Thank you all for your prayers for Maria and our family. Today (Wednesday the 25th) ended up being a very long day.
We got up between 4 and 4:30am. None of us were overly thrilled about the early hour, but we were all feeling some kind of anticipation. Well, everyone, but Maria. She clearly had no idea what was going on and was happy to be out in the cool air. We were running a little late, so we were nervous. We knew we needed to be to the hospital by 6:30, but we were not going to meet the 5:20 train like we planned. Gary drove to the train station and we caught the 5:56am train into Penn Station. After the train we caught a Taxi to the hospital. The city is so much nicer that early in the morning. We didn't have to fight traffic or pedestrians. We made it into admissions at 6:15am. We were 15-minutes early! The Lord knew we didn't need to be nervous.
In the operating waiting room we had paperwork and visits from the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and nurses. The nurse had us put a Princess movie into the DVD player for Maria (she cared very little for it obviously). They gave Maria a sedative, so that she wouldn't get upset by the oxygen mask. She is very strong and non-compliant where doctors are concerned. The medicine made Maria extremely "jolly." We changed Maria just before leaving for the OR. I waited to put my gown on until seconds before leaving for the OR!
On the way to the OR (at 8:35am) the nurse handed me a face mask as well. That made it so I couldn't see, as every time I breathed my glasses fogged up. Anyway, Maria laughed all the way to OR. It was a blessing that she was so happy. Obviously the Lord knew we needed that!
The surgery was supposed to take 3 hours, so we went out to find some breakfast. It took quite a lot of walking to find a breakfast place. Most restaurants appeared to be lunch or dinner only. We ate a ton, which ended up being a very wise choice considering we would not be eating for quite some time.
We made it back to the hospital at 10:15am. Macella & Kirstie played games, while Gary listened to music and I read. We were exhausted already:) The surgeon came out and talked to us at 11:40am. She went through surgery well and he was able to put all the electrodes she needs in her cochlea. He seemed very pleased and said that the activation on December 15th seems very promising. The only thing that happened was that some spinal fluid started leaking, but he said he packed it up well. We are just supposed to watch for it just in case it happens again.
It was back to the waiting room again. We waited until 12:30 and we were then called to recovery. Gary and I figured that we would see Maria first and then let the girls in. Unfortunately that was not an option right away, as Maria was extremely out of it. She wasn't really waking up and when she did she just flailed her arms and cried. Then she would fall back asleep again. After a little while the nurse noticed that she was bleeding from her nose. She continued to bleed. We were told that it was due to the tube they put up her nose, but then I informed them that they did not put a tube up her nose. They double checked and I was right. Then they said it was due to dry air. She has never had a bloody nose before and we have dry heat at home, but we continued to wait out the bloody nose. We tried to clean her up periodically. With her bandaged head and blood everywhere we were just too nervous to let the girls come in. Also, there was a man constantly screaming at the top of his lungs the whole time we were there. They finally sent for a doctor who then sent for an ENT because her nose had bled for so long. The ENT said that it was normal and that the blood from surgery was exiting her nose instead of going down the back of her throat. We were thankful and continued to hope and pray that the blood would stop.
We periodically checked on Macella and Kirstie. They were so anxious to see Maria, but were doing a great job with continued hours of waiting. They begged to see her, but with the screaming man and Maria's bloody appearance we decided against it. Finally a nurse knew that we wanted to get out of recovery and she made the paperwork say what it was supposed to in order to allow us to leave (Maria was technically still too groggy). We finally left recovery at 3:45pm. Maria was wheeled on my lap in a bed to the pediatric floor.
They put a crib in Maria's room, which was very very tiny. Then the nurse and I tried to wash Maria up. She again seemed very concerned about the bloody nose. She brought in a basin of water and Maria perked up a little. She tried to put her feet in and her arms in and her head in. She continued to try to put her face in and then she frantically signed for a "drink." I was so proud of her. We brought her a drink and we had to pull it away because she was drinking so fast. I finally called Gary in the children's waiting room and told him to just warn the girls that Maria was clean, but would still look scary to the girls. There really was no way to keep her clean. Maria was seen by another doctor and another ENT. Again, some seemed to think that the nose bleed should have stopped and some said it was normal. None of the nurses thought it was normal. It was very nerve wracking, but at the same time we could feel your prayers. We remained calm and just continued to wait. Thanks to all of you who put Maria on your prayer chains---it was and is greatly appreciated.
