Thursday, June 19, 2008

Post-Op Day 27

Dr. Hanley came to see us today, and it was the talk of 3 West. Our nurse had never even seen him before and was asking me what he looked like! The great plan we've been waiting to hear is to wait and see. Are you kidding?! I hate waiting! Dr. Hanley says that it's very difficult to tell a normal pocket of fluid that is present after surgery from an infected pocket. He doesn't want to jump right into surgery unless we are sure that there is an infection, because it would mean cutting through his incision that we already know is infected and that would not be a sterile situation. We could use an ultrasound and a needle to try to suck up some fluid and culture it, but even that would require a good amount of sedation and the abcess is right next to his heart so there is some risk in doing that. So the idea is to treat the infection we can see, since we're not going home until that is taken care of anyway. That means we continue the IV antibiotics and recheck the wound every seven days. Once it looks good enough to discontinue antibiotics we hang around for a few more days to see if Drew develops a fever, his white blood cell count or CRP levels increase...basically we wait and see if he gets sick. The attending cardiologist on the floor was also here and said that sometimes these infections take 4-6 weeks to treat--we are finishing our third week of treatment.

So, I asked about transferring to a hospital in Sacramento so we could at least be closer to home. Dr. Hanley didn't like that idea a whole lot. He said he feels responsible for Drew's care, that Drew has a very complex cardiac repair, and that here Drew has doctors that know him the best. While he doesn't think there is a very likely chance that Drew will take a sudden turn for the worse, if he does he would like him to be here. I'm not sure that I agree that we've got the doctors that know him best here, since our cardiology team at UCD has been caring for him for four years, but I guess he probably does know the inside of his heart the best. So I asked if it was possible for us to go to Sutter (which I'm not sure that it would be with our insurance) since Dr. Mainwaring is there and was present for Drew's surgery. Dr. Hanley said he would feel more comfortable with that if that's what we want to do. So we have to decide and if we do want to move forward with that plan they have to check with Dr. Mainwaring and make sure it's ok with him (I think it is) and that he's not planning any vacations or anything. Dan and I need to discuss this in further detail before we decide what to do.

Also, the ID (infectious disease) doctor came by after we had our talk with Dr. Hanley and pretty much said he disagrees. He thinks it is an infection and that surgery is the best treatment, but he will defer to Dr. Hanley and try to tailor our antibiotic therapy as best he can. He didn't sound very confident in that plan though.

In other exciting hospital news, Drew had two friends come visit today. Jacob, Eben and Drew had a lot of fun together. It was great to see Drew acting so much like his normal self, running around chasing them, being silly and riding his bike. He also had fun this morning with his squirt gun outside shooting all the plants and trees. And he got to go the gym today for his PT and got to play with an obstacle course, throw and kick a ball and play basketball. I'm telling you, this kid is ready to go home!

Drew outside with his squirt gun (thanks Kathy!)

Drew, Eben and Jacob watching a movie together


Rebecca Myers said...

I hope that today goes well, I am glad you saw Dr. Hanley yesterday. Waiting and seeing is so hard, especially when you have two different opinions on the best course of treatment. Take care and all our best to all of you.

Valerie said...

Hi all you Himmelberger Blog readers. Please go to my blog and check out our raffle for Drew. Another item has been added. This has been extended untill Drew gets discharged.

Andrea and Dan,

If I can help you in anyway today, let me know.

Valerie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William said...

oh. my. god. i'm sooooo sorry to hear this news!!! i'm sending you all the best mojo i can muster! i'm praying that the round of antibiotics will be enough to take care of whatever is still lurking in drew's chest. xo!

Molly said...

Andrea... Thanks for the note on my blog. It's hard to be overly excited knowing that you guys are still battling it out in the trenches. But it is really encouraging to see Drew so happy and smiling and playing. Aren't kids resilient? We continue to pray for you guys. I may need to make another trip... :)

Lexi said...

