So the operation went well yesterday.
All the work on Deane’s hip and legs seems to have gone according to plan. The epidural they put in to numb his legs went in smoothly and has remained effective.
The schedule was that after a couple of hours in post-op recovery, Deane would be sent up to his own room where they would monitor his pain and begin to gently work on the range of motion of his legs.
But things don’t always go according to plan. Deane has always struggled with saliva pooling at the back of his throat when he is lying down. Because it takes him three or four attempts to swallow at the best of times, when lying down salvia and phlegm collects in his throat making it hard for him to breathe.
Add to that the fact that anethesia apparently makes all of this worse because it slows down the throat-clearing mechanisms. (You can tell that medicine is not my forte!)
The result is that Deane did not sleep peacefully in post-op and then go straight up to his room. His post-op rest was interrupted by his oxygen saturation alarm going off repeatedly which meant the nurses had to suction the back of his mouth. The hope was that Deane would cough up some of the phlegm in his throat, but in the process it also triggering his gag reflex causing him to cough up the phlegm in his throat.
This lasted for about three hours at which point he was sent to the constant care ward where there are nurse around the clock who could monitor his breathing.
So Day Two began in the constant care ward. The morning was a long series of nurses apologizing as they stuck thin suction tubes down Deane’s throat to try to clear the secretions, a respiratory physiotherapist thumping him on the chest and then sticking suction tubes down his throat and periodic repositioning on to his side which would leave him with one foot up in the air.
The pace slowed down this afternoon. He is receiving a fairly high dose of oxygen and every half hour or so still needs to be suctioned to clear his airway. He is so tired his cough much weaker than it was.
The hope is he will get a good night sleep with the help of the oxygen and then have the strength to cough enough of these secretions up to allow the nurses to turn down the oxygen. Then he will be allowed into his own room.
It seems very strange to have so much focus on Deane’s breathing after coming to the hospital for hip surgery. But then again, no one promised this would be a straight forward process.