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Bryce- Recovery Day Six- 11:30 AM

April 23, 2008 Leave a comment

11:30 AM: We’ve been discharged.  All of  Bryce’s lines are out.  Praise the Lord, we’ll be leaving within hopefully an hour!

9:45 AM: Bryce just had his last x-rays, and his dressing taken off. They have put a few little strips of tape over his chest tube holes, and there is still tape over his incision. These will all fall off in about ten days. Now he just has a few IV lines, which won’t be removed until we are able to leave. We’re getting there. Hopefully they will be able to look at the x-rays quickly, put in the discharge order, and we’ll be able to go.

7:15 AM: One of Dr. Brown’s team was just in here. They will be taking Bryce downstairs to get more x-rays this morning. Typically, his x-rays have been done here in the room, with a portable machine. However, that machine only takes the x-rays from the top (Bryce’s front). They would like to get one from the front, and one from the side, to make sure everything looks good before they discharge us. The Dr. still mentioned possibly being able to leave this afternoon. Bryce will still be on the same medicines he was on the last 6 moths, but hopefully only for another month! Praise God for what the nurses and doctors say has been a quick recovery. Six days didn’t feel quick, and we would have liked to be home much sooner, but I suppose going home six days after open heart surgery is pretty amazing. We’re both itching to see Brielle and get home, and I’m itching to get caught back up at work these next two days so that I can enjoy the weekend at home with the family. We’ll have one follow up visit down here in a month, and we may have visits up in South Bend with our cardiologist just to monitor how everything looks/sounds. The picture is of a VSD. Bryce had a mal-aligned VSD, meaning it was higher up the ventral wall, and the aortic valve was closer to the hole, so much closer that the valve was actually being pulled into the hole, partially closing it off. We don’t totally understand all the details, but we don’t need to. More about our discharge as we know it!

Bryce- Recovery Day Five- 8:15 PM

April 22, 2008 1 comment

8:15 PM: We just talked to a nurse, and we’ll probably leave tomorrow afternoon.  We’ll jump over to Muncie, pick up Brielle, see the family, probably eat, and then head home.  I have a lot of unpacking to do, then back to work.  We can’t wait to see Brielle!  Hopefully she’ll be happy to see us, and won’t have any separation anxiety from leaving her “new home”.

7:00 PM: Dr. Brown just came in. The plan is to leave tomorrow, unless something comes up tonight. YES!!

4:00 PM: The bath went well, and we got to take Bryce around the unit in his stroller. He looked very happy. They have a little mobile transmitter so they can still track his stats. We’re getting closer to being able to leave. Still no specifics, but it should definitely be sometime tomorrow.

3:00 PM: Here is a fresh picture of Bryce. Click on it to enlarge it. He’s looking great! We’re about to give him his first bath in almost a week. He smells like hospital.

12:45 PM: The chest tubes are out! After a little morphine, they just YANKED them out. There was probably a foot of tubing per side in his chest. I was shocked. So from here, it’s just looking at vitals every once in awhile, and hopefully a discharge within 24 hours!

11:30 AM: Great news! Bryce just had his pacer wires (wires run into his heart in case they need to pace his heart electrically) taken out, which mean within an hour he will have his chest tubes removed! YES! Then we can put him in a stroller and push him around the unit. He’ll have a little remote monitoring device, but we’ll be able to get him mobile. So hopefully we’ll be on our way home tomorrow afternoon! I’ll let you know when they pull his tubes.

10:15 AM: We just saw on TV there was a bank robbery here in Indy that’s hitting national news. Apparently a teller pregnant with twins was shot and taken to Methodist hospital. Very sad. Hopefully she will be okay.

The Pennsylvania Democratic primary is today. Here is my prediction: Someone will get more votes than the other person. They’ll both still be in the race tomorrow. Typically, I’m 100% accurate with my predictions.

The sale of existing homes dropped last month, down 2% from February. The media home price dropped from 217,400 a year ago to 200,700 this year. This was the biggest year-over-year price drop on record. I am glad we live in northern Indiana where homes are reasonably priced.

Sooooo…there’s all the new news. Nothing yet on Bryce. Still waiting for those chest tubes to come out! If it’s 24 hours from the time they come out, we’re getting to the point now that we may not make it home until Thursday, which will make for a LONG day, since I’ll have to go into work. So please pray that we can leave tomorrow. We have a long drive home.

9:00 AM: This is a quick list of what the grades of heart murmurs mean. Bryce had a grade four.

