Taking your child for a CT scan under General Anaesthetic

Unfortunately Martha Grace's 4th Open Heart Surgery was cancelled; she was booked in for the 17th September but just we arrived for her pre-admission tests on Wednesday a nurse entered our room to deliver the bad news that it had to be postponed due to the number of emergencies and Transplants the team had encountered that week. But it wouldn't be a wasted trip because we could still go ahead with the CT scan and do her pre-op as they would be valid for 3 months. 

A Computerised Tomography scan uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of inside the body. We need them for Martha so her consultant and surgeons can get a better picture of the arteries and have a better understanding of what they will be dealing with during the operation.

Because Martha Grace is so young there is no way that she could lie still for long enough for a CT scan so it was arranged for her to have it done under General Anaesthetic. We were given fasting times the night before, she was allowed to eat up until 7am, clear liquids until 11am - then she would be Nil-by-Mouth until after the procedure.

The Cardiology Anaesthetist came to discuss the procedure and explain the risks associated with having it done under GA. Martha is classed as a "High Risk" case for anaesthesia because of her Heart Condition; the left side of her Heart is already under a lot of pressure because of the thickened muscle just below her aortic valve and her coronary arteries can constrict under GA, she could also develop an irregular rhythm. However, there are protocols in place and drugs available to help her should they encounter any problems.

Martha Grace watching Dora from the big girl bed
Just before she was due to go to the Labs she was prescribed a dose of Midazolam; she would have to inhale the sedation gas by having a mask placed over her face so they administer Midazolam so the patients don't remember that part. It was an oral sedation and amazingly she ate it without much of a fuss, though her face was a picture. Once the drug kicked in she was like a little drunk toddler, she would try to stand up in
the bed but she'd loose her balance and topple over. She looked like she was on another planet. This actually lightened the mood, she was really calm and didn't cry when the team came to wheel her down to the labs. Mark went with them and held her as they put her to sleep.

She went down at 3pm and we were told that she'd be away for 30-45 minutes. We decided to go the Lagoon for a panad to pass some time. I remember checking the time at 3:40pm and starting to feel a bit panicky that they hadn't called us; but a few minutes later Mark's phone rang and he was asked to go to the recovery room to collect her.

Love this picture of Martha Grace with Daddy
I walked back to our room with my Parents and Mark's Grandparents, and soon you could hear a very upset Martha Grace arriving back in Walrus ward. 

She didn't know what she wanted to do; she didn't want to play with anything, didn't want to drink or eat anything. There was a Cannula in her hand and she was like a bear with a sore head. She lay in my arms and cried for a bit and eventually we managed to get her to drink some juice. She had a short nap, woke up in a foul mood and had a little bit more to drink.

In the end we put her in her pram and rolled her to sleep while she watched the TV.

Me and my Brave Girl
After a child has anaesthetic they are normally kept in Hospital for a couple of hours; to be discharged they have to have something to eat and drink, pass urine and be able to walk. I'd already tried feeding Martha a yoghurt thinking that her throat might be sore from the ventilator tubes, but she wasn't having any of it. So we went back up to the Lagoon and bought her a slice of lemon drizzle cake. We tried feeding her the cake but she kept grabbing for the spoon so we ended up letting her feed herself, she made a hell of a mess but she ate it and really seemed to enjoy it...I think a lemon cake was a good choice for a toddler who hadn't eaten since breakfast.

She was able to stand and walk around the room, we changed her nappy and showed it to the nurse (nurses and Hospital Mom's get excited about wet/dirty nappies, sorry for the TMI - but it shows that our kids organs are working efficiently) and then we were discharged.

We were warned that Martha would probably be off her food for the next 24 hours and that we shouldn't force her to eat, just make sure that she was getting enough fluids.

I am really impressed with how Martha coped with the anaesthetic. She was in a great mood the whole train ride home (3hrs20mins) she drank her juice, ate her sweets and crisps and slept through the whole night until 9:30am the next morning. We have not noticed any side effects from the anaesthesia or from the CT scan.

So that's another procedure that we can add to our list. 

Yes, I'm disappointed that the Operation has been postponed because we had psyched ourselves up for it and we really want to get it out of the way so we can begin the recovery process and bring our daughter home. But we absolutely would want the Hospital to postpone another child's surgery should Martha Grace ever become another emergency case. We are fortunate enough that right now our child is well enough that she can wait a little bit longer for her treatment and we send our love and prayers to those families who's children who are struggling right now.


Midazolam starting to work

A grumpy Princess
These are pictures off my iphone, and to be honest I think I'm going to take a camera with me when we take for the operation.

Little Hearts Big Love

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