Monthly Archives: March 2016

After the Cath

Hey everyone! I just wanted to post an update on how Nolan’s cardiac cath procedure went. Overall it went well, but let’s start from the beginning:

We had to be at Levine Children’s Hospital at 6am so we were up super early so we could load up and make the drive. Nolan woke up in a super happy mood and was – believe it or not – excited to see the doctor and “get pictures of my heart.”  Oh, and Nolan was definitely stylin’ for the occasion:

  
That’s just a straight baller right there. 

As you can see he was in great spirits even arriving at the hospital: saying hello to everyone and being in a good mood in his ninja turtle robe (with his Monkey in tow, of course). We went up to pre-op, checked in, and were guided back by a nurse who took his weight. Everything was going smoothly until Nolan’s arch-nemesis arrived: THE BLOOD PRESSURE CUFF. Once that went on it was a wrap…kid was duzo and we were on a trip to screamsville, population Nolan. From that point whenever anyone came into his room wearing scrubs or looking even halfway official, he’d flip out. Yeesh. It was gonna be a long day. The crazier part was we got there at 6 and the cath was scheduled for like 8:30. So we had quite some time to deal with our crankypants. We watched some shows on his tablet, then on the TV, then I resorted to walking him around the pre-op unit. And oh no, King Nolan didn’t want to ride in the wagon they had, he wanted Daddy to carry him. So at the expense of my arms we did like 48261947265284 laps around the unit.  Eventually the nurse arrived with the magic stuff: Versed. It’s a sedative they give kids before taking them back, and it’s gooood stuff, from the looks of it. We put it though his g-tube and convinced Nolan to ride in the wagon, which he agreed to…but not after tucking in Monkey first:

  
A few more laps around the unit and the happy juice was kicking in. Nolan was smiling, laughing, and tipping over like a little drunk. We got him into his bed and told him he was going for a drive. From there he was wheeled back to the cath and my wife and I went up to the waiting room, where we ate breakfast, watched crappy TV shows, and dozed off. 

Finally about 3 and a half hours or so later we got a call from the doctor who said the cath was complete and they had to balloon open part of his Glenn shunt as well as part of his pulmonary artery, which he said he sees a lot in HLHS kids. He assured me all was fine but that due to the ballooning Nolan would have to kept overnight. Sheesh. Oh, and due to the ballooning it would postpone his surgery for at least 6 weeks. Not such a big deal, except that we had several people lined up to help us that week…time to change plans!

We finally went to see our little boy and he was so sad. He was just coming out of it and was cranky and crying out for us.  He wanted water too. His nurse was really attentive and let my wife get in the bed with him. Eventually we went up to the progressive care unit, which is where we’ve been a ton. By now Nolan was a beast: he was very unhappy and just wanted to go home and nothing was going to make him happy. 

Eventually my wife had to leave to get our other kids and I had hospital duty for the night. Eventually I got our little crankypants to fall asleep:

  
And it was glorious. He slept for several hours and no one bothered us (bonus!). Having a toddler in the hospital is WAY different than a baby: you can’t seem to walk away for even a second, so I asked a volunteer to sit with him while he slept so I can run to the cafeteria to grab dinner. When I got back he was still asleep, which was great. 

Once he woke up I took him for a walk on the unit now that he had clearance to do so. He walked for a little bit but eventually wanted to be carried. I wasn’t gonna argue with him. Eventually I got the little nugget to go back to sleep and I prepared myself for a night of maybe-sleep on the long couch in the room. 

The next morning I startled awake at 7:30 and Nolan was still knocked out. I realized I slept good too: no 2am interruptions? No 4am blood draw?  YES! That only lasted so long, though, as Nolan needed an EKG an x-Ray and some blood work before he was sent home. He was NOT happy to wake up to the EKG but he did good:

  
When the phlebotomist came I was ready for battle. If you’ve read this blog you know how I can be with phlebotomist a sometimes (no offense). The good news was Nolan already had an IV line so I asked for his blood to be drawn from there. She told me she couldn’t do that, which I expected, so I asked her to get the nurse. The nurse got the blood from the line without needing to stick Nolan. Win!

Mommy came next with breakfast, which made everyone happy. Then Nolan got a visit from a very special. Guest: a therapy dog named Coco. And he LOVED her:

  
After some time in the playroom and snuggles with Mom, we all got to go home!  Nolan even got to play with an alphabet puzzle from his teacher, which he was so happy about:

  
He came home a little sore and bruised but otherwise fine. We’ll  schedule an appointment with his cardiologist to talk surgery. For now we’re glad he’s home. Thanks to everyone for the kind thoughts and prayers! We were truly feeling the love!

Here We Go Again: the Cardiac Cath

I apologize for the lack of updates lately: it’s been super busy! I did want to come here and give my readers an update on Nolan as we begin preparations for his third – and hopefully final – surgery, the Fontan Procedure. First, however, he will need to get a Cardiac Catheterization procedure, just like he did before the Glenn Procedure. 
 
So you might be asking: what the heck is a cardiac cath? Or maybe you’ve got one coming up for your kiddo and you want to learn more. Well here’s a little bit of information:
A heart cath is essentially a procedure to look more closely at a heart’s function, even better than an echo. Your kiddo will be sedated and possibly put under anesthesia. Doctors will insert a catheter, which is a thin tube, into a blood vessel in the leg, groin, arm, or neck (Nolan’s cath will have at least leg and neck due to the Glenn shunt).

  

Using the catheter the doctor will be able to get a really good look at your child’s heart structure. He or she will also use the catheter to test the pressures in the heart and check blood flow through the heart.
Depending on your child’s CHD and the condition of his or her heart, the doctor can also use this opportunity for treatments or repairs. They can place stents to keep arteries open, use a balloon to open valves or blood vessels, and even close off certain parts. 
Typically kids stay in the hospital for monitoring until their O2 levels return to normal: sometimes this can require an overnight stay. I’ve been told it’s rare for kids to have major complications from a cath procedure. The only things to look out for is discomfort around the entry point(s) and making sure to keep bandages on as long as instructed. Of course, be sure to follow all the doctor’s instructions.

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Tomorrow morning, March 15th at 6am we will bring him to Levine Children’s Hospital and he will be in the hands of an amazing cardiac cath team. This is our second time bringing in Nolan for a cath and while this procedure isn’t as major as a full-blown surgery, it nonetheless has me nervous. You know I never want my little man to be uncomfortable or scared, so he’ll be receiving lots of love and snuggles! As always, we really appreciate all your prayers, kind thoughts, and positive vibes! If you want to get more real-time updates on Nolan and his cath, please be sure to visit his Facebook page…and click like too!  Thank you all!!!