Saturday, February 10, 2007

Pre-op Appointment

We had an amazing pre-operative meeting yesterday. First, our surgery was bumped up to February 22nd, which provides a nice cushion in case Demeter comes down with a cold (the surgery will be postponed if she is at all sick). That's only a week and a half away! Also, we got to meet the surgical team and spent over an hour going over the risks, benefits, and technical details regarding the surgery. The benefit is obvious; without the surgery, Demeter simply would die of one or more of the effects of the hole on her heart. The risks are minimal (less than 1%) but serious: death (obviously), stroke, heart attack, infection from the blood transfusion. We discussed the possibility of stroke alot, since they may not even know that she's had one until long after the surgery (since she's such a little baby, and doesn't walk or talk yet). Because she's so young, though, her brain could find a "work-around" if a certain part of it is injured; babies recover much better from strokes than you or I could.

As for the surgery, they basically crack open the sternum, remove a gland that is in the way (one that the body doesn't need), open the pericardium (the sac that holds the heart), stop the heart, put her on the heart-lung machine, open the heart, patch up the hole with Gore-Tex, start the heart again, and close everything back up. This takes about 4-6 hours. Then Demeter is in the ICU for a few days, and when all is well she's moved into the surgery ward until she's nursing and gaining weight well. If there's a bed available I'll stay in a room near the ICU while she's there, but when she's in the ward I'll be by her bedside. Usually this all takes 5-10 days.

After the meeting, we got Demeter's bloodwork done (it took 45 minutes to get 5ml because of the medication she's on), and she had a chest X-ray. Chris had bloodwork done as well to see if he could donate some of the blood she'll need.

I'm feeling really good about the moved-up surgery date, since the sooner this is all over the better. I keep on freaking out about Demeter's weight gain, and the scale is my nemesis.


Leia said...

You mention the need for bloodwork. Is it an issue of blood from within the family or is it just the right type?

TC said...

It has to be immediate family, and anyway the surgery is so soon now that she'll have to use some donated blood products anyway...