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!

In which keely doubles down on surgery

 

Warning: written in the hospital. This post could very well suck. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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.

 

Lynn

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28 Comments

  1. gramps
    May 25, 2012

    It’s Friday. I’m hoping that we will get an update over the weekend as I’m too old to wait much longer.
    Prayers.

    • Lynn
      May 25, 2012

      Ok…I’ll try to put up an extra post

  2. SciFiHeather
    May 25, 2012

    So glad you are sounding upbeat and happy. I like that five-minute rule! :)

    My best to your family and wishes for a speedy recovery!

    • Lynn
      May 25, 2012

      Hee!!! Thanks for your wishes

  3. Julie
    May 25, 2012

    Wow. Once I catch my breath I will say another prayer. I admit to being pissed off that there is no green hat but I will get over it because the anesthesiologist watched for ‘the tear’.

    • Lynn
      May 25, 2012

      I know right??? No green hat! Mad about that

  4. Jen Anderson
    May 25, 2012

    1. The green hat is a lie!

    2. So the pulse is back in Keely’s foot now? The second surgery was a success?

    • Lynn
      May 25, 2012

      Yep! Second surgery was good and she’s doing pretty well

  5. Damao2010
    May 25, 2012

    Your daughter is a very strong person. Nothing in life lasts forever, not even bad luck, so I’m sure she’ll get a break and things will finally be on the right track from now on. *hugs*

    • Lynn
      May 25, 2012

      Awww thanks…hopefully she will be able to get on with her life

  6. Melanie
    May 25, 2012

    After the hour long green hat speech, no green hat? I would kill someone.

    What a freaking ordeal. I’m so glad it’s over and everything turned out alright.

    • Lynn
      May 25, 2012

      Thanks…I know…when Keely told me no green hat I was like “you’re kidding me”

  7. Vidya Sury
    May 25, 2012

    My head is spinning – you deserve a great big hug and wild applause for holding up. Hospitals are not the easiest things to experience/manage/be cool about. I am sure Keely will recover. I am desperate to hear about her second op. AAArgh.

    In the meantime, i am doing the only thing I can do for you right now. Pray. i am squeezing God’s most delicate parts and threatening him…asking him to make sure everything goes very well. (Just for today, God shall be a him.)

    Take care of you, Lynn. You must be super-exhausted.

    Love, Vidya

    • Lynn
      May 25, 2012

      Thanks so much Vidya…she’s out of the woods and hopefully we will get out of here soon

  8. Jester Queen
    May 25, 2012

    Wait. She had the bypass. It worked, yes? Everything good, yes? What’s the long-term prognosis for that? Oh my LORD poor Keely. Poor YOU. I’d love it if she could regain her hip. But her health sounds so very fragile. Don’t worry. WE know you’ll be funny again. Right now, you’re being Mom, which, as you know, is way way way more important.

    • Lynn
      May 25, 2012

      Yep! She had the bypass so that’s all good and now we are just dealing with the original situation which is good so far!!

  9. Dawn
    May 25, 2012

    Phew – so glad things are looking optimistic now. What an ordeal!!! I’m sick at my stomach just reading all this. And, even when you’re upset and beside yourself, you still inject humor into the situation. I’m so happy she will be able to head home soon!

    • Lynn
      May 25, 2012

      thanks…hopefully tomorrow.

  10. Brittany
    May 25, 2012

    Lynn, I don’t even know what to say about the strength you and Keely and your whole family are showing the world right now. I can vividly remember being 20 and then 22 and I had all these big things happening and it seemed complicated without a tumor that had eaten through a pelvis. I am so glad that she has feeling back in her foot and leg. I am so glad that she has the very best care. I am so incredibly impressed with her strength and her humor through this ordeal. Seriously here, if you ever need anything or Keely needs anything you just let me know. I am close enough that I can help if you need it. I don;t know what I could do but you tell me and it is done. For either of you. Anytime.

    Please tell Keely that I am thinking of her and praying for her and maybe more importantly…with every step I take and every time I watch my own small children bouncing across our yard, I remember Keely and I hope with everything in me that her steps become easier and that the pain she is feeling can be eased and that she can find a normal that is without this pain.

    You my friend, know where to find me if you need me. Much love.
    Brittany recently posted..Then and Now. Still a bit Hip…pie.My Profile

    • Lynn
      May 25, 2012

      Thank you so much for the sweet and awesome comment. I really appreciate it. You make me smile :)

  11. Margaret M.
    May 26, 2012

    Lynn,
    Oh my. I cannot believe the complications of Keely’s surgery. I am so relieved to hear that the bypass was a success as well as the original bone graft surgery. You and your family are so strong and really illustrate what family means. You are there for each other totally.
    Your post stayed with me long after I read it. First and foremost it scared me to death. Secondly, you are a terrific writer even under those trying circumstances. Please keep us posted on how Keely and the rest of her amazing family are doing.
    - Margaret

    • Lynn
      May 27, 2012

      Thanks Margaret…she gave us a scare but now we’re doing ok

  12. Vodkamom
    May 26, 2012

    Holy CRAP!!

    • Lynn
      May 27, 2012

      hahaha…that pretty much nails it. we’re home now

  13. LurkRealClose
    May 26, 2012

    No green hat? WTF?

    Glad to hear she is doing ok.

    • Lynn
      May 27, 2012

      that was my attitude…all that explaining and no green hat???

  14. Pamela
    May 27, 2012

    Yeah, that five minute rule is critical. Gosh, I am sorry that it took all that trauma just to meet Ann Brennan, but at least Keely’s surgery and bypass were successful. As I had a tumor removed and bone graft from my hip at 17, I’m going to have to look at the original post now too. I’m feeling pretty lucky compared to your poor 22-yo baby girl. Nice to meet you. I’m @pameloth.

    • Lynn
      May 27, 2012

      woah…that’s a bummer. but you must be a runner now to know Ann so i take it all ended well? I hope so. Meeting Ann was awesome…she’s great and i hope we stay in touch, but just not at the hospital

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