Caitlin’s Scoliosis Surgery, part 3

The past 2 days have been full of ups and downs.

Cait’s heart rate is still more elevated than everyone would like, and her breathing is still on the shallow side, and the “why” of both of those things has still not been sussed out. Not dangerously so (her oxygen saturation has been fine), but we’re still in the ICU as a result. The numbers are slowly coming down, but they are not where we’d like them to be just yet. Which means that we are likely remaining in the ICU until tomorrow.

Cait didn’t sleep very much the night before last, but last night she conked out but good, so we will take that. She’s napping right now, too.  Rest is good. Especially given her busy day yesterday, where she was fitted for a new brace. The fitting involved having her rolled onto her belly for a bit, and she was very, very brave and handled it pretty well. It should arrive later today, and when it does we’re going to try sitting up for a bit, in the hopes of helping to keep draining her and easing her breathing.

Once she’s healed up, she won’t need it anymore. Her brace will then be on the inside. But for now, the brace will help to support her and keep her back from moving in ways that might hurt her while she heals.

Her pain was pretty well controlled yesterday until about 8pm, when she started to moan and whine a bit, and her blood pressure spiked a little for the first time. She did that a few times throughout the night. It wasn’t continuous, and we have an on-demand pain relief button thing that we used that worked okay, but slower than we’d like.  It’s not unusual for the body to begin to build up a tolerance to pain meds, and we think that’s what happened. The pain team has upped her epidural levels a little bit and she’s much more comfortable now.

We are holding up okay. I won’t say that the convertible barcaloungers that we are sleeping on are the MOST comfortable things ever, but we are sleeping, eating, and doing our best to hydrate as well. We are also now at the point where Cait is stable for long enough, and the care team visits are spaced far enough apart, that we are taking little breaks from the room. There’s a family lounge down the hall where we’re eating many of our meals, and we are taking turns going for walks around the hospital to stretch our legs and move a bit. (I remain amazed at how much easier all of this is in the smartphone era.) We have plenty of books, tv, and I brought knitting with me, too. We don’t lack for entertainment, but we are very much at the point where the hard part is having enough brain for a sustained amount of time to make use of it. 🙂 We are a bit punchy and loopy, but still in good spirits, because we are together.

When Cait had her hip surgery, it was harder because we couldn’t all stay together in the room. When she had her Gtube placed, I commuted back and forth while Michael stayed with her because I still had to work (I hadn’t been at NIU long enough to qualify for medical leave), and that SUCKED ROCKS. But I’m off work, no problem this time, and we are all together, and that makes everything so much easier.

I cannot thank EVERYONE enough for all of the support we’ve gotten. Friends and family and acquaintances and colleagues and people we haven’t seen since high school and college have come out of the woodwork to provide nearly every meal for us, and we appreciate the variety as well as the very brief visits. The big issue is just that Lurie has a visitor ban in place for the whole hospital during flu season. Only immediate family is allowed in patient areas, including the big hospital cafeteria. So when people come to bring us food, we basically can come down to the lobby and visit a little, and that’s about it. 😦

Nonetheless, we do deeply appreciate the friendly faces and the food. And our housesitters who are checking on Marie cat, bringing in mail, and likely doing snow removal in the next couple of days as well. ❤  

We also appreciate all the well wishes we’re getting from friends who are following along but not currently nearby. We may miss out on answering to everything, but it really does help a lot.

🙂 We knew we had a great support system; we just didn’t realize quite how big it was. So thank you for confirming our faith in humanity just a little bit more. 🙂



About Lynne M. Thomas

Lynne M. Thomas is a nine time Hugo Award winning editor and podcaster. In her day job, she is Head of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
This entry was posted in Caitlin, Medical, Michael and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Caitlin’s Scoliosis Surgery, part 3

  1. MayorOfUlthar says:

    I hope it makes the big difference for her that is needed.


  2. Thank you for the updates. Fingers crossed that you are out of ICU soon.


  3. Mary Munroe says:

    Please know that I am with you in my thoughts. Wish I could be with you more substantially than that.


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