When Danny went in the hospital for the surgery to reopen his sternum, flush it out, and close it correctly we anticipated that he would be home a few days later. That surgery was on 2/27/14 and it is now 3/10/14 (11 days later). The doctors knew about the complication because of the inflamed, red area on the bottom of Danny's sternum. As unbelievable as it is, he has a new inflamed, red area and inch or two where it was before. The nurses and doctors are completely baffled. So far the bloodwork and cultures are testing negative for infections, but it's possible he could have an uncommon bug they are not testing for. His body is showing signs of a problem other that the big red area on his sternum. His temp has been a little higher than what's normal for Danny and his BP and pulse have also been high for him (at rest). So, even though the doctors don't yet know what they are dealing with, they do know there is a problem...and they are concerned. The doctor on call over the weekend for the heart team saw him on Saturday and took a picture of Danny's sternum (to send it to the surgeon who was out of town over the weekend) and Sunday when she looked at his chest her mouth dropped open. I would love to say that Danny and I are making a bigger deal out of this than we should be, but we aren't. It's not good to have had a heart transplant, a suppressed immune system, and then have a mysterious area that looks incredibly suspicious for infection. Danny had an ultrasound yesterday and just like the first time, something is showing up on the ultrasound, but they don't know what it is. Danny is still hopeful that it's a cool little alien friend living in his abdomen.
The doctors are still tweaking his pain meds trying to find the right one to alleviate his pain. They just came in for rounds and the thought is that it's fluid collecting again...or still, really. When they pulled out the chest tube the other day it was still draining but because his abdomen was starting to get red and inflamed again, they removed the tube to eliminate the possibility of it causing infection. I don't understand why if the chest tube was in and was draining why his sternal area started getting inflamed and red again in the same general area. I think they will put in a wound vac because the surgeon told us after this latest surgery that the next step would be a wound vac if necessary. Apparently they are amazing at stimulating healing. Danny's sternum is just having a really hard time healing and having a suppressed immune system makes it very tricky. They have to lower the immuno-suppressant medicines to enable his sternum to heal (and fluid go away), but if they aren't careful his body will reject his foreign heart.
We don't know if they are just going to wait and see what happens or do something surgically (proactive)...but I do know they won't send him home until his pain is managed and they feel comfortable knowing for sure what's going on with his sternum/fluid issue.
This is my last week with Danny before my leave is over and I have to go back to work. The kids have been struggling with the pressure of all of this and so I am going home at night and back to New Orleans during the day. If Danny is still here next week it is going to be awful not being able to see him during the day.
Though I know for sure that God is good and faithful, and I know for sure that He loves us and has not forsaken us, all of this is still very, very hard. I haven't learned those things through this experience because I've already learned them through previous life experiences. What I'm learning through this trial is that He is the perfect comforter. People try to comfort-and many do. However, some people are hurtful (unintentionally I'm sure) and that is so hard. When we are in survival mode, our feelings and emotions are fragile and vulnerable. I think maybe things that are hurtful to us now maybe wouldn't be in times of life when things are smooth sailing. Anyway, I'm learning to give that hurt to the Lord and allow him to comfort me and bring me to forgiveness. Forgiveness can be so tough and I'm not an expert by any means!! I am an open person who wears my feelings on my sleeves. God is teaching me and convicting me to take my troubles to Him first. He does use the body of Christ, friends, family...to support each other...but God should be our primary source of comfort. I hope I learn that lesson well through this time of trial.
Maggie & Charlie (God knows their needs)
Tricia: strength, learn God's lessons, work next week, parenting, support Danny
Thanks and God Bless,