We are continuing to pray for Drew everyday! I'm just getting caught up on the "news" this week and am PRAYING HARDER!!! I pray for wisdom for ID and Dr. Hanley, for "the Plan" of Sutter being a possibility and you and Dan's wisdom of that, I pray for continued support and "alone time" for you and Dan (and of course, OF COURSE Drew and Ava as well), I pray for great friends for Drew to visit with (and the rest of the family too) I'm sure it's nice to have familiar faces by your side!!! I pray for lots of healing and happy faces. I LOVED all of the pictures of Drew this week he looks so happy. Praying and praying some more.
The Sheridans

Carrie said...

You must be frustrated with conflicting advice. Does your old ID doc (at UCSF) have any opinion or Dr. Mainwaring? Drew sure looks great! I'm sure you're anxious for a little return to normality.
We're thinking about and praying for strength and healing for all of you.

Anna J said...

Hi Andrea,
Not the news you were hoping to hear. But Dr. Hanley is a very wise man. It's rare for a surgeon to be patient and views time as part of the healing and treatment process. Many surgeons are quick and all too eager to intervene. Try to remember, Dr. Hanley has Drew's best interest in mind.

We were in the hospital for 30 days before we took our daughter Summer home. And judging by your entries, it looks like you're going to be breaking our record. I'm so sorry. I hope you'll find some comforting words from Dr. Mainwaring. He sounds like he knows just what to say.

Hang in there!
Anna, Summer, and Lawrence
cp: Summertimes

Jen said...

Hello Himmelbergers! Just wanted to send some encouragement your way! We are praying for your strength with this "wait and see" plan--we've been there and I HATE that plan. It was good to see the video of Drew in therapy and kicking that ball, though. What a little trooper he is!

Lots of prayers,
The Hasty Family

Kristen Ewers said...

I sm praying REALLY hard that you will get to transfer to Sutter. I mean, Dr. Hanley sounds like a great surgeon and all, but to me, you have to consider the total care, and while he did the surgery, he is not the one giving the daily ongoing care, which is the area that could use significant improvement! There, I've said my piece, but I'll trust God on this one to give you and Dan discernment to know what's best. We miss you and love you guys!!!

Katie Scott said...

I love Drew! He is so cute in the video--Chloe was talking to him the whole time while we were watching it! It is so fun to see his personality coming through more and more. I am so glad that he had fun playing with Jacob and Eben yesterday. That must do wonders for his mood!
We will continue to pray for all of you, with these important decisions to make and for patience and endurance through this time.

carl said...

Take your time. There is no rush to decision. Consider ALL aspects that you can think of ...even those with the remotest and most negative connotations.

Stanford is one of the best, let alone one of the only places in the country ...or the world(!) that could do what you chose to do for Drew. Dr. Hanley, the whole team, inclusive of the ID doc, have the intimate knowledge of his complete picture. Very few places in the world have the combination of capabilities they have. Even ID is extremely important with their knowledge of his immunology, response, and microbiology. It is much more involved than just picking the right gun to shoot at the bug!

You continue to have the support of many, many individuals inclusive of all that read this blog. Do not hesitate to reach out and ask for anything you or your family may need in supporting your decision. The support all of us are offering and willing to offer is alot more flexible than the options you have for Drew.

You are in the middle of a long emotionally, spiritually, and physically exhausting ordeal. Take the time and space you need to step back and make a long term decision.

You will be looking back on this time 5, 10, 20 years from now with vision and confidence and say: Boy, that was a difficult time, but it was worth it.

Anonymous said...

It was fun to see you all yesturday. I was happy to see Drew running and playing with the boys too!
I will be praying that God gives you a clear choice in what to do next. I know it must be hard when your getting two different opinions. You have made the best choices for Drew so far and I know you will continue to.

I hope your enjoying your pillow!


Elle said...

May I just let out a big sigh for you? *siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh*

We are continually praying for you guys.

If there is anything we can do for you here in Sacramento, please let us know. Anything!

Love elle