We got the call at 1:20 that Rachel was off of bypass and they were starting to close her up. Then about 2:30 they took us to a conference room to meet with the surgeon. He came to talk with us just before 3:00. He said that everything went as expected and she’s doing fine. One minor thing is that she has a narrowing on an artery to the left of her heart (from where something was attached in her previous surgery if I remember right). They were going to decide which side to do the hook up of the inferior vena cava to the pulmonary arteries on depending on how things looked when they got in there because, as we’ve heard multiple times “Her anatomy is very unusual.” (For further explanation of surgery see previous post here). If they hooked up on the left side, the plan was to go ahead and fix the narrowing. If they hooked up on the right side, she would have to have the narrowing opened up through another heart catheterization. They ended up going through the right side because there would be less cutting involved and less bleeding which sounds great to me.
A good thing is that there was a possibility that they would have to leave a fenestration (a small hole) between a vein and the heart to prevent pressure build-up in the veins. Dr. Kirklin said that they would determine if this was needed during surgery but that if she did have a fenestration her oxygen saturation would not be quite as high. (Her oxygen sats run 80-85%. Normal is 100%. Post-surgery without fenestration would be normal.) They did not have to do the fenestration.
We got to see Rachel in CICU around 3:15pm. She looks MUCH better than we expected. Of course, she has LOTS of tubes coming out of her. She was still on a ventilator, so her oxygen saturation was 99%. But her toes were warm instead of cold and clammy and were pinker than we’ve ever seen them. 🙂 They will gradually start to wean her off of the ventilator and most likely take her off of it later today. She was still knocked out. We stayed and talked to her nurse for a while. Her nurse told us that we could go eat and she would call us when Rachel started to wake up.
We walked a block away to a Mexican place. It was good to get out.
Hopefully, she will be out much of the next 24 hours. Our plans are to stay with our friends Scott and Brenda Hammond. Just rediscovered them on Facebook. So excited to find them! And so very thankful for their willingness to let us sleep at their home. If Rachel’s resting well, I hope to get a good nights rest at their house.
Tommy’s researching our surgeon. His father improved the heart-lung machine to the point that it could be routinely used in heart surgery.