Tuesday, September 21, 2010
So little miss had her surgery last Thursday, the 16th. We were up bright and early and made our way to UCD, now usually it is an absolute MUST to make the stop for this Mama's morning necessity, Starbucks. BUT, one since little miss was npo since 10pm the night prior and two, she actually eats and drinks regularly now and would totally know mama was being a meanie and indulging(I just consider it surviving, but whatever...) right in front of her, I put off my coffee fix until after my girlie was taken back. The plus side to this terrible way to start your day at 4am is that there is a La Bou(<3) directly across the street from the hospital, yay!
Okay, I guess I digressed a bit. So we arrive to the hospital, only to find that they FINALLY finished the new part of the building making this maze of a hospital even more confusing, but pretty! We eventually find where we need to "check in" which is a little room full of very groggy, very grumpy people who instantly started yelling at us how we were BEHIND them, there aren't even numbers so you need to know who is behind and in front of you in the nonexistent line, etc. Suffices to say, none of these grumps had a Starbucks in their hands either, or it may of been an entirely different scene. One full of rainbows and sunshine. Eventually we make it to the front of the "line" and get checked in and directed on where to go, as if we didn't already know. ;)
So we waited in the little waiting room, Ava was very aware of what was going on at this point. And on previous "trips" Ava would by now be crying and hysterical, but we had been lightly discussing with her how we would be going to the hospital and the doctors would be fixing her belly, which has been hurting for weeks so she was really OKAY with that. Ava was still scared and didn't want anyone she didn't know getting anywhere near her, but I am so glad she seemed a little more at ease this time. Seeing your child terrified at an age where they are too young to understand you are trying to help them is just a sucky feeling. Once we were taken to Ava's bed in the recovery area(where they bring the kiddos back to after their surgery/procedures), the nurses, one of which Ava had during her 2 month stay up on the 7th floor in the PICU when she was a newborn, tried to make missy as happy and comfortable as possible. They got her a portable DVD player and some movies, when it was time to take stats they would do what they needed to do to Ava on Ava's snow white doll she brought with her first, so Ava could see none of it hurt, Snow White even got a pulse ox ET finger just like Ava! ;) Everyone was calling Ava "Princess Ava" which made little miss ridiculously happy. Then it was finally time for the "happy juice" which is usually versed and sometimes another medication. I don't really understand why they do not give this once the bring the kiddos to the bed area, since that is when they all seem to freak out. Anyways, Ava took her happy juice and instantly exclaimed, "I'm Happy!!!" it was hilarious and really cute. If only it worked that quickly. ;) So then it was time to walk Ava to the drop off point and hand her over to the team. :( My least favorite part, I actually prefer how the cath team does it, they let you walk her all the way to the bed, lay her down and hold her and talk to her as they administer the sleepy mask. Though that is sometimes a little too traumatizing for mama, too. How come the parents don't get happy juice?!
The surgery took a total of an hour and a half, the awesome surgeon came out and let us know little miss did really well and everything went as expected. Ava took a bit of time to wake, but not as bad as last time where we were sitting there for HOURS and hours. Weird to me, considering how she used to wake from her anesthesia almost too quickly and the nurses were always scrambling to keep her properly sedated.
Then, apparently there were absolutely NO beds on the floor and we were stuck in recovery ALL day, until about 4:30pm I believe. It wasn't the greatest time ever. And there was even talk of having to hole it up in the new PICU for the night, no thank you. Luckily a bed opened though and we made our way up to the 7th floor. Ava even had the window side of the room. ;) The rest of the night and the next morning were completely uneventful. Except that Ava was in a LOT of pain, the morphine she was being given caused her to drop her temp a little and become a bit clammy, not to mention sleepy. Almost every 4 hours on the mark the pain would break through the medication, but missy wasn't admitting to any pain. We had to take cues from her body such as the elevated heart rate, beads of sweat forming all over her, plus the fact that she didn't want to sit up, walk or even MOVE. I felt so bad for her, we had NO idea this surgery was so involved. When we were told she would need it the doctors explained it like it is usually an outpatient procedure and no big thing. No mention of NPO for 24hrs post op, no mention of no food for 48 hours post op, definitely no mention of the pain involved, which I honestly should of guessed anyways. But my little trooper pulled through and we were discharged Friday evening. After we got our missy home and settled in I instantly went about trying to notify everyone of Ava's condition and how it would be impossible to expect her to participate the next morning in our FAVORITE event of the year, the American Heart Association's Start Heart Walk. Making sure Ava healed and took to food okay the next day was much more important, though. Thanks to all who understood and send us their well wishes, prayers and thoughts! They helped so much.
