A quick update on Becky. And an amazing story.
Today I had the opportunity reconnect with a very special person.
Mondays are always busy days in the PCICU. I had multiple conversations with the PCICU and Pulmonary Hypertension teams. Becky’s cardiologist stopped in for a conversation. And there were visits from speech and occupational therapists, the dietician, and the discharge training nurse. Greta and I finally grabbed lunch around 3:30pm.
Here’s the latest regarding Becky:
- Becky’s x-ray hasn’t changed significantly and her right upper lobe is still collapsed. She will stay on high-flow today as they may have pushed her too hard, too soon after surgery. CPT will continue.
- Becky’s echo shows continued pulmonary hypertension. The Pulmonary Hypertension team will monitor the results of a single drug and oxygen therapy. We hope to avoid a dual drug therapy.
- The biggest barrier to discharge are the chest tubes. Hopefully some additional diuretics and steroids will help to dry these out.
- The chylothorax will be monitored and a decision regarding type of feeds will be made in the next 24 hours.
- Dr. V confirmed that the VSD occurred where a suture was pulled, in an area they knew to be problematic. There is moderate regurgitation in Becky’s tricuspid valve. However, Becky can live for awhile with this leak as long as there is no VSD.
I continue to be in awe of the PCICU team and these people have become like family to me. One of the highlights this time around has been getting to know Sue. Normally she is tucked away in the OR. When Sue walks into your room, it’s almost game time. Before surgery she reviews the procedure, gathers the final consent signatures, and gently takes your child away. It’s a job that requires a special human touch not to mention exceptional nursing skill. Sue’s technical title is Staff Nurse but she’s more like the General. Remember the TV series M.A.S.H.? Well, Sue is Major Houlihan.
It’s work that parents and caregivers don’t get to see. But her competency makes a considerable difference in surgical outcome. Sue is charged with keeping the surgical field sterile and managing the OR so the surgeons never take their eyes off their work. Sue stood at Becky’s side as the surgeons corrected her heart. In the pediatric cardiology world, Becky is a fairly straightforward case and her surgeries have each been around 4 hours. Sue’s longest surgery clocked in at 27 hours. Can you imagine standing for that long, never breaking concentration or focus? No food. No water. No breaks. That’s the stuff of legend.
While visiting with Sue today, I told her about Rosie, the head OR nurse who accompanied me to Becky’s version procedure. Rosie was the head OR nurse the day Becky was born. She called me the night before to give me instructions regarding the version procedure. The next day, she lead me into the OR and stayed with me during the placement of the spinal. As I sat on the operating table, tears streaming down my face and fear filling my heart, Rosie told me that she would be praying in Arabic. Within moments, controlled chaos erupted as I underwent a crash C-section and the NICU team worked to revive Becky. I was never able to thank any of the team that day.
I told Sue the story, as well as my wish to thank Rosie in person. Sue said it might be able to happen and asked me some questions about Rosie. Armed with the nugget about Rosie’s foreign language ability and my permission to share the story, Sue made a phone call to the Labor and Delivery OR. Shortly after our conversation, Sue returned to Becky’s room. She had found Rosie.
Rosie remembered my emergency situation and agreed to stop by the PCICU. A few moments later, I looked up and saw Rosie standing outside Becky’s room. I quickly walked into the hall, amazed that I was seeing her again. Through tears, I thanked Rosie for caring for me and Becky. She graciously deflected the praise, telling me that I had done a great job. Let’s be honest here: all I did was lay on an operating table and drop my blood pressure to a dangerously low level. A day that might have ended in tragedy ended with the safe delivery of a very special baby. There were many people who worked hard that day. But Rosie had been in charge.
It was an incredible moment which ended in a long embrace. I regret not getting a picture with Rosie. But I’m so grateful for the opportunity to see her again and to personally thank her. Sue stopped by later and I told her that I had seen Rosie. It was the highlight of my day.
Earlier in the morning, Angela had sent me a great text. Today is International Women’s Day and when Angela picked up her phone, this Snapchat image was on the screen. For some reason, a special filter had been applied to a recent picture of Becky.
Who inspires me? Well, the list is long and full of many people. But I was blessed this day to thank two of the women who have recently joined the list. I look forward to telling Becky all about Sue and Rosie.
When she wakes up.