We are now counting down the hours until Drew’s fateful surgery. We are less than 12 hours away from a new way of life for us all. This will be the most life-altering event in the Gatten family since Drew’s birth. It means no more booty scoot, a momentary loss of independence, a frustrated boy and a pair of doting parents moments from a nervous breakdown. We have left Kentucky one family and are returning to Kentucky changed and renewed. Our familiar lives are changing [for the good] but we will alway look nostalgically upon the past.
Drew’s pre-op appointment was a nightmare. We were startled by an unexpected phone call from Dr. Paley’s office requesting to redo an ultrasound as they had “missed something.” This can’t be a good sign. So, off we rushed to the office for a repeat ultrasound. This is the quick version of our little adventure:
10:00 am – We are supposed to go directly to the echo lab and ask for, “Annette.
10:10 am – We are led by a staff member to the Children’s Hospital to sign in for our appointment.
10:11 am – After we re-explained that we weren’t scheduled for an appointment and asked to come directly to the echo lab, the man apologized for the “wasted time” leading us around and pointed us to where he though the echo lab was.
10:14 am – Halfway through his directions, Nathan concluded they were wrong and we happened upon the echo lab.
10:16 am – Annette isn’t in the echo lab at the moment and after a phone call, Annette is not aware of Drew or his request for a repeat echo.
10: 19 am – The present nurse makes additional phone calls to figure out this mystery and proceeds to have a 10-minute debate about our fate. The nurse and the unknown co-worker debate, back and forth, about our need to register. apparently, “Rocky” says we don’t have to register. The nurse on the other end of the phone says we do. This fact is debated thoroughly.
10:31 am – We register.
10:42 am – We observe yet another debate between the check-in receptionists whether to “use the same account.” The one on our left says not to. The receptionist working with us expresses doubt but doesn’t push the subject. I impatiently explain that our pre-op appointment is less than 20 minutes away and ask if we can just go to pre-op and return to echo afterwards. We are off to Dr. Paley’s office.
11:13 am – After a 20 minute wait, a receptionist at Dr. Paley’s office explains that the wrong account was used and they are processing our other account number.
11:53 am – We are speaking with a pre-op nurse who checks vitals. We point out a bizarre “mosquito bite” on Drew’s leg that actually pulsates. It actually flashes with Drew’s heartbeat. The staff is perplexed. Drew’s ear has begun to ooze and emits an obscene odor. This is not good pre-surgery.
12:37 pm – We visit with an anesthesiologist. She goes over the cardiologists’ notes. Drew’s leakage (or regurgitation as she called it) was pretty severe and big concern. Also, it was noted during Friday’s initial ultrasound that the aortic valve had some narrowing, a feature that was diagnosed at birth and corrected during Drew’s heart surgery in 2009. The re-narrowing was extremely concerning. It is becoming a question of having to do heart surgery before leg surgery. The repeat ultrasound we were called in for would be the determining factor. Also, Dr. Paley would decide whether to proceed with the surgery with Drew’s apparent ear infection and wild mosquito bite.Drew’s likelihood of leg surgery seems to be decreasing by the hour. Additional medical staff come to admire Drew’s mosquito bite including one doctor who from this point forward I will refer to as “hot doctor.”
1:49 pm – We are off to echo. A very lengthy time is spent at the ultrasound examining Drew’s heart from every angle. A present pediatric cardiologist says he is ok with proceeding with the leg surgery, but we would be looking at having another heart surgery including a valve transplant within the year.
2: 52 pm – We are back to Dr. Paley’s office for surgeon consult and x-rays. A stressed and abrupt nurse administers all of Drew’s requested x-rays, both legs, both arms and a chest x-ray.
4:20 pm – We speak to Dr. Paley for about 3.5 minutes who unfortunately was in a massive rush to other waiting patients. Hot doctor stays and discusses the procedure and all of its worse case scenarios with us. Despite this doctor’s physical good looks, I am not comforted or anxiety-free.
5:40 pm – We leave to return home.
Now, we admire Drew’s booty scoot and independence with a little more appreciation and nostalgia. We are anticipating a difficult time period coming up early in the morning, albeit temporary. We are reporting to the hospital at 5:30 am tomorrow. Drew will have blood work to count his platelets and a possible transfusion if required. Surgery is scheduled for 8:30 am EASTERN (so, that’s 7:30 am for everybody back home). The surgery will last approximately 1-2 hours although they are anticipating a difficult time getting the central line in. (During Drew’s open heart surgery, the first 2.5 hours of the 5-7 hour expected procedure was spent with dozens of attempts to insert the central line.) Drew will then spend three nights in the pediatric intensive care unit.
I will be doing my best to keep everybody updated on Drew’s progress on the Drew Walking Tall Facebook page and will be posting on Drewunarmed as well during our wait.