second time around

Yesterday morning started very early, just like we like Lucas' surgeries to start. We left our home at 4:30 for a 6 AM arrival time. By 8:10, Lucas was being taken back to the operating room. It was 4 hours... 4 long hours before we would see him again. Nate and I decided to go to the cafeteria and grab some breakfast, because we knew it would be a long morning.

We returned to the waiting room before 9 AM, just in time for our first nurse update. During the second update we got, she reminded us that she wouldn't be entering the OR from that point on because of the ear being exposed, and the risk of germs. She got a thumbs up from the surgeon though, so we took that as good news. At around 10:30 AM, we spoke with the audiologist who tested the implant. He reported that it was working great and the surgeon was just closing up. We got some relief from that news. Around 11 AM we saw the surgeon. He said that surgery went as expected - he was able to get a full electrode insertion, but he also hit a CSF gusher, just like last time. He was not surprised by it. Luckily, he was able to manage and control it quickly, so it shouldn't be a problem.

After we spoke with the surgeon, he told us that they were taking an x-ray (to make sure the implant was placed properly), and then they were going to do the heart echo. Yes, another heart echo. Because of Lucas's heart condition, he has a heart echo every 6 months. He had one in June, during his trigger thumbs surgery, so I decided to call his cardiologist and inquire as to whether he wanted to do another echo under sedation. He decided it was a good idea, so we scheduled another "two-fer". Hopefully we'll get a good report.

We got to see Lucas around noon, and he was discharged at 1:00. We were surprised that Lucas's head was not wrapped, like it was last time. They wanted him to be able to wear his processor, so they didn't wrap it. I was concerned that his incision was exposed and that he would pick at it, but so far, so good. It is well sealed with Dermabond.

Lucas never really woke up before we left, and he slept the whole way home. The nurse said he only needed to be "wakeable", which he was. She kind of rushed us out of there. We were worried that he would throw up on the way home, but he saved that until he got home, but certainly made up for it. The anesthesiologist gave him "double" anti-nausea medication, but it definitely wore off by the afternoon. Lucas slept on and off the entire afternoon/evening, only being awake for about 10 minutes at a time... long enough to beg for juice and crackers, throw it back up, and go back to sleep.

The discharge instructions said to call the ENT resident if Lucas threw up 3 or more times at home, so I did. She was very nice, and called in an anti-nausea medication to our local pharmacy. We couldn't give Lucas his pain medication or antibiotic if he was just going to throw it back up! CVS told us it would be an hour before the prescription would be ready, so I gave them my "sob" story, and they had it ready in 20 minutes. I'm glad I spoke up. We gave him the med, but didn't wait long enough to give him food/drink/medicine, so he threw it up anyway. But, that was the last time (7:30 PM) he has thrown up, and he ate pretty well today.

He actually slept through the night, but with me sleeping next to him, and both of us on the floor of his bedroom. I set up a little bed area for me, and he wouldn't leave my side, so that's how we slept. He woke up at 6:45 AM, and went strong all day, playing, walking and running. I have not noticed any increased balance issues or dizziness, so we're really grateful for that. I'm very happy to report that Lucas is pretty well back to normal.

Yesterday we really felt the effects of major surgery, but today you would barely know it. Other than the fact that Lucas would not take a nap today, even after 2 consecutive car rides during which he fell asleep, he had a great day. He expressed to me that his ear hurt when he woke up this morning. I was surprised that he was able to express that to me so well, but also very thankful.

Yesterday was no walk in the park. My stress and anxiety were really high. I couldn't concentrate on anything for more than 3 minutes at a time. I spent a lot of time pacing, and updating my Facebook status on Nate's iPhone, which is time consuming because it's not my phone. Several day surgery staff told us that we looked familiar. You know you're there too often when... This surgery was just different than the other surgeries though. We knew what we were in for, we knew what we were up against, and we knew what we had to lose. So far, the outcome has been as good as we could have asked for, minus the gusher. We are unbelievably thankful for that, and attribute it greatly to all of our wonderful local family/friends and our worldwide CI friends, who were praying for and thinking of our little Lucas. With 5 surgeries, 2 sedated MRIs and 3 hospitalizations in less than 3 short years, we're hoping this is our last major procedure for a long time.

Lucas's incision site looks great right now, and I believe it will heal quickly. The N5 implant is remarkably less noticeable on his head than the Freedom. I can barely feel it! The Freedom protrudes. The N5 looks much for comfortable. But what do I know.

Now the countdown begins! Activation is scheduled for December 9! At that time, he will get 2 N5 processors (one intended for back-up), but he'll wear them on each ear! He'll then have the Freedoms as back-ups. He'll be hearing with 2 ears before his 3rd birthday and before Christmas! YAY!