December 11, 2013Tonight Katherine, her parents and grandparents went out for nice dinner in the neighborhood. She fit in between treating herself to 2 wipe downs with antibiotic wipes to all areas to be touched by surgery. She felt itchy after each one and thus a little irritable. Anxiety was at an all time high, something she only later realized would be the only time she would feel it during the surgery and recovery. Truly, the dread and anxiety leading up to the actual event was harder to bear than the actual experience.
December 12, 2013We awoke at 4:45 am in order to get to the hospital by 5:30 am more or less dressed and ready.
We only waited 10 minutes before we were called back to begin the getting ready routine. We learned that we would be able to see her to her "curtain-icle" for a few minutes and then ushered out while that shaved the critical parts and put an IV in.
While she was being tended to the surgeon spoke to her parents advising them the surgery was to begin at 8:30 am and should be just fine. He is one of those rare types of surgeons who has wonderful bedside manner in addition to knife skills.
At 11:14 am they called from the operating room to say things were going well and that the surgery had actually begun at 9:15 am (so we wouldn't worry unnecessarily if it seemed to run long). They said the surgeon had not had to use a femoral artery to hook her to the heart lung machine and that currently the valve was being sewn into place at that time.
At 12:45 pm they notified us that Katherine was off the heart lung machine and the assistants were sewing her up.
About 1:15 pm or so the surgeon came out to tell us the specifics of the surgery. He said he tried really hard to repair the existing valve so that it would close properly but it just wasn't a satisfactory fix so he ended up cutting it out and replacing it with the bio-prosthetic one we had agreed upon in the case of a replacement. He said she did very well even though he had to keep her on the heart lung machine longer than he wanted. He said she would probably be ready for us to see her in ICU about 3:00 pm. We told the giant crowd of wonderful friends and family the news and prepared to get lunch and move to the ICU waiting room.
At 3:00 pm or so we were allowed a quick peak at Katherine. As has been the case in the past it was shocking to see her being controlled by the respirator like a life sized doll but we still recognized her determination and stroked her hands and told her we'd be back in as soon as we could but they needed to get the respirator out. She had 2 male nurses who were easy on the eyes and personable to boot which eased our minds and souls.
About 5:00 pm or so we went back in and things were much calmer. She event managed a little smile. We sat with her until 8 pm (when they kicked us out) and then left for dinner and a few hours sleep. All in all a VERY successful day!!