"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west." - Isaiah 43:5

10/20/2006 Cleft Palate Repair

Dayna and her parents have made it through her second surgery. It’s been a rough couple of days. Alaina woke up at 2 am the morning of Dayna’s surgery with a funny, familiar feeling…making it to the emergency room at 3:30, she was diagnosed with strep and started antibiotics immediately. She made it home with enough time to shower before we all left for the hospital, and spent the rest of the day wearing a surgical mask.

We were concerned that pre-op would be more traumatic for Dayna this time. Since her first surgery, she is no longer comfortable with doctors in green scrubs. However, she did really well, waving and blowing kisses to all the nurses and the anesthesiologist; unfortunately, her surgeon received the tears and heart-wrenching cries. We hope he doesn’t take it personally, but she does scream whenever she sees him. Once again, she allowed the anesthesiologist carry her into the operating room.

From there, we went to the surgery waiting room and did just that…wait. Her surgery took about 2 hours and Dr. Hollins came to talk to us when it was over. He was encouraged by the size of her muscle, but said the contour of her mouth made it a little more challenging than he originally thought. He did not have to do a procedure called a pharyngeal flap (where they take a flap of skin from the throat and sew it to close her palate). It’s a more complicated procedure that he thought might be necessary due to the size of her cleft. We were happy to hear she didn’t need to have that done.

At that point, Dr. Hollins told us the recovery room would call us in about 5 minutes to come down and be with her. This is where the waiting really began. Between an hour and an hour and a half later, we were finally called to go to her room. We did not recognize the room number as being on the pediatric floor and were really getting worried that something was not right. When we stepped off the elevator, we saw the large sign “Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.”

It took quite awhile for our hearts to start beating again. Apparently, it was not communicated to us that they didn’t want us in recovery because of Alaina’s strep (completely understandable) and the pediatric unit was in overflow capacity, sending us to a bed in the PICU. Had some of this been communicated, we wouldn’t have experienced the sheer panic that coursed through our hearts.

Dayna’s recovery was much slower this time around. Last time, she was up and playing within 6 hours of surgery. Yesterday, she just laid in our laps all day long. She slept a lot, and barely drank anything. They were ready to put her on an IV last night when she finally showed some interest in apple juice. It was very hard to see our animated child so lethargic and hurting. We’ve always seen a high pain threshold in Dayna, but this surgery really knocked her for a loop.

One of the sobering realities of being in a PICU was seeing the very ill children. A lot of the kids on our floor were transplant patients. Our whole experience was much more serious and less playful than her first surgery. The little boy across the hall was gravely ill and had a host of family and friends coming and going all day. Unfortunately, he lost his battle late last night. Please pray for this family.

Because the accommodations were more uncomfortable and the traffic was much busier, we decided it was best for Alaina to go home last night and get a good night’s sleep. This was her first night away from Dayna since May 21. Dan stayed behind with our munchkin.

Dayna slept well through the night and when she woke this morning, she was much perkier and immediately asked for something to drink. She was much closer to her old self, just a bit slower. She is “tickling” us and waving to everybody again. She even tries to blow kisses, despite her arm restraints. The doctor this morning thought that everything looks fine. We were discharged by 9:00 and home 10:00 this morning. Once home, Dayna was thrilled to have something other than apple juice and had her first “meal” of yogurt and rice cereal. She’s been napping now for 2 ˝ hours (and we’ve caught a few winks as well). It’s going to take a bit longer for her to bounce back this time, but she’s already doing so much better.

We don’t have many pictures this time, so we’ll post some bonus pictures from before her surgery. On a side note, Dan and Alaina slept through the important parts of the Nebraska/Texas game, but were dismayed to see the final 2 ˝ minutes. It’s probably a good thing Dayna slept through our disappointment. Just look out next week, Oklahoma State (all due respect to the Pierce family)!

Homemade hat and mittens
"Arm restraints again?"
With Big Mac, her bear from the Med Center
Giving kisses

See Dayna blow a kiss with arm restraints (with sound) Blowing kisses

10/20/2006 Cleft Palate Repair

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