Friday, August 15, 2014

Home (again).

Wow -- what a week.  After any major surgery that comes with a substantial recovery time, we know that readmission for any number of reasons is always a possibility.  Did I really think that we'd end up back at Duke, less than a week after leaving the first time, though? Nope. We are so tired, but so grateful to be back home.

Ethan was discharged (again) on Wednesday morning, after having stayed the exact number of days in the hospital as he did for post-op recovery.  Sadly (for all of us), a 48-hour infection rule-out turned into another four-day stay due to some dehydration issues.  After Monday's results, everyone expected we'd be out of there by Tuesday morning.  But, nope.  It was determined on rounds Tuesday that Ethan's fluid intake (and subsequent urine output) was uncomfortably low, so we earned ourselves another day's stay. At one point on Tuesday afternoon, I looked at Jeramie and sighed, "How did we do this for nine and a half weeks?" Of course, I know it's by the grace of God that we came home after those long two months, and that we brought our boy safely back home again after these two shorter (yet still stressful) stays.

But. The unexpected nature of this week's visit did something crazy to my typically calm hospital demeanor.  At one point in the early hours of Tuesday morning, after I had silenced Ethan's monitor alarm every fifteen minutes, I stood at the head of his bed and watched him sleep, but couldn't keep myself from wondering if he was going to go back into cardiac arrest.  The sounds from the monitor were the same, the "alarm fatigue" was the same, and I was looking at the face of the same healthy (or so we thought at the time) little boy.  In my illogical, sleep-deprived state-of-mind, the next step was that his heart would stop.  After a time of prayer, cussing at the monitor, and having an early morning visit from Dr. I (Ethan's primary cardiologist), I finally allowed the Lord to calm my heart and trust that Ethan truly was okay.  That incident put me on edge for the rest of the day, though, and finding out that we weren't going home that afternoon was a punch to the gut.

But, God.

He sustained us and showed us such goodness that, even during those dark moments, I knew we weren't fighting this alone. A few of my favorites...

-For all of Ethan's IV pokes and blood draws (three total) from Saturday night in the emergency department, until we were discharged on Wednesday, the nurses and phlebotomists were able to gain access on the first try.  This is unheard of for Ethan's previously tiny, easily-blown veins!
-When Ethan was admitted on Saturday night, he was taken to 5317 -- the very first room we lived in once he was healthy enough to leave the PCICU as a baby -- and Shannon was his nurse.  I wrote about Shannon back in April of 2009 .  God sent her to us then, and He sent her to us again on Saturday and Sunday nights.
-Dr. I was in the hospital just about every day of our stay.  I can't adequately explain just how the Lord uses him to comfort us, but he always stopped by at exactly the right times, always bringing just the right balance of doctor and friend.

...and there's even more than that.  Visits from friends, ice cream in the courtyard, "wishing" in Jesus' name at the coin fountain.  God not only took care of the medical details, but he gave us exactly what we needed emotionally, as well.  He is so great, and greatly to be praised!

So, now we're home and keeping a close eye out for any signs of infection.  As of Wednesday night, Ethan's blood cultures were still negative and his incisions continue to look better and better.  He is still spiking fevers anywhere from 100.5-102 degrees in the late afternoons, but Dr. J (Ethan's surgeon) assured me that this is all in line with PPS.  Ethan also wore a Holter monitor from Wednesday to Thursday, and we should have those results sometime next week.

We are praying that this is all behind us soon and that Ethan starts to feel the benefits of the surgery.  We would love to have your continued prayers for rest and recovery -- we are determined to end this summer healthy and happy, with some much needed "normal" family time!

Thank you (again) for your prayers and encouragement -- we love y'all!

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