So over the past few days, it became clear that Ben has an effusion (fluid in his lung cavity). It’s likely that blood seeped out and collected there post-op, which is somewhat common. This compressed a portion of his lungs and made it more difficult to breathe. His hemoglobin level was a bit lower from surgery, so his body had to work extra hard to push oxygen through his system. His heart was also working extra hard, which caused tachycardia (increased heart rate). While listening to him yesterday, the pediatrician discovered a heart murmur. Today he had chest pain, so a cardiologist came to see us and do an ecg to rule out electrical problems, and his results were fine (fun fact: it is super rare that children will exhibit chest pain for heart issues…fat 55 year old smoker…yes….kiddos…no). The chest pain is either from the surgery or the lung issues. I’ve been incredibly impressed by the paediatricians here. They are thorough and knowledgeable, leaving no stone unturned. We have been doing breathing exercises (blowing bubble and pinwheels) in order to keep pushing out his lungs to keep them from compressing and to prevent potential pneumonia. He has done this without complaint over the last few day’s, although it requires tremendous effort on his part. Yesterday we were able to sit him up in his wheelchair, which (although super painful for him) allowed his lungs to expand and furthered his healing. Today he has been able to old man shuffle to the washroom. We will continue pushing him. This kid is made of nails!!!
We did another set of xrays today to try to measure the fluid levels in his right lung. The amount was deemed significant, but doesn’t require intervention. Over the coming weeks his body will begin to absorb this fluid.
Typically, the hospital wants Ben to pass an overnight test before we can leave. His oxygen levels will have to stay above 91 overnight. I don’t think we will pass this at this point – I noticed that he tried to take a 5 minute nap today without oxygen and his alarms went off. I’m not sure how long it will take for him to heal. I’m wondering if maybe we can be discharged to the Shriners to heal over there. Ben has been asking me to go back – he misses all his people (as do I!). We’ll see. I was also excited to see him smile a few times today. His personality has been rather flat since surgery, so it’s exciting to see him coming back to his old self. Thanks for all your thoughts, prayers, and kind words!