Last Wednesday, M called me at work to say that they had decided to pull out Tiptoe’s chest tubes. We were very anxious about the decision; we have a number of acquaintances whose children’s chest tubes were pulled out too early, and then they had to go back to the hospital because of fluid collecting around the lungs. In fact, Tiptoe had the very same reaction after her first surgery. We had been told that in order to be a candidate for removing the chest tubes, her fluid output would need to be below 100cc. But the surgeon came in to see her on Wednesday, and said she was too healthy to be in the hospital, and that he believed that her body could absorb the extra fluid.
That’s been borne out so far. As far as we can tell, she’s having no problems with breathing or moving around, and she’s a LOT happier. After staying with her on Wednesday night, I took Thursday and Friday off of work to be with her and the rest of the troupe. We had a long, glorious weekend of doing nothing but getting used to one another again. We’d been in the hospital almost a month—it was beautiful to have everyone back together under the same roof.
Tiptoe is still in some pain; she lets you know when the Motrin wears off. But she’s also wonderfully active and cheerful. And a bit noisy.
There are some things we’ve noticed that we’re concerned about:
1) She seems thinner than normal. She’s always been a bit slight, but this is something all of us have commented on.
2) Her face is pale, and her eyes appear a bit sunken and dark. I assume this is because she’s on diuretics 3x a day; but she continues to have very heavy, wet diapers, and her lips aren’t chapped, and she’s not listless or any of the other signs of dehydration. She drinks a lot of fluid. On that note, she may be a bit constipated; she produces, but the stools are very small.
3) She gags occasionally like she’s going to throw up; in fact, she has vomited a couple times. We’re not sure what to think about it; it’s not a consistent symptom that we can track, and it doesn’t appear related to eating, or to the content of what she’s eaten.
4) One of the sites where the chest tube was inserted is…just gross looking. It’s like a pale yellow plug of something where the incision was. It doesn’t smell bad, and it’s not runny, and the flesh around it isn’t red or warm; I don’t think it’s infected, but it just looks disgusting.
I’m more worried about her now that she’s at home and running around than I was when she was in the hospital. We’re too close to her release; I keep expecting the hammer to fall, for the rug to be yanked out, for the shoe to drop on my face. All that.