Cori Lou will be released from the hospital today. This is well within the expected timeline they were given before open heart surgery. She has already had all invasive tubes removed, and only remains connected to probes that monitor her heart function, the oxygen levels in her blood, and the speed and depth of her breathing. (click on any photo to enlarge)
The surgical dressing (bandage) has be taken off of the main surgery site. It has a thin, clear covering over it called Dermabond. This is supposed to peel off by itself pretty soon, then the site will be open to air. There is one, long stitch holding the outer layer of things together. This will be taken out in 5 days, on December 16th. The stitches holding the inner layers together are dissolvable. Her parents have been given clear instructions about how to care for her for the next 6 weeks.
- DO NOT put anything on the surgical incision
- Watch for signs of infection
- DO NOT pick up Cori Lou under the arms for 6 weeks
- DO NOT let Cori Lou be on her stomach for 2 weeks
- Continue to give Cori the prescribed diuretics for 2 weeks, until the edema (misplaced collection of body fluids) in her lungs has gone away. This is still considered to be normal for this point in the post-surgery process.
- Keep Cori Lou away from sick people; be diligent about requiring hand washing of anyone who holds her.
- Don’t take Cori to public or crowded places. Of course, taking her home on the airplane will have to be an exception to this.
Cori Lou is already eating almost twice as much as she was before the surgery. She weighs in at 4 ounces heavier than her pre-surgery, hospital admission weight, bringing her up to 8 pounds 12 ounces. It is too early to tell if some of that is fluid weight in her lungs. Still, it is obvious that eating is only limited by capacity now, instead of by exhaustion and the constant strain to breathe. Her respiratory rate is much lower, being closer to 50 breaths per minute, whereas before surgery the rate was commonly 80-90 breaths per minute.
The only medication Cori is getting for pain management right now is Tylenol. Judging by her general demeanor and her occasional fun conversations with her parents, this is very adequate.
Heidi and Rich plan on staying 1-2 more nights in the apartment that was so graciously provided. Then, they hope to go stay with Heidi’s grandma in the area until their scheduled flight. The surgeon prefers to be the one to remove that long, running stitch.
What an incredible week!