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+ 0 - 0 | § Twelve and a half hours till christmas!

We've been "relaxing" at home the last couple of days trying to get a hang of this whole baby raising thing. Deciphering what crys mean gimme binky, I need changing, pick me up, etc. isn't exactly straight forward, but we're getting better at it. The cats have been behaving pretty much like we expected them to. Butter is terrified of Alex, and won't go into the living room when he's in there, and Kujo just wants attention, and tries to horn in on what we are paying to Alex.

+ 0 - 0 | § The surgery was a success, and Alex is home

As the subject says, the surgery went fine, and as far as we know, the leak wasn't made any worse. They only stretched the stricture a little bit this time. He'll be going in again for another dilation on the 30th of december to stretch it a little bit more. After the surgery today, we could notice a distinct increase in Alex's ability to swallow his spit down. He still needs to be suctioned every once in a while for really bad loogies, but he can often clear his throat on his own, something that was virtually impossible before.
Because Alex was doing so well after the surgery was done today, they said that we could take him home tonight, so here we are, home again, in time for christmas, again. Let's just hope that everything stays good.

+ 0 - 0 | § A plan for tomorrow

We had another leak test this morning, and Alex's esophagus is still leaking, which is no big surprise. His esophagus near the surgery site is constricted because of scar tissue. This is also no big surprise, as these both are pretty much status quo for the last couple of weeks. We've been able to keep Alex's secretions under control for most of the day without major problems like yesterday afternoon and evening.

The surgeons have decided that they are going to go ahead and push up the date for his dilations to tomorrow. This means that they will be sticking tubes down his esophagus, and try to stretch out the constricted section of the esophagus. This means that they will open it up so that he will be able to swallow better, and not have as many problems as he has been having lately. However, this is sort of a risky thing to do. First, they could make the leak that he has bigger, which would mean that he would have to go back to having a chest tube again to drain off any leakage that he would have. Second, they will have to intubate him (put him on a breathing machine, a ventilator) and put him under general anesthetic. Third, he'll have to stop eating 4 hours before the surgery, and they don't know when the surgery will be, as they will be fitting him into a free surgery slot, so he'll have to be off food for much of the day. Consequently, they will be putting in another IV, to feed him intravenusly. IV's in Alex have never been easy to get in, nor to keep in.

+ 0 - 0 | § A scary day, and an ambulance ride, but everyone's ok, back at Hershey

Alex has been having some trouble swallowing his loogies lately, because the site where they repaired his esophagus has narrowed. We've been suctioning out his spit with a suctioning device, but yesterday afternoon, we couldn't get him clear, and he had some real trouble breathing, turned blue on us, and gave us a real scare. We were able to eventually get him clear, but for the next 4 or 5 hours, he was never quite breathing easily. We called the pediatrician, and he suggested taking him in to see the doctors again, and so Alex got to go on his first ambulance trip last night. Long story short, we're back in Hershey, in the Intermediate Care Unit (IMC) which is part of the NICU/PICU suite. He's been under observation, and it's now highly probable that he'll be staying here until after christmas. The doctors don't exactly know what to do right now, because this problem won't go away until after they can stretch out the narrow section of esophagus. However, they can't stretch out the narrow section of esophagus, until after the leak has healed. However, we're scared that if we keep suctioning him out, we'll aggrevate the surgery site, causing the leak to get worse. It's a viscious circle. They're going to do a leak test this afternoon and see what's what.