Will I be okay? And Death

What a day!  Consent is among the most hellish experiences ever.  Everything ends with “and death” – let’s talk about all the possible complications of cardiac surgery . . . stroke, infection, blood clots . . . and death.  Now it’s time to meet with the anesthesiologist . . . complications could include nausea, vomiting, headache . . .oh and death.  Going through it in a room with Genevieve sitting a few feet away completely engrossed in her iPad with headphones firmly over her ears was difficult.  I know that she could not hear any of this – at the same time I needed to keep one eye on her and try to keep it together myself.  All I wanted to do was put my own headphones on and tune out the Cardiac Fellow.  That or run from the room screaming.  She needs me to not be a sobbing puddle on the floor.  It was just misery.

It wasn’t all “and death” – there were other fabulous moments such as “too complicated for a simple repair”, won’t know for sure until we get in there, aortic dilation, we’ve done this new procedure from Japan about 20 times (ugh, that’s it??? 20 doesn’t seem like all that many) – and I can’t tell you how many Dr. Baird has performed, while we do the best we can with the repair sometimes you need to bring them out and not risk another round on bypass so we might not be able to repair everything that we intended . . .

Thank God for Dr. Lacro who connects so well with Genevieve and was able to reassure us that while a new procedure, it is based on and very similar to so many other techniques they do all the time – including Genevieve’s last repair about 5 1/2 years ago.  He will see us tomorrow after she is moved to the Cardiac ICU and I am comforted knowing that he will be in the building.  He has been looking at my baby’s heart since I carried her inside of me.

So – tonight is the night before surgery.  Less than 12 hours to admission.  Used our antibacterial surgical soap, removed the nail polish from her nails and tucked her into bed.  Like a gremlin, she is allowed no food after midnight . . . and as we have used the antibacterial soap and let her air dry, I probably shouldn’t get her wet again either.

Genevieve’s questions are breaking my heart.  In addition to the usual statements that she doesn’t want to go to the hospital tomorrow, that she doesn’t want to have surgery . . . tonight’s question was “Am I going to be okay?”  So, yes, you will be okay – you are the strongest person I know and you are strong enough to do this.  I have to believe that and I have to put the “d-word” out of my head.  She can do this – she has to do this.

So remind me of that tomorrow . . . as I am not great at waiting and 6+ hours of it while she is out of my sight in the OR is going to be difficult.






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