Gradations of Murmurs

Gradations of Murmurs[1]
Grade Description
Grade 1 Very faint, heard only after listener has “tuned in”; may not be heard in all positions.
Grade 2 Quiet, but heard immediately after placing the stethoscope on the chest.
Grade 3 Moderately loud.
Grade 4 Loud, with palpable thrill (ie, a tremor or vibration felt on palpation)[1]
Grade 5 Very loud, with thrill. May be heard when stethoscope is partly off the chest.
Grade 6 Very loud, with thrill. May be heard with stethoscope entirely off the chest.

7:45 AM: This is a bird’s-eye view of where we’ve been living for almost a week. I couldn’t get the whole campus or building on the satellite view, but this is where we’re at. There are old parts and new parts of the hospital that have been architecturally merged. It’s a very cool building. You can click the map, and then drag it around to look at the campus.

Map image

One of the biggest complaints I have about being here is…the toilet paper. We are in a multi-million dollar facility spending tens of thousands of dollars and we’re using 20 grit 1/4 ply toilet paper purchased at Sam’s Club in boxes of 100 for 5 bucks, no doubt. A minor annoyance….

Bryce is still doing well. No more information to share at this time, hopefully when the doctors do their rounds we’ll have a better update.

Bryce- Recovery Day Four- 8:15 PM

April 21, 2008 3 comments

8:15 PM: Just returned from dinner. YUM! We at at the canal area in Indy, and got to walk and talk for awhile. It was really nice! Thanks Manbecks!! I added some pics to the gallery below.  Sorry they are sideways, my Iphone did that for some reason.

4:30 PM: We just had a surprise visit from our surgeon, and a visiting heart surgeon. They listened to Bryce’s heart. Both said it sounded normal, far better than his grade four murmur. Dr. Brown just told this guy he didn’t have to work on the aortic valve, and then they were gone. In and out in no time, no chit-chat, all business. It’s a little intimidating to be honest. These are guys at the top of their field. Like the general walking in to the mess hall with all the infantry. We both jumped up and almost saluted the guy. He mentioned that they are just waiting for the chest drainage tubes to dry up a little more, then we’ll start the process of getting out of here. Probably another one to two days. We also got some free toys today! Riley and all the supporting charities are great, we haven’t asked for anything to speak of, things and support staff just show up. We’re going down to the canal area in Indy for dinner. Sounds like fun!

3:30 PM: Lael and I went outside for lunch. We walked around campus. There are three hospitals that we found, and IUPUI. We went to the Barnes and Nobles on campus, that was fun. It’s so nice outside. Once again, we wish Brielle was here to play with, but that’s okay. Bryce had his bandages changed, and has been really happy this afternoon. He’s ready for more sleep though. They are giving him some more calcium because he was a tad under their baseline. Nothing major at all. Still waiting for the chest tubes to come out. I’ve been able to keep up on emails from work, but that’s about it. I’ve watched almost two complete seasons of an older comedy called NewsRadio, and Lael has read a lot. We are seeing some friends of ours tonight, they are bringing a picnic dinner. We’re looking forward to that.

11:15 AM: Bryce is awake and babbling. Still no direction or news on his progress, he’s just healing up. He slept a lot this morning. I think Lael and I are getting a little stir crazy.

9:15 AM: Lael is watching Regis and Kelley. I guess Regis was in South Bend for some IUSB all night dance thing. He was talking about Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, he had a picture with Mishawaka Mayor Jeff Rea, and talked about Notre Dame. Pretty cool to hear about home. And no, we didn’t feel the aftershock earthquake last night.

8:15 AM: He’s laying in bed and talking now, no longer fussy. It’s funny, he knocks his pacifier and a little yellow ring together and makes noise, then looks up at me as if to say “Cool huh? Look what I did!” Then he points the yellow ring at me. What a cute boy. I can’t wait to get home with the whole family. I dreamed about Brielle last night. Here are some older pictures I thought you all might enjoy. They are of Bryce and Brielle in Brielle’s Christmas presents from G’pa and G’ma Hicks.

7:45 AM: Bryce had a good night, although he sounds like he’s losing his voice. He’s a little fussy right now, we’re not sure why. The nurse thinks they probably won’t take the tubes out today, which means the soonest we would be able to leave is Wednesday. Please pray we can leave earlier. I have work that I have to do this week, and they have certain internet applications blocked here, and one of them is the way I can get onto the network up north. I can do emails, but that’s it. Right now it’s just a waiting game. We can’t leave until his chest cavity looks good. Lael just said she thinks he might be cutting a tooth. Hmmmm…could be!

Bryce- Recovery Day Three- 10:00 PM

April 20, 2008 2 comments

10:00 PM: Bryce is out of his bed, and eating from what I like to call McMommy’s.  He looks very content, and is eating the most he’s had all day, and other than his first feeding after his surgery fast, the largest meal on this trip.  This is great news!  More tomorrow.  We all need our sleep.

