Post-Op Day 7

I’m still amazed at how fast time flies in the ICU. It’s quite shocking to be in the general Pediatrics Ward now because that “fast time” isn’t there. So, you do feel the time go by. Anyhow, here’s today’s update.

We knew we were to be transferred to the ward this morning but Charlize wasn’t doing too well in ICU. According to the Pain Specialists, she was suffering from a classic textbook example of Sedation Withdrawal. She had not slept in a long time (I would say anywhere between 24 and 36 hours), was all jittery with the shakes. She spent the entire morning just wailing in pain and nothing could soothe her or calm her down (including her pacifier). The Cardiology Nurses affirmed that they have seen a number of babies go through the same withdrawal symptoms and that they all go back to normal after a couple of days.

To help with the pain and discomfort, they were giving her Morphine, Valium, and Tylenol every four hours. She had become so agitated that she seemed to have “forgotten” how to suck. Thus, her pacifier no longer calms her and obviously no breastfeeding. In fact, they’ve had to put in a feeding line so she can get some food because the small amounts she had been taking yesterday was not really enough.

I went to the hospital at lunchtime to find that Charlize hadn’t been moved to the Ward yet because they had been having a devil of a time trying to get an IV in her (poked and prodded four times without success). I sent Chantale away so she could take a break since the ICU was worse than yesterday which meant that she had been alone with an inconsolable baby all morning. I held onto Charlize’s hands and managed to get her to stop screaming. While talking to her, I noticed that her left eye had shifted and she’d become cross-eyed. Another symptom of the side-effect of the withdrawal.

Afterwards, I ended up holding her down while the Fellow tried, unsuccessfully to get another IV line started in her left foot. And then, again, the Nurse tried in the same foot at a different spot when the Fellow was pulled away on an emergency. After a LOT of trying and screaming on Charlize’s behalf, she was successful albeit with a lot of blood spilled due to shaky hands and nervousness.

I worked to calm her down again and then we inserted the feeding line. Not pretty. Again, after I soothed her, Chantale reminded the nurse about the baby’s meds and she prepared them. I administered the valium and, happily enough, Charlize finally fell asleep. At that point we all took a break. The Nurse left for her lunch and I headed out to get some food for Chantale and myself.

I headed back to work and went back to the Hospital at the end of the day. We are now settled in the Ped. Ward and Charlize slept all afternoon. In fact, she was still sleeping when I left at 9pm. She’s not running a fever and the nurses are getting in the swing of her routine. Chantale spoke with the Pain Specialists who explained how they were going to monitor the baby to ensure she’s properly weaned. They’ll assess her daily and see, after a 24 hour period, how she’s doing and the next steps to take. We *were* warned that this could potentially be a long battle (up to 10 days!). We’re hoping it won’t take that long.

We do know that a Holter exam is scheduled for Monday (basically, a 24 hour ECG to confirm she’s not having any arrhythmias) followed by an Echo on Tuesday. If she’s doing well (and the withdrawal stuff is done with) we’ll have the pacemaker leads removed from her and we’ll be able to go home. That’s what we’re concentrating on at any rate.

In the meantime, we’re not leaving her side. The big difference between ICU and Ped.Ward is that there is 1 nurse to 4 beds. They’re just not there very often. It really falls on the parents to fully take care of their kids. So, Chantale is taking tonight’s shift since I have to work tomorrow, and I’ll be taking Friday night’s shift. James is adamant that he and Melyssa come to see Charlize so I’m trying to work something to go pick them and my parents up on Saturday to bring them over for a visit.

Of course, everything depends on how Charlize is doing tomorrow.

On the funny side of life, I came home tonight to find my driveway had finally been paved. I wonder if I’m allowed to wait 3 months before giving THEM the first payment for it? You think they’d like waiting 3 months for me the way I enjoyed waiting 3 months for them? Hm?

By the way, I really wanted to thank everyone for their replies and posts to my and Chantale’s entries. I know you understand that we barely really have time to reply to them, but we truly and honestly appreciate ALL your comments, thoughts, prayers, well-wishes. Thank you SO much for taking the time to reply. Your support really means a lot to us.

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