It was late by the time we finally got to join her in the ICU last night, but what an amazing sight she was to see.
I apologize to those of you who are sensitive to graphic medical images but I need to post this picture. It shows just how strong this little girl is. Plus, Maddie is super fascinated looking at the one from her last surgery. I know that she’ll be proud of this one, as well.
Up until about 5AM this morning, she was completely sedated. Any attempts to waken her were wasted. The poor thing was exhausted. Her care team had a goal to extubate (remove the breathing ventilation tube in her nasal passage way) before the shift change at 7:30AM.
Maddie made the goal! Unlike last time with her Glen, she was able to start breathing on her own less than 12 hours post surgery. Talk about a tough girl! So far, her recovery is right on track with their expectations.
We have a long road ahead of us. The next big hurdle is fluid drainage. She currently has three chest tubes to allow the extra fluid created by the pressure changes in her lungs to flow out. They are painful. The doctors are pushing to get the two side ones removed as soon as she’s ready, but we’re not sure when that will be. The central one will remain even longer.
Right now she is still extremely sleepy. She wakes up occasionally, with wide eyes, scared and unaware of where she is, only to realize that she is tied down by myriad tubes (other lines you see above that are plugged into various parts of her body monitoring medications, fluids, and systems), as well as arm restraints to keep her from pulling out the lines. She is thirsty. All she wants is chocolate milk. She cries for it with her little, weak voice made raspy by the breathing tube she had removed. It breaks my heart to tell her she’ll have to wait to get it. The nurse swabs her dry mouth with a moist mint-flavored suction sponge instead.
I am exhausted. I stayed all night on the couch turned fold up bed and slept for maybe four hours. Colin went home to be with Jake, Joe, and Warren. Family, as well as wonderful friends are caring for them while we tend to Maddie here. He’ll be joining me soon to spend the day together with her. I’ll leave this afternoon and he’ll take over. We’re planning 18 hour shifts in this fashion.
We could not do this without the absolutely incredible support from our family, our ward family [church congregation], and our amazing neighbors. Truly, we are blessed beyond measure.
The next several weeks will be trying but we know we can endure. Maddie proves over and over again that she is tough. She’s a fighter. We have the Lord on our side and all of you.