Josiah did great today. We could tell from the moment we woke him that he was a bit anxious about the surgery, but he really handled it all very well. It lasted approximately 4 hours, and now we are in a PICU room for the next week for his recovery. His neck and right side (where they took the rib) are bandaged, but it's still an amazing site to see him without his trach. The doctors said "It went as well as it could've gone", but they also cautiously reminded us that 1 in 30 patients who have this surgery must be re-trached because the grafts don't "take" (ie., no blood circulation, etc.). We should have a good idea of the probability of success for Josiah in 2 weeks when he has his 2nd of two scheduled bronchoscopies. So, Josiah's recovery the next few weeks is as important as his surgery was today. The plan is to wake him in the next day or two and see if we can keep him calm as he recovers over the next week. There are benefits to him being conscious during his recovery, but there's also a risk with kids of his age that agitation could cause movement that will harm the grafts put in today. As God brings us to your minds, please pray for peace and patience for all three of us (Josiah, Shelly, and Art) in the weeks ahead.
As for Josiah, he's worn out as you can imagine. Throughout the afternoon he's floated in and out of consciousness...it started with him barely opening his eyes every 30 minutes or so and mouthing "Ow" (he can't talk because the tube in his nose goes down thru his vocal chords). Now when he opens his still-droopy eyes he seems more alert, and he'll try to nod or shake his head to answer some of our questions. So far we’ve been able to pacify him back to sleep, but tomorrow will most likely be a lot rougher on him once all of the anesthesia wears off. I've included a picture of him from this afternoon post-surgery so you can get an idea of how he looks.
Two Josiah stories I'll share before closing:
We're always careful with his health (especially during winter), but have been even more vigilant over the past 2 months, limiting his exposure to sick people, constantly applying sanitizer to his hands, etc. Yesterday while in the Cincinnati Children's Museum he and I went to the men's room. I looked over and saw him playing with the mint in the urinal...yep, the day before his surgery. Just more evidence that despite our best efforts, it was God who kept Josiah (and the rest of our family) illness-free in preparation for today.
The 2nd story involves Josiah's actions this morning as the doctors and nurses prepared him for surgery. He began to cry, kept saying "I don't want to do this", and even put his hands over his trach so they couldn't have access to it. Although trying to be brave, he was afraid, and his reaction was to clutch and protect the target of the doctors' efforts to help him. Whether due to fear, confusion, or a combination of the two, he clung to what was familiar even though the best course of action was to just let it go and move forward with the experts' plans for him. While trying to calm him down, I briefly wondered how often I postpone or miss out on God's best for me because I'm clinging to what is familiar but no longer part of His plan. I'm so thankful for His constant patience with me!