Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Healing Heart

Gavin has been doing much better through his recovery after open heart surgery than he did after his stomach surgery.  I guess he figured everything out after surgery number one!  He came out of surgery on a respirator, with a chest tube, and a pacemaker.  At this point, he is off of the respirator and the chest tube has come out.  The first night after surgery, his body reacted to a low fluid volume so his pacemaker kicked on.  Yesterday, his right lung collapsed and as his body worked to breathe and he had several breathing treatments, his heartbeat increased rapidly and kicked his pacemaker on again.  But for the most part, the pacemaker isn't on and he is doing most of the work.  After breathing treatments and chest therapy, his lung seems to be reinflating and all of his stats look good again.

He is completely off of any sedation medication or painkillers and today the team will begin dialing back on some of his heart medications.  He is still pretty swollen from surgery, but wide awake and holding our hands!  He still has a line in his stomach and an arterial line.  He has to get each of those out and his pacemaker wires out before he can move out of the ICU and to a step down unit.  It is still a long and slow process to recovery, but Gavin is fighting hard and proving folks wrong.

With all of the lines he has in his body, and how soon out he is from open heart surgery, he is not really not stable enough to be held.  But a few nights ago, the nurses on duty wanted to make sure that Chris was able to hold Gavin at least one more time before he deployed.  Within minutes, two nurses and a respiratory therapist were in the room to help move Gavin (and all of his equipment) into Chris's arms.  It was so sweet and kind of them to think of doing that for Chris and for making it happen so quickly.  They weren't sure if the other shifts would let him before he left, so they guaranteed that he would hold Gavin that night.  I was a little jealous :) , but they did let me help with Gavin's bath that night so that made me feel better.

There are still moments where we have our breakdowns, but Gavin gives us strength when we need it most.  It is heartbreaking to look at his scarred body and think of how hard his first three weeks on this earth have been.  But at the same time, he has fought against all odds and is proving to be victorious.  He is certainly battered, but he is far from broken.

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