Recovery - Day 2

Sara and I didn't get to the hospital until lunch time today due to another appointment for Sara. We were pleasantly surprised to walk into Angie's room and see her sitting in her recliner next to her bed. This was part of the goal today to be able to transition to the chair and back to the bed. The transition from the chair to the bed was a little difficult when trying to get out of the chair. With some assistance from me and the nurse she was able to get up and move back to the bed. Now we just need her to do that one more time today. If all goes well she should be able to walk a little bit tomorrow.

This morning Angie was also taken off her PCA (a self administered pain medication) and she had her drain tubes removed. Both are big steps towards recovery.

Her catheter can be removed any time she feels she's ready, with the caveat that she has to be able to get out of the bed to use the restroom. It's a bit frustrating knowing that she is still in a lot of pain and that makes her grumpy and not wanting assistance from us, only the nurses.

She did have one non-family member come and visit her today. That was really cool. We hope that others will be able to stop by and visit. In case anyone is interested, she is in RC 5.810 at Seattle Children's Hospital and the visiting hours are 8am-8pm. The current target date is Saturday for her to go home. 

Recovery - Day 1

Angie had a rough first night, waking around 1am and not knowing where she was. She did not recognize her mom at first and was freaking out. The combination of pain medication and still getting the anesthesia out of her system caused some memory issues. Even though we talked to her right after she got to her room, and she seemed lucid, she didn't remember any part of that conversation.

Both grandmas, Sara, and I got to her room around 9:30 in the morning. She was awake, barely, and we asked if she wanted to see a little video to cheer her up. The video was 15 minutes long and was a compilation of all the videos on this blog, plus a few more from family and pets. She was overwhelmed when she saw each progression of the video. We started out with the musicians since she new about Midnight Red already. We then went on to the actors.

Thank you to everyone that has sent a video, card, photo or message. She has enjoyed each and every one of them.

After coming back from lunch we were pleasantly surprised to see Angie sitting up on the edge of her bed. This was her goal for the day. She was also able to lay on her back for an extended period of time.

Angie is in surgery now

She was in a great mood, or at least putting on a brave face, as we departed in the pre-op room. She should be back there for a while and we'll be waiting in the lobby for news. They have a pager system here and they said they would be checking in with us every couple of hours.

Stay tuned...

UPDATE 1: Two hours into surgery and I just talked to one of the nurses. They are done with the left side and are now moving to the right side. They should be done in the next 1.5 to 2 hours. Angie is doing fine.

UPDATE 2: Four hours after surgery started and we got the word that she is done. The surgeon met with us to say everything went great. Her curvature is down from more than 70 degrees to about 20. She is in recovery right now and we wait again, this time for the drugs to wear off so we can see her in her room.

Today is the big day

It's bright and early on Monday morning and we are all getting ready to head into the hospital. We check in at Seattle Children's Hospital at 6:45am and the procedure is scheduled to start at 8am. It will last for about 5 hours and then it's time to start down the road to recovery.

Thank you everyone that has submitted messages of support. I'll be reaching out on Facebook later this morning, once I know Angie can't get online, to see if we can get some more messages. This site will be revealed to Angie on Tuesday morning since she probably won't be that lucid this evening. Of course everyone is welcome to keep submitting after that to help keep her spirits up.

One week until surgery

I think the stress is getting to all of us. Angie had a school play last week where she was the prop master. Several of the stage hands did not show up and she ended up doing more work than she should have. Of course this didn't help her back at all. She missed school on Friday (luckily all her finals were completed) and had a massage therapy session to ease the pain. We have one more massage session scheduled for Friday to try and make her relaxed over the weekend.

Angie has been having some problems sleeping recently. I'm not sure if she will admit it but I think the thought of the pending surgery is weighing heavily on her mind. I know that it's affecting my sleep and ability to focus at work. We're doing everything we can to help her through these remaining days.

Recently I've had to play the bad guy and get on her case about her general health. It's been a bit cold and rainy recently, which is the type of weather Angie loves. I keep having to remind her to stay dry and warm so she doesn't get a cold or congestion. Even something as simple as a cold could delay her surgery, and we don't want that.

Pre-op visits at the hospital

Today we had three appointments at the hospital to get ready for the surgery in just over two weeks. We met with the anesthesia department, had some x-rays taken, and then met with the surgeon. Here are some highlights:

  • The surgery will last about 5 hours
  • The rods will not go all the way down to her lumbar so she will have better mobility
  • The procedure is expected to correct about 60-70% of the curvature
  • She will be in the hospital for about 4-5 days
  • No additional surgeries are expected, unless something happens like an infection
  • She will most likely not require a back brace. The doctor has only had one patient in 7 years need one
  • The doctor said she can try playing soccer again after about 3 months

All in all I am pretty optimistic about her recovery. I'm hoping she is too.

Another massage today

The massage today seemed to work better for Angie. After missing another day of school today, I took her to the massage therapy appointment as scheduled. She was in a lot of pain today. The massage was so relaxing that she fell asleep on the table. Of course I was waiting in the lobby the entire time enjoying my own massage in one of their massage chairs. I'm pretty sure she got a better massage though.

We set up the next massage for Friday evening after a few appointments at the hospital for some pre-op visits. After the stress of dealing with several appointments, I have a feeling Angie will nap on the massage table again.

Massage therapy begins

Today was the first session for a massage to ease Angie's back pain. So far the therapy has been helping and we plan on going back about twice a week until the surgery. This should help her through the day at school and let her sleep better.

The therapist used a light touch this time to try and get an understanding of what Angie needs. The next session should have some more pressure and get deeper into her muscles.

The second pre-op physical therapy

Even with getting out of school early today for this appointment, Angie still needed to leave earlier than planned. Her back pain was too severe for her to concentrate.

I'm sitting in the waiting room now while she does her therapy. Hopefully they'll figure out some exercises to ease the pain.

On a side note, I sent out the first batch of requests for get well messages to friends and family today. I also sent an email to Midnight Red to see if they can add more to the gallery. I hope people read the email and submit items :)

The first pre-op physical therapy

The first PT appointment was a success. She learned some basic exercises to help strengthen her core muscles. This should help her a little with the current back pain and get her stronger for a faster recovery from surgery. Now the trick is to get her to do these exercises on a regular basis.

Today we also learned that Angie has inherited the family blood clotting disorder Factor V Leiden. So what does this mean for her surgery? She will have to be on blood thinners and monitored closely for blood clots since this disorder makes her about 8 times more likely to develop a clot. She'll probably have to be on blood thinners for a while after surgery as well, but this should not be long term treatment. We'll find out more about how we're going to address this when the surgery gets closer.