So now for Ava's belly, I still have not seen the incision, it is covered with a bandage and under that is a few steristrips, which should fall off in a couple of weeks. Ava isn't too limited on activities, but she shouldn't be hanging off bars, or jumping(which she HAS been doing! But we had a good talk today about that and I explained that she could hurt her belly again and we would have to go back to the hospital for the doctors to fix that, she didn't want any of that so she promised no more jumping for now). And by now her appetite has pretty much come back to where it normally is. She is sleeping better, but still waking up lots and is a little more clingy than usual. She is also going through her normal routine of not listening and being a bit bossy, something she does every time she is hospitalized, but by now at least we know how to tame the diva and bring her back down a few levels. ;)
Here are a few photos taken with my phone, just didn't feel like lugging out my camera...
Still in recovery, just waking and not happy!
Ava's brave girl gift, a Pillow Pet! :)
Wagon ride with her new BFF.
Sunday afternoon, so much happier. Color was back, appetite was back and pain was subsiding. Miss Ava is such a tough cookie!
Posted by Jennifer Bolima at 9:15 PM
Monday, September 13, 2010
This year, we were invited to watch the practice day for the California Capital Airshow. It was actually both kid's first time to see the show, so we were all pretty excited. They had a check in desk just outside the entrance where Ava and Greg were given goodie bags full of stuff like a poster of the Airshow, a sharpie(?) sunscreen, and a few other things that I can't recall. :P We also had a family photo taken and a free print given to us, super neat since I rarely get a photo with us all since I am the one taking the photos! So we found a table up close to the gates for a great view once the show began. Instantly people were bringing us food(a catered lunch by Chipotle, yum) and some really yummy strawberry lemonade curtesy of Red Robin.
The airshow began, both kids were glued to the sky. But once the louder planes came out, Ava was over it. Luckily a woman at a nearby table gave us an extra set of earplugs that had been passed out and we had somehow missed out on. Thank you lady at neighboring table. :) There was also face painting which Ava was excited about, she of course got a heart and some flowers on her cheek, really cute but didn't last very long. After the show, we stayed probably over an hour longer and toured as many planes as possible. The kids went in and got an upclose view on many of the aircrafts, Ava of course called the ones she liked most, "Ayas airpane" and wasn't too pleased when we nixed her thought of flying them herself. ;)
The face paint, hard to see.
Why not dance?
All in all, it was a super great day and we are very thankful to UCD and the Children's Miracle Network for putting it all together!
Posted by Jennifer Bolima at 8:33 PM
Thursday, September 9, 2010
A week from today we have to take our little miss in for surgery. I realize the surgery itself is such a minor thing, especially in the "World of CHD's" but the bottom line is, it's still surgery on my precious daughter. It is still anesthesia on a heart child. It is still yet another hospital visit full of fears and owies and strangers for a four year old who is more than old enough to be aware, but still not quite old enough to fully understand why.
The most frustrating part, for me, is that Ava is JUST starting to come back out of her shell, her anxiety in new situations and near panic attacks since the year of the 4 catheterizations has lessened dramatically. I am so worried that my happy loving trusting daughter is about to get jaded again. Four year olds just shouldn't have to deal with so much fear and anxiety. I think this is one of those drawbacks that isn't hugely talked about when you have a sick child. Because who wants to focus on something so "trivial" when your child is sick?
But it has to be done. And Miss Ava will feel so much better once it is done. So now that the fears are off my chest, it's time to focus on the positive. Ava is a strong, smart, brave little girl and is going to do amazing. This is such a milestone for her, as well. One we often times thought she may not ever reach. Not requiring a feeding tube, thriving, all on her own. It's time to celebrate Ava's accomplishments! ;)
Posted by Jennifer Bolima at 9:51 PM