Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fontan Day Five (Big Sister, Big Sister)

I can’t complain. Really, I can’t. It’s Tuesday, we’ve only been here since Friday. And we were here last Thursday for pre-op, so I guess that counts for half a day. But, it’s still tedious. We’ve folded into a new month. June First today. And we missed Memorial Day weekend. It’s missing these types of landmarks that mess with you later. You feel gypped, off kilter, and find yourself later in the summer trying to recall what you did for unofficial kick-off of summer, and for the briefest of moments you actually forget, only to be disappointed when you regain your conscious footing.

On Luna:

She’s doing great. Chest tubes are out. X-Rays looking good. She does have low potassium levels, but with some regular eating we should be able to get those back up. She’s down to just one IV-in her hand. (Careless Mommy of the Year Award goes to me for accidentally pulling out Luna's IV while I was lying in bed with her. I looked down to see blood pooling in her blanket and on my shirt. Luna was sort of whimpering, and I started gasping and the nurse, thanks goodness, sprung into action and cleaned-up the mess.)

Her heart rate seems back on track too. No mysterious rhythms. And her blood-oxygen saturation levels off the vent are in the low 90’s. But really, they had been there before, but the big difference now is in her toes. Almost immediately after surgery her feet took on a healthy glow. Whereas before Luna thought she was wearing blue nail polish on her toes, now she’s sporting a nice nude look.

Perhaps the best thing to come from our extended hospital stay, is how our four-year-old is handling all this. The logistics of getting your child through three cardiac catheters and three open heart surgeries is one of the most difficult things to manage. What to do with our other child, commitments, and careers while we all hyper-focus on our youngest very noisy medical needs?

Our first born, Sienna, is a sensitive soul. No sooner had she mastered speaking when the child started spouting off a steady stream of conscious chatter; often having to do with the trees breathing in too much exhaust, the animals left out in the cold, or the flowers not getting enough, or getting too much rain. So, Luna's medical condition has always been something of a hotspot with her. Or so I had thought. In Sienna's four-year old brain, Luna’s heart is “on the outside”.

Thus, the thought of bringing Sienna into the hospital; where even the most seasoned parent can crumble at the sight of some of the patients-was simply nerve racking for me.

But Sienna did great. On the way in, The Architect prepped our precocious four-year-old; “You’re going to see little boys and girls who are sick and look different, but like Luna, they’re all here to get better”.


And indeed, Sienna was as cool as a cucumber. I caught her wince just slightly at Luna’s tubing protruding like a plastic octopus from her chest. But otherwise Sienna was unfazed.

Later I brought her down to the food court where we hit the collective lunch break enjoyed by the staff of the several hospitals right in the area. This seemed to bother Sienna more than anything.

“Mommy, all the doctors and nurses left the babies alone in the ICU!”

Later, back in the ward, I thought I would try to capitalize on all this good-feeling toward the hospital, so I asked the four-year-old “do you think you want to be a doctor or nurse when you grow up?”

“No, Sienna responded, “I want to be a fire woman so I can put out all those forest fires and save the animals from burning.”

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