After much wrangling and discussion we now have a new set of surgeons and, more importantly, a surgery date. Along with this surgery date, we have a number of other things that we have to do prior to Katie’s surgery.
First, she will have a blood draw for blood typing as soon as I can arrange it. This is to determine initially whether P is compatible so he can do a directed donation if he is. This is the preference for the cranio-facial surgeon. The neurosurgeon indicated that he didn’t care one way or the other.
About a week before the surgery, she will have a pre-op appointment with the cranio-facial surgeon. We will go back over the surgery procedure and what it will entail. This shouldn’t be surprising in any way since we’ve been over all of this so many times.
Next up, Katie has a pre-op physical with Dr. D. I’m quite certain neither of them are looking forward to it. There is a one page form that he will fill out that we will hand carry to the hospital on the day of the surgery. We’re also going to squeeze in Ben’s 4 year old well kid exam. Because we’re homeschooling him, he can delay his shot for a year, which I think is a good thing.
After that, things will ramp up considerably. The day before the surgery we will be dropping the girls off at their vet’s office. Because we will be erratically available, it makes the most sense to get them somewhere that they can be fed and cared for consistently. With Sam’s issues, it’s unfair to ask someone to care for her who isn’t experienced with her sorts of problems. They have a large space for her and that will work. I need to iron a few details out with the office manager regarding how we want to do a couple of things, but that can be done sooner or later.
We are still working on Ben’s care during this. We’re hopeful that will be sorted out in the next day or so. Whatever plan we come up with for him will likely involve getting him settled, at least for a couple of days, with someone who can take care of him during the most difficult parts of Katie’s surgery experience.
After all of the others are settled, we will be taking Katie to the hospital for pre-op lab work. They’ll test her six ways from Sunday and make sure they have blood that is compatible with her (assuming that P’s is not compatible, we will be using the blood bank). We’ll then move into wait mode until the following morning.
Katie is allowed to drink formula until midnight. After midnight, she can have Pedialyte (clear) until 4:30a. After 4:30a, she is not allowed to have anything.
We are to report to the hospital at 5:30a. Presumably, there will be some time with Katie while they’re getting her prepped for surgery. At some point, her head will be shaved, but I don’t know if they plan to do that while we’re with her or not. I know she will have IVs, etc., inserted during this time as well.
She is scheduled for surgery at 7:30a. This could be delayed if there are more pressing situations, but she should go that day if not at that time. Of course, it will be much, much harder to explain to an 11 month old that she can’t eat than it was to explain it to me. I’m not clear about the length of time this surgery will take, but hopefully she’ll be through surgery by sometime in the early afternoon. She will spend at least one night in the PICU because of the nature of the surgery. We have had estimates of everything from three days to seven days as the amount of time that she will likely spend in the hospital. It really depends on her. We’re praying that she recovers quickly and feels well enough to go home quickly.
We know that post-op she is going swell a great deal and that her eyes will be swollen shut for at least a couple of days. I think I’m prepared for this, but I’m not sure. I understand that she’s going to be very frightened and disoriented. I suspect she will also be very clingy and want to be held as much as possible to be reassured that she’s okay and that she doesn’t have to be scared.
We’re currently planning to be in the hospital in shifts, switching off which one of us is with her. The major issue here is that I have work. Unfortunately, school doesn’t stop, so I will be teaching throughout this. Should be interesting at any rate. Fortunately, we’ve found a place to stay that has wireless/ethernet and the hospital also has wireless. This should be workable.
Once Katie is home, she will be kept fairly isolated from others to avoid infection until she gets an all clear from her doctors. This likely means that her birthday party will be postponed, but not canceled. It will likely have implications for Ben’s Halloween, but we’re working on that to see if we can keep from losing the experience for him even if his sister can’t go, too.
Katie will have her first post-op appointment approximately two weeks after the initial surgery. We’ll find out then what they think and what else she may need to do with respect to this. There is a possibility that she will need a second surgery when she is either five or six, but that can’t be determined at this point. We have to see what happens with the bone as she ages.
There are other things: no immunizations for awhile before or after the surgery. Nothing but Tylenol for two weeks prior to the surgery (so we do have a solution if she starts teething again), and she has to avoid illness. This means we’re pretty much living under quarantine for the forseeable future. She needs this surgery and she needs it to go off without a hitch, so this is where we are.
We’re nervous; we’re worried; we’re scared. We have faith and we are praying that she will be okay and that this is a one time deal for her. If you’re looking for something to do for us, please, please pray for a successful outcome for her.