My FIL's surgery went well. They had to remove 2 discs, which wasn't planned, but they were so badly damaged there was no repairing them. So out they came and a steel cage was inserted in their place. They also removed a lot of the ligaments because of all the damage to them. He had some problems with his oxygenation. He was on 100% oxygen, but he was only oxygenating 90% of that (sorry for my lack of medical vocab)! He also had to be intubated again. I was afraid of that mainly because I didn't know how soon they would go back to the trach after that and he had such relief since the trach was in. But, they got the trach back in and I believe it is a smaller one, so good deal.
The other thing was the amount of fluid his chest cavity had in it. This had a great deal to do with the oxygenation issues. The assisting surgeon put a chest tube in to see if she could get any fluid out of the chest cavity. It worked so she tried the other side. Worked like a charm and they got 2 liters out in a very short amount of time. It made a huge difference in his breathing. He is gaining so much fluid due to the paralysis. If his body inside and out isn't functioning like it should then that fluid isn't moving and it just collects causing pressure on his lungs and diaphragm which make it extremely hard to breathe easily.
So, the main thing right now is the risk of infection. Since his trach is near all this new hardware in his neck there is a higher risk of infection for the next 4 to 6 weeks and if you have been following along he has had his share of infections! We just hope that his body can fight those bugs off for the next month. If all goes well he can start to get up in the next week or so, sitting in a chair and all. Hopefully this will help with the fluid build up. Once he is stable and things are going well he will be moved closer to home for the vent weaning and then to real rehab!
In the beginning surgery was not an option because he was not stable enough. This surgery was a necessity to get him out of the hospital. His response when he woke up was a smile and a little relief. He told Linda, "Well, I made it. Prayers were answered." He wants to live and he wants to fight and we couldn't really get any better news then that right now. We just have to keep his spirits up. I think he knows what is waiting for him when he gets out of there. His boys just can't wait to see their PaPa Bill any longer. And I'm sure Bill is feeling the same!
My nephew was actually there with us yesterday. Bill is now in a room with a window and there is a parking garage right outside of his window. They held Connor up to see his grandpa. I don't think Bill could see him very well, but Connor could see. Bill smiled anyway. I have to tell you a stupid thing I said when Connor was telling me about this. Without a thought I started to ask Connor if grandpa waved. As soon as the word "wave" was coming out of my mouth I realized what I was saying. No you dumbass, he didn't wave. Anyway, let's just blame that one on the pregnancy, shall we?!
He actually got some real substance in food last night. He can eat at an oatmeal consistency and have liquids now. He started to be able to do this a couple days before the surgery and we didn't know how soon after surgery he would be able to eat again. This was great news and what a difference! After not eating for a month or more I'm sure this feels like an early Christmas present.
Right now, I can't tell you how good this feels that we have a huge step forward checked off. To have family and the pastor there with us felt amazing and to have all the love and support from comments, cards, phone calls, and prayers... we just can't describe. There are major changes coming out of this year and the next and it is not all going to be a skip in the park, but God is at the controls and we are just relying on his direction. There's nothing more that we can do. Thank you all so much!