First of all, here is a picture of Anna's beautiful eyes!
This is me again, Matt. Wasn't it nice to see a post by my wonderful wife last night? She has such a calm, soothing spirit, doesn't she?
Okay - back to Anna...she opened her eyes for me this morning. Well, I like to think she opened em for me, but I think we all know she just opened them because, well, babies do that. I had to move my head around to get it into place so I could say "she's looking at me!" But, hey - sometimes we have to fool ourselves into thinking things that help us feel better, right.
Anyway - it was a pleasure to see her looking around. She peeked around a bit, closed them and opened them a few times, then went back to her normal & peaceful look. It was sssooo cool. Except for the fact that Alissa missed it...
As for the news, Anna had some fluid build up on the right side of her chest, so there was concern that she may have had some clotting in or around the cannulae, which is the thing that drains the blood back into the heart after going through the ECMO. By the way, since I don't think we have ever explained: ECMO stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. I could give you the technical rundown of what that is, but you could also google it and do as little or as much research as you want. So there.
Again - I am distracted. Back to the story. Fluid on right side, clotting around cannulae... The surgeon went back into her chest (which they left open in case they needed to do something like this...) and did indeed find some clotting. He cleaned it up, took out some of the fluid (blood), and put in a couple of stitches, then redressed her. They say she is now looking good, and resting again.
By the way, none of the attending folks thought this was any kind of emergency. While it is not normal for this to happen, it is something that occurs occasionally, especially for patients like Anna who has had surgery. Basically, the doctors/nurses have to walk a fine line. The ECMO requires Anna to be on blood thinners, since clots form very easy when blood comes into contact with the plastic tubbing of the ECMO machine. As you can imagine, a body that just went through surgery doesn't need a blood thinner, since the body needs to coagulate in order to heal the intrusions. So that's the fine line they walk: keep enough blood thinner in to keep clots from forming, but not too much that she just keeps bleeding. As such, extra fluid forming from clots is a fairly common side-effect.
So, what this all means is we are taking a couple of steps back. In order for them to start weening her off the ECMO, they need her extra fluids to go bye-bye. The reason being: extra fluid in the body puts pressure on the organs. And any extra pressure on the heart and lungs for Anna is bad, since they are still trying to heal up from the surgery. So the goal: reduce swelling, so the heart and lungs have as much space as possible to pump. Had she not had this setback, they would have started today to try and slowly take the ECMO down, and let the heart/lungs take over. However, since they needed to go back in, we will have to wait a couple of more days for the swelling to go back down and to start the weening process.
Sorry. Figured had to do that to all of you who fell asleep during that page-turning section of explanation...
What does all of this mean? Well, we could still use your prayers and support. Not that I doubt any of you are slowing your prayer-horse down any...
In other news, the sun is shining and it feels good to see that. Liss and I both slept okay last night. We had a great breakfast at a new restaurant nearby. We all ordered our own dishes, and I think we could have feed at least 10 people with all the food we got. We have some leftovers if anyone wants them, just come on down.
Love you all, and thank you again. I don't pity you the headache you will have when you wake up. But for now, sleep well, and dream of large women. Yes, that last sentence was a quote from a movie (or as near as I could remember). 10 points for the first person to get it right.