This afternoon, we returned from hospital complete with new G-tube and a bundle of "goodies" (enteral syringes, gauze and antibiotics mainly) . I would like to say we blazed in on a trail of glory, problems fixed and like two new revitalised people, but in reality we were both absolutely zonked and it showed as the afternoon dragged.
The infamous operation (placement of PEG, bronchoscopy and endoscopy) went pretty smoothly. After a minor hiccup with heating, we went up to theatre and I held a terrified Wriggles as she was given gas to send her to sleep. I thought I was prepared for seeing it, but only doors down from PICU I was completely out of my depth seeing her flop, so still and "asleep". Our kind nurse lead me out, tears streaming down my face with nightmares of PICU flashing through my head at high speed like we were there yesterday. My senses were on high alert and it felt like we had never left. Once Costa Coffee had helped calm me down, I sat by our bed and drew Wriggles some pictures to try and help explain her new wiggly worm (48 hours on and this is still not happening. How DO you explain to a tiny girl why her tummy has been perforated and hurts?) and just under an hour later was called to go up to recovery. My goodness, I couldn't get there quick enough! The poor mite was obviously in a fair amount of pain and very disoriented. As always, I have only high praise for the paediatric who were dealing with us; they let me pick her up straight away and rock her to try and make her feel better. Oceans away from having to argue about the benefits of kangaroo care!
Back on our ward, the first 24 hours were what I can only describe as rough. Wriggles barely left my lap apart from two occasions for me to go to the bathroom, and bedtime took hours to transfer her to the cot without her screaming. We had worked our way through a nice selection box of pain relief by now, both IV and through the tube which was now tolerating water feeds. She was still requiring oxygen and constant monitoring, so was a mass of wires. Over night (finally settled) she had her first milk feed at an excruciatingly low rate, which thankfully stayed down.
Thursday was better; with pain relief prescribed on the dot, she was not too bad. Her tube length had a snip as it was far too long for her and I was ran through the basics of caring for it. Obviously still very sore and very much confined to the bed, the object of the day was slowly increasing milk feeds which were all tolerated. She even lunged at a Quaver and perked up when her baby friend from signing came to visit (with her mummy). Today, discharge day, was a little more trying. The PEG site was showing some signs of infection which have become more pronounced as the day has gone on, and the vast majority of what has gone IN had come back up OUT. Not the plan at all. I knew a G-Tube was not going to be a magic instant fix or reflux cure and that the first few days are bound to be full of teething trouble especially with an infection brewing, but it is so disheartening to see so soon and mop up. I am slowly coming to accept that there are no magic fixes or golden words or therapies or medications and that our road is a long one that no one can forecast, but accepting this is not easy at all and going to bed I felt very low, on both our behalves. Not for the first time, I thought how unfair it should be that some children experience so much so young, and also not for the first time, wondered how things might have been different if medical research and innovation had bought me a few more weeks of pregnancy to aid Wriggles' development.
The bronchoscopy has revealed no startling revelations thankfully, but has shown that Wriggles has a small jaw meaning that her bits and bobs are set further back than they should be. She had a larger than average mass of adenoid tissue and her epiglottis and larynx are a litte too near the airway for someone with known breathing problems. We are being booked in for just one more test, a sleep study, to determine if she presents with sleep apnoea as she is a noisy and restless sleeper and can be quite hyperactive in the day, with previous noting of poor growth. If this is positive, she may need more treatment in some form. The endoscopy noted a slight laxity between stomach and gullet, but nothing significant. Relief yet also a strange disappointment that there is nothing obvious that is "fix-able".
I am nervous about the weekend. I would feel a lot more comfortable knowing that the community nursing team, gastro nurse and dieticians were on call, which of course they are not, but we have open access at the hospital if we need. I know we will get though, like everything, but in what state who knows. I trust things will get better and we will both be more at ease and more confident as the weeks progress, but right now I have incredibly mixed feelings about the new addition to our family and how we got to this point in the first place.