I am so sorry I have not updated sooner. I'm not sure what I was waiting for. After surgery I tend to come home and get very lazy and almost hermit like. So that is what I'm going to blame it on.
When it comes to heart surgeries most people think of going through the sternum. However, there are several different ways to go about correcting whatever it is that needs correcting. Some are much harder and are strickly reserved for certain cases so most are done one of three ways. Besides going through the sternum you can go under your arm, through your back, the neck, or the cath lab. And I even think I've heard of a very small number of people/kids who have gone through the tummy. Eli has had most except the tummy and back. Eli's surgery was through his neck this time. However, they had to use one of his own arteries because the material they typically use in adults will not last. Not just because of growth but because it just doesn't last in kids and usually fails almost immediately. Going through the neck can be VERY difficult to say the least. There are just too many things that can go wrong so they don't do it often. In fact the doctors at our children's hospital don't and have never performed the surgery he had because it's just that rare. So when it came to surgery day, the doctors were positive there would be complications (because that's just how Eli is). However, much to EVERYONE'S surprise (including ours) Eli's surgery went better than perfect. He didn't even need a blood transfusion and he was extubated in the OR. Win-Win all the way around. However, because of all the excitement of how wonderful things went he was given a drug he wasn't suppose to get. It was only one dose but we were a little upset nonetheless. The doctor came in later and explained what happened, how to fix it in the future and even gave us some helpful information to take to the allergist about his allergic reaction to the adhesives that are necessary to put on him during surgeries. He was a great doctor inspite of the error. Also after surgery it took them a VERY long time (like 3 1/2 hours) to get Eli to our room. To say we were a little frustrated was an understatement. Then after he got to the room his oxygen level was only 88. Um not okay. His normal is 99 to 100%. I got the nurse and they put oxygen on him, but I'm not sure why I needed to be the one to say anything. They have monitors at the nursing station and should have been watching since he just came over from PACU. But because they didn't order it from there they didn't see a need to watch it. Grrrrrrrr!! Anyway, it was fixed. Anyway, I have several more gripes I could complain about but I won't.
What I REALLY want to tell you about is the positive changes we've seen. And we are not the only ones that have seen it. Friends and family alike have noticed too. When you are deprived of oxygen you get "spacey" and have trouble focusing. Your memory is affected too. Almost immediately after we came home we noticed Eli didn't have nearly as many problems focusing. Before he seemed to be almost lost and appeared as if he had ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). That seriously is almost gone. And his memory? While not perfect (kids who have been on the heart/lung machine often have memory problems), it has improved greatly. Possibly because he can focus, but I'll take it. Eli does a LOT of pretending. He has a GREAT imagination. It really is incredible. But before surgery it was like the only thing he could do. I think because it didn't require a lot of focus. And because he couldn't really keep up with his brother, he tended to play with his sister and the girl stuff a LOT. Now, he's playing superheros and dressing in the boy dress up stuff. He's playing cars, and anything else a boy would love to play. In years past when he would get his Christmas presents he would be excited for them, but he would almost immediately take over his sister stuff. This year? He's played with all his stuff almost non-stop. A dear friend, whom my children now call grandma, gave Eli a castle for Christmas. It included knights and everything. He LOVES it. He played with it almost all day with periodic breaks to play superheros.
Seriously I could not have asked for a better Christmas present than that. To have my child be able to play, remember, and focus. I honestly was not sure if he was going to be able to go into a mainstream first grade class next year. Those fears are gone. He will most likely still need some extra help, as Eli marches to his own drummer, but I am much more confident that he can do it.
And one last thing before I go, my cousin started a prayer page for Eli on facebook. Since I tend to be on facebook more often you can look for periodic updates there. Yes there will still most likely be sporadic, but they may be more often and it's easier for me to respond with people there. I did send out one email so I hope that person received it. Anyway the page is https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Prayers-for-ELI/483014765062169 Merry Christmas all!!!