7:00 PM: Well, this is going to be called the poop blog now. Bryce pooped for the 3rd time today. I felt sorry for the nurse. Three poops in one shift. Haha!

The toughest thing to deal with is sleepiness, missing Brielle, and boredom. There’s only so much you can do when he’s sleeping, and with having so much interrupted sleep, it’s tough to be well rested. It’s totally worth it though. He’s lying in bed right now, grabbing his feet, and talking. There are some people here that are on day 33. I couldn’t imagine. It’s probably the heart transplant patient we heard was staying in a room down the hall. As difficult as being gone from Brielle, our home, and work for a week will be, this is nothing compared to what some families need to deal with, and for that I’m grateful.

6:30 PM: Bryce just had poopy #2 for the day. It was a decent amount, so it looks like the constipation is behind us. WHEW. Gross huh?

4:30 PM: Just got back from a very nice lunch with Lael’s Aunt and Uncle. It was great getting out of the hospital. We talked about a lot of not-hospital stuff too, so it got our minds off of the situation, which is going really well. We got back and Bryce was sleeping, he woke up, and I got to play with him for awhile. He’s in a good mood, not eating much, but having fun with his toys.

1:15 PM: I’m in the process of adding videos and more pictures. Here is the video page.

12:30 PM: The arterial line is out! He had been messing with it before, so they had to put the arm cover over his arm, so that is off now, as is his splint. It took a few minutes of pressure to keep it from bleeding. It was funny, at one point, we thought it was good, and the nurse lifted the gauze a little, and SQUIRT, hello blood. He’s good to go now though. He’s happy to hold stuff again. Also, we have uploaded more pics! You can find some here on this site under the Pics from Indy page, or here at our Flickr page.

10:30 AM: Bryce seems hungrier now that he’s pooped. He is eating again. No lines have been removed yet. Mom and dad are here now. Lael’s aunt and uncle will be here this afternoon to visit, and take us out for lunch. We’re looking forward to that. We asked the Dr. about a timeframe today. We’ll probably be here for at least a few more days. I’m expecting to be traveling back Tuesday or Wednesday. We hope sooner!

8:15 AM: We just had a poop. Filled his diaper and spilled out a bit. I’ve never been so happy to see poo in my entire life. It was wet too, which was nice. Not all pasty and clay-like. Goal achieved in under an hour!

8:00 AM: A doctor was just in here, saying that today the goal is poo. She also had some great news. We should be able to hold him today! They will be taking out his arterial line, which will allow us to handle him more. We won’t be able to pick him up under his arms for six to eight weeks. This is going to be TOUGH. He will be able to roll around and be in his excer-saucer, but getting him out of the saucer is going to be hard. He just ate almost four ounces of milk, and is talking a little.

4:15 AM: Bryce’s next checkup went really well. He fussed a little bit (five seconds) when the nurse picked him up out of bed and weighed him, but other than that, he was silent during all the moving and prodding. She mentioned again how calm he is! I didn’t know what to say to her about that, other than he’s usually rolling around, bouncing in his excer-saucer, and isn’t typically laid back. So he’s being a good boy. I still think it’s the peace of God. We’re going to try to feed him again. It’s been since 10 PM or so. He ate almost three full ounces then. Lael just asked him if he wanted to eat, and he started wiggling and making noise, his fussy/hungry noise, so we’re going to give it a shot. Lael just showed him the bottle and asked if he wanted some, and he got excited, and is eating it like a champ. He ate a little over three ounces. YES! Still needs to poo though.

I forgot to mention, mom and dad saw their (and my) dentist at their hotel yesterday. Then when we went out for dinner (the restaurant is on the same block as their hotel), we all saw him. I’ve seen him probably 50 times or more in my life, and he is always in his medical garb. To see him out in the “real world” with his family, dressed in street clothes, was odd, but was a nice little reminder of home, and that we STILL haven’t taken Brielle to see him. She was sick during the first two appointments we set up for her….

12:30 AM: Yes, it is 12:30 AM and I’m doing a post. The recliner isn’t as nice of a place to sleep as one would imagine. The nurse was just in here draining Bryce’s chest tubes, readjusting his position, and doing his stats. I didn’t even notice, and I’m two feet away. Why? Because he didn’t make any noise! She said he gave her a weird look when she drained his chest tubes (some adults say it feels strange, or even hurts), but that was about it. I hurt a small noise near the end that woke me up. She said she just gave him more Tylenol, just regular Tylenol still, as far as we know. She said he has a high tolerance for pain. Mom was commenting on this earlier, that he’s been recovering very well, and getting off his meds quickly. I don’t think that it’s necessarily that he has a high tolerance for pain, I think he just may not be in a lot of pain, period. I obviously can’t just ask him that, but he doesn’t grimace, isn’t whiny, and isn’t drugged to the point that those behaviors would be subdued. I think (know) it’s all God. We have prayed for peace and a good recovery, as have many more people as well. God answers prayer.

