Thursday, October 13, 2011

Medical Update: Yesterday's Surgery

Posted by Matt Fray

As most of you know, Erin had reconstructive surgery yesterday at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, South Carolina. The procedure she had done is fairly new, first developed by a surgeon here in Charleston several years ago, and involves taking skin tissue from the abdomen to reconstruct "natural tissue" breasts.

The surgery was scheduled to take 6-8 hours, but they worked on Erin for just over 10 hours. Apparently the doctors had a little trouble reattaching the venous vein on Erin's left side, so they took their time to make sure it was attached well and providing good blood flow. Though it made for a long day for me sitting in the waiting room (along with our pastor, John Fender), I'm thankful for good doctors who care more about doing things right than doing things quickly! The most encouraging part of Erin's surgery is that it appears that all of the transplanted tissue is infection free and will survive successfully. Whenever tissue is transplanted, there are risks of infection and tissue decay, so we are very thankful that neither of those appear to be issues for Erin.

I first saw Erin about an hour after she came out of surgery. Despite being highly medicated and in great pain, her first words to me were, "How was your day? Did you get a lot of work done? When does the Cardinals game start?" For those of you who know Erin well, I'm sure her interest in my day and her excitement about the Cardinals playoffs run come as no surprise to you. Still, since I am someone who struggles with being self-centered, Erin's selflessness never ceases to amaze me. In sickness and in health, in busyness and in boredom, Erin consistently disregards her own issues in order to focus on the needs of her husband, her children, and her friends.

Erin spent the night in the ICU, partially due to a shortage of rooms in the normal post-surgery wing, but also to allow her to have greater attention from the nursing staff. The nurses in the normal post-surgery wing are each responsible for 4-5 patients, but in the ICU they are only responsible for 2. I'm thankful that she is being taken care of so well! And I'm thankful that the ICU staff allowed me to stay in the room with Erin last night, since ordinarily visitors are only allowed in the ICU for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. Lord willing, Erin will require less attention throughout the day today and she can move to a normal room where she can get more rest. The care in the ICU is great, but it's also less private and more noisy than a normal room.

As you pray for Erin's recovery, please pray especially that her pain will subside so that she will be able to get some sleep. And you can pray that she will gain enough strength to begin getting out of bed and moving around a little bit, as that will help her recovery.