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Monday, November 22, 2010

The View From the Other Side

It has been a very long time since I have updated my blog, but if you were a follower before you probably know about my daughter, Carly, who was born with a cleft palate. I have written before about the possibility of another surgery. That surgery actually occurred last Wednesday. I am writing today from the other side - post surgery. This is the day I have been awaiting for a very long time. Here is a quick update of the last week.
Last Tuesday, we went for our pre-op appointment at Cook Children's Hospital. Carly was so brave the entire time. After the appointment, we went to McDonalds to eat lunch and play. We knew that she would not be able to eat regular food for quite a while so she got to pick what we ate that day. Then, we went shopping and played on the indoor playground at the mall. Finally, we had a delicious dinner at Red Lobster. She ate her entire meal plus some of Chad's and some of mine.
After dinner we went to the seminary hotel to spend the night to make it easier to get to the hospital by 6:30 the next morning. Granddad and Grammy met us there to spend the night as well. We stayed up late visiting and playing. Carly ate all of the leftover shrimp from Red Lobster while we visited. She was determined not to be hungry the next day! We also let Carly open all of her gifts that her friends from school had given her to enjoy during her recovery. She actually said after opening her gifts that ..."this surgery stuff isn't so bad!"

The next morning we arrived at the hospital early to get everything started. Once again, she was very brave. After drinking her "giggle juice" she sat in my lap and talked and laughed until they took her back to surgery. She was in surgery for just under 3 hours when the doctor came out to tell us that everything went great. In fact, he was very optimistic and felt like this would really make a difference in her speech. He also said they would probably call us to meet her in recovery in about 30 minutes. About 30 minutes later we did get a call saying that she was still sound asleep so we had to wait about 30 more minutes. When we hadn't heard back in about an hour, we called for an update. They finally let us go back to see her in recovery, and we found out that the recovery was not going as smoothly as we had hoped. One of the major concerns with this surgery is breathing after surgery because it causes swelling in the nasal passages and throat. Carly was in fact having this problem. They had given her a breathing treatment to decrease the swelling, but we had to stay under observation for two more hours. During this time, Carly also started to throw up.

After the two hours of observation, we were finally moved to her room. It seemed like things were calming down, but we actually had several more difficult hours. In fact, she was unable to keep anything down all day.

The next day, Carly had a great day. Around noon she was taken off of her IV, and she stared to drink on her own and even ate some soup. By the afternoon, she was wanting to do some things so we went to the hospital library and playroom. Later that evening, she was discharged and we got to go home.

We had a good evening at home. It was so nice to be all back together as a family. We went to bed around 10: 30. We had to wake her up for medecine at 12:30 and then we went back to sleep. At 2:30 I woke up hearing her struggling to breathe. I repositioned her in bed and she went back into peaceful sleep. At 3:30 she woke up vomitting. This continued for the next 5 hours. Finally, the doctor called in anti-nausea meds for her. By that evening she seemed to be feeling well again and was once again keeping in fluids on her own.
Saturday was another good day. She played a lot and had more of an appetite. She is still on mostly a liquid diet, but she is very willing now to take in anything she is allowed to have. By Saturday night I was so exhausted that I was feeling sick. I really thought I was just overly tired, but realized it was more than that when I got sick to my stomach and started having chills. Chad took over in Carly's room, and I went to bed. I spent all day Sunday in bed with fever, headache, and upset stomach.
Finally, we have made it to Monday. Carly is doing great! She hasn't had any pain medecine in two days. She is hungry and active. I can already tell a difference in her speech even though she is still dealing with a lot of swelling. The doctor said it would take several weeks for the swelling to completely go away so we still have to sleep in her room to reposition her multiple times a night. Whenever she slips down in her bed or turns her head too far, she closes off her airway because of the swelling. We can tell a slight improvement in this, but I do feel like we will be up with her fairly regularly for a few more weeks.

Although this week has been long, exhausting, and stressful, I am so happy to be almost a week past surgery. I have carried the weight of impending surgery for several years now, and it feels amazing to have it behind us. I am so thankful for all of our family and friends who have prayed with us about this for years.
And most of all I am so thankful for the many truths I have learned about God and his goodness through both the good days and the difficult days of my daughters first 6 years...
"I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret,
and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with you."
Psalm 139: 13-18

We have finally made it to the other side and the view from here is great!