This blog is not for the light-hearted or easily offended. If either one of those descriptions applies to you, i would suggest you start drinking before you read this blog. A sense of humor is suggested. If you don't have one that sucks for you … find one and get a life!
I woke up this morning and realized that I have been completely and totally negligent. I know that I told everyone on Monday that Keely was having surgery and then I sent out a bunch of horrifying and cryptic tweets stating impending doom. Then I dropped off the map. The result has been a bunch of caring people asking me how Keely is doing so I thought I would share my week with you.
As you know, or you would if you were a regular reader of this blog, my daughter Keely was having some reconstructive surgery down at Duke University Hospital on Monday, May 21st. If you aren’t aware of that then read the original story here or the post on this surgery here.
She was scheduled for surgery at 7:20 on Monday, which is both good and bad. It’s good because she would have the first surgery of the day, which is always preferable. I say that because the last time she was in surgery it was the second surgery of the day and the first one went way, way over the time slot so by the time Keely got out of post op it was already 9:00 PM. That makes for a long day when you have to arrive by 6:30 AM so we were psyched that she had the first surgery of the day this time.
Because we live an hour away and had to arrive at pre op at 5:15, I awoke around 3:45 to get it all together to take Keely down there. The plan was for Kevin to follow a little while later so he could do important things like walk the dog and bring me some coffee. No Starbucks is open that early so driving without a copious amount of caffeine is awful and tiresome and dangerous and I was sleepy.
At any rate, we arrived, checked Keely in and eventually we got to see Keely and she had on her RED HAT. The goal, as you know (read this) was to get a green hat but as it turns out, THERE IS NO GREEN HAT! They go from the red hat to the blue surgical hat so that’s a great thing to learn. It’s kind of like in the Matrix when they say, “there is no spoon” except it’s actually not like that at all, right?
So our anesthesiologist came in and he had this awesome Scottish Brogue and isn’t everything better with an accent? That was rhetorical so don’t answer. Keely, of course, wanted to know if you could actually feel the pain and still be under anesthesia since this was a pre op thing she had to sign. This was all covered by the red hat/green hat post and damnit, haven’t you read this yet because I’m going to keep alluding to it and you pretty much suck if you haven’t?
He explained that the scenario could occur but usually only in the emergency room when they’re accessing you and can’t knock you out until they know all the injuries. That rarely happens in the Operating Room but he did agree to watch out if he sees a single tear fall out of Keely’s eye which, as you would know if you ever saw a movie about this type of shit, always happens.
So Kevin and I went to the surgical waiting area and waitied to hear what was happening. We were notified when surgery started and then notified when they started doing the bone graft. By 11:30 or so Keely was in recovery and we spoke to her surgeon, Dr. Ramasunder. Apparently, the surgery was a great success and they were able to clean out the area, do the bone graft and the surgeons were very optimistic that the stability of the joint would be better in the long run. We were thrilled and hopeful that Keely would no longer be in pain.
As Keely would be in recovery for a few hours, we went downstairs and had lunch. We were in a great mood and I sent out texts and a tweet that all was wonderful with the world and it truly was. This was what they (the surgeons) had hoped to do 2 ½ years ago but they couldn’t do it then because of the damage. Now however, Keely had regenerated enough bone that the graft was a success.
We came back up to the surgical waiting room and we were in a jovial mood and they informed us that Keely was awake and we’d soon be able to go back and see her. Although Keely, age 22, isn’t considered a “child” she was still our baby and we were looking forward to giving her a big kiss.
Shortly thereafter, a nurse came out to grab out and asked us to get our stuff and accompany her back to post op. Apparently, the nurse told Kevin that Keely might have to have “emergency surgery” but I didn’t hear any of that. We walked back and there were about 10 people gathered around Keely’s bed. Kevin said later that “he completely panicked when he saw all those doctors around her bed” but I was thinking “that is so cool that this is a teaching hospital and they’re showing Keely’s successful surgery off to everyone” because very frankly, this was a very unusual surgery.
