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PCICU-Week 2 (post-surgery)

2014.07.27
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Praying over Eleanor and saying our goodbyes before her open-heart-surgery on June 17, 2014. We've written about that day in journals on our CaringBridge site, so I won't write too much here. But, we felt surrounded by prayer through that long and difficult day, and we've never felt such joy as when they called to tell us she had made it through the surgery successfully.
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We got to see her briefly at the elevator as they wheeled her from the OR back to the PCICU, but then we had to wait another hour to go back to the PCICU after they got her set up back there again. These are the number of machines and tubes she was connected to during her surgery.
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Back on her monitors in the PCICU. The second number from the top reads 100% oxygen blood saturation level. It's truly remarkable that before her surgery, her sats numbers were around 70-80%, and when we saw her again after surgery, the number was 100%. Modern medicine is miraculous!
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We are not going to post pictures from the days after her surgery. For the first day after surgery, her chest was left open to reduce swelling (a sight you can never prepare yourself for as parents), and even after her chest was closed the next day, she was back on the ventilator for a few days after the surgery. She was heavily sedated and medicated, mercifully, during this time.
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On Thursday night, the doctors removed Eleanor's ventilator for the second (and last!) time, so we were able to see her beautiful face again.
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Grandma and Grandpa Southwood came to visit Eleanor on Thursday night and see her for the first time post-surgery, just as she was getting the vent removed.
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Her recovery was swift and miraculous, especially in the days after her vent was removed. Friday and Saturday were spent just amazed at how well she was doing--all of the doctors and nurses commented on her amazing recovery. We couldn't believe it when they told us we might be moved up to the 5th floor individual recovery room on Saturday. We had been told to expect one week in the PCICU post-surgery and two weeks on the recover floor, but Eleanor was racing ahead of all expectations.
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a big yawn
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Still sleeping most of the time--as expected, she's been through so much in her first two weeks of life!
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a little extra love and accessorizing from the PCICU nurses, who were truly Eleanor's angels through all of this.
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Back to bottle feeding and able to hold Eleanor in our arms again!!
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Eleanor's station in the PCICU on the day we were being moved up to our own room. If you can believe it, this is with about 90% of the tubes and machines already removed.
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The PCICU nurses wrote individual messages to Eleanor on this stuffed heart, which she brought home and will be able to read one day.
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Getting ready to make the big transport!
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Being a children's hospital, they've had the brilliant idea to transport the babies and kids in these red wagons.
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Still connected to a few monitors and some small amount of oxygen. It looks like a lot, but at the time it felt like so little compared to what she'd had previously.
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Our brave survivor
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Goodbye to the PCICU--I will always have such vivid and strong emotions when I think about what we experienced in this place, and I will never be able to express my gratitude to the men and women who cared for Eleanor here.
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From Eleanor's heart surgery on Tues, June 17 until Saturday, June 21 when we left the PCICU and moved to an individual room on the 5th floor.
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