Since the room was so small and the girls couldn't really hold Maria and we were starving Gary, Macella, and Kirstie walked to Subway. While they were gone Maria's surgeon stopped in. He reiterated that the blood from her nose was normal for 24 hours. I was thankful to hear it again, but it certainly didn't make taking care of her any easier. They finally had her sleep in bloody blankets and sheets. Gary's shirt and my shirt were not looking very healthy either:)
Gary brought back subs. We ate together and Maria even had applesauce and yogurt. Gary and the girls headed out around 7:45pm. They had 45 minutes back to the car and needed to go to Wal-mart for drinks, snacks, and umbrellas. They made it to bed around 10:30pm to get up at 5am to head out for the parade.
Maria & I had a long night together. I had an uncomfortable chair to sleep in. They didn't bring a blanket, so I used my coat. I read for awhile to hopefully force my eyes to close. Maria's roommate was constantly crying, moaning, and yelling. I finally was about to sleep at 11:30 when they came in to check vitals,which didn't make Maria very happy. I cleaned up more blood at this point. Then I was almost asleep again, when Maria's roommate cried and vomited liquid all over. In the beginning of the night I was selfishly praying that the girl would just fall asleep because my head hurt and I was exhausted. I felt very convicted at this point and just prayed that the poor girl would be able to sleep and feel safe. Her mother was there, but unable to communicate do to language barriers. I think I fell asleep around 2am and Maria woke up at 5am.
Thursday--Thanksgiving Day! Maria woke up very unhappy and very bloody. She wanted her head dressing off and she looked scared and nervous. It was nice that she wanted me to hold her and she clung on very tight. A new nurse came in and changed the bedding and brought her a different gown. We didn't get her completely clean, but her nose was bleeding less and less.
It took me some time to get ready. I did everything in separate steps because if Maria woke up without me she would cry with the most pitiful cry I've ever heard. She signed "eat" and cried, so I asked the nurse for food and Maria ate some Rice Crispies. A doctor from Dr. Roland's office (the surgeon) came in and took Maria's bandages off at 9am. She was so happy. It was the first time she actually stayed still for a doctor:) It appeared that her nose had stopped bleeding, so I asked if I could give her a whole body sponge bath. That was Maria's turn around point at the hospital. She played in the water and finally started to look like herself. Maria was going to be discharged at 10am, but when the nurse found out that I would be taking a taxi to the bus station she said that it would probably be impossible due to the parade, so Maria and I hung out:)
Maria and I watched some of the parade while Gary and the girls were at the parade in person. (Parade pictures will be in a separate post). I took Maria for a walk in the hall and then asked if I could sign the discharge papers. It took quite some time, but she was finally discharged at noon and as we were walking to the outside door, Gary and the older girls were just walking in. It was perfect timing.
The cab ride to the bus station did take longer due roads being closed from the parade, but we made it to the bus station and back to our hotel by 1:30pm. We thought Maria was finished with her nose bleeding, but it started bleeding at the end of the bus ride. Once in the room we put her down for a long nap. That she seemed to enjoy! She just woke up a few minutes ago and is enjoying some time with Gary. Again, her nose is bleeding some. Obviously it is more of an inconvenience than a health concern, but we would still appreciate your prayers.
We are thankful for all of you and wish you a wonderful rest of Thanksgiving day! We are heading out to the Cracker Barrel (if we find it) for our Thanksgiving dinner in a little while.
Happy Thanksgiving! Again thanks for all your calls and e-mails. I will leave you with a couple of verses that I found encouraging this morning. Psalm 28:6-7, "Blessed be the Lord, Because He has heard the voice of my supplications! The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him."