Sunday, November 15, 2009

As it Starts To Fall Apart

I woke up feeling cheerful and cautiously optimistic that Calvin was going to be okay. That feeling was fleeting after receiving a call from Dr. C that a large blood clot had been discovered in the ECMO machine. If the clot made it's way into Calvin's body, it could cause a devastating stroke. The only solution was to remove Calvin from the machine, see how well his heart was beating upon restarting it and as a last resort, putting him back on ECMO if things weren't going well. Dr. C mentioned that they would try a less invasive form of ECMO, the venous venous machine that instead of being hooked into Calvin's arteries, would be attached in through his veins. It was a light-weight version of ECMO with fewer complications. He would be going back into surgery that afternoon.

Meanwhile, Shane had gone to visit our son in the ICU and came back elated. Calvin was awake and looking around. He didn't appear to be in any discomfort and had responded to his dad's voice. We both took this as a hopeful sign that our son wouldn't need to go back on ECMO, that perhaps his heart had healed enough to beat suffiently on it's own.

All too soon, Calvin was taken back into surgery. We had been told to expect two to three hours before we'd hear anything. By the five hour mark, at eight-thirty pm, I told Shane that something was wrong, it was taking too long. Shane went down to the ICU to see what was going on only to be told there was no news. Maybe another two hours went by before Dr. C called to say that when they had removed Calvin from ECMO, his heart still wasn't healed enough to beat on it's own so they had put him on the light version of ECMO. Unfortunately, Calvin's body started to react to the new machine, producing lactates and histamines that Dr. C said was Calvin's body's way of saying it was very "unhappy" with the new form of life support and that he needed to unfortunately put him back on the original machine. Shane and I were devastated. We knew that Calvin's odds of survival had just dropped to thirty-five percent and that this second round was more likely to bring on complications. However, it was once again our son's only chance so giving the go ahead to have Calvin put back on ECMO, Shane once again signed the papers and Dr. C went back to the OR with Calvin.

Around midnight, Dr. C called to say that Calvin was having difficulty with his blood pressure and oxygen saturation and for us not to come down to the ICU. He said he would be monitoring Calvin through the night and that he would call periodically to give us updates. Worried, Shane headed home to sleep on the couch and I settled in for a restless night with Georgia.

5 comments:

  1. I remember the NICU days being this roller coaster of uncertainty. My heart just crumbled as I read this post. It brought back so much. sending you *big* hugs

    xo

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  2. Margaret, as I read this my heart aches for you. Sending you so much love as you get the rest of Calvin's story - and your horrifying reality out, you dear sweet mama.

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  3. Reliving those painful days is so so hard. Hugssssss Margaret. I know you have seen this in your mind's eye so many times.

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  4. Strength to you, my friend.

    xo

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  5. I do not miss the NICU. It's necessary, but can be a place of such fear. Thank you for going through this with us now. Much love...

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