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Surgery, Baby

on August 20, 2013

It has finally been scheduled. Gosh, it sure is hard to pin down the ENT surgeon. He must be really busy. But finally, we have the firm decision: Agnes is going to surgery tomorrow (Wednesday) at 2:15pm Eastern Time. She is getting a g-tube first, then the tracheostomy, all under the same anesthesia during the same trip to the OR.

This surgery will be quite involved because the two procedures are happing in the same visit. I’m kind of nervous because she has to be intubated for the g-tube surgery and that was extremely difficult to do the first time. After the general surgeon is done with the g-tube, the ENT surgeon will take over and do the trach. He came by to talk to me about the procedure this morning, and it doesn’t sound too bad. Essentially, they just make an incision on Agnes’ throat right on top of her airway, then slip out the invasive tube as they slip in the trach. A few sutures around the incision site and done.

The care of a kid with a trach is something else entirely. Jeremy and I have to learn how to:

  • change the ties that hold the trach in place,
  • suction the tube,
  • replace the tube,
  • do CPR with and without a bag and mask,
  • trouble-shoot problems that arise.

We also have to:

  • Make sure someone is awake and watching Agnes 24 hours a day,
  • which includes at night and in the car,
  • and be able to leap into action the very second her pulse-oximeter alarm starts to ring.

Apparently we can expect Agnes to be hospitalized for at least two weeks following the surgery, not because she will be healing, but because it takes that long for us caregivers to pass the training and organize home care needs! Jeremy and I will have to stay in Agnes’ hospital unit for a 12-hour test where we provide all her care. If a nurse has to jump in and help, we fail and have to try again during another 12-hour stay.

…And all that is just for the trach part of Agnes’ dealio! We still haven’t heard much about the g-tube at all, aside from the opinion that it is easier than the ng-tube we have been doing. I don’t believe it because the ng isn’t surgical, and if it falls out, so what? The g-tube is a surgically installed tube directly into Agnes’ stomach, and if it falls out we have to quick! stick something back in because the hole will start to close. Then I think we have to come in to the hospital to have it fixed. So, I don’t believe it’s easier, and I won’t believe it until I’ve cared for Agnes’ g-tube for a couple days I see for myself what it’s like.

Luckily, since Agnes is getting all this stuff, we get to have nursing support at home. We will have a nurse come to our house every night to be with Agnes for eight hours overnight. Unless the nurse isn’t available, or gets sick, or weather prohibits her from coming. Then Jeremy and I have to cover the night too. Thank God we do live with my parents; they have agreed to take the trach training as well. Hopefully once they see what’s involved, they won’t get overwhelmed and change their minds!

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One response to “Surgery, Baby

  1. woodra01 says:

    Thinking of you guys for your big day tomorrow. Charlie and I send our love to Agnes.

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