We watched her go today.
She woke up this morning in good spirits, got dressed, and out the door without any issues. “Am I gonna get my heart fixed today?” she said. “Yes, baby. Today is the day. We are going to go see your doctors at Texas Children’s now,” I replied.
All six of us piled into two cars to drive one block over to the hospital at 5am.
Our journey started on the 3rd floor, where we wiped the sleep from our eyes, filled out paperwork, and got name labels to take to the nurses. From there, we went to the 17th floor, where we walked through a dark hallway. It’s 5:30am and others are sleeping off the stress from the day before in the surgery waiting room. There is an area with lights on, so we set up camp there and wait for them to call Reiss’ name for pre-op. Nanny McPhee is on the television. We love this movie, so we watch it, laugh, smile, and pretend that heart surgery isn’t upon us.
A short time later, the nurse summons us and sends us up to the 18th floor to prep Reiss for surgery. Only two people are allowed at her holding room bedside, so the granparents stay in the waiting area. Reiss greets the nurses with a smile and small talk about blood pressure cuffs and heart surgery. The ladies there are nice, and willing to talk with Reiss about whatever she wants to talk about, which helps to ease Reiss’ nerves.
The nurse practitioner on duty today is Kelly. She meets with us to see if we have questions and reiterates how the day will flow. Reiss tells her some jokes; we all laugh. Reiss’ attitude this morning is a pleasant surprise to the staff, and they are impressed with her knowledge and vocabulary.
Next comes anesthesia. Dr. Zeena goes over the plan with Roy while Reiss asks her if she has kids or pets. Seems like Reiss is big on relationship building with her doctors and nurses – such an easy concept for a 3-year-old, but somehow hard for most adults. Dr. Zeena’s boss, Dr. David, then came by to go over the same material and talk with Reiss. He is a tall, strong man, standing probably 6’5, who you can tell works well with kids. Reiss felt at ease with him instantly.
We did not sedate her. We did not make her drink some nasty fluid or put an IV in or give her a gas mask. Instead, between the options of riding on the bed or
getting a piggy back ride from Dr. David, she chose piggy back ride. She only said she was scared once this morning, then changed the subject. She gave mom and dad hugs and kisses then went to Dr. David. When she hopped onto Dr. David’s back, she was all smiles as she squeezed tight around his neck and walked with him and his two assistants out of the holding area, down the hall, and through the double white doors to surgery.
Roy and I followed for a bit, then stood and watched. We watched her go.
The staff here at Texas Children’s is kind and caring. I trust they made her feel at ease, with her Papa Roy bear by her side. I trust she trusted them, as well. In my mind, I see
them calming her and helping her onto the table, talking about the cotton candy flavored gas she chose the day before. These people are professionals, experts in their respective fields, and understand the psychological and emotional needs of children.
Then they watched her go – drift away to a sleepy, restful slumber.
Our First Update
We had our first update at about 1.5 hours into the 8-10 hour long procedure – around 8:30am.
Dr. David came by to tell us she did wonderful – as expected for our CHD Warrior. All lines are in and they have started the echo. We will not hear from them until about 10am, at which time we expect to hear about dissection and what they saw on the echo.