you think sometimes that you are prepared for life. Prepared for the curveballs that may or may not come your way. You have emergency bags or emergency plans or emergency numbers in safe places, places you are prepared to get to in case something unexpected comes up. And this is all good and fine and sometimes it comes in handy and you avert the big crisis because you prepared for the unexpected.
But sometimes, even if you think you are prepared for the worst case scenario, it still creeps up on you at 4 pm on a random rainy tuesday afternoon in October.
Maybe you are sitting in the lobby of the hospital and you hear a code called in the area your child is having surgery in and you just know it was her. Maybe you run up to the waiting room where the desk person is frantically searching for you and your name is being paged overhead simultaneously and the doctor is being paged simultaneously and you try to hold yourself together as you walk to the elevators. And you tell yourself everything is fine as you walk into the unit and you even believe it for half a second before you round the corner and see your child’s code light on outside her room and many many people around her room and a doctor intercepts you halfway down the hallway and pulls you into a private room and invites you to sit down.
It is then that you know that none of your emergency preparedness actions are going to be enough. Whatever is about to come out of the doctors mouth is going to be so unexpected that it will hit you in the gut with a ferocity with which you will never be prepared for.
And then the doctor tells you essentially that your child died on the table, right below his hands, but it’s ok because it was only for a minute or three and she is ok now, she is back, and everything is ok. But he is shaken up and you find yourself trying to comfort him because the actual reality of his words haven’t sunk in to your brain yet, maybe you don’t want them to sink in, and because surely he couldn’t really mean YOUR child he must be confused. But he takes you by the arm and walks you to your child’s room because she IS awake-ish and is moaning your name and has people surrounding her, holding oxygen masks above her face because the cannula taped into her nose is at max capacity and still isn’t giving her enough oxygen to keep her vitals stable. and you will go to her, this child of yours who likes to defy odds and bring new meaning to the word “unexpected” and you fall on her and hold her and tell her it’s ok, it’s all ok, you’re here now.
The next few hours might come as a blur to you. you have to tell everyone that she is ok but that she is still not “stable”…
This is unexpected.
it was supposed to be an easy surgery. A quick stay.
And now it’s all topsy turvy and there really aren’t any answers and you have no idea what will happen in the next few minutes or hours or days.
i am not even sure I have fully processed for myself what happened yesterday. Her nurses tell me it was scary, and that it’s ok that i’m scared and nervous and unsure of what happened or what comes next. But mostly I just look at her and I’m glad she’s still here. Still sassy. Still fighting, like she does best. I have been fighting some kind of wicked cold/sinus/viral crappiness and i think it’s almost a blessing. My head is so full of snot that it’s hard to think through it all, and that’s probably a good thing.
What I do “know” right now: The running belief is that she had a massive pulmonary embolism. Likely a clot or part of a clot dislodged from somewhere in her body and momentarily blocked her pulmonary arteries. This caused her to go into v-tach – ventricular tachycardia. A crazy erratic heartbeat that was not in any kind of rhythm and was doing essentially nothing to pump blood. As a result her blood pressure plummeted to nothing and her sats took a major nosedive to nothingsville. I am told that we are extremely lucky that the anesthesiologist on her case is one of the only men in the entire state who could have brought her back so quickly and assuredly. His skillset happens to be best suited to cases where this kind of thing is a likely possibility.
So they stabilized her. Brought her upstairs still very much needing support. I am shocked that they extubated her but I think the main goal was to get her out of the OR and up to the capable hands of her ICU team who knows her.
We aren’t POSITIVE that it was a clot. It could have been air, it could have been her body just reacting to the anesthesia, it could have been just the direction of the moon and wind. Even though we don’t know the reason why, or have any real reassurance that it won’t happen again, we have her back. She is stable. And that is as good as we can ask for right now. It is good enough.
We have imaged the likely places a clot might be hiding out, and see none. she is receiving a large dose of blood thinning medication every day. Her pain from the sepsis seems to be being better controlled, and we are so happy for that. She was very very sick, sicker than i think any of us realized while she was going through it even. And we are looking at a pretty long recovery, full of ups and downs. Her doctors tell us that we shouldn’t feel discouraged, that her baseline may eventually return to normal. That this doesn’t mean she’s lost major ground. It just means right now, she’s recovering. Right now, the unexpected will continue to throw us for loops. Right now, stable is as good as it gets.
She does have her new line in. They were able to complete inserting that. Her old crusty painful picc is removed. She is cleared to go home in the morning.
So homeward we will go. For hopefully at least the four weeks we would normally be home before returning for IVIG in November. We don’t exactly know what else to expect, but maybe that’s overrated anyways.
I’m looking forward to getting home, into a good schedule again. One of her crazy antibiotics is done, so her med schedule is DRASTICALLY reduced. This means we get some sleep at nights now! We will look to get her back into school in the next week or so as she proves her endurance to us a little bit more. We have Halloween costumes to get set for all four girls and I owe Kaylen a birthday party still (poor middle child always gets left out….), and then it will be Kendall’s birthday and then it will be CHRISTMAS.
And then time just flies.
So I’m going to wrap this up because the coughing is overtaking me and my head is still full of snot and I just really really really want to sleep for about a week. Or a month.
i hope this post makes sense. Thanks for trying to read it anyways~
peace out party people.