Matilda had the first part of her rib cartilage reconstructive surgery and she stayed in the hospital for 5 days after. The surgery went well after a good 12 hours and her surgeons were very happy with the result. Here are some pictures that the surgeons took of the ribs they took from her to build her a new ear.
You can tell what an amazing work the surgeons did and some skills! In the last two pictures you can see the 2 tubes that are below her ear that helped her drain the fluid. It was not comfortable at all and she did not like it when she noticed them.
Matilda woke up pretty happy and it was not until hours later when she realized she had all these tubes coming from her ear and her rib wound that she shut down and was feeling extremely sad.
She had a tough time when we were at the hospital once she saw all the tubing and how restricted she was with mobility. She refused to look at herself in the mirror and pretty much refused to talk or even eat. When the nurses asked her about her pain level she was always nodding that she is fine (I think it was just easy to do so than saying anything else). The doctor gave her goals and one of them was to make sure she moves her neck around especially the side she had surgery because kids tend to avoid it which then causes stiffness. Matilda did just that. She was afraid to move her new ear side. I had to constantly remind her of our goal which is to go home after 5 days and we do not want to stay longer, so after 2 days she finally got better of moving around but still with lots of prompting. Her mood was still very down and I was definitely feeling frustrated. I asked for a physical therapist to work with her and the doctor instructed the nurse to give her higher dose of pain medication versus the low dose she has been getting. Matilda was also very sleep deprived since every 2-3 hours a nurse would come in and check her vital and administer her medication (and when the medication is done it delivers a loud beeping sound that does not stop until a nurse comes back in). No one was getting any good sleep. On the third night, I requested that she needs at least 6 straight hours of no interruption and we worked it out so that she had her medicine as late as we could so she can sleep better.
Matilda had received gifts before the surgery so that she could open them while she was there but Matilda refused to open any of them nor did she want anyone to visit. She wanted to do everything when she gets home.
It was a long and tough 5 days but she did it. I think it was hard because it is completely not what she had expected. But she did it and she was so brave and she can’t wait for Christmas. Our second part surgery is in 4 months and she will not have to stay in the hospital and just rest for 2 weeks at home.
Happy New (Y)ear!