Good afternoon everyone. Hope you are all having as good of a day as Oakes! Yes, our little man is greater than 24 hours post-op, the most critical time for recovery and he is doing well. I don’t want to overstate or understate his condition, so I’ll try as best I can to give you the reality of the situation.
If you’ve kept up with the blog, you know that I spent the night with Oakes. It was a long day yesterday, since we were at the hospital from 6:30am to about 5:30pm. We went home and had a fun, sort of relaxing dinner on our porch – me, Isla, Becky, Connie (Beck’s mom) and Sarah (one of Beck’s sisters). I say ‘sort of’ because Isla was obsessed with wanting us to blow bubbles the whole time. It’s one of her favorite things in life. After dinner, I headed back to the hospital and got there about 8:30pm. Although Connie has spent the night a couple times with him, it was the first night I spent with Oakes. All I can say is that I could just FEEL him telling me he wanted his papa with him last night – there was just this tremendous tug on my heart and really my whole being to be in the room with him during his most critical time. I never really discussed it, I just showered, packed and was on my way. When I arrived, his blood pressure was too low, so they tweaked the medication. The nurse, Mary, kept telling me that it’s just a delicate balancing act during the first 24 hours to find the right cocktail of medication to stabilize everything. Well, by 11:15pm, his blood pressure was too high, so they again tweaked the medication. By 11:45pm, his vital signs were right in range of where they should be and, miraculously, they stayed there all night long and remain there as of 5pm today! That means, more than 26 hours after surgery, the Mighty Oakes, has made it past the second major milestone that Dr. Huddleston had laid out for him. It’s so hard to be ecstatic or overly relieved anymore because there are so many hurdles remaining, but I’m so proud of how hard he is battling.
We had our first non-family visitor to the hospital last night. My buddy Derek Falb was keeping up on the blog and said he just couldn’t imagine being alone in the room with Oakes, so at 10:45pm, he decided to drive 30 minutes to the hospital to hang out with me and Oakes. As I mentioned in the blog, it’s a small miracle security let him through, but it was fun to chat about other things besides blood pressure and lactates. I definitely never felt alone. Besides the fact that Oakes was there and Mary, our nurse, was there, I had such a serene feeling being there with him. I loved it. That’s why I only slept two hours!
Throughout the night, the only issue Oakes had was that his lactates (lactic acid) were higher than they’d like. They started him on some diuretics today and they have been lowering ever since, so he is really right on path to the third major milestone which appears will happen tomorrow early to mid-afternoon. The omni-present Dr. Huddleston has a surgery tomorrow morning and then will come by Oakes’ room to close his chest. They’ll do this procedure in his existing CICU room. It will be critical to see how his heart and other organs respond to having less room to beat and do their job. Right now, when he breathes, it’s quite graphic because there’s really not much between his actual heart and your eyes. When I look at it, I go from amazed, to feeling queasy, to being inspired all in split seconds. So we are praying hard that all of Oakes’ organs will be happy. We’ll have to somehow incorporate this into Isla’s favorite song tonight before bedtime “If You’re Happy And You Know It…”
When Connie relieved me this morning around 8am, I packed up and was ready to leave. I leaned over Mighty Oakes and told him I was proud of him and loved him so much and that mama and Isla love him. Right when I got done, his whole body twitched. I’m convinced he heard me and understood me. The nurse will tell you that he randomly twitched throughout the night. But as I said, I’m convinced….
I think you guys would all love Dr. Huddleston. He’s obviously a miracle-worker, but he’s also a funny guy to observe. He is very, very to the point and, unlike me, very selective in his words and only speaks when absolutely necessary. He walks very slowly and sometimes will walk into our room, stand over Oakes, listen to his heartbeat, look at his monitors and walk out in about 2-3 minutes and without ever saying a word. I can’t imagine the lives he and his colleagues live, but I can say I have just unparalleled respect for their profession, their heart and their wisdom.
Hopefully no updates for around 24 to 48 hours when we know how the closing of the chest went tomorrow. Of course, that doesn’t preclude some blog updates, so feel free to visit there. In the meantime, here is a picture of gorgeous Mighty Oakes before surgery, very early yesterday morning, fresh from a bath so his hair is super soft and spiky. Thank you all!
Greg, Becky, Isla & Oakes