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Liz Stokes

Surgery #? I lost count.

SO honestly I’m pushing through trying to get caught up to modern time.

So this will be a choppy post of updates. Again. I know. I’m sorry.

September 12

10a They’re hooked up to bypass still working through scar tissue in Carter’s chest. “He’s doing well.”

11:40a We were mistaken. He’s only been on bypass for 20 minutes. They are working on removing the old shunt and repairing the vein.

1:00p The old site is repaired. They are working on installing the new shunt on the pulmonary artery.

2:30p He’s off bypass. New shunt is installed. All tests are completed. Echo showed too much blood flow so they went back in and are putting a band around the shunt. They are installing all the chest tubes, arterial lines, pacing wires and possibly closing.

Last update: The team is currently closing Carter’s chest. All went well. We’ve spoken with Dr. Bryant. Carter is breathing room air on the ventilator, his pulse ox is in the 90s, he has normal blood pressure. They tried the band on the shunt and it it off after his body settled out determining it was not a need at this moment. Dr. Bryant thinks he looks the best yet. Knowing Carter though he put a preventative scar tissue barrier in his chest in anticipation of having to go back in.

Dr. Bryant did not seen any sign of disease in Carter’s lungs in fact he said they look great. So he’s not sure what’s causing the resistance of blood flow to his lungs, why so many secretions, no why he sounds junkie. The coming 48 hours are critical.

Carter again is struggling with sedation.

September 21st we find out why.

Infection in the worst possible place. His heart. It’s never good when you enter the CICU pod and your son’s surgeon comes at you with open arms embracing you in a hug because he knows how much you worry about your baby and you’re about to be delivered horrible news. The CICU was going to be transformed into an operating room. All the fellows are excited as it’s their first and you are terrified.

They are going to open your son’s chest in his hospital room to wash out his heart and chest cavity. I stay for what I can, grab my bag, and leave. The air is suffocating and I needed to breathe.

Dr. Bryant was able to flush his wound and wash out the cavity. He did not check his shunt or go near it for fear of spreading the infection to it. Looking at his stats so far he remains in good shape. The real fear is that shunt getting contaminating and rejecting as it’s made of human tissue.

Tonight and the coming 2-4 days Carter will remain paralyzed and sedated. He will be forced to rest which is a blessing and a curse. He’s on many strong antibiotics until the infectious disease team is able to figure what type of infection he has and how to treat it.

September 25th they wake up Carter. It’s like watching Sleeping Beauty emerge. Happy and content.

October 2nd the tube is removed for good. No looking back. On October 10th Carter moves to the step down unit for the long haul. He’s progressing well and making great strides.

November 7th rolls around and we find out that Carter is doing so well in his recovery that they want to up his Glenn Shunt to right before Thanksgiving. Which means he could be home for Christmas! He did great and they did not need to ventilate him for his MRI as we feared. The news takes a while to trickle back to us but we find out that his right lung is not growing and has no blood flow to the lower lobe. That means that the avoidable heart cath will now be the much needed heart cath. They will be installing a stent in his PA because it has kinked off.

So the plan is to send us home and schedule us for another cath on January 9th to see if there has been any progress. The team is optimistic and went ahead and scheduled Carter’s Glenn for January 16th. I pray they’re right.

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