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8/27/19 - End of Surgery Day

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

Our little trooper.

Ronén went into surgery at 9:21 AM, and the surgeon came to talk to us as he finished just around 12:15 PM. The surgeon told us he did GREAT, that he stayed stable the whole way through surgery. His little organs are now back in the right spaces in his body, and his diaphragm has a Gore-Tex patch, so his insides are waterproof (...?). The surgeon assured us that Ronén will have a beautiful and healthy life, and that revision is always possible but probably unlikely, Bob said, "I assume this means he probably won't be running marathons..." and the surgeon replied, "Nope, if he wants to run marathons he can certainly try like anyone else." Good to know. If he runs marathons, it won't be because he takes after his mother.

Also, it pays to be a rare case. Our baby was operated on by the Chief of General and Thoracic Surgery / Director of the Pediatric Surgery Fellowship program at Children's National Hospital. My guess, from 15 seasons of religiously watching Grey's Anatomy? Our baby's a "great teaching case"! There's a scene Shonda Rhimes has written a bazillion times: "You'll never believe what just came in. A right-sided diaphragmatic hernia! You'll be lucky if you ever see another one of these in your career." Score: Smart doctors who all want to treat my son and learn from him, even at seven days old. No complaints here.

After the surgery we saw a new x-ray of Ronén's chest and belly that shows everything in the *right* place. Yay. Turns out the lung that was behind the intestines in his chest is somewhat smaller than the fully-developed one, but the surgeon told us that lungs develop until a kid is about 7, and that by this time next year there will probably not even be a noticeable difference. During informal rounds tonight, they told Hinda (who is staying overnight) that he "looks great" for having been less than a day post-surgery. All his numbers are in range, his O2 levels are good, he's tolerating the meds well. He's still pretty heavily sedated for now, but as he is able to tolerate more, or his pain level goes down, the doctors will lower the sedation.

So, now for the road to recovery. The doctors won't commit to a timeline, but there are several milestones Ronén has to hit before he can go home. He has to start breathing on his own, and they need to take out the breathing tube (day or two?). They have to remove the chest tube that's draining at his incision site (and then we can hold him !!). He has to be weaned off of pain medication and blood pressure medication that are currently in his IVs. He needs to transition from a "TPN" feeding (also by IV) strategy to actually nursing or bottle-feeding. Doctors are optimistic, but they say recovery can span from 7-10 days to 3-4 weeks. So for now, we let him lead the way. Here's hoping that by Rosh Ha-Shanah it'll be a sweet new year for all of us.

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