Jan 2, 2011

Athelie's Burn - New Year's Update

Happy New Year’s to everyone. We had quite an eventful New Year’s. One that wasn’t planned. Friday, New Year’s Eve, we woke up to Athelie’s shoulder (the one place that had not healed yet) smelling. After calling the burn clinic they suggested taking her to either her pediatrician or urgent care as that could be a sign of infection. Since her doctor’s office was closed, we went to urgent care where we spent the majority of the afternoon waiting. As you can imagine, that was NOT FUN. Waiting any significant period of time with a 16 month is not fun, not to mention, in a room full of sickies – people were coughing, sneezing, hacking, etc. which was horrible to be around since we were all healthy and not wanting to get sick on top of everything else. After waiting what seemed like forever, we finally saw the doctor who said she had an infection. They stuck her finger and did a white blood cell count, which they found was elevated: also a sign of infection. They called the doctor at the burn clinic and he told us come in the following morning instead of waiting until Monday. He said not to let Athelie eat or drink anything 4 hours beforehand in case she needed surgery. We left urgent care with a prescription for antibiotics and went home to pack, eat, and try to sleep.
We woke up at 5:00 a.m. New Year’s day and drove to Augusta. We were the 2nd people called back in the clinic. After unwrapping her bandages and taking off most of the cadaver skin that remained on her chest and shoulder area, the doctor determined that she wasn’t infected (something we prayed for the night before) and would need surgery to clean up the shoulder area and add new artificial skin.

The surgery went well, and only lasted 40 minutes. During the surgery it was determined that her shoulder area was a 3rd degree burn. They were unable to make that diagnosis during the first surgery as burns tend to evolve if they do not heal right away, apparently. Our prayer for this week is for this burn area on her shoulder to be completely healed or at least diminished in size. We will be going back on Friday for another surgery where they will be doing a skin graft. This will potentially be the most difficult surgery as skin will be removed from her leg area and be placed on her shoulder. The good news is within 7 to 14 days she should be healed. We will then just be in the maintenance phase to take care of her skin and prevent scarring.

Whew! I know that was a lot of details. We have not communicated during the last 24 hours as Marc and I both felt really wiped out and drained. Not knowing if she had an infection and imaging the worse was very scary. In some ways, this past weekend has been harder than the previous three days we spent in the hospital right after her burn.

Despite everything, Athelie is happy. Playful. Talking a lot these days. And in a good mood in general. She doesn’t seem to be in pain. And we are thankful that she is acting like herself despite everything.

Thank you in advance for all the continued prayers and for lifting our family up, carrying our burdens, and loving on us. We are so thankful to everyone who has supported us during this time.

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