Friday, June 14, 2013

Grace's Surgery

Tuesday - late afternoon - we made the drive to Seattle. Charlotte fell asleep within seconds of hitting the freeway and Grace silently watched her movie. I fell asleep too - luckily I wasn't driving! We rolled into the big city just in time to meet Molly for some dinner - at Ruth's Chris, of course! We had a great meal and if you haven't had Seven Falls wines yet I suggest giving them a try! (Your tastebuds and pocketbook will thank me!)

The next day was Grace's pre-op appointment! So after grabbing a quick bite to eat, we treated the girls to cupcakes and a spin on the playground at the University Village.

Hard to believe this will be Grace's last romp for a while. 

Regardless, the appointment time drew near so it was time to drop off Charlotte with Ellen - cousin June's nanny! June was asleep when we arrived and I could tell Charlotte was a bit a nervous but just a while later we got a picture from Ellen! These girls were having nothing but fun!!

Love that these girls love each other. 
So nice of her parents to let us borrow their nanny for a few hours!

Aside from a long, unexpected wait, the pre-op appointment went well. The doctors re-examined Grace. Talked to us about their plan. We met the resident and got our orders relating to food, clear liquids and check-in. Hard to believe that this was all in motion and really happening. 

For her big meal, Grace wanted pasta. So off to a big pasta dinner we went - after another visit to a playground. If cupcakes weren't enough, there was red velvet cake and ice cream for dessert! 
She went to bed with a very full tummy - hopefully full enough to get through a long morning. 

Grace was to check-in at 10 am. Solid food was cut off at 3 am - which sounds great - but in reality means no eating after dinner because a four year old doesn't stay up much past 8 or 9 pm. Clear liquids were cut off at 7am - which was good because she likes to sleep with water at her side. At 6 am, I woke up and started making her take a few more sips every 15 minutes or so. I also worked in a box of apple juice in that hour as well. I figured the water would help her stay hydrated and the apple juice might give her a little sugar to get through a meal-less morning. She complained about being hungry a few times, but when we reminded her that these were the doctors orders, she quieted without protest. 

Check-in went quickly and smoothly. The patient scheduled for surgery prior to Grace cancelled at the last minute which meant that the OR was prepped and ready to go! 

Bun-Bun got a bracelet too at check-in!

We met with several nurses who checked her vitals. She got another "bath" with some medicated wipes and changed into her hospital gown. The staff, doctors and nurses all loved Bun-Bun and I think that helped Grace breathe a little easier. Grace was cooperative at every step of the way but quiet. I will be forever grateful when the anesthesiologists asked if I would like to escort her back to the operating room. 

(This was actually the time I had been dreading the most. The surgery? Yes. The recovery? Yes. But the moment they wheeled her away weighed the heaviest. I knew it was the moment where she would crack...and in turn, I would crack. The moment when all the machines, masked faces and strangers would be too much for even our stoic Grace...and then she would be transferred to the operating room in tears...where nothing or no one could put her at ease. Of course, this would all make me... well you know.) 

So again, you can imagine my relief (and Grace's) when they offered to let me adorn a beautiful hat, booties, mask and one-piece scrub suit and walk with Grace to the OR. We were able to chat the whole way even though she was pretty quiet. Perhaps, seeing me in my get-up wasn't as comforting as it was for me being in the OR, holding her hands as she quietly drifted off to sleep. It helped. SO. MUCH.

She was scheduled to begin surgery at 11:15 and she was already well 'under'-way (pun intended) at 10:45. As I returned to Court in the prep room, a fire alarm went off and we nearly jumped out of our skin. Luckily, it was just a drill. 

 The next hour and half we wandered around the hospital campus. We stepped outside to get some fresh air. Visited THE BEST Starbucks ever! It  is located within the hospital but this is how EVERY Starbucks should be. Clean. Friendly. Quiet. And the food? Beyond fresh!! The salads and sandwiches looked amazing. Seriously! Each and every pastry was warmed up and they weren't the typical pastries you find at a Starbucks. They were from some mystery bakery but that mystery bakery, if they played their cards right, could take over the world Starbucks. It was that good!

We hadn't eaten anything all morning either so we were pretty grateful when we finally peered into the bag of goodies Molly had sent with us to the hospital. She had offered to watch Charlotte for us on surgery day and that was a gift in itself. Then she sent us off with a care package of food, drinks and magazines. She even got Court a New York Times! So thoughtful. So good. So devoured!

 After our lunch, we had about another half hour or so to wait. We went down to the waiting room. Of course, the second Court disappeared, our beeper went off and we were summoned back to meet with the doctor. He was very happy with how everything went and he expected no problems. Great news! We waited for another hour in the waiting room before they finally allowed us back to see Grace. She had just woken up and had been given a purple popsicle. She was super groggy and didn't want the popsicle at all. She doesn't like popsicles even on a good day so I wasn't surprised she didn't want anything to do with them. 

So we just waited...for her to wake up; for her to try to drink something. 

She drank a little water.  

She was quiet. Coughed a lot - probably because of the intubation tube.

Eventually she went back to sleep.

Love the purple casts she chose!

 Even Bun-Bun got some casts.

 Meanwhile, this munchkin was livin' it up!
Donuts! Ice cream! Monorail! Pacific Science Center! Dinosaurs! Butterflies!
All thanks to Auntie Molly!

After getting Grace home and getting a little food in her, she perked right up!
That was nice to see. It was also nice to see Charlotte at her side. Helping. Laughing. Doing a great job of keeping Grace's mind occupied - even if it meant Grace was worried that Charlotte was taking her toys. {I didn't say Charlotte was sharing! hahah}

We weren't expecting such big smiles so soon after surgery. And we certainly weren't expecting this!

While Court was out picking up take-out for dinner (got to love the big city!) and I was assisting Charlotte in the bathroom, I came out to find Grace...playing!
She had scooted herself and was upright - kind of!

She tried taking a few steps but it hurt. 

She tried taking some assisted steps this morning - I was baring most of her weight - and that quickly ended. Then she has taken two accidental steps - long story - and that sent her into tears, tears, tears!
So it is definitely tender. They say she'll be up and walking in her casts just a couple of days after surgery - if not sooner - so I am a little worried that it appears that baring weight isn't getting any easier. But after a quick look at the clock, it has only been 24 hours since she was wheeled out of the OR and into the recovery room. So I am probably jumping the gun here on the worry. 

Luckily, we had views and movies - lots of movies - to keep us entertained!

Grateful, that we are on the other side of all this now. 
Thank you for all the texts, notes, emails and support from friends and family everywhere. 
So far, so good but we'll keep you posted! 


Julia said...

I am so glad everything went well for Grace!! I hope she has a very quick recovery!

Alison said...

Oh Katie!! This lost brought tears to my eyes. I am so happy everything went well and you are all on the other side of this too. Lots of hugs and sweet well wishes for Grace. I am so impressed with how well she did!! And I can totally relate on being worried about watching her head into the OR. From mama heart to mama heart, I am so grateful to that anesthesiologist as well! I miss you. xx Alison

Claudia said...

It was hard to read this post and seeing your worried face,...heartbreaking. Glad that this part is over and Grace is on her way to recovery.

Home Sweet Home Place said...

Thank you all for the sweet comments! They mean a lot to me! xoxox!

Kim said...

Thanks for the update! I'm so glad everything went great!

Kim said...

Thanks for the update! I'm so glad everything went great!