One day Anni was twirling and singing one of her original compositions.
"It's my gift!" she declared.
Dizzy, she fell with spectacular gracelessness.
Laying on her back on the tile floor she began flapping her arms and legs
as if she were making a snow angel.
"Falling down is also a gift!" says she.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

she's full of surprises

As late as half an hour before Annika was wheeled into the O.R. today, her surgeon was debating with himself whether or not it was a good idea. It's fascinating to watch the back-and-forth thought process of someone as high-powered as Dr. Superina, although also, as a parent, a bit disconcerting. The fact of the matter was that she did not look like someone who was suffering from a massive abdominal infection. She had spent the morning dressing and undressing her tiny Ariel doll in her many strange little rubber outfits, and discussing the various shapes of cookies she would eat "when her tummy was fixed." But the results from interventional radiology yesterday had them worried that perhaps they were missing a large infection that could turn very dangerous. Then there was also the fact that the results from the lab had come back, and the version of E. coli that had been cultured from her abdomen was susceptible to pretty much any kind of antibiotic. In fact, this bug was so weak that even a mean look from a lab worker could kill it off. While it's good news that she didn't have some sort of super-bug, it was worrying that the high-powered antibiotics that she had already been on for a week hadn't cleared the infection. This most likely meant that the infection was located someplace that the antibiotics just weren't reaching. But on the other hand, Dr. Superina wasn't looking forward to going back into her abdominal booby-trap and working his way through all those newly-formed adhesions without knowing for sure that such a drastic measure was called for. Finally he just threw up his hands and said, "OK. Let's take her back." Annika engaged in her usual procrastination tricks to delay having to leave her room, but overall she took the news relatively well as we explained to her what the doctors had to do. They wheeled her off to the O.R. after I leaned down and sang "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" softly into her ear, which is our new way for me to "put my voice inside her head" in case she gets scared. Clutched in her left hand was her new lucky stone, a smooth resin-encased organ donation ribbon that she got in a package from Riley and Shelby. The doctors told her that they would put it in a bag that they would keep by her head throughout the surgery. A little over an hour later, we saw her PICU nurse running by, stopping just long enough to report, "She has a huge abscess and will need to stay intubated." Annika was rolled out of the O.R. 10 minutes later, and we had a chance to talk to Dr. Superina. Again, we saw that look on his face that said he just couldn't believe how difficult our little girl can be. She did indeed have a very large abscess in her abdomen, and they also discovered that her bowel was perforated. Because of the massive infection, they were unable to close her abdomen back up again. And the hole in the bowel will likely be very difficult to close. They are planning on taking her back to surgery on Monday to change the packing in her abdomen and to check whether or not the suturing of the bowel has held or not. If all goes well, they might be able to start the very slow process of closing her back up again in a week, but it's going to take a long time to accomplish. Meanwhile she will need to stay on the ventilator and be paralyzed for her protection. Since she is going to have an open abdomen for a while, Jörg is going to take Frankie and my parents back home tomorrow. We'll need to be careful about minimizing her exposure to germs until she can be closed up. And it's not like she's going to be up for a lot of company for a while, anyway. I'm awfully glad that we took Frankie and my mom back for a visit with her before they took her back this afternoon.


Blogger Running2Ks said...

I am so sorry that this has happened, but I am glad to hear that they seem to have found some answers and can work with this difficult situation in Anni's body.

Hugs to you, and my prayers and thoughts remain there. I hope to see you tomorrow.

12/15/2005 5:55 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

We're thinking of and praying for Annika. Hugs from the Alpha Girls: Grace & Meghan plus their mom, Jen.

12/15/2005 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear all that happened to Annika, but I am thinking about her all the time. Although I never met her in person, I read the post daily and very concern about her. Wish her all the best and hope everything goes well.

Sandy, mom to Samson, BA

12/15/2005 6:34 PM  
Blogger corndog said...

Wow. And Holy Shit. What a day you guys have had. Here's hoping that this will solve the infection problem. And continued good thoughts and prayers that problems keep getting solved.

12/15/2005 6:35 PM  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

Oh, Moreena. I'm so sorry.

If there's anything we can do for you while you wait for this infection to resolve, please, please let us know. We are thinking of you and Annika tonight.

12/15/2005 7:26 PM  
Blogger Sarahlynn said...

Oh, wow.

Have they ever left her open before?

