Tampa is weird to me. I keep getting lost, and it is sprawling. I actually got a bit homesick for Shands UF and Gainesville having spent every surgery and almost all her hospitalizations there for the past 4 years. St Josephs has been great though. And I didn’t even realize it was a Franciscan hospital. There is a crucifix over the door to the PICU and a large statue of the Holy Family in front of the parking garage. I met with a (protestant) chaplain and we prayed for Josie yesterday; she explained there was a mass daily at 12 at the hospital, and they show it on the TV in-house and can bring Eucharistic communion if we request it. So I don’t quite feel that homesick actually. It was really reassuring to pray with the chaplain while here. I really appreciate (and need) all the reminders that God is in control.
We got to the hospital on Wednesday at noon but went to the wrong place, so we were 20 minutes late to check in. This was ok because there had been a miscommunication about admitting us the night before the surgery anyway, and there was no room for us. So after driving 4 hours there, with the three littles in tow, we sat and waited.
At some point while we were waiting, Josie dumped a cup full of Cheezits on the floor. We notified the little candy-striper / receptionist / volunteer girl that there was a big cracker mess on the floor. About an hour later no one had come to clean it up, so my mom stood up, grabbed two pamphlets, bent down, effortlessly scooped all the crackers and crumbs up and tossed everything in the trash.
So I announced in a loud voice, “You’re like MacGyver!”
My brain is weird like that.
Everyone paused for a moment to think then started cracking up belly laughing. What was really funny is my sister’s boyfriend had no idea who MacGyver was which makes me laugh now even more.
So about t-h-r-e-e-h-o-u-r-s later…
We finally had a room. I braided Josie’s hair and we watched some Netflix and Josie had an IV placed (which was miserable. She didn’t even need to use it until the next day, and they wouldn’t let me talk them into waiting to place it in the morning. Mama tried her best though).
So after she screamed for 20 minutes and they got her blood on my white shorts, we had some blueberries, strawberries and french fries, AND had visits from Grandma, Aunt Meg and her boyfriend Mike.
Around 9 something I took Mary and baby Mike back to my mom’s hotel and we went to sleep. Brian and Josie stayed up another hour or so playing with the computer.
She started fluids and anti nausea and a laxative very early in the morning the next day. I showed up about 5am. We hung out (well Brian and Josie slept while I played with my phone) while waiting to be taken to the pre-op surgical holding area.
Around 6:45 They came to transfer her. Brian held her on the bed as they rolled to the holding area. There she was pretty content once we changed her top to their purple surgical gowns. We played with Photo Booth and pretended to be swimming with fish and riding a roller coaster.
They were ready for her by 7:30 but the surgeon was running late. We discussed anesthesia and the anesthesiologist explained how excited she was to see Josie was listed as a difficult airway because it’s more interesting for them. (#thingsyoudontsaytothemom). But the joke was on her–Josie hasn’t had intubation problems in the past couple years.
Next I saw the doctor who specializes in trachs. She was standing by on-call in case of an emergency. She assured me it was super rare for this procedure, and she’s only had to do one before. I signed a consent for the emergency trach and other paperwork.
Then our very pregnant (8 months) surgeon, Dr Ricalde, showed up just before 8 and discussed the procedure again. We signed more consents, and discussed the dental extractions again. Dr Ricalde also does dentistry so she had reviewed the X-rays and found no compelling reason to pull them besides one having a short root. Long story short: We ultimately decided not to pull her teeth and just to keep a vigilant watch for signs of infection. If she got an infection it could easily travel to her heart and cause severe damage. So we will definitely stay on top of dental check ups. Honestly I was a little relieved she wouldn’t be loosing her two front top teeth at age 4.
Then we said our goodbyes.
The anesthesiologist gave her sleepy juice that literally knocked her out in 10 seconds. I have never seen her go out so fast and was a bit freaked out when the doctor said she overestimated how much it would take to put her out. Yikes. But Josie yawned a few minutes after that, and I felt a little better as they rolled her down the long hallway to surgery.
Part 2 – P Flap: Surgery and Post-Op