A Heart Stopping Moment

Mark and I just experienced a true heart stopping moment.  Jackie had been in surgery for a couple hours – at least she had left us a couple hours ago… we went walking outside (the sun is shining today!) and then got some lunch.  We went on another walk before finally going to sit in the family waiting area – they were all saying about 8 hours so we didn’t want to be there too long… we had just settled in and were pulling out our books, etc. when we heard our name.  There was our surgeon asking the concierge for us – we knew that the anesthesia portion of the surgery would take quite awhile, so I naturally assumed he was just checking in with us to let us know they were underway.  We stepped out in the hallway to meet him the conference room and there were four other doctors – three surgeons and two anesthesiologists!  They all were looking very serious.
Stepping into that room and taking a chair, and having to look up and face them – wondering what in the world was going on and not wanting to wonder… and all those many thoughts that race through your mind even though it seems to be working in slow motion…  Anyway, they were all quick to assure us that Jackie is fine.  Hmmm – how often do five doctors leave an operating room to let the family know their daughter is fine?
I am not sure that we  understand exactly what happened – but first let me explain as best I can why the anesthesia portion was taking so long in the first place… Her left lung needs to be collapsed in order to have room in the chest cavity to access the tumor.  This is a pretty big deal – So they started her arterial line in order to monitor blood gases and other IVs – I don’t know how many.  They said her intubation went smoothly, but since she would be using only one lung they had to also use a tube that branches and goes down into her bronchial tubes.
I am not explaining this well – but my mind is still in a whirl…
Apparently her body didn’t handle the stress of this well.  Her O2 sats dropped suddenly and though they said they only dropped to about 60, there was some recovery time.  This team of doctors had certainly undergone a deal of stress – you could read it in the faces and manners.  So we are not exactly sure of all
that happened – the short story is that none of them are comfortable proceeding at this time.  They needed to ask our permission to stop for now and begin fresh on Thursday.  Jackie will be in the ICU until that time.
She will be fine – but they can monitor her and her body will have a chance to gain some strength before they proceed.
As Mark and I sat down again in the waiting room,  he looked at me and said, “This is why we have all been praying that the doctors would know what to do.”  It is so true!  After such a long delay today it would have been easier for them to continue and just get it done, but Jackie is at higher risk.

Natalie & Jackie – Simpler Times

We told them they had our full support and that this surgery is very big deal to us.  They assured us this is a big deal of a surgery to them also and with all of the natural risks they didn’t feel that they should try to proceed.  Two of them assured us afterward that they would definitely wait if it was their own family member also.
I am feeling rather shaky – that was rather shocking.  I am anxious to see Jackie.  They are not sure when they will be removing the breathing tube, but they said they would be bringing her up carefully so that she will not feel a panic.  I hope that she doesn’t!  Mark and I have had enough of a panic to last for awhile.

4 thoughts on “A Heart Stopping Moment

  1. Oh… My… Goodness!!! Your right in knowing there is much more to the story within that surgical suite. It is probably better that you don't know all the details at this point. Thank you for sharing the story as it unfolds. My heart is with you. If I were ever to be in your shoes one day I hope to be able to be strong like the Andrus'. All my love. – Teresa

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  2. wow… I'm glad they are being cautious but I wish it were over. I agree with Mark, we have prayed that the doctors would know what to do. Stay strong and know we love all of you and our prayers will continue.
    Linda

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  3. So grateful to hear the doctors are taking the time and care that Jackie deserves. So sorry for all you're going through and the shock that today must have been.

    Please feel love, good thoughts and prayers from the Young's. There is real power in prayer and you have ours.

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