Wednesday, October 17, 2007

He is fine

I've learned, in my history of longwinded stories, to start with the bottom line. And the bottom line is that Duncan is fine.

But I can say with certainty that last night was definitely the most scared I have ever been. And I think Scott would agree the same was true for him. We headed to bed about half-way through the Indian's game, eager to have a night of uninterrupted sleep (Jackson staying at Gma and Poppy's). Right before hitting the pillow for good, we wanted to get a routine update from Duncan's nurse. When we called and asked for her, they routed us directly to the nurse practioner... I knew something was up at that moment. She explained that in the previous 45 minutes Duncan had experienced unusual eye activity and erratic body movement. And that his blood pressure and heart rate dropped dramatically at that same time. They were in the process of getting him stablized and would then cart him to get a CT scan to check for any signal that the brain endured stress (at this time the thought was that he had a seizure).

We went into panic mode and got ourselves down I-315 as fast as that little Jetta would drive. We ran all the way from the parking lot to his room to find Duncan progressively moving towards more stability. His heightened need for intensive care was winding down (and you can evaluate this by the number of care providers in the room like ants working in an ant hill)...he had been placed under anesthesia and was on a breathing tube. His vitals were looking better.

So they checked his brain by doing the CT scan. Looked OK (whew). They checked his heart by doing another echo. The heart function had decreased since the one done on Monday - one pretty strong explanation for the strange behavior. The blood work drawn and temperatures taken indicated there doesn't seem to be a virus, fever, or infection that would explain his "sick" behavior. At this point, we are led to believe that Duncan did not, in fact, have a seizure. But that instead the poor cardiac function manifested itself and was taking its toll on other systems in his body. [For those true heart "junkies" who enjoy the full medical explanation, I will detail: his poor heart squeeze function, they believe, is resulting from the heart not getting "fed" enough blood through the coronary arteries. This is happening, they think, because the aortic arch which takes oxygenated blood backwards to the heart - and to the top half of the body- had progressively narrowed (even with the stint they placed a few weeks back to remedy the narrowing, there had persisted to be "ingrowth" narrowing it further). So that restricted spot was preventing the heart from being "happy" - aka, getting enough oxygenated blood to feed it. Thus the poor cardiac function/heart squeeze in general]

After all of this information was obtained (about 3:00am), Scott and I took a snoozer in the hospitality room here at the hospital. We greeted Dr. G earling in the morning at which point he explained that he would not be doing the "Big One" today. That kind of surgery (8-9 hours remember) requires that all the cards be stacked in Duncan's favor. He did NOT feel comfortable placing his body under that much stress, given his instability the night before. So, he explained the anatomy of another, shorter procedure which still involved opening his chest. But this would only take 2 hours and would place a shunt to bipass that restricted spot, allowing his heart to be "happy" a little while longer; 4-6 weeks longer, to be exact, if all things go well. At that point (Duncan will be about 6 months old, which is the desired age of the biggy anyway), Duncan will undergo the big surgery that had initially been planned for today.

So Dr. G greeted us with a thumbs up after the surgery this morning. The shunt was placed and everything went as it should have. He has returned to his room in the cardiac ICU and is stable. He will remain asleep the rest of today and will continue to get oxygen support through tomorrow. We are glad to have him in our viewing again.

We are exhausted, but fine. Becky Smith, Craig Sutherland, and Amy Avery were with us over the course of time we were in the waiting room. We feel very loved by all of you. Thank you again and again for the ways you life little Duncan up. He knows!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

My prayers are with you all. I am in awe of how you are keeping it together and remaining positive. God be with you,
Jenn Frim