Post Op: Round 2

Matthew is out of surgery and back in his room. We are sitting in a corner watching the tiny room ebb and flow with doctors and nurses. It’s a bit like watching a play from back stage. The directors and stage hands and lighting crew all running around connecting this, ordering that, checking this and that… It’s kind of funny. And so reassuring to see them run like a well oiled machine. It’s also nice to have 3 different doctors check to make sure that we received the latest update and that we don’t have any questions that need to be answered.

The reality is that we don’t have questions because very little was answered by opening him back up. We know that he did indeed have a clot in his aorta. They were able to go in, remove the clot, and reconnect the aorta. What we don’t know is why he clotted. His anticoagulants were still at a ‘therapeutic dose’. Higher, really, than the one surgeon would have liked. And yet..

So they fixed the clot, checked the liver on ultrasound, found good flow, closed him back up, and rechecked the liver. Which is when they found that Matthew had somehow lost flow to the right side of his liver. They opened him back up, rechecked the liver, and confirmed that flow is not getting to the right side. “It’s weird.”, the surgeon said and it took everything I had to not laugh. Of course it’s weird. This is Matthew. He plays by his own rules.

So we are back to square one. He has the breathing tube back in. We are going to keep it in until we are ‘sure’ that he won’t need to go back down for surgery. We will continue to monitor his liver numbers and get frequent ultrasounds. His plan of care hasn’t changed much, except to up his anti-coagulation dose and pray that we don’t end up causing bleeding problems.

Looking awesome again while jamming to Bon-jovi

Looking awesome again while jamming to Bon-jovi


Tuesday August 26

Since the surgery, Matthew has had multiple ultrasounds to make sure that blood is flowing properly to the new liver.  Thus far, things have been perfect. This morning, however,  they found a problem. They could not detect any blood flow into the liver from the aorta, or any arterial flow in the liver. This could mean several things.1 The aorta kinked and just needs a little straightening out.2. It is spasming and needs some medications to make it stay open. 3. It clotted. If it’s clotted, then they will remove the area with the clot and reconnect the aorta or have to ‘make a new aorta’. Honestly, I don’t completely understand how they piece things together and rearrange body parts, but I trust these surgeons completely. So, if they say that they have several contingency plans, then I’m comfortable. Not that I’m comfortable. It’s scary to think that he’s going into surgery and they don’t know what they are going to find. It’s scarier than the transplant itself because we have no idea what’s happening.

So… Matthew is currently back in the OR with a team of surgeons. We won’t know what they find or what’s happening for a couple of hours.

But, really, did anyone actually expect Matthew to behave? He doesn’t exactly ever play by the rules.


12:30 pm

And done!!!! The main surgeon came up to tell us that everything went well. The new liver looks just like the old one and fits perfectly. Preliminary labs indicate that it is working properly. There is a small list of things that can go wrong still, mostly having to do with clotting and bleeding problems.


He should be situated in the PICU in about 2 hours.


August 24th 10:45 am

We just heard from one of the surgeons. Matthew is doing well. His new liver went in around 9:15. There are still several hours of surgery left to go, though.

We also learned that he didn’t have any ammonia spikes during the first part of the surgery. Talk about answered prayers!


The Third Time is not the Charm


Well, we have had a third trip to GUH for a possible liver transplant and a third cancelled surgery. Are we frustrated? Yes.  These calls keep coming in the middle of our trips to see family. They are incredibly stressful, especially for his sisters. It is obvious that they are beginning to have trouble dealing…
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