July 20 marked one year since Luke's first cardiac catheterization, which was necessary before he underwent the bi-directional Glenn. Since Rog and I had yet to enter the blogging world at that time, I wanted to create a post that records that day last year, for us and for Luke. Ultimately, I want this blog to be a gift to Luke when he is old enough to appreciate it.
Luke's cath was done by his pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Stefanelli, at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma. Dr. S. specializes in heart cath's and does several a week. It was comforting to know that someone who knew Luke from before he was born and cares about him would be performing the procedure. We knew Luke would be in the best hands.
We were to check into Mary Bridge at 6am and the cath would get started around 8am. Luke did pretty well for not eating since midnight and getting woken up early. We were placed in a pre-op room and his vitals were taken as Rog and I signed consent forms. Dr. S. came by to see how we were doing and explained again the procedure. They were hopeful that they would be able to keep Luke sedated without putting in a breathing tube. There would be an anesthesiologist in the cath lab with him along with a nurse.
That morning is a bit hazy, but I do remember handing Luke over to the nurse and watching her dance him away to the lab. I just remember him looking so stunned ... too stunned to cry, which was a good thing for mama!
Roger and I, my mom, and our friends Troy and Scott settled into the waiting area to, you guessed it, wait. Scott and Troy graciously made a Starbucks trip and I fiddled on the computer and flipped through magazines. About 45 minutes after saying goodbye to Luke, Dr. Stefanelli came out with an irritated look on his face. He told us Luke was doing great with the sedation, but the cath monitor was not working. A tech person was working on it, but it was a possibility they would have to move to a different lab. As long as Luke was safe and asleep, I didn't mind, but I could tell Dr. Stefanelli was not happy about this technology problem. He told us to hang in there and headed back again. After another 30 minutes or so, the call was made to move Luke to the other cath lab and begin the procedure with a working monitor.
The next time we saw Dr. Stefanelli was when the cath was complete. He came out to report that Luke was a good candidate for the Glenn (big sigh of relief) and that his heart was showing it was ready for this next stage. We already had the Glenn scheduled and Dr. S. was fine with keeping the August 7th date.
We headed back to the post-op recovery area to see our little man. He was still heavily sedated when we got to him, but he looked good. He had one IV and a large bandage pressurizing the femoral artery. The nurse caring for him was anxious for him to open his eyes, but even though he was stirring and agitated, he kept his eyes closed. After another 30 minutes without Luke waking up, the nurse encouraged us to try and feed him pedialyte, rub his head, and talk to him so that he would come further out of sedation. As anyone would be, Luke was clearly annoyed and began kicking and thrashing. All of a sudden there was blood everywhere as his clot loosened with all his kicking. I'm not typically a squeamish person, but this scared me. I think it was so intense also because we had been out of hospital/medical mode for several months and this was a quick, rude reintroduction to that world. I remember leaving Luke's bedside and feeling so angry that he had to go through this. How I wish it could have been me in that bed.
The nurses quickly got the bleeding under control and Dr. Stefanelli came back to make sure everything was okay. After a stern lecture from Dr. S., Luke decided he better behave and began to wake up a bit more from his sedation like a good boy. We were moved back to a private room for a few more hours of observation and Luke continued to become more alert and want Pedialyte and even a little formula. There was some discussion about keeping him overnight, but Dr. Stefanelli felt comfortable sending us home that evening with Tylenol and instructions to call him if necessary.
As soon as we got home, I remember throwing away his hospital gown and giving him a warm bath. I wanted to get that hospital smell off of him! We had a couple more weeks of freedom from that smell and we were going to enjoy them!