5.01.2014

Back In ICU

This isn't the post I had planned for tonight.

I was going to post our First Day pictures or talk about vomit.  More accurately, about the excessive amount of vomit that seems to be in my life as of late.  I had a post lined up documenting our first week back at school and one about how packing up our house has revealed my hidden hoarding tendencies.

But instead, I'm writing from inside the Cardiac ICU at Egelston.

I'm attempting to collect my thoughts on a whirlwind 15 hours that ended with me here, in this chair, watching my baby struggle through a medically induced sleep.

You see, Gabe's been doing awesome.

Better than awesome.  I mean, did you see him climb that mountain last week?  From the day we left this place four weeks ago, Gabe has been very Gabe-ish.  Talking nonstop, riding his bike, and driving us all a little looney with all his energy.  Everyone that saw him simply could not believe he'd just had open heart surgery.

We spent the first couple weeks trying to dodge pleural effusions and readmission.  And when we passed the four week post op anniversary, we assumed we were in the clear.  Nobody warned us that, quite frankly, we will never be in the clear again.

This past Monday, Gabe was acting sluggish.

He was grumpy and fell asleep on the couch while the rest of us were hanging out in there.  Unheard of with Gabe.  We had a showing that day, so we loaded up the bikes and went up to Atlanta.  He rode a little, but mostly wanted to be carried.  We figured he was coming down with a cold.

That night he coughed so much he made himself throw up.

Yup, dude's got a cold.

Tuesday he was a bit perkier.  He went on a big hike with Andrew and Josie and slept hard that night.  Wednesday he still wasn't himself, but Andrew was off so he spent the day lounging and watching bad daytime TV.  I called the pediatrician, but since he wasn't running a fever, they decided he was ok to run the course of the cold at home.  Not worth risking an infection by coming into the office.

Wednesday night he was coughing a lot.  And when he woke up this morning, I knew something was really not right.  His right eye was so puffy he could barely see out of it.  He didn't pee all morning he just looked awful.  I tried to push fluids and push through our day.  I figured I was being paranoid.  Then Amber stopped by (to deliver the first of many lattes that I ingested today) and when she confirmed how bad he looked I decided to trust my gut and get him in to the cardiologist.

They squeezed us in and from the moment we walked in, I knew we weren't going home.  


The hushed tones of the nurses.  The questions asked once, twice, "are you sure?".

After a pep talk from the doctor and a bit of "better safe than sorry," Gabe and I headed up to the ER.

Once we got there, he progressively looked worse.  I think part of it was nerves.  I know I was having some PTSD symptoms.  I can't even imagine what is going through his 4 year old head.

An X-ray confirmed that he has a major pleural effusion on the right side.

We spent a few hours in the ER while they decided what to do.  Josie and Andrew came up to sit with us for awhile and bring us some stuff (like underwear since Gabe had apparently decided to go commando today).

From there we went to the CICU.



They sedated him and placed a chest tube in the right side of his chest cavity.  I decided to stay with him and it was a pretty crazy procedure to watch (who am I?!  8 weeks ago I never, ever would have stayed in here for that).  He immediately dumped 60 ml of fluid.

It's only been an hour and he is past 200 ml.  Poor baby must have been so uncomfortable.

He is sleeping now.

We are expecting to be here through the weekend while holding out a little hope that we will be home sooner.  All I want is my baby to be comfortable and back to driving us slightly up the wall.  We have an awesome nurse in the ICU tonight.  He has a killer beard and laughed at my jokes about how hospitals should have bars in them.  I think we will be just fine tonight.

This stay feels different.

Strangely more scary.  I was totally unprepared.  I had convinced myself it was just a cold and I was being paranoid.  Hearing that the fluid was back sent me in an instant downward spiral.  I cried hard in the poor doctor's office.  Gabe asked what was wrong with my eyes and then joined me in crying when I told him we were going to have a sleepover tonight.  I promised him a hotdog as soon as the procedure was over.  I wish I could be comforted that easily.

So while I would have rather shared a stack of photos with you, this is where our day took us.  We appreciate your prayers and well wishes for a short stay.

7 comments:

Shannon said...

Oh Nicole, I can't imagine how scary this must be for you. So glad you trusted your gut and got him in. I'll bet your little man will be back to driving you crazy in the best of ways before you know it! Praying for him now and will continue doing so. Hugs to y'all from Naples!

Cristi said...

I love your line about how hospitals should have bars. I remember a night when I was sitting in the hallway hanging-out area on the cardiac floor and someone offered me 20 bucks for my bottle of beer. They were disappointed that it was just creme soda from the sandwich shop across the street.

Praying that Gabe perks up quickly and that your sleepover is just a short stay!

Kaia said...

Praying that Gabe is healed quickly!

houseof Kent said...

MORE than hate this for your family!:( But i have to pull out the funny.. he went cammado all day:) Praying for you guys!!

Anonymous said...

I have been hi I good Gabe lately. We are praying for a quick recovery and that your spirit is lifted today. #grace&peace

Sweet Tea said...

Oh No! Praying for Gabe - and you, Nicole.
Glad you are back in Atlanta with docs who know Gabe and his situation. . .Much happier days ahead. Hold that thought.

Michele said...

Oh poop! Just saw this and I am so sorry! I, too, thought you all would be in the clear. Praying for a quick recovery and that you can get back to packing and a fun summer with a healthy Gabe! HUGS!