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It’s go time! Well, not quite, but this post is going to fill you in on some things to expect if you ever have a child that, heaven forbid, needs surgery. I will talk about pre-operation, the operation itself and the rollercoaster of emotions we went through. If you’re not sure you know why there’s an operation going on, you can catch up on Loghan’s story here.
Saturday, January 26th 2019 and Paul has arrived, my pre-Paul’s arrival support crew has left and we’re finally on the right track. The surgeon explains he wants to wait until Monday when the full PEDS staff is there to do her surgery. We don’t disagree as we want all hands on deck in case something goes wrong. He explains what he will be the one to do the surgery and some things to expect. Then he leaves us to our thoughts and an entire day of waiting.
When you have an entire day to do nothing but wait…you think. Why our daughter? Why us? What if something goes wrong? What if, what if, what if! It’s not a very fun game and I don’t recommend you play it. If you can, try to stay focused on the positives, the end goals and how much better everything will be when it’s over. It’s easier said than done, but it can be done.
One of the things we instantly thought of is the cost. How are we going to pay for this? Fortunately for us, we have good insurance but there’s still that deductible you have to hit, which isn’t cheap. Then you also have to account for things insurance might not cover or maybe you don’t have insurance and need to figure out finance options, if any. These are all valid questions to find answers to.
My best friend Jessica actually started a donation page for us through Facebook and was able to help alleviate some of the burden for us. Any little bit helps. The last thing you want to worry about is money when you have a loved one that is in the hospital. If you or someone you know could benefit from a fundraiser, Jessica used PLUMFUND. She said it was easy to use and had the least amount of fees.
Now that we had some of the initial financial questions out of the way, I guess it’s back to waiting. Paul is running to and from the castle and home to hang out with our furchildren. He also needed a good night sleep since he was traveling, and there was no way anyone was going to get me to leave. I stayed with Loghan every night. Don’t worry, I had Paul bring me some clean clothes and I showered, at least once!
Late Sunday afternoon my Dad and Delores (my dad’s wife) finally got home from Mexico. They walked in to the room while Loghan was having an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) done. I immediately turned to hug my dad and started crying, mostly out of relief. It was hard having the two most important men in my life absent at the time of Loghan’s diagnosis. Now that both of them were home, I felt a little more at ease about Loghan’s upcoming surgery. On a side note, Loghan’s heart ultrasound came back normal. Sometimes with diaphragmatic hernias, there can also be issues with other organs such as the heart and lungs. Her lungs are also fine.
As Sunday came to an end, we started to think about Loghan’s surgery the next day. We were speechless, we cried, we got angry, we laughed – it’s a whirlwind of emotions really. We don’t know what to expect but we’re hopeful everything will go smoothly and that Loghan will feel so much better once this is over. One more night to get through – I think we can, I think we can, I think we can.
It’s Monday – surgery day. Loghan was scheduled for surgery relatively early and the grandparents came up to give kisses, snuggles, and then headed down to the waiting room to wait for us. Waiting for the nurse to come and get us to go to surgery seemed like forever. When they finally did come, they came in with a wheelchair. As I sat down they handed me Loghan and then the nurse and Paul walked us to the surgery ward across the castle and into the hospital. We met the surgical nurses and one of them happened to be a friend I play volleyball with occasionally. I already felt uneasy about handing Loghan over to a complete stranger to get anesthesia so this made it a little easier.
I handed her off and as they wheeled her out of the room, I immediately grabbed Paul and started crying. After I composed myself, someone escorted us to the waiting room where our parents greeted us. I was shocked when no one, not even me, cried. I don’t like crying in front of people but there are exceptions. Anyways, the time actually went by quicker than I thought and after no more than an hour or so, a nurse came and got us to meet with the surgeon. The surgery was over already!
We didn’t know what to expect. Was this a good thing that it didn’t take very long? Did they find something else wrong? All questions swirling in our heads as we waited to talk to the surgeon. Thankfully, my friend that was in surgery with Loghan sent me a text to let me know that everything went really well. A few minutes later the surgeon came in and let us know surgery had gone well. He said that the hole in her diaphragm was the size of a quarter and they put everything back where it needed to be and stitched her back up, with no mesh needed and only three or four stitches. Mesh would have been necessary if there wasn’t enough diaphragm to stich by itself.
He also stated that because it went so smoothly that we could go back to our room after recovery and that staying in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) was not needed. I’m starting to like this guy! Off to recovery we went. I was relieved to see Loghan and was even more relieved when I saw another nurse that I knew on her recovery team. Having people you know watching over your little one makes the journey so much easier and I am so thankful for that! It lets you breathe a little easier.
I sat in a wheelchair again and a nurse put Loghan in my arms. She was making little whining sounds through her breathing mask as she was coming out of the anesthesia. It was really cute. The nurse wheeled us back up to the room and once we got adjusted our parents came in. The hard part is over.
I’ll wrap up this post with a few tidbits that might be good to know if you ever have to stay at the castle.
✔ Parents ARE Visitors.
✔ There are only a certain amount of visitors allowed in the room at any given time. This means that if you are at the max and mom or dad left the room, that mom or dad cannot re-enter the room until someone else leaves. Confused? See first bullet: Parents ARE Visitors.
✔ Parents do not eat for “free” unless you are a breastfeeding mama so bring snacks or recruit people to bring or order you food.
✔ If you HAVE to have the nurse get you something for your baby, make sure you bring it home. You paid for it.
✔ They won’t let you use your own baby care items, like Aquaphor. I would not mention you use it and just use it when they are not in the room. Otherwise, they make you buy it from them.
✔ Breastfeeding mamas: If you have to pump, they make you labels and will store it for you in a secure area. They have strict rules on timeframes and will only FREEZE it so make sure you understand their rules.
✔ You cannot sleep with your baby or even look like you are sleeping. I wouldn’t even close your eyes because they will catch you!
✔ Bring comfort items for you and baby from home!
There’s no place like home…there’s no place like home…there’s no place like home! In my next post, guess what, we get to go home!!!