Outside the PCICU at Vanderbilt there is a little doorbell that you ring to enter the unit. We rang the bell just before 10pm last night; the exact time the surgeon predicted Calvin might be settled in his room after surgery. The nurse informed us over the intercom that they were still getting him set up (balancing fluids, stabilizing his blood pressure, connecting him to all the machines). She asked us to come back in about 45 minutes. At 11pm we rang the bell again. Calvin still wasn’t ready. The doctor came out and explained he was doing well, but still having some pretty significant bleeding into his chest cavity. She talked with us for a while and told us to come back in about an hour and a half. At 12:30am we were finally admitted into the unit to see Calvin.
Multiple nurses, a nurse practitioner, and two doctors were still busily weaving around the equipment in his room setting up IV meds, drawing lab work, and silencing various beeping machines. He was puffy and swollen with a mass of wires draping off both sides of the bed, but otherwise no worse than how we had seen him after his first surgery. The doctor pulled back his blanket to reveal one of his chest tubes which was still draining a significant amount of dark, thick blood over the edge of the bed into a containment box on the floor. We found out he had been experiencing significant bleeding in the OR as well. After closing his chest on the table they ended up having to open him right back up again to address bleeding issues. As the bleeding seemed to slow they closed him back up and sent him to the ICU.
After settling in his room the bleeding had picked right back up again. The doctor informed us he had just called the surgeon again to come back to the hospital and “re-explore the issue.” What he meant by that was open Calvin’s chest for the third time to find the source of the bleeding. They sent us back out of the room to preform the procedure (the ICU rooms can also be turned into operating rooms so they didn’t move him). By 3am we were able to see him again and bleeding has thankfully not been a problem since.
Today’s goals are to wean him from the breathing tube later in the day and to keep him comfortable while he heals. The staff is hopeful that his oxygen sats will continue to improve after the breathing tube is out. Please pray for improved oxygen sats, an easy vent wean, and a fast recovery for Calvin.
Erica & Tyler