2/6 - Post-Surgery Report

It's been a very long day. Jamie is resting in the ICU after her surgeries. She will be in the ICU until tomorrow morning at the least and may be in there for an additional day beyond that. She's on a ventilator and is heavily sedated for now. She'll likely be weened off the ventilator (man, this sounds familiar) tonight at midnight or tomorrow morning. She's on propofol again, which means that she won't remember any of what is going on right now. Mom, myself, the sisters and some other family members have been into see her. It's pretty intense, to tell you the truth. The blanket covering her body drops off suddenly at her mid-upper shin bone and then it falls to the mattress. The bed is flat beyond that point, and that's about the best way to describe the initial shock. Her hands are wrapped up in bandages now. Certainly, this will become normal in no time - probably after a few hours - but initially it was a jolt to my system. It was very difficult on mom as well. I'm sure it will be hard on Jamie too for a long while, but she'll come to terms with it as well. My only point with this section is: This has been much easier to write about than it was to deal with personally.

From our perspective, Jamie's surgeon did an excellent job on her legs and her fingers. Jamie went into surgery shortly after noon and concluded around 5. Dr. Lin came to give us a few updates during the surgery, but didn't want to answer all of our questions out of professional courtesy for Dr. Foot Surgeon. Well, after surgery, she came into the waiting room to tell all of us (me, mom, KC, Roni, Uncle Joe, Aunt Cindy, Uncle Danny, Aunt Letty, cousin Sara and A-teamer Michelle) about how surgery went. One of the first things that she made clear for us was that we couldn't really have waited much longer before doing these surgeries. Apparently, Jamie's feet and much of her ankles were dead and filled with puss. In short, there was lots of infection in her lower extremities, and this will remain a concern as we go forward during these next few weeks (skin flaps on the legs) and months (groin flap for the fingers). The final result on the legs is that the length on both are equal and sufficient for prosthetics. That is a welcome sign. Dr. Foot Surgeon told us that she started cutting on Jamie's toes, then her feet, then her ankles and so on... but it was infected and dead up until the calf. This is the approach that we begged the surgeon to take with her feet, and so we feel confident that every inch of good tissue was saved. We needed to feel that way after the surgery, so that's good.

As for the hands, we didn't get the clearest answer ever. Some of the fingers are going to have some length on the first/PIP joint (if I had more time, I'd link to the old post here with the picture of the hand), but none of them will have the entire thing. Some won't have any length beyond the palm. Her left ring-finger was left a bit longer than Dr. Foot Surgeon would ordinarily leave it because its the ring finger and she'll be needing that one day. (I don't know why I'm still calling her Dr. Foot Surgeon, but whatever). Jamie's right thumb will have some gripping action, and, in conjunction with her right pointer, middle and ring fingers, will have some good pinching ability. Her fingers on her left hand are worse than the ones on her right. How much worse? We can't be too sure.

We're glad to be back with our old friends in ICU. Steve and Sarah greeted us when we returned to the ICU. They were glad to see how far Jamie has come and told us that as long as Jamie is here, she'll be treated like a queen. Megan, one of Jamie's old favorites will be taking care of her tonight. I should go say hi to Marci again. Maybe I'll buy her some cheesecake again. Also, Shantea (pronounced Shawn-Tay-Uh) was working security. Good to see the old friends.

There are a lot of open issues ahead of us:
- There's this area of her kneecap that is exposed. We're concerned about that area becoming infected. We were told that, even if it is infected, the kneecap can be removed. So, that's nice, I guess. But I think we'd like to avoid the whole issue as well.
- When do we get out of ICU? It should probably be in a day or two, but we've been given time tables before.
- Mom just said "She has Sake-legs!" We all thought that was cute. Jamie has short stumpy legs like our dog, Sake. If mom can say that, then its ok to smile.
- Infection, infection, infection. We told the ICU folks that we're going to be on top of the rules here. "This is our final exam on this issue. We're on top of it." This is our biggest issue, and you should probably stay tune to see how visiting should be handled in the near future.

Finally, sorry about the problems with the comments. Just some slight kinks in the system. Please comment as much as you'd like (or more) though, I don't know why they're asking me to moderate, but I'll let them through asap.