When we went in to see Chloe, she was still really groggy and fading in and out of sleep. The nurse told us that the first thing she did when she woke up was look at the surgeon and say "Am I all better now?". So adorable! :)
That first afternoon, she slept quite a bit but, by evening, she was wanting to be mobile. She had a catheter and so walking was a little interesting, but we managed. She walked two laps around our ward. The nurses were impressed and I was very proud. She claimed that she wasn't really in a lot of pain - her only complaint was the catheter. She really, really wanted that thing out! That night she also got to drink some water and chew on ice chips.
The next morning, we met with the doctors and the surgeon again and they ok-ed a clear liquid diet. Chloe got to have apple juice, grape juice and chicken broth. We tried a little Jello but her stomach was still not too keen on the idea of sugar. Even better however, was that the doctors said we could remove the catheter! As soon as that was done, Chloe was up again, walking around. She decided that she had seen enough of the ward and wanted to explore the rest of the hospital. We set off looking for the gift shop and the cafeteria. Because she was only 24 hours out of surgery, she was still getting tired fairly easily, so we tried to keep our walking to short trips. That day, she was up and about 4 times. She also got to visit the "Closet" where the nurses stock presents for the kids. She was able to pick out a present.
The nurses in general seemed to adore Chloe. They all commented about how well she was doing and how she was the faster recovery they had ever seem from a rupture appendix. One of the nurses even brought her little gifts and lent her movies from her own personal collection. Her name is Elisha. Chloe really liked her too. One of the things Chloe got out of the gift closet was something called a Zooble. And so, after surgery, Lowell went to Walmart and got her a couple more little Zoobles to play with. And then, the next day, Elisha came in with another Zooble.
There was also a lady on the floor who's job was to talk to kids about their procedures and their medications and their tubes and wires so that all of it was understandable to them. She was fantastic!!! She was able to come talk to Chloe before surgery and then able to stay with her during the whole procedure so that Chloe always had a familiar face she could turn to. She also came back frequently during our stay in the hospital to make sure Chloe was never at a loss of things to do. She brought coloring stuff, sand art, stickers, markers, etc... I joked when we left that Chloe had come into the hospital with jammies and a blanket and left with two bags of loot!! She was very spoiled! But she was also a fantastic patient!
Day 3 we had a PICC line scheduled. This is a heavy duty IV that goes into the upper arm and allows the antibiotics to flow directly into the main arteries around the heart. Apparently the anti-biotics that Chloe was on are very heavy duty and so they can be irritating to her little veins. Also, normal IVs in the hand are usually only functional for 24-48 hours before they have to be moved or replaced. Chloe, however, was the exception. On the morning of day 3, the doctors and the surgeon all concurred that she was just doing too well to require the PICC line and that she would be able to get by with her current situation. Her IV in her hand was holding up miraculously well and she wasn't have any reaction to the antibiotics. That was also the day we learned that, if she could eat, she could go home!! So, she was taken off of IV fluids and only had to be attached to the machine when it was time for the medicine.
So, for breakfast, we busted open a little box of Honey Nut Cheerios and she also ate some fruit off of my plate. For lunch, we tried some mac and cheese and some mashed potatoes. Neither of these went over well and her stomach rebelled a little. So, for dinner, back to the cereal and fruit. Wednesday was also the day of Chloe's biggest triumph! She climbed three flights of stairs - much to the amazement of the nurses and doctors!! She was very proud of herself and got to make another trip to the Closet! (I told you she got spoiled!! :))
Thursday morning, Chloe was up and ready to go on a walk, but I wanted her to wait for the doctor's to make their rotations so that we could find out if we could go home! Chloe was antsy, so we made a short trip upstairs to see the newborn babies. When we got back to our room, the doctors were on the floor. When they came in, it was decided that she was well enough to go home so long as she could follow a few directives. She is unable to bathe or swim for 1 week, (but she can shower) and she can't do PE or recess for at least 2 weeks, possibly 3 depending on our follow up with the surgeon, and also that we follow up with a doctor at the clinic in 3 days.
YIPEE!! Homeward bound!
So we signed a bunch of papers and then packed up our things and headed home! The first thing we had to do was go grocery shopping so that we would have light, easy things for Chloe's stomach. Then Chloe wanted to go see her classmates. We stopped in at her school and picked up her classwork and she got to say Hello to everyone. She was very shy about being the center of attention but then didn't want to leave when it was time. She's so funny. Then we picked up the other two kids a little early so that they could come home and spend time with their sister. They had visited her once in the hospital, but because it is flu season, visitors under the age of 12 are not allowed on the floor itself. Chloe came out to the cafeteria to see them, but she was really tired that day so the meeting was fairly short. Thankfully, this time, she was well rested and as excited to see them as they were to see her!
We experienced so many blessings during this whole experience that I can't even begin to say how thankful I am. The nurses, doctors, aides... Basically everyone at Banner Thunderbird were just fantastic! Even from the very beginning, the staff at Good Night Pediatrics were fabulous! I also worked with Hospital Patient Services because our kids don't have insurance - well, they didn't - and that process was fairly painless as well.
I'm so thankful mostly for everyone who prayed us through this! I'm thankful that Lowell and I both were able to take the week off work, that our neighbor was willing to pick the kids up from school, that I received countless text messages of encouragement, and that our family and friends were constantly bathing our little one in prayer. So, thank you - from the bottom of our hearts - Thank you!!!!