On Thursday, Aug. 29th, Emily had the surgery to get her new port, which now replaces her previous Broviac catheter. As with the Broviac, the port will be used to give Emily IV fluids, chemo, and antibiotics and will also be used to draw labs, thus saving her from repeated IV sticks. The port was placed in her lower chest, just under the skin, and it has a catheter which threads under the skin and into the large, subclavian vein that is above her collarbone.
Emily left the house at 7:00 am, dressed as usual in her girly finery – fancy white top, new pink tutu (have to have a new one for surgery!), Egyptian-style sandals, pink polish and a pink rose headband. You would not believe how many nurses peeked into Emily’s pre-surgery waiting room to view whatever glittery, frilly clothes and baubles she had worn this time! Apparently, she is known for her fashion statements! You can never start too young — just sayin’!
One of the Child Life Specialists brought her toys to occupy her during the two hours that we – Emily, Chrissie, and Grammie/me – waited prior to the surgery, and Chrissie and Emily had quite a story made up with their paper dolls. Also during that time, vitals had to be checked, paperwork had to be done, and visits had to be made by the doctors and anesthesiologist. The Child Life Specialist also brought in a port – purple, of course(!) – so that we could see what it would look like once inside of Emily. Emily was very interested and even more thrilled that it would be purple! Enough cannot be said about how much the Child Life Specialists do to help ease the wait and the anxiety and questions for parents and for the children.
Once it got closer to the surgery time, Emily was given some Valium – by way of a syringe that Chrissie squirted into Emily’s mouth – so that she would be relaxed when they wheeled her into the surgery room. Emily repeatedly asked if it was time to go for her ride – showing how many many times she has done the gurney ride down the hallway. To her, it’s just part of the process and it’s a kudo to the hospital staff that it isn’t a scary thing for her. Once inside the surgery room, she was given some gas with a mask and after she was completely asleep, they inserted a peripheral IV, in her hand, so that they could give her fluids and draw her weekly labs during the surgery. It was planned that way so that she wouldn’t have any needle sticks when she was awake. Another praise for the staff for thinking ahead for her.
During her surgery, Chrissie and I went for some much-needed coffee. Well, I got coffee – Chrissie got Ibuprofen, to help with her very sore jaw, after having three wisdom teeth pulled on Monday. Once Emily was back from surgery, Chrissie and I went back into the pre-surgery/recovery room and waited for Emily to wake up. We also got our first look at her new port. The first thing she asked for as she was waking up was her pacifier. A few minutes later, she was asking for “ketchup and potato chips and chicken nuggets and French fries!”
After picking up her brothers and sister from the friend who had been watching them all day, we drove through a McDonalds drive-thru, then home. Emily merely looked at her requested food for awhile, then eventually ended up eating most of it. By the end of the afternoon, both Emily and Momma were sitting on the couch, with ice packs on their chest and cheek, respectively.
The next morning, Emily was still a little sore but feeling so much better that she went to everyone in the house, saying “I can walk! Look, I can walk!” and doing little dances. Apparently, she had felt so bad the day before that feeling good enough to be able to get up and walk just had to be announced! Her chest is feeling even better today – and Momma’s face is still a little swollen and sore but she says she is better, too.
Thank you to everyone who helped with prayers and child care – and to everyone at U.C. Davis for taking such good care of Emily —