Jeff had the second procedure on Tuesday, July 5th.  The hope was that the surgeon would go back in and clean out the prosthetic and infected area.  This would increase the chances of saving the prosthesis and prevent further infection by placing antibiotic beads in Jeff’s leg.

We originally thought that the surgery would start at 12:30pm, but due to a cancellation, they were able to start the procedure earlier.  Our friend, Jordan Garcia, had come early that morning to help me with Santos.  His help freed me up to stay at the hospital during the procedure.  As has been true during the other surgeries, updates are provided every 2 hours.  By 12pm, they told me that Jeff was under anesthetic and they were more than likely on their way to opening the incision site.  At 2pm and 4pm, they told me that they were cleaning the prosthetic and Jeff’s vital signs were good.  They thought the procedure would be complete before 6pm.  I stayed in the waiting room, hoping to see Dr. Lin give me the final report.

While I was waiting, the friend I had met in the waiting room before, offered to come sit with me.  I hadn’t realized how much this would mean until it was offered.  We sat for a while and then she graciously offered to do some grocery shopping for me.  Again, this was so important since I don’t have a car and was running out of milk (critical in our household).

Dr. Lin came to the waiting room around 5pm to give me a final report.  He told me, as he usually does, that there was nothing “exciting to report.”  The procedure had gone well, Jeff had done well, they were able to clean the prosthetic and replace the head of his femur.  They had taken more samples from hard to reach areas of the prosthetic to see what Jeff’s bacterial counts were.  In reality, the area around Jeff’s prosthetic will never be bacteria free, but keeping the bacterial counts low will be critical.  After surgical procedures, patients usually stay in recovery for 2 hours before they are able to have visitors.  I went home with Amanda, unloaded groceries and readied Santos to go to the hospital to see Jeff.  In route to the hospital, I had missed a call from the recovery room.  After arriving to the hospital, I had missed a call from Dr. Lin.  I was able to call  Dr. Lin immediately.  He met me in the waiting room and told me that while Jeff was in recovery, he noticed that he could not move is foot, or his toes and the lower part of his leg began to grow cold.  They were unsure of what was happening since during the procedure, there had been no complications.  They were able to contact the Thoracic surgeons to come evaluate Jeff.  They were planning on taking him back into the operating room and see if they could figure out what was happening.  Jeff could have a damaged artery, a blood clot or swelling in Jeff’s leg was putting pressure on an artery and causing blockage.  It was clear that circulation was stopping.

I stayed with Jeff before surgