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Back on Ward 9
part IV

14 June, Thursday

"I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live." Psalm 116:1-2

He still had his chest drain, and the good old ‘bucket of blood’ by his bed, but in the afternoon they were able to take that out, and he seemed to be in a lot less pain after this.

We then found out that the results of the swab on Samuel’s wound came back, and he did have a rather nasty bug in there. The antibiotics that he was on were doing no good and he needed to go on some more heavy duty stuff called Vancamycin. We wouldn’t be leaving the hospital until he had a course of at least one week to 10 days.

15 – 20 June

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

During the next few days we noticed that his breathing had not slowed down at all, he was going about 100 breaths a minute. An x-ray showed that his lungs were still wet, and they were a bit concerned that the infection may have gone to his heart. Thankfully an ultrasound ruled that out. Good news for a change!

Samuel was reminded again about breast feeding, but he had real trouble trusting anyone, even mummy. It took about a week for him to learn that not all handling was painful, and that mummy and daddy were the good guys.

Slowly, day by day, Samuel was able to get rid of the medical paraphernalia. And for the first time he was taken off the heart and oxygen monitor, and although when he had it on it seemed like it was always beeping, the silence seemed more unnerving! Before long his Central IV line was the only thing keeping him down.

We were constantly by Sam’s side, the hospital was all we knew and life outside it ceased to exist, apart from our daily phone conversations with the girls. We longed to go home, we longed to hold our girls, we wanted to get back to our own lives and put this nightmare behind us. But it didn’t look like it would happen any time soon. We’d already been in hospital for 3 weeks.

At this point Samuel had done his first week of antibiotics, and we were told he would have to do at least another week, just to be safe. And so the days dragged on. We watched new patients coming in, and then going home again. We got to know the nurses.

It was clear that Sam’s breathing was not getting any less laboured, so they planned a catheter study to check what was going on in his heart and lungs. They suspected that he had extra vessels going to his lungs, creating an extra flow. They hoped to block these off with little coils, but this would not be without its risks and it was difficult on a baby so young.

21 June, Thursday

"Emmanuel,… God with us." Matthew 1:23

Although it was certainly not open heart surgery, the Catheter Study is no small procedure by any means. He would still need to be put under General Anaesthetic, and be hooked back up to the ventilator. It usually goes without a hitch and we should expect him back in the recovery room in 1-2 hours.

The Theatre for Sam's Catheter Study

Again, we had to give our precious son to the nurse to be taken to a special theatre. Somehow this time it was worse than the last time, I guess knowing that nothing is guaranteed. We prayed hard, and the morning went very slowly.

It was about 3 hours before we heard that he had made it out, but he was in ICU. That was all the nurse knew for now, and I was just about frantic. No, we couldn’t go see him, they’d call us when they were ready. I was panicking, why was he in ICU? What had gone wrong?

It felt like years before they gave us the OK to head down and see him. In fact I think it was more like half an hour.

The Catheter had gone well, they were able to block off most of the vessels, which reduced the extra flow by 75%. He was a bit difficult in coming off the ventilator, and so they sent him down to ICU for extra monitoring for the afternoon.

When we finally got to see him he was crying in a deep voice (I think from a combination of the morphine and the ventilator.) He was starving hungry, and totally tripping by the look of his eyes!

Sam gets ready to go back to ward 9

After a good feed and a cuddle, he settled down nicely, and after about 5 hours they sent us back up to ward 9.

22 June, Friday

"In returning and rest shall ye be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." Isaiah 30:15

On day 10 of Sam’s antibiotics, we hit another setback – well so we thought. It was his midnight feed, and Paul had just finished changing his nappy. He looked down and saw a frightening sight, his Central Line was lying next to him, out. Hastily undoing his nappy, he saw blood gushing out of where the line should have been. I saw the colour drain from his face as he told me to run and get the nurse. Thankfully, the bleeding stopped with some pressure, but the problem was that there was no other line in to give him his antibiotics.

23 June, Saturday

"How great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee!" Psalm 31:19

In the morning the doctors tried to decide what to do. He needed another few days of antibiotics, and they would try to get a peripheral line in (in his hands or feet), but that had proved to be difficult in the past. Janine, the Registrar, said she would give it a go.

My heart sank. One of the worst parts of being in the hospital was when they stuck my boy with needles, it happened on a regular basis, but it never ceased to upset me. This time was even worse, she promised that she would only try three sites, and if they failed they’d have to look at doing something else.

It felt like the procedure took hours, but in fact it was only about 30 minutes. It was heart breaking watching her try over and over to get into a vein, and hoping for one that hadn’t already packed up. She was true to her word, and after trying both hands and a foot, we gave up.

In the mean time it felt great to hold him without any extra ‘attachments’, and we were even able to bath him – just like a normal baby!

The afternoon brought news that I was too scared to even have hoped for. They had decided that they would not carry on with the antibiotics! They’d watch him carefully for 48 hours, and if he remained free from obvious infection he would be able to go home after a final Echo!

We were almost delirious with happiness, was it possible that we’d actually get to take our baby home?

25 June, Monday

"The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him, and the Lord shall cover him all the day long…"     Deuteronomy 33:12

Samuel showed no more signs of infection. His Echo (an ultrasound of his heart) gave the all clear for us to go home! They would book our plane tickets, and we could go in the morning! We felt positively giddy!


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