08 June 2008

Chapter 4: Back In Hospital

Hospital Routine:
7.30: Mammy & Daddy wake up and eventually manage to crawl out of bed
8.00-9.20: Mammy expresses that nights milk for Cathal (welcome to the farm), showers, dresses, eats breakfast
9.30ish: Mammy gets to the hospital and has already missed Cathal's bath. Cathal is fed by Mammy and he's all excited about it, arms and legs kicking all over the place
10.00-11.59: Waiting around for possible doctors, nurses
12.00: 4ml of beta blocker please
12.05: More food please Mammy
13.20: Grandad J pops up for dinner in the canteen and Mammy tries to get away from Cathal to join him. Mammy franticly tries to find Cathal's nurse to tell her "I'm going for lunch, he's been fed, don't give him any more, back in 20min"
13.40-17.30: Waiting around for doctors, nurses and feeding Cathal
17.30: Hello Daddy, how was work?
18.00: 4 more ml of beta blocker.... yuck!! Bobbie please Mammy to wash that sticky taste out of my mouth
19.00: Try to get Cathal to sleep to get home for microwave dinner for an hour
20.00: Back in to feed Cathal and hope that the night nurse hasn't fed him yet
21.00-22.00: Put Cathal back to sleep and go home
22.00-23.00: Try to unwind, relax, chat and express again before bed

I did this every day for two weeks while waiting for Cathal's surgery to be scheduled. To keep his saturation levels up, he was getting 4ml of beta blockers every 6 hours to try and relax the overdeveloped muscel in his heart that was restricting blood flow to the lungs. But after a few days, this had to be upped to 6ml and a few days later, this was again raised to 8ml. But still the saturation levels were only just staying above 75%.

A week after he was admitted, he had a spell. This happens when his oxygen levels get very low but don't come back up without help. When this happens, we are to push Cathal's knees right up to his chin, a bit like rolling him into a ball, and this has the effect of pushing blood to the lungs and basicly getting the heart working properly again. Problem was this was now having little affect. We got into the hospital on the Sunday, and Cathal had a little green tube taped to his cheek blowing oxygen into his nose. There was also a drip in his room.What happened please??? Enter nurse; well, he needed a bit of help. Oh dear....

"What you lookin' at? I'll shoot you with my laser!!!"

In the meantime, more of Mammy's frenchie relatives arrived in the country for a week. "Bon jour"!! Not great fun, I was hoping to spend time with my aunt and young cousins, but Cathal had other plans for me. A few days later, I had a feeling that Cathal was getting a little worse. He was getting even more tired after feeding and was more lethargic in general. He had to have a little mask constantly beside his face to blow extra oxygen in his general direction to keep his saturation levels up. Things just kept going down hill while we waited and waited and waited...

On Thursday the 17th of April, Cathal had a whole slew of tests, ECG, Echo, X-ray, MRI, all of his heart. His bloods were taken to make sure their would be blood in the theatre for him. We had been waiting 10 days at this stage for surgery while watching our little boy slowly deteriorate in front of our eyes. The problem? He wasn't critical enough. There are 6 ICU beds, and none were available. He would need to go to ICU after his surgery to recover, so that was the hold up, a bed. They were full, sorry, no room at the inn. Emergency cases first, then critical. Cathal was 3rd on the critical list. All elective surgery had been cancelled, and he was finally scheduled to have surgery on the 21st of April. He would be exactly 6 weeks old, far too tiny to have surgery.

Friday the 18th of April, Cathal seemed worse again. The surgeon came for a visit to explain the surgery. They were going to put a 3mm shunt (a plastic tube) into Cathal, to divert blue blood going to the heart straight to his lungs. This would mean that more blood could get to the lungs thus temporarily fixing one of his heart conditions and getting him big enough for the big operation. Then surgeon number two comes in to get me to sign the consent form. Oh dear, this is all getting a bit scary. In the mean time, I asked for our cardiac nurse to pop down when the dad came back from work to go through everything with us and to prepare us for the surgery on Monday. She was on holidays, but her team mate (these amazing people work in pairs) called down to us around 7.30 that night. And this was when I started to cry, and didn't stop crying for 4 days. She went through every thing, if such a surgeon does the surgery as planned, this is where he will cut, this is the scar Cathal will have, and she went through exactly what would happen on the day. We could bring him down to the pre operation area, get gowned up, hold his hand as he was put to sleep, give him a kiss and wish him luck. She brought us to ICU, and the tears got worse. My baby can't come in here....... he can't have all these tubes and machines around him, he's too small.

8.30 that night, we went home starving, exhausted and in tears.


Nan P (the one who speaks French!) said...

Little Prince Cathal is three months old today!
He might be an evil Overlord and rule the world some day, in the mean time he has been a very brave little boy, fighting his way through everything thrown his way. His Mammy (my daughter) and his Daddy have shown such strength too, all three are heroes in my eyes.

I fell in love with “Mon Petit Prince” Cathal very quickly, who could resist him? We have great chats (in 2 languages, Cathal’s and French), exchange smiles, opinions, views, nappy changes, play, more smiles. I can’t wait to spend more and more time with him.

Happy three months, Cathal, and thank you for changing my life.

Câlins, bisous.

Nan P.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cathals Mammy,

Saw your fabulous blog through rollercoaster. Hope your little dote Cathal is doing super :)What a brave bubby he is...and by the sounds of things what wonderful parents he has too.

God Bless