He’s trying to roll over now. I think he might be able to see the laptop, better call it a morning.

Bryce- Recovery Day Two- 8:00 PM

April 19, 2008 Leave a comment

8:00 PM: Bryce is still doing great.  He isn’t eating much, but then again, he isn’t doing much either.  He seems to be in good spirits.  We can get him to smile and laugh.  Takes more trying than usual, but that’s to be expected.  He is moving a lot more, and was messing with his arterial line, so it started to bleed a bit, so now he is wearing a “No-No” on  his left arm.  It’s a little velcro cover, (think soft cast) that covers his arm from right above the elbow to over his hand, so he can’t grab the lines running into his arm.  He puts his left arm up in the air, looking at us, as if to say “Hey, look at this!  Take it off!  Please??  What’s the deal?”.  Pitiful.  He also is starting to itch at his incision with his thumb, which is great.  Must be healing up well!  Lael and our friend Jenny got to get out for a bit this afternoon and went shopping for kids clothes.  Then Chad (our friend and Jenny’s hubby), me, mom, and dad went out to dinner at Weber Grill.  It was nice to get out.  I wasn’t hungry going into the restaurant.  McDonald’s for breakfast and lunch will do that to a person, but I ate a whole meal at the restaurant.  It was nice to get out for awhile, but I caught myself really wanting to get back to see how Bryce was doing.  I missed all the bleeding and “No-No” stuff.  I also called and talked to Brielle for about 20 seconds at the restaurant.  She wasn’t very interested.  It rained here today, and finally dried up this afternoon, so she was in the process of going outside to play.  It was nice to talk to her, but I miss her a lot.  We didn’t get the Ronald McDonald room tonight.  It’s not a surprise, since Bryce is out of ICU, so we’re sleeping in the room.  His pain medication is down to regular Tylenol, and he doesn’t seem to be in any pain, so he’s off the big painkillers in less than 55 hours since the surgery. WOW.  The way these little kids heal is amazing, and in itself is a testament to our awesome and powerful Creator.  Just looking at the information that is being pulled from these little sensors is cool.  The pressure in the heart, which needs to be just right.  His heartbeat has to be in a certain range.  His blood pressure, breathing rate, all these things must work together for us to live.  How cool is that?

2:30 PM: Not much going on at this point. He’s eaten now, not a lot, but some. A little more poo, he’s been peeing well, so things are going great. The X-ray taken this morning looked great, according to the doctors doing their rounds. They are just watching his stats, making sure he’s stable, and lowering drugs as needed. He was up quite a bit this morning, so he’s been sleeping for awhile now. Dave, Joan and Sheldon left to go back to Ohio, and some friends of ours were here for lunch, it was great to see them. We put in for the McDonald room again tonight. We tried sleeping on the futon together around 7:00 this morning. It worked OK, but could have been MUCH better. We were really cramped. So it’s my watch tonight, and hopefully Lael will be able to sleep on the Sleep Number bed downstairs. 🙂

8:30 AM: Bryce did very well during his last bit of checking up with the new nurse. We have a guy nurse now, and Bryce just stared at him the whole time. I wonder if having a male nurse helped him at all…it was the best checkup so far. He’s just laying in bed right now, looking around, talking now and then, no pacifier, and watching TV off and on. Just hanging out. Such a good boy. Still hasn’t eaten or pooped more, but he isn’t fussy, we’re going to try to feed him again shortly. Never mind, Lael just tried, and he shook his head “no”. He does that now, it’s very cute. We have more friends visiting this morning, so we’re looking forward to that. Dave and Joan, Lael’s parents, and her brother, Sheldon, are leaving this afternoon, so they will be visiting today as well. We hope that Brielle continues to do well in Muncie, even after Dave and Joan leave. We expect she’ll do great. We’re so thankful to Kevin and Sharon (and Clarence and Miriam) for watching her. We miss her very much, but she’s in great hands.

6:45 AM: Bryce pooped early this morning, a little bit, about 2:00. That’s a good thing. He hasn’t eaten since 6 o’clock last night, not a good thing. He isn’t fussy, he’s acting fairly normal. He did throw up his Tylenol this morning, probably because it was on an empty stomach, so we need him to eat. Right now, it’s just laying in bed, moving around a bit, sucking on his pacifier. He had a routine chest x-ray about fifteen minutes ago. The biggest prayer request now would be that he eats well, and continues to poo. He had a great night sleepwise, so thank you Lord for that.

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