Becky’s recovery has been smooth and uneventful.
She’s been resting and taking long naps.
There were three key outcomes during yesterday’s operation:
1. Becky’s ears were a mess. There were significant accumulations of fluid in the middle ear on each side. This fluid had the consistency of sludge. Clearing this out and placing ear tubes for continued drainage should allow sound waves to reach her ear drums. Dr. Sherman said that her ear canals are very tiny, necessitating the smallest ear tubes made for infants. He described the placement of the tubes as “technically challenging”. Then he laughed and said, “Honestly, it was a pain in the butt.” Guess he earned his money the hard way yesterday.
2. The Auditory Brainstem Response test (ABR) returned encouraging results. While Becky does have temporary hearing loss at this time, there is a high probability that it’s related to active inflammation and irritation from the fluid. The key finding is from the masked bone-conduction CE-chirp testing. This revealed “a present and robust response in each ear, consistent with good cochlear function”. Translated into English, that means that the organ of hearing (cochlea) is normal on both sides. Translated further, it means the kid can most likely hear. They will retest her hearing again in one month. The audiologist hopes that any hearing loss will have completely dissipated or be in the mild range.
3. The bronchoscopy revealed abnormal anatomy. Dr. Sherman estimated only about a 10% chance that he would find a laryngeal cleft. But Becky seems to favor these low percentage situations. This might not be a good analogy but here’s how I understand it. Think of the space between the esophagus (throat) and the trachea (wind pipe) as a wall. Well, Becky has some chips around the top of her wall. When she swallows, liquid spills over into her airway. Dr. Sherman injected a filler to build up those chips. It will provide 6-12 months of added protection. She will likely outgrow the problem. While her anatomy will always be abnormal, she should be able to handle liquids and protect her airway. She will need continued speech therapy and an additional swallow study. And now she shares something with socialite Kim Kardashian. Apparently she uses the same filler in her lips. Which is a great piece of trivia for a cocktail party.
Immediately after surgery, Becky’s had stridor, a harsh breathing sound. This was a temporary reaction to the injected filler. Most children would be given a breathing treatment. But the epinephrine could cause problems due to Becky’s heart condition. We waited it out while the nurse watched her stats and breathing closely. I sang a bunch of camp songs which Becky enjoyed.
This prolonged period of time in recovery was rather amusing. People coming out of anesthesia say and do some funny things. Much of it passed through the privacy curtains. Becky also entertained a little girl recovering from an orthopaedic operation. She was crying about having to stay overnight. Our nurse had a hunch that Becky might cheer her up. We pulled the curtain open and she perked up when she saw Becky and learned that we would be on the same floor in the children’s hospital.
Becky had an uneventful night and I even managed to get some good sleep. I watched some of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies and was amazed at my poor geographic knowledge. Or maybe some of these countries are made up. We are waiting to be discharged which is taking forever. I just enjoyed a fabulous lunch tray, topped off with a piece of raspberry filled cake. When you are bored and hungry, hospital food is practically gourmet.