We woke up this morning part excited, part anxious about Luke’s surgery. His last time to nurse was at 7:30am, we gave him some pedialyte at 9 and then headed to the hospital at 11. Amazingly, he fussed just a tiny bit before the nurse whisked him off to surgery at 1:15pm, so we felt very blessed.
Scott and I were so thankful that a friend from St. Theresa, our former parish, signed on as Luke’s anesthesiologist. Jeff, many, many, many thanks. Knowing that you were with Luke throughout surgery brought us tremendous peace. And, a friend of my mom’s, Jan, was Luke’s nurse. As we told them both, this surgery was all in the family. It did make us smile wide when Jan and Jeff had a round of “rock, paper, scissors” to decide who got to carry Luke to the OR. Maybe next surgery, Jeff…
When Luke left the pre-op room, Scott and I just looked at one another, teared up and embraced. Our precious, cute, sweet little Luke was going back into the operating room. It took some serious faith and your prayers to do that once more. We held hands and prayed, for a successfuly surgery, for our doctors and for our strength. Then my milk came in and we skipped right back to reality 🙂 As I was pumping, one of the hospital staff let us know that a “church member” was in the waiting room. Straight in from the Big Apple, Fr. Dave Farnum (no relation, but we’re positive if we dig back far enough there is!) and his Big Texas smile greeted us. His presence was a most welcome surprise. Fr. Dave, how do we say thanks enough?
The wait actually went faster than we envisioned. Our beeper went off and we were escorted to a post-op consultation room to meet with Dr. Meyer. As we were waiting, we glanced across the hall and saw the most beautiful piece of art, depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe (Feast Day is tomorrow, December 12). We both looked at each and smiled.
In bounded 6’7″ Dr. Meyer, all smiles, with a spring in his step. He was very pleased with how the surgery went. Quick recap on the anatomy lesson. Luke had 16cm of his small intestine removed because the NEC had destroyed it. The end of that healthy intestine was brought to the surface of Luke’s skin (his ostomy), thus bypassing the colon. His colon still had a NEC presence, but we were hopeful that the combination of rest and antibiotics would allow the colon to heal. It did, for the most part. But, during this surgery, Dr. Meyer had to remove a fair amount of Luke’s colon because it didn’t heal after all. Bottom line? Luke has plenty of small intestine and colon that will allow him to operate like a normal little guy, with no lingering side effects.
Can I hear an AMEN?
Oh, and since the hospital was running a “do one surgery, get one for free” just in time for the holidays, we also had Luke circumcised. Or, as Dr. Meyer put it, “His pencil’s been sharpened.” Guy humor. I did not see the laughs in that, but the boys all chuckled.
Only one of us was able to see Luke in recovery. Guess who that was? Scott was so gracious, he just squeezed my arm and said, “Go take care of Luke.” I love that man.
Luke was screaming his head off, completely disoriented from the anesthesia and in pretty significant pain. The worst part? I couldn’t nurse to comfort him. Without a doubt, that was the worst part of the next 12 hours. After an hour of pumping him full of Tylenol, fentanyl and then, morphine, he still hadn’t calmed down much. They allowed Scott to come back while I pumped and he did a little better. Ah, if we only knew how rough the next 12 hours would be…
We got Luke settled in his room and the screaming continued. Scott and I decided to take it by the “10-minute rule”…we just tried to make it 10 minutes at a time. An hour was way too much. Basically, the kid was having some serious pain – an incision completely across his belly, plus the circ and the area where his stoma used to be. Ouch, ouch and ouch. He would breathe shallow and be comfortable and then take that one big breath and scream out in pain. Repeat every minute (for real) for the next 12 hours. Scott and I took two-hour shifts holding him and prayed a freakin 18-wheeler truckload of Hail Mary’s. Sprinkle in some breastpumping sessions and that was our night in a nutshell. If you were up praying anytime from 4pm to 4am, God bless you. At one point, I looked at Scott and said, “How much more can he take?” I dang near hog-tied the nurse practioner and made her administer more morphine. The challenge was that too much could make Luke stop breathing. Yeah, we didn’t need that. So…we just hung in there. Seconds turned to minutes, minutes turned to hours and the clock eventually read 5am. Luke finally hit his rhythm and Scott and I crashed. I’m pretty sure there were some harsh words exchanged around 3am. Note to self: don’t try to have a meaningful conversation at that hour under these circumstances.
We are grateful for so many things…blogspot doesn’t have enough server space for me to share them all. Just know this. Your prayers, your emails, your facebook posts, texts and kind words allowed Scott and I to be the best parents we could to Luke. They allowed Luke to have such a successful surgery. They allowed those doctors to skillfully repair Luke’s bowel. They guided our nurses as they cared for Luke throughout the night.
Check back in tomorrow and I’ll give you the skinny on our first day, post-op. Marathon prep, day 1, complete.