This was my first experience with a child having major surgery. We arrived at the hospital at our scheduled time of 8:45 AM on Friday morning. All the other times we've been in Same Day surgery we waited around for a quite awhile, but this time moved really quickly. They came for us about 10:00, and by 10:10 I was in the waiting room. Just after 2:00 the audiologist came in and told us that the implant passed all the tests with flying colors - all of the electrodes worked and his auditory nerve responded to the stimulation beautifully. All excellent news. A few minutes later Dr. Chi (ENT doc) came in to update us on the surgery part. He told us that the surgery had gone well, and the implant was in nicely and James was doing well. THEN he told us that sometime during the surgery, James's heart monitors showed a short "pause" in his heartbeat. A 44 second pause, to be exact. (Although we wouldn't get that specific info until much later.) It restarted all on its own, and stayed beating properly for the rest of the surgery. We were told cardiology had been called and they would be down to see him. Dr. Chi had no explanation for what had happened. He said there is an extremely rare syndrome that links hearing loss to heartbeat, but it's so rare that hardly anyone knows about it. That was about all he could say on the matter, and we just had to wait for cardiology. Hello freak out. It was probably close to 3:00 by the time they took us to him in recovery, and he was still pretty out of it. The anesthesiologist came and re-explained what had happened, but he didn't seem overly concerned. Still freaking out. A nurse came and did an EKG, and one of the cardiology residents came and talked to us too. She asked us a bunch of questions and said they would also do an ECG (like an ultrasound of the heart to make sure everything was structurally intact) and monitor him overnight. Long story short on all this - everything came back clear, no other "pauses" happened, or anything else even questionable. They do want us to follow up in a few weeks just to be safe, but basically they are chalking it up to just one of those things that we'll never be able to explain. They said he's fine to have his dental work on Wednesday, although I'm sure I will be trying hard not to freak out over it!
Once he was ready to leave recovery they took us to the x-ray place to get x-rays of the implant. Later on Dr. Chi came and showed us the pictures. It's so wild to see a device implanted in your child's head, completely mind blowing that it's even possible. I don't remember at what time we got to our room, but poor James had a rough time of it the rest of the night. When he was awake, he was nauseated and vomiting anything I gave him to drink. This continued through the night. They gave him iv fluids so he wouldn't dehydrate. He absolutely hated the iv, and any time he got medication he would cry and fight the nurse. (We had incredible nurses, by the way!!) The morning brought no improvement. I had fully expected at the beginning that we would be able to go home in the morning. But with him still puking and refusing to drink, I was afraid we would be stuck there another night! He was completely lethargic all morning, and I know so many people were praying for him. Since he was still feeling sick, the nurse got the doctor to order an different kind of nausea medicine. I forget the name of it, but it did the trick! Around noon the nurse asked if maybe he would take a popsicle, since he wasn't interested in drinking. We gave it a try, and lo and behold, it worked! He ate it, then asked for more food. So she brought him a second one and he scarfed it up too. Then he was cleared to try food, so I ordered him some soup, fruit, and crackers. He ate all that too, even wanted to feed himself. He was also making his little noises again and acting more like himself. We were discharged around 6:00 and gladly headed home!
It's so wonderful to be home. Being in the hospital with him always reminds me to be so thankful for my healthy children. Even when he was so sick, I knew he would get better soon and we would go home. If not yesterday, then today at the latest. But so many parents there don't have that confidence. Sitting in the waiting room and listening to conversations was so heartbreaking. I mean, here I was, excited for surgery, while some of these other parents had kids who were seriously hurt or ill, facing an uncertain future. I am so grateful that James came through surgery just fine, even with the heartbeat incident. I know I will never treat anesthesia casually again, nor will I take my children's health for granted. I know of so many medically fragile children right now, and I pray for them regularly. When you think of James, please take a minute to pray for kids who need a healing touch from the Lord. If you don't know of any personally, you can pray for Selah, Ethan, Judah and Misha.