We are the first case of the day. Surgery is at 7:30 am, we'll arrive at 6:00 am.
Just got back to the hotel a little bit ago after a long day of pre-op. Drew was a champion, like he always is, and we made it through ok too. We got to the hospital at 7:30 and Kathy met us there to pick up Ava. After trying a few different rooms, I finally found the right place to be, admitting. The woman who checked us in was very sweet and reassured us that we were in a very good hospital, with excellent doctors. (Also, patients have free parking here! Someone should tell UCSF about that.) She directed me to the Heart Center where we received a new packet of info with our itinerary for the morning.
First up was Drew's echo. He did great, just laying still while the tech took pictures of his heart. He watched a movie and it took about 30-40 minutes. Then he had his EKG. That was a different story. They have to put about 12 little stickers all over his chest and then connect them to wires to record his heart rhythm. Well he started freaking out about the stickers and crying and saying it hurt. They asked me if he was very sensitive, but I don't think it actually hurt, I think he was just scared. Luckily that is a pretty quick test so it was over fast.
Then it was time for blood work. That coincided with my meeting with Dr. Hanley, so Dan had to take him by himself. Even though I gave him all my tricks, it didn't work and Drew did not enjoy his TWO pokes. Poor guy. And poor Drew.
I met Dr. Hanley in his office and got the lowdown on surgery. First he explained the differences between using a human valve (a homograft) and a pig valve. Both average 10 -12 years before they need to be replaced, but a human valve has a range of anywhere from 2-25 years while a pig valve's range is more like 8-14 years. I think we might leave it up to him. I asked how long surgery will be and he said he'll be gone for 6-7 hours, but only 3-4 of those hours will be actual surgery time. Half of the surgery time will just be getting into his chest. Since he's had previous heart surgeries he has a lot of scar tissue and the heart is stuck to his chest. So they have to be very careful in opening the chest. Dr. Hanley expects Drew to be on bypass for 1.5- 2 hours. We also talked about him cutting out Drew's old scar and giving him a new one, which will hopefully heal more pleasingly than the last time.
Then it was back over to the Heart Center for our meetings with the anesthesiologist and the surgical PA. They both examined him at the same time and asked us lots of questions about his history. We found out Drew will not be getting any pokes tomorrow until he is asleep. Thank goodness! We got a detailed explanation of the surgery complete with a diagram. Then they started talking about risks and mortality and Dan and Drew went outside in the hallway. We also gave consent to be a part of a research study and Drew will be receiving the study treatment-a silver dressing to be placed over his incision, which they think will decrease the chance of him getting a wound infection. This meeting went until 11:30, then it was time for the x-ray.
Drew did great with the x-ray, he is an old pro. He will tell you that x-rays show your lungs and bones. Afterwards we had a quick lunch in the cafeteria, because at 1:00 we had a tour of the CVICU. On the first floor there is a huge model train for the kids to look at. Drew had to stop and look at the trains every time we passed by, and that is where we met for the tour. There was another family there with their 1-year old who will be having surgery in two weeks. The mom was very upset and I felt so badly for her, because she's scared and she's never done this before. Even though this is scary, we have some prior experience with it and we know that Drew's made it through twice before. I hope I was some comfort to her, even if it was just seeing how healthy and happy Drew looks even after two open-heart surgeries.
Anyway, the tour was given by a very friendly social worker who showed us the waiting rooms, the ICU, the 3rd floor step-down unit, the play room, etc. Drew was getting tired by this point, but we did show him the CVICU and where he would be waking up after surgery.
Lastly, we met with Child Life who told him a story about surgery using dolls. He helped put all the leads and lines on the doll and she gave us a bag of hospital stuff to play with tonight.
Right now Drew is playing at Grandma's house. We are going to have Ava sleep there tonight, but Drew, Dan and I are going to come back to the hotel to sleep.
We're going to try and get some good rest tonight and we'll be at the hospital at 6 am. Surgery is set for 7:30. We'll try to post updates from the hospital tomorrow.