OK!  All sorts of news.  At 2130, we went down to recovery to talk with Dr. J and see Minnie.  She was awake, and hurting pretty good.  Obviously this was a long day for the O.R. staff, and apparently Minnie gave a little scare.   They found a lot of fused bone when they got in there, which was seen on the imaging, but I gather the fused bone was more extensive than expected.  Much of her rib cage was fused together, which explains why she has been a stomach breather.  She can’t expand her chest when she breathes.  He cut much of the fusion out, freeing the ribs from one another, and also from the vertebrates, which allowed him to get to the discs and get some correction.  During this work, the spinal monitoring went out (stopped reporting that limbs were getting signals from the brain).  For the following two hours, he exposed the spine looking for an issue.  We’re still not sure what the problem was or why it got better, but monitoring returned and she’s moving all her toes and fingers now.  Because we don’t know exactly what was going on during this time, she may take some time to regain strength due to strain on her spinal chord.  We could see upwards of three months for her to regain full strength; or as little as one week.

When the doctor started cutting away the grown over bone on the spine and rib cage, the anesthesiologist asked “What are you doing to her lungs?  She’s breathing much easier!”  Apparently, the new thoracic elasticity allows her to take in a chestful of air, where before she was only able to take a half breath, using her stomach.  This is really exciting, but unfortunately will likely not last, since her ribcage is likely to fuse again.  We’re hoping that the unlikely will happen and the ribs will stay independent.

Rachel is concerned about the amount of work that has been done, and asked if how she’ll be feeling in the next few days, and was told she’ll feel like a train ran over her, which sounds about right.

So, roughly 11 hours of surgery plus 2 and a half hours of prep and recovery, and she’s back in her room now.  Already asking for ice chips, and rather upset that they won’t let her roll over yet.   She’s really puffy from all the fluids, but really has her wits about her, which surprises me.  I expected her to be in recovery for a really long time due to the amount of time being under.  This is the third surgery she’s had at this hospital, and they must do something different here, because she seems to recover from the sleepy juice sooner.

So, we’re in for a long night, but I’m encouraged by what the surgeon reported, and how Minnie is talking.

Thank you so much for all your prayers!  Please, don’t stop now.  We’re looking forward to getting her home and reconciling our family.