I nearly laughed when Ellie's PICU nurse said that she's not usually assigned to "easy" cases like Ellie's open heart surgery. Then she explained that she usually deals with the kids whose chests are left open. That possibility had never occured to me before. But in retrospect, I like the idea of the open chests/abdomens being "normal" and the closed incisions being "easy." "Normal" sounds a lot more fun than scary.

You're in my thoughts and prayers as always. And if you're still in Chicago over New Year's, I'll be in the city on a "romantic excursion" sans Ellie and would love to pop in and say hi.

12/15/2005 7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ay ay ay. Moreena. Our thoughts are with you guys. I'm glad you had Frankie up for a while. We are sending healing vibes Annika's way.

xo Catherine

12/15/2005 7:51 PM  
Blogger liz said...

jThinking of you and praying. Love and hugs

12/15/2005 7:58 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Oh Moreena! How horrible this must be for you all. Prayers, on top of prayers on top of prayers are being said for Annika.

12/15/2005 8:39 PM  
Blogger halloweenlover said...

Oh Moreena, I hope this resolves the infection and bleeding. My husband had a similar incision, although not so serious. They had to keep a wound open to prevent it from refilling with fluid, so he has the sides stitched open and I was charged with rinsing it and repacking it.

I hope that Anni breezes through these next few days and that she remembers hardly any of it in the future. More prayers and hugs sent your way.

12/15/2005 8:46 PM  
Blogger Rev Dr Mom said...

Prayers and hugs for you and your family!

12/15/2005 8:56 PM  
Blogger parodie said...

Praying for you.
It stuns me to think of your adorable daughter undergoing so much, so young... and of course she's not the only one. Your family is in my thoughts.

12/15/2005 9:27 PM  
Anonymous peripateticpolarbear said...

Oh, crap, crap, crap.
Just. not. fair.
But at least it sound slike the the trauma of surgery was worth it.

12/15/2005 10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never met you, but have been reading about all that is happening, and just wanted you to know you have our thoughts and prayers with you and your family.
Neighbor Lady

12/15/2005 10:20 PM  
Blogger purple_kangaroo said...

Oh no! I am praying for your sweet girl, and for all of you.

12/16/2005 1:30 AM  
Blogger Jane Dark said...

I'm so sorry, but I'll be keeping you and Annika and your family in my thoughts and prayers, as ALWAYS.

12/16/2005 1:33 AM  
Anonymous Rowan said...

Oh crap. I so hope that this is the solution you have all been looking for. I'm so sorry that everything is this scary right now. Poor Annika...but if this can help get everything to heal, then so be it. You are all in our thoughts and our hearts for the duration.

12/16/2005 1:59 AM  
Anonymous Sheryl, Justice's mom said...

Geez Moreena, so much going on. I am so glad she got some Frankie time before surgery again. We are keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers. Justice asks how Anni is doing every time I'm on the computer and "had a talk with God" about people he knows that are sick today. It was sweet, but sad too. All of our kids are too young to have such clear understanding of how sick you have to be to have a "sleep over" at the hospital. Wishing you home soon....

12/16/2005 3:21 AM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

It's a scary explanation, but at least some sort of an explanation of what's been going on for Annika, I guess. Can't imagine how it feels to be going through this with her, but continue to salute your collective courage and pray for a happy resolution...
Blessings x

12/16/2005 3:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh that poor little thing! To have to go through surgery again. On the other hand, I've very thankful they did find the abcess and the perforation and hopefully it will all heal up nicely this time around. Sorry to hear she's going to have a rough time for the next several days. I'm hoping that since they will be keeping her sedated, you may be able to get some sleep - my prayers continue for all of you.


12/16/2005 7:16 AM  
Blogger mc said...

Thinking positive thoughts for all of you...

12/16/2005 7:36 AM  
Anonymous Beanie Baby said...

Oh Moreena, I am so so sorry. What a difficult situation. I hope this does the trick and you can all start the road to recovery SOON.

12/16/2005 7:49 AM  
Blogger Shelli said...

I am so sorry this is happening to Annika and your family. (Deep sigh) I have never met your family and I have only started reading since this last hospitalization, but I already feel deeply attached. Every day I pray for a miracle and every other day something seems to go wrong with Annika. I will keep praying as everyone else is and hopefully God will hold Annika and your family in his hands. Your daughter seems to be quite a strong spirit.

12/16/2005 8:56 AM  
Blogger Scrivener said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. I so hope that things improve fast from here for all of you.

12/16/2005 9:28 AM  

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