Friday was good. We closed the day with dinner at my Cousin Amaya's; Beth and I and the kids and my folks. Amaya cooked some great spaghetti and we brought dessert from Mayfield's Bakery (probably worth a trip to Palo Alto just to sample their pastries, their croissants are the best and they make one croissant stuffed with ham and gruyere cheese!) I picked up a chocolate torte embellished with raspberries.
Saturday afternoon I took the kids to Santa Cruz to hang out with Rich while Kelli was in her flamenco workshop. Beth spent the time with Gabriel.
Early Sunday morning my folks stopped by to see Gabriel and called with a glowing report. The chest tube had been removed, he was looking and doing great! With three days of good news we settled into a lazy morning and didn't rush up to see him. I went for a run and was amused when Janis Joplin popped onto the random shuffle of my iPod singing "Oh Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz" as I ran past driveway after driveway filled with a Mercedes or similarly priced automobile. We eased the kids out of pajamas and arrived at the hospital in high spirits. These were dashed immediately after Gabriel's RN advised us he was experiencing tachycardia every few minutes and had started about 15 minutes prior to our arrival. Tachycardia is an elevated heart rate, Gabriel's resting rate is about 150 beats per minute (bpm). His rate was shooting up to over 210 bpm for a couple of minutes at a time and would then settle back to his normal rate. Dr Roth advised us this could be caused by decreased electrolytes particularly potassium and magnesium. Gabriel was running low on these minerals due to the lasix (diuretic, which means you pee a lot) he needed to be on to get rid of all the fluids which had accumulated due to surgery and the healing process. This stuff is all so interrelated and the Dr.s and nurses are trying to find the perfect balance of med.s that equate to the perfect solution for the particular patient. Dr Roth also mentioned the tachycaria could be caused by an extra nerve bridging the ventricle and atrium so that on occasion a circular firing effect could occur thus resulting in tachycardia. He also cited a study written by a colleague of his working at Boston Children's Hospital which showed that infants who had experienced atrial trauma (having your atrial septum scooped out qualifies as trauma) were prone to experience tachycardia. He also discussed the fact that there may be clotting around the shunt (goretext tube going from ventricle to atrium). The candor and forthrightness of the staff is fantastic but at times too much information definitely adds to ones anxiety level. During rounds they also discussed his AV (tricuspid) valve and believe it may be mechanical (a problem with the valve itself) and not just caused by back pressure. This means it will need repaired at some point. The hope is to control it as best as possible with med.s and repair it during his second surgery at 3-4 months of age. The other option (if it can't be controlled with med.s) is to reopen his chest and fix the valve now. Beth commented, "We're never going home." We spent the rest of the day at his bedside and due to the RA line and chest tube removals were able to hold the little guy which I think did more to console us than him- or maybe it was an even match. I think I mentioned earlier though that this place will slap the self-pity out of you with the force of a 2x4 to the head. The baby girl across from Gabriel not only has cardiac issues but has been going through morphine withdrawals for the past several days. The baby boy beside Gabriel coded (went into cardiac arrest, heart stopped beating) last Friday. They performed CPR and he's been on a heart and lung machine since and is comatosely sedated. We're just looking at tachycardia (which could take us to cardiac arrest) and a faulty valve (which could do the same) but we aren't there. This past week we had started to plan our trip back home. A couple of days in the CVICU. a week or two in 3 west, a week at the cottage, home by mid-March! We're moving back to thinking in 24 hour increments, carpe diem baby ("baby" here used colloquially and not in any sarcastic form) cause that may be it .