We are in the midst of another chapter in Athelie’s recovery from the burns she suffered on Dec 17th. We took our fourth trip to the Augusta burn clinic yesterday (Friday) for our eight o’clock appointment, this time accompanied by Mimi, Alysia’s mom, who came to visit for a 10 days. One simple word could summarize our day: WAIT.
We arrived at the clinic a little bit after eight o’clock. We waited close to an hour for our turn to see the nurse. This was one of the most anxious waits for us as we waited to see how Father had been healing her this past week. All her burns were healed with the exception of her shoulder. They determined she would need a skingraf on that area, which would provide the most complete healing as opposed to more cadaver skin as that was no longer effective. (This is what we had expected.) Everyone we spoke to was so patient with us as we asked tons of questions and learned as much as possible which in turn gave us peace about her impending surgery. The only uncertainty was in case of infection they would not be able to do the graf which would extend the healing process and would mean more surgeries in the future.
Wait 2, 3, and 4…
It was one of the busiest days at the hospital. We waited another three hours (wait 2) before Athelie went into surgery. She was taken into surgery at one o’clock. (Poor thing, she hadn’t had anything to eat or drink since dinner time the night before. Plus keeping her in one place and not letting her run around was hard on all of us.) Her surgeon came out within an hour and told us that her surgery went well without complications. They were able to do the skin graf as there had been no infection. Priase! They took a piece of skin the size of a playing card from her upper/outer thigh area, which is the equivalent to another 2nd degree burn. It is expected that this will be the most painful area now and that it will take longer to heal than her shoulder – about another 2-3 weeks.
Following her first two surgeries we were able to go to the recovery room with her until she woke up from the anesthetic. Marc thought those two instances were standard procedures, but it turned out that both instances were special cases because those surgeries occurred on the weekend. So we ended up waiting in the waiting room for another 3 hours (wait 3). (It was really hard being separated from her that long, knowing she was alone, and not being able to be with her.) We tried checking on her a couple of times, but it wasn’t until Alysia used her mommy super power that we were able to go back to the recovery room. We found her awake and really thirsty. And somewhat drugged from the remaining anesthetic and morphine they were giving her for the pain. She was quite funny actually. We gave her a couple of crackers to eat. But she ended up holding onto them instead of eating them. As she fell in and out of consciousness, she would drop her crackers and that would wake her up making her very grumpy and upset until we gave her another cracker to hold.
We stayed in the recovery room for another 2.5 hours while the staff tried to find an available room for us (wait 4). They wanted to keep her overnight to manage her pain. Again the staff at the Drs. Hospitals were great responding to Athelie’s every need and making us feel at ease as much as possible.
We were admitted to our room around 6 pm. At that point, we all felt emotionally tired from the long day which had started at 5 o’clock that morning.
Getting her to sleep was quite a challenge last night. Because of the drugs she was tired but restless. She fought sleep for hours. And thrashed around throwing herself around. Alysia ended up sleeping with her and having to wrestle her at times to get her in a lying position. After she finally went to sleep she had a pretty good night besides being itchy.
This morning Athelie woke up at 6:00 a.m. ready to go. She was back to herself running up and down the halls, dragging her blanket behind her the whole way. She has not needed pain medicine since the last dose of morphine last night.
Right now, we are waiting to be discharged as we’ve been released by both her burn doctor and the pediatrician.
We expect that this will be her last surgery and that she will be recovering from this point forward (pending any complications). Her skin pigmentation will take the longest to even out (up to a year). Keeping her skin moisturized and keeping sunscreen on will be our biggest chore from here on out, in addition to more follow up visits here in Augusta.
Lots of info. Hope I didn’t lose you along the way. Thanks for keeping updated with us via the blog. Once again thanks for all the prayers, support, and love so many of you have shown us. We are so grateful to have so many people walking with us through this journey.