Thursday, August 30, 2007
Surgery August 23, 2007
Prior to his operation we felt it important to give Jack a name and a blessing. He was blessed Jack Bitner Nelson. This was an unforgettable experience which I know not only gave Jack strength but helped us to realize that his life would now be in the Lord's hands.
Jack was scheduled for surgery on Thursday 8/23. The surgeon expected it to last 6 or 7 hours. This proved to be the longest day of our lives. We arrived at the hospital early that morning so we could spend some time with him before things got started at 7:30 a.m. The hardest moment came when we had to say goodbye, Jack went one way and we went the other. We waited in the OR waiting room trying to stay positive and received updates about every hour. It was so nice to break up the anxiety knowing each time we were a little bit closer to the end and that things continued to go well. At about 2:30 we got a call from the OR telling us that Jack was off of the heart lung bypass machine and that his heart had good squeeze and was pumping well. The nurse practitioner told us the surgeon would be out in about 5 minutes to talk to us. In the mean time they were busy warming Jack's body back up and preparing to move him back to the Pediatric ICU(where all of the heart patients are treated). Another 45 minutes went by and the Dr. Hawkins came to tell us how things had gone.
Dr. Hawkins first words to us were, "Well, your son wore me out." We could tell that he was totally drained. We cannot comprehend what skill and expertise he must have to do all that was done on a heart that is the size of a walnut. It is incredible. He said that everything went well, that he was able to correct the coarch of the aorta with a donor vessel, switch the arteries and patch the holes. He used a piece of "dachron" to patch the hole between the ventricles. One of the consequences of working so close to the septum that separate the right and left side of the heart can often be the disruption of the electrical impulses that the heart sends to the different chambers to squeeze at the right time. After surgery Jack heart was not beating in "sinus rhythm", but it was beating which was what we were mostly worried about. We would just have to wait and see whether or not the connections had been disrupted and be patient as he recovered.