I asked if I could go next to Keely and I started weaving through the throng when Dr. Ramasunder turned towards me and she looked like she was stricken. I was thinking “what the hell?” when I got to Keely and realized she was crying. (Keely, not Dr. Ramasunder) At this point, I started tuning in to what the myriad of doctors were saying.
Dr. Cox: (vascular surgeon) we need to get her into surgery as soon as possible
Me: what? Why?
Dr. Cox: we have lost the pulse in her leg
Kevin: what does that mean?
Dr. Cox: there is either a hematoma in her pelvis or her femoral artery is blocked or destroyed
Kevin: how did this happen?
Meanwhile, I’m stroking Keely’s hair shushing her and telling her she’ll be ok and she’s crying and yet saying “stop mom, you know I hate when you stroke my hair like that” but I’m still trying to keep her calm when I start feeling it … the dreaded Vagus Nerve reaction.
Me: Kevin, I think I’m going to faint
Kevin: really? Hold on
And Kevin takes me to a chair and everyone turns their focus to me. After a minute or so, Dr. Ramasuder escorted me out to the waiting room so I could lie down so everything is hearsay from here on in.
Keely: where did Mom go?
Kevin: they had to take her away
Keely: Vagus Nerve huh?
So yeah, there was that. But back to the story …
Apparently, although the first few checks post op were fine, Keely had lost all blood flow to her leg. She noticed in post op and told the nurses that her foot was “cold.” They told her that was normal but she said, “no, it’s really cold and I can’t feel it at all.” The next time they checked there was no pulse so they called in her surgeon and a vascular team.
While I was in the waiting area, they explained to Kevin and Keely that she was in danger of “losing the use of her leg” if they didn’t get into the Operating Room ASAP. They would do an arteriogram to see what the problem was and then hopefully “fix” the problem. What they found out was that the femoral artery had what they termed a “dissection” which basically means that it was ruined. Not only is this an unusual thing to happen during tumor surgery, it’s an extremely rare thing to happen to a 22 year old.
It’s covered in all that paperwork that you sign before surgery entitled “extremely unlikely things to occur unless your name is Keely Rae MacDonald.” (NOTE TO READER: that’s not actually the real name of the section but it might as well be)
Long story short, at that point we were having heart failure and her surgeon was so upset that I was giving her a pep talk. They finally sent out word that they would be doing a femoral bypass and Kevin and I agreed that Keely had the worst luck in the world. By 8:30 she was once again in post op and they would be keeping her there all night.
The unfortunate thing was that they had to reduce her pain medication for the initial surgery so that they could monitor her leg for the second surgery so she was an unhappy little girl. I meanwhile, had gone home because my other two kids were pretty upset about the events of the day.
Especially Daniel as I had apparently sent him a text which said “DISASTER. Keely’s having emergency surgery. She could lose her leg!” which as Andie pointed out was an awful thing to text. She has since told me that I need a “five minute rule” on texting and that I need to wait to calm down before I text or tweet anything. Lesson learned as Daniel was unhappy with me.
So here I am, it’s Thursday and Keely is all sorts of loopy. Because of the drugs, she was really itchy so they gave her Benedryl. Ironically, while she’s incredibly resistant to narcotics the Benedryl has really knocked her out. She keeps waking up and saying the weirdest things, which I’m ignoring because she’s responding to the dreams she’s having. It’s actually quite funny.
Hopefully we’ll get out of her Friday or Saturday and then we can go home and recuperate: both of us because I look awful. My eyes are puffy and my hair is a frizzy mess. I don’t know what they show on TV but I can assure you, sitting vigil isn’t good for your looks. Not only that but I’ve seen a fair number of doctor’s and I’m not really seeing a McSteamy or McDreamy amongst the bunch. Grey’s Anatomy, you totally lie!
Thanks for all the warm wishes and good lucks and prayers. They sure paid off and I’m looking forward to becoming a funny person again. Being this serious sucks.