Struthers is a champ, albeit a champ in a bit of pain. We couldn’t have asked for a better morning considering. At every step, God confirmed that we were doing the right thing. The bronchoscopy showed that he has been aspirating but it looks like he’s been efficient enough at coughing some of it out. But the lungs are inflamed and vocal cords very thickened and they and trachea definitely show damage from reflux. So I guess that part just confirmed second part of the procedure had to be done. The Pulmonologist came out and told me that 10 minutes after taking him back, so it made the next hour and a half a bit easier wait knowing that and that he was safely tolerating anesthesia. The Nissen fundoplication and feeding tube placement went amazingly well. They really aren’t even sure there was a hiatal hernia, perhaps just a small space where food was coming back up. But either way it wasn’t going to get better on its own and is all fixed now!
I hadn’t mentioned it before, quite frankly because I didn’t think about it until the pulmonologist said it again this morning, but they were a bit concerned that once he went on the ventilator for the anesthesia, he might have a harder time coming off because of his central apnea. But he was amazing and tolerated extubation like a champ, and we haven’t seen any desaturations or apnic events thus far! PRAISE THE LORD! I didn’t know how scared I was of this until this morning.
So steps for going home are suck, swallow, breathe. Wait, I think I wrote that exact sentence a few months ago? Yes, we’ve been at this place before, but now it should be a much quicker process. He will get no food today, since we have to let his stomach heal. So tomorrow we will begin slow feeds and see how he does. He should quickly re-learn to swallow, but it will feel different because everything is tighter. It might also take him a bit to realize that he doesn’t have to hold things in his mouth while protecting his airway, or hold his breath waiting for the reflux, or just want to keep eating for the sake of keeping things going one direction. Those have all been learned coping behaviors, and I hope they will reverse themselves now that we’ve taken away the root cause!
All in all, I’m feeling very optimistic about where we are and where we are headed. And while there will still be some underlying issues to take care of, I am looking forward to watching Struthers’ growth take off and getting to know my little man’s personality shine uninterrupted by pain and breathing issues. What’s a little G-tube if it improves our overall quality of life? I’m just sorry he had to shout that out to us in distress!