me. These tutus are very sweet and $10 from every tutu is donated to Children's Hospital Boston. I checked out her site, Tutu Pour Mon Deux, and that's when I learned that Erika's daughter, Maeley, had had an aortic coarctation just like Kiefer and was operated on by the same surgeon. I sent an e-mail and quickly got a response from Erika, and she has helped us feel more at ease before heading to Children's. Children's has been great to us and it is amazing how they take care of children from all over the world. If you have a little girl in your life, consider ordering a tutu shirt. It will make the little girl happy and help other children at the same time!

Roel and I would like to say thanks so much to you, our family and friends, for the well wishes and prayers. We feel very lucky for the support and love... it has helped us be strong for Kiefer. We're feeling confident that things will go well on Monday. We shall keep you all posted.

April, Roel & Kiefer

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