Fearfully and Wonderfully made

Post Op – Week 2
October 31, 2008, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Surgeries | Tags: , ,

Post Op week two is almost complete and it has not been an easy week.  While the pain management has been somewhat easier this time, there have been some other issues which have made things more challenging.  Giovanna is more engaged this time and wants to try doing more things, which can be a good thing at times.  She tried cleaning her own pin sites today and did a fairly good job!  However due to the nature of the condition she has, it is hard for her to reach all of her pins. 

There are also blisters – some over the incision sites while others are near her pin sites.  Some of these have sprung a leak, which increases the risk of infection.  The two biggest blisters have both had some issues over the past couple of days.  One is near the base of the toes and is referred to as a sweat blister.  The one over the incision site is no longer filled with clear fluid but the dried blood from the incision has mixed in, making it look really bad.  But according to the Doctor it provides a good sterile environment for protecting the site from infection.    There are at least 4 blisters around pin sites, which makes cleaning the pin sites difficult and painful.  She has been a trooper through all of the cleanings and pin turns!

Her foot is still swollen, which makes me think that there is an infection brewing.  I been applying some  essential oils that are known to help fight infections.  This mornig when she got up, the swelling was down some.  Now that she has been up and moving, the swelling is back.  There has also been some drainage from a couple of her pin sites, another indicator that there might be an infection, so I cleaned all the pin sites with Hydrogen Peroxide today.  She is not running a fever, which is a good thing.  If things aren’t better by Monday, I will need to call the doctor and have them take a look.  I already have the script for an antibiotic!  Just what I need – one more med to keep track of.  Pray that the essential oils would clear any infection that might be brewing under the surface.

Then there is the mobility issue.  By this time with her surgery two years ago, she was weight bearing and  walking without the walker.  This time she is not bearing weight yet and uses her walker like crutches!  It is rather comical to see her push the walker just a few inches forward and then “hop” on her good leg to go forward.  It is slow, but steady progress.  She has not been allowed to use the walker without supervision, but last night decided to try it on her own with some not so good results.  She took a tumble with most of the impact/weight of the fall on her fixator leg/foot.  It was a bit loud in the house for a few minutes until we could get her calmed down enough to hear what happened.  Thankfully a warm shower made everything better!

It has been good that the weather has been nice for late October in Minnesota.  She has been able to get out and go for “walks” in the wagon.  Tonight she was sitting by the fire in the fire pit as the trick or treaters came by.  She had a fun time watching all the festivities, but eventually wanted to go around the cul-de-sac and have some fun herself. 

She is now tucked into bed for the night.  Pray that she will sleep through the night and that the swelling and drainage will clear over the weekend.


The Rhythm of Life
October 28, 2008, 3:41 pm
Filed under: Surgeries | Tags:

Hospitals have an order to them.  There nurses change at 7 AM, 3 PM and 11 PM.  It is great when the same nurse works the same shift each day – brings continuity and comfort to those in the hospital.  They have a computer that keeps track of all the meds one is taking and when it was given.  Nurses make their “visits” about every 2 hours.   Most doctors make rounds around 7 AM.  One knows what to expect when you are in the hospital. 

Meals are delivered at the same time each day.  The dietitian comes around to take orders from the kids!  Giovanna has a big smile on her face when she gets to order anything she wants to off of the menu.  Her favorite meal – rice with steamed veggies, chicken noodle soup and applesauce.  For breakfast she got to order Fruit loops and I didn’t even bat an eye!  She loved this part of the hospital stay.

So when I told her what needed to be accomplished before we could come home, she was excited, but also liked the comfortable routine of hospital life. 

So once we got home, it was wonderful to come home to a hot meal that had just been delivered.  Giovanna ate  a lot – almost like she had not eaten all week!  She really did eat, but probably not as much as she does at home.  It was so nice to have all the family together again.

However getting into a routine at home has not been as easy.  We have gotten used to later nights which means that mornings don’t start as early as I would like.  Giovanna is sleeping better, especially since we let her sleep until she wakes up with some pain.  Unlike the hospital which would wake her up every two hours for the meds.  This is helping to wean her off the pain meds or at least relax the schedule a bit.  She is not so dependent on the meds at this point. 

One of the big differences this time is that there are two pin turns each day instead of one.  So trying to figure out when to get her shower, pin cleaning and first pin turn in  during the morning has been challenging.  Then to get the second one in before Gary gets home along with the school prep and teaching that needs to happen – It can be overwhelming at times. 

But we are finally getting the med schedule and pin turns/cleaning down and most of it gets down before Gary gets home.  It is nice to have a quiet evening with little medical stuff to do.

Hospital Week – In Pictures!
October 26, 2008, 10:59 pm
Filed under: Surgeries | Tags: , ,

Here is a pictorial look at Giovanna’s week at the Hospital!

Giovanna packed all her special things!

Giovanna packed all her special things!


Time for some silliness with Big Sister!

Time for some silliness with Big Sister!

Some of the "gifts" received!

New Toys!

Therapy is hard work.

Therapy is hard work.


Pin Turns
October 25, 2008, 8:35 pm
Filed under: Surgeries | Tags: ,

Yesterday was the first day of pin turns.  Dr. G. came in on his morning rounds and said the swelling had gone down enough to start the pin turns.  He would be back later in the day after clinic.  So we waited and did some PT and a walk. 

When he came back around 2:30 to attempt the first turns, Giovanna literally fell apart and panicked big time.  She threw such a fit that Dr. G. walked out and said, “I can’t do it.”  He said he would be back in an hour. 

During that hour, I talked with Giovanna and let her know what was going to happen.  She was not happy.  I think that she was still trying to get used to this thing on her leg and then there was the blisters that were getting bigger over time. There was also fear that it would hurt.  It was not a pleasant experience.

I also talked with the nurse and we were concerned about the fear factor which reared its ugly head.  The nurse suggested that we give her some pain medication that would help to reduce the pain as well as the anxiety.  We gave it to her about 30 minutes before the Dr. was set to return.  His phone conference ran late and she was able to get her other pain med as well.  By the time Dr. G returned, she was very calm and relaxed.  She was still alert enough to ask questions. 

For this go round, there are three pins (nuts) that need to be turned.  One to draw the front of the foot up and two to lower the heel.  The turns are done twice a day with each pin (nut) being turned a 1/2 turn each time – one full turn per day.  Over time the heel will be lowered enough to meet the raising of the toes – thus making the foot flat and should help her gait.  During this process of turning the pins, the bone is actually pulled apart which sends signals to the brain to lay down more bone – thus new bone = longer and more bone.  It is amazing to see how God designed the body to work.

The ride home from the hospital was quiet as Giovanna was pretty tired and heavily medicated.  She slept for the first hour or so which gave me time to get the prescription for pain meds filled and figure out the med schedule.  It is not easy to keep the pain med schedule straight.  She takes something almost every two hours to manage the pain.  We let her sleep at night until she wakes up unlike the hospital that woke her up every two hours for meds.  This will be one way that we can  begin to wean her off the  pain meds.

Today once Giovanna had her shower, we did the pin turns and they went much better.  It was helpful to have some distraction, like her brother playing a game with her.  Life will get easier over time.

Continue to pray for the swelling in her foot.  It has begun to rescind, but it is not gone.  Also the blisters are continuing to grow – which is freaking Giovanna out.  There is too much wrapping on the foot, but Giovanna is reluctant to shed much of it.  We are removing it for the night in the hopes that her foot will cool off a bit and reduce the swelling and the size of the blisters!

Home Sweet Home!
October 24, 2008, 8:48 pm
Filed under: Surgeries | Tags:

Giovanna and I arrived home about 5:30 this evening after a rather traumatic day.  It was so nice to come home to a home cooked meal, especially one that I didn’t have to cook!  Now it is time to recover.

The first pin turns were interesting.  The doctor came in this morning to check on the swelling.  The swelling had gone down enough that pin turns could be done.  When Dr. G. came in at 2:30 to attempt the turns, Giovanna went into hysterics.  He said he’d be back in an hour.  I spent some time talking with both Giovanna and the nurse.  It was decided to give her some medication which has a calming affect.  Then since the Dr. was running late, she received the other pain medication and by the time the Dr. came, she was really calm and the pin turns went really well.  She asked some questions during the process. 

Once home, Giovanna was groggy enough and slept for about an hour.  This gave me time to get to Target and get the prescription for pain medication filled.   I also need to improvise for the shower arrangement.  Her shower bench from the last time is in Nebraska and so while at Target, I got a couple of stools for Giovanna to use in the shower. 

After supper, Giovanna tried out the new shower arrangement and we did the pin cleanings.  She is now resting comfortably on the couch with her sister watching “Parent Trap”. 

The most interesting bit of news – Dr. G. thinks that we might be close to completing the whole process of bone lengthening process in 2-4 weeks.

We are Going Home!
October 24, 2008, 1:24 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Today is the day – the swelling is down just enough that the pin turns can begin.  Oh Joy!  We are waiting for Dr. G to make his rounds and come in and do the first one.  Once that is done – off to Eagan we go!  The car is loaded and there are just a few things left to put in.  One more trip to PT at 1:30 and then once the pin turn is done – we are out of here!!!

Thanks for praying – things have gone well!

Prayer Request
October 23, 2008, 7:11 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for us as we go through this week.  Also thank you for all of the practical ways that you have been ministering to our family – the meals, coming to visit and to give me breaks from the hospital.  God has used you in many ways to keep us going, especially as the days are sometimes very long.

The biggest concern right now is for the swelling in Giovanna’s foot.  She is still very swollen and having troubles moving her toes because of it.  She has developed some blisters as well, which could be due to the swelling but also could be sweat blisters due to the wrapping.  So the wraps are off and the ice packs are strapped to her foot. 

Because of the swelling, the pin turns could not be started today.  The swelling could also delay our discharge from the hospital.  Please pray that God would work a miracle and reduce the swelling.