Friday, February 11, 2011

A year after the "Tough Day"

It was a year ago today, that we almost lost Harlie.  Crazy to think about.  And it is 'funny' to read my post from that day.  I pretty much glazed over what almost happened.  I didn't write about what it felt like to hear what happened.  Ah, I suppose you can figure that out.  I remember that it took a few minutes for me to react.  And it was interesting to hear how it was in the OR.

Harlie's plastic surgeon came out to talk to me first.  And for those of you that don't know, her plastic surgeon is Dr. Bill Magee.  He and his wife founded Operation Smile.  And I worked there from 1997 to 2000.  So, I knew him prior to him becoming one of her surgeons.  I think that relationship makes our conversations a little more personal and heart felt.

And one thing I didn't mention in that post was how easily it could have gone the other way.  During pre-op stuff that morning, her cardiac anesthesiologist (CA) (the same one that was in the OR during her jaw reconstruction in December) was debating on whether to put an A-line in (an arterial line vs. a regular IV).  The benefit to an A-line is that they can constantly monitor her blood pressure.  Whereas with a regular IV (just in a vein, not an artery) they have to use a blood pressure cuff on a timer, meaning that it takes a blood pressure every three minutes or whatever time they want.

There's more to getting an A-line in vs. a regular IV, of course.  So, when the surgeon and CA were in the exam room prior to surgery, they were discussing it.  Her surgeon said it would be a quick 45-minute procedure, not sure if it was worth getting an A-line.  At that time her CA said he was debating it because he didn't know how much blood loss she'd have with the wound, so he would think about it and make the call in the OR.

Thankfully, he decided to do the A-line.  And that's what saved her life.

Since it was constantly monitoring her blood pressure vs. only getting a BP every so-many-minutes, they knew immediately when her heart stopped beating.  And they told her surgeon to back up and get out of the way, and went into action.   Her surgeon said it was so impressive how calm and controlled and quick they were at getting things right again.  And it wasn't until they had her "stable" enough to continue the surgery that they all took a deep breath.

He said she gave them all quite a scare.  Luckily, I was none the wiser.  Sitting out in the waiting room with Brandy (Harlie's nurse), probably enjoying some quiet time to myself.  Ugh.  That thought kind of makes me sick.  I'd rather never have quiet time to myself again!

Anyway, that's pretty much the story.  Not a good a experience for a parent, that's for sure.  Just another reason for me to be thankful every day.  Which I was prior to that, but still.

And here we are.  A year later.  And today Harlie has gymnastics!  Which she LOVES.  And then school.

So, so thankful we are to see her smiling face every day!!!



Brittany said...

Wow, Christy - as I sit and try to imagine what it must feel like to hear that your child had to be brought back to life I am absolutely horrified and I know that it can't hold a candle to what it was actually like for you facing it. Thank goodness her doctor wasn't swayed by "it is only a quick 45 minute procedure" and went with the A line!

And a year later she's on her way to gymnastics. What an amazing gift...she's really living life! That is a testament to her spirit and to yours as well. There are plenty of parents out there, especially after a scare like the one from a year ago, that would hold even more tightly to their children and not let them venture out into the world. It says a lot about you and Tom that this isn't the case for your sweet girl.

I have to say that your comment about enjoying some quiet time while all this was happening really struck a chord. As mothers we don't get enough time to ourselves (and you less than most!), but we would all trade it to keep our children safe. That is a good reminder to see the gift that the chaos of children can bring to us. Nonetheless, we all need those breaks where we can get them!

Susan said...

It gives me a shiver thinking about it.

Every day there are people doing ordinary things while a loved one passes away. It doesn't mean we can't do ordinary things. I do know what you mean though. I can imagine quite vividly the waiting room chit chat or what not and why you are a little freaked out thinking of what was going on at the same time. But that's how life is. I'm just so glad the A line was placed and Harlie is with us, showing her strength and determination EVERY.DAY!

Much Love to you!