June 12th 2002
arrived at the Hospital around 8:30a.m. Shortly after signing
in, J's name was called and the entire family was directed
over to pre surgery. In the following couple of hours J got
checked over, changed into hospital attire and given a dose
of valium to help him relax.
10:30 J was rolled into the pre surgery holding area. We were
permitted to accompany him right up until the start of the
surgery. While waiting for the operating room to be prepared
we met with his surgeon, the anesthesiologist and the ICU
nurse. Our family was reassured and J was encouraged to remain
calm, which he found difficult.
the moment came to send him off and it was a bit emotional.
The doctor said they would call during the surgery and give
us an update on J's progress. About half way through the surgery,
we got a call from the ICU nurse. She said everything was
just fine. I heard the surgeon in the back repeat the same
around 3:30p.m. we were beginning to get restless. One of the recovery
nurses informed us that they were closing up and we would be able
to see J shortly. Just before 4:00p.m. we were escorted back to
the holding area. At first J was very nauseous from the anesthetic
but after a while we were allowed into the post surgery recovery
was still out of it, but starting to come around. Our first
look at his chest brought tears to our eyes. It looked awesome.
Later he could respond with a yes and no nod to our questions,
but he was a bit uncomfortable with pain. He was given pain
medication which allowed him to sleep some more. The surgeon
discussed the surgery with us and even showed us the Lorenz
kit, containing a collection of tools, bars and stabilizers
used in the Nuss procedure. We had our first look at the bar
inside Jason's chest, with an ex-ray taken on the spot.
a while J got transferred to ICU. We were fortunate to have
a private room. There J spent the next 17 hours, cared for
by the very competent staff. The night was a bit restless
but his pain was well controlled with the epidural anesthetic
and some boosters for minor discomfort. He was also given
in the evening he was helped into a chair to sit for a while.
He found this very exhausting and once again a feeling of
nausea came over him. But he managed to hang in there. A couple
of times he was asked to exercise his lungs, by using a breathing
device with a tube, to suck air through . He managed to raise
the progress monitor to a satisfactory level. No problems
with the urinal catheter. He was well hydrated and asked for
June 13th, 2002
the night we were confident that the worst was over. Unfortunately
this was not the case at all. The morning started out with
a nursing shift change with the unfortunate disadvantage of
having an ICU nurse assigned who was not experienced in dealing
with J's age group. She made several remarks about having
only dealt with babies.
J's surgeon arrived he took Jason for a bit of a walk to test his
strength. After a bit of breakfast and sitting up in the chair,
J received the approval to transfer to our HMO's own hospital.
We anticipated the transfer around 11:00. This is
where things started to go wrong. The nurse was becoming increasingly
inattentive and asked a couple of other nurses to perform the preparation
for the transfer. Since they were busy with their own patients,
they disconnected the medications and pain management devices ½
hour prior to the 11:00 a.m. transfer. There was no backup medication
ambulance arrived about ½ hour late so by the time
we reached the other hospital, J had been without pain medication
for 1 and ½ hours. He was beginning to feel some serious
discomfort. The nurse in the new location tried her best to
speed things, but the epidural required approval from the
surgeon. She gave J some morphine but for some reason this
did not control his pain at all, it was getting progressively
worse. Panic set in and he could no longer cope. I requested
extra assistance and a number of nurses tried various things
to comfort him. Nothing seemed to work, we were both in tears,
J from his pain and I from my frustration, in not being able
to do anything about it. He had been without the epidural
for 2 and ½ hours by the time they got it going again.
It seemed like forever to take hold, but it finally did. By
this time J was exhausted. He slept for several hours.
June 14th, 2002
night was good. Just a minor problem with the urinal catheter
that got resolved with the nurses' efforts. In the morning
J was quite irritable and complaining about pain. They took
the edge off with some morphine. The unfortunate thing about
morphine was that it made him very sleepy and lethargic. Mid
morning we managed to catch some pain free time and J walked
around the ward. Then he sat up in the chair for about 45
minutes. I washed him with hospital cloths and changed his
gown. The nurses changed his bedding and he was ready for
more pain medication and a long nap. He still had no appetite
and a bit of a fever.
the afternoon the doctor ordered to have the epidural level
increased so that he would not have to be given morphine.
He needed to get up and walk around and eat. It took a while
for the increase to take affect so he was given one last dose
of morphine. He slept all afternoon but once the morphine
wore off and the epidural kicked in, he was a lot more energetic.
He walked and was able to eat.
all the walking and coughing, Jason was sore and tired. He
thought he may need a boost of morphine for the night but
by the time the nurse came he was asleep. It was a good night
with no interruptions.
June 15th, 2002
were both very tired in the morning despite the good night
sleep. J was not motivated to walk but he pushed himself anyway.
He did not have much of an appetite either. At 9:00a.m. they
gave him his first dose of Toradal with plans to discontinue
the epidural. The nurse said they would use Tylenol with Codine
for the break through pain. The transition was a bit frightening
after the experience from Tuesday when Jason was off the epidural
for a couple of hours.
turned out to be another rough day with the transition from
the epidural to the other pain medications. They ended up
doubling the dose on the Tylenol. J was beginning to experience
sharp, stabbing pains on his left side that got progressively
worse. He was not coping well. He no longer wanted to walk
or practice his breathing exercises because it was too painful.
the positive side, he got the urinal line removed and was
able to go the bathroom on his own. But getting in and out
of bed became a challenge. We managed to figure out a system
of pulling him up by his neck. Later the pain settled and
he was able to cope as long as he did not move around much.
night was quiet except that the nurse did not give the pain
medication on time and J had some discomfort while catching
June 16th, 2002
mornings seem rough. J was beginning to feel significant nausea
from the medications. He could barely keep his breakfast down.
He ate so little and it was such an effort, it would have
been a shame to bring it up. The doctor called and suggested
a change for the breakthrough medication, to something without
Codeine. He also prescribed an anti nausea medicine and soon
after taking it, J fell asleep. The nurse made plans to have
the epidural catheter removed.
turned around by the afternoon. J began to feel better except
for the nausea. The surgeon dropped in to discuss J's progress
and it was decided that he could leave the hospital and continue
his recovery at home. His dressings were removed and the stitches
examined. Everything was in order.
surgeon gave specific instructions for recovery care and medication
for at home. The nurse prepared J for the drive home by giving
some extra anti-nausea medication. J was wheeled down to the
patient pickup area and loaded into the 'family bus'.