Today was Mackenzie’s pre-op appointment. We had to be at the hospital in the morning for blood work, anesthesia consultation, and a tour of the floor we would be staying on. The consultation went well…they said that on the day of surgery they could give her a dose of Versed to calm her down and make her not have a care in the world. That should be entertaining! That way she won’t care when they give her the IV. They’ll put in everything else after she is asleep…another IV, a central line in her neck, a catheter, a drain tube in her back, and a breathing tube…along with whatever monitors they attach to her.
The anesthesiologist came in to the consultation room we were in and sat at the table…Mackenzie was sitting on the couch with us. After he was done talking, he asked Mackenzie to open her mouth wide open with her tongue out to make sure her throat was okay for a breathing tube. He said that she was fine so she closed her mouth. Then he got up from the table and started to come over to Mackenzie to listen to her heart and lungs. As he got up right in front of her, Mackenzie assumed he needed to look into her mouth again so she just opened her mouth and stuck out her tongue (I guess she was a little nervous!). At this point he was bending down to listen to her chest and she was just sitting there with her mouth wide open and tongue hanging out! It was pretty funny to us…the anesthesiologist just said “Honey, I don’t need to see your throat again. You can close your mouth.” I guess he didn’t find it as funny as we did!
Then one of the Child Life Specialists took us up to the floor that we would be staying on and showed us one of the rooms similar to the ones we would be staying in. This is the part I dreaded the worst today, because the last time we were in that hospital was just a floor below when Cayden was so sick. I was afraid I was going to have a panic attack, but I managed to stay calm!
The blood work appointment went well, too. She didn’t even cry! The nurse took the blood from her arm, and put a band-aid on her and then realize that she had messed up and actually needed more blood from her. But instead of getting it from her arm again, she just did a finger prick and got some that way. Mackenzie wasn’t happy but she did fine.
Then we had our appointment at doctor’s office for x-rays and to watch some videos. They did x-rays of her back and her toe (they checked her toe to make sure it was healing correctly and it is). On the other hand, her back has gotten worse…it’s now 54 degrees:
Her spine is so twisted that her ribcage just looks all out of place. It hurts me to look at!
I was worried that the videos we had to watch were going to be graphic. Fortunately, it was just about different kids telling their scoliosis journeys. The videos were kind of out-of-date (around 1980s) and pretty comical with the bad acting, but they had some good information in them (although most of it is not current anymore).
After the video was done, the surgery scheduler came in and talked to us. She said that on Friday Mackenzie will pretty much be sleeping all day. On Saturday, physical therapy will come in and try to get her to sit in a chair. On Sunday, the drain line, catheter, and central line will come out and we will try to walk around. Then, if she has pooped and her pain can be controlled with oral medication, the IV will be taken out and we would go home on Monday. The doctor came in next and told us different – that the pain pump and everything else would be taken out the day after surgery and that she should come home on Sunday. He also said that the patients don’t have to poop before they are allowed to leave the hospital. I find it hard to believe that the doctor and his nurses are telling us two different things so I’m not sure how things will go. If things go well, we should be home on Sunday or Monday.
He said that the surgery takes about 3 1/2 to 4 hours and that he will be fusing her from T4 to L3. That’s going to be a long scar. 😦 I asked the doctor about the kind of hardware that is going to be put in her back and he said that they use cobalt-chrome. I had never heard of this; everything I’ve read about is either titanium or stainless steel, so I guess I have some research to do!
The one thing that did make me feel a little better was that the doctor said that even though this is a serious surgery and even though we (us parents) are worried, this is not a surgery that he thinks about the night before. He said that if he is thinking about a surgery the night before, then that’s not a good sign. But these spinal fusions are not something he has to think about the night before…he said they do these every Monday and Friday, so these are just normal workdays to him. So, at least he won’t be worried!
That was about all the information we got today. More information to be coming soon. Please send good vibes, thoughts, and prayers our way!