WOW, what a difference 24 hours makes! That is 24 hours after the completion of Kirsten’s surgery.
I will start this update from this morning, it started as the usual chaos in getting Alannah up, changed and out the door to day care, albeit a different day to her usual Friday. It must have been a little confusing for our little darling but she stepped up to the plate like a veteran and off we went. (I think she thought it was early morning cafe time).
We arrived at day care and that’s when I think Alannah realised that something really was up, she clung to me and didn’t want to let go, thankfully her favourite carer was there to help calm her down.
Off I went about a few morning tasks, trying to fill the void of time before I am allowed to visit Kirsten.. Mail from post office, CHECK, dry cleaning, CHECK.. coffee.. CHECK (boy I needed that one) then home only to realise about an hour had passed……..
I received a phone call from the ICU about 9am telling me that Kirsten had woken up and was asking for me and when was I coming in? During the call Kirsten also managed to ask about her photo’s of Alannah in her ward room, great to hear that she was so awake. The ICU nurse said she would make arrangements for me to enter earlier than the permitted time of 11am so off I went to the hospital.
First stop.. Kirsten’s ward room to pick up a few pictures of Alannah
Second stop.. ICU waiting room… Stopped in my tracks… ICU door troll said I couldn’t enter and would have to wait until her doctors had finished checking up on her.. I nearly lost it… but managed to remain calm, it would have been nice to have a chat with Dr A who was checking on her.. but alas, not this day.
I was finally permitted in, rushed to her room only to stand in her blind spot, you see her sight was all foggy from the pain medication. So we rearranged to room a little to have the pictures of Alannah at the end of the bed where she could look at them constantly. Once settled, a small precession of nurses came to check out our pretty little Alannah, they say she looks like me.. HAHAH!!
So enough rambling, on to what you all want to know.
Kirsten woke around 7:30am this morning and was able to respond positively to all the doctors pokes and prods, the ICU nurse told me she is progressing as expected, following the experts guide to Recovering from a Mandibulectomy and Fibulectomy, the Fibula Flap is also taking nicely, so far so good! After this initial diagnosis, she was hooked up to the feeding bag. The feeding bad is a lovely protein liquid administered through the nose directly to the stomach.
The pain relief drug being administered is called Fentanyl (this is the same one that kept her asleep) and is now being slowly withdrawn to bring Kirsten to a greater awareness, but also has a self-administering system.. all it takes is one little push of the green button and WHACK!! in it goes that extra little kick of relief.. one little side effect, it can cause vomiting, which, precisely 10 minutes into my visit happened to Kirsten. I must say, not a fun thing for me to see, how do you react to something like that when you know you are helpless to resolve the issue.. anyways, the nurses cleaned her up and took the opportunity to clean all her dressings too.
For those that have a slightly perverse interest in the surgery (I admit, I’m one of them), I got to see all the stitching and drains and blood and everything about the surgical site, quite fascinating if you have the stomach for it.
Kirsten is able to write notes and is able to ask questions so we had a good little conversation between her Fentanyl induces dozes. But she did instruct me to be honest on HER Blog, and am doing so, hence the story above. Kirsten has vowed that this will be the only time she gives me a vomiting story to blog about. (I do have more, but mum’s the word)
One thing I forgot to mention last night is that the lovely Nurse R informed me after some prodding that Kirsten didn’t need a blood transfusion, small victory for her, she found it “icky” to have someone else’s blood in her, but not he leg in her mouth 🙂
So I left the hospital and spoke to Kristen’s parents who had a visit planned for later in the day at 3pm (ICU opening hours again for visitors), gave them directions to ICU.. quite simple really, get out of the lift, turn left to the ICU waiting room…. I received a call from the ICU nurse at 3:10pm with questions from Kirsten about her parents whereabouts.. even in her state she is on the ball!.. I called them.. they were in the waiting room on level 1, but not the ICU.. 2 phones, 3 conversations on the go (I had work on hold) and managed to ease Kristen’s mind about her parents whereabouts.
During her parents visit, the ventilator connected to Kirsten was removed and she is now breathing by herself, albeit from the tracheostomy.
I’ve received strict instructions that I must include the following in tonight’s blog post
1. Her chest is clear. (i can only assume fluid in her lungs is a concern here)
2. No Blood transfusions (mentioned above)
3. She is off the ventilator (mentioned above)
4. This is interesting, her blood pressure is being measures via an arterial line directly attached to her main artery to the heart via her arm (I think). Her blood pressure is being measured at 110 over 50 and the pressure with which the blood flows is around 70, minimum accepted is 50. (I may need to clarify this second statement as I received the information 4th hand). You can learn all about it here… really you can LEARN it 🙂
Let me clarify, the last point above is my best guess, I can clarify it tomorrow if anyone’s interested, or someone may be able to comment on it here accurately
My conclusion for the day..
If Kirsten is able to wake up, asks many questions and be satisfied with the answers she is receiving 12 – 24 hours after the surgery, I’m quietly confident she will come through this early stage mind in tact and at ease with the process. All we need to hope for now is that the Fibula Flap continues to remain healthy and she will be on the fast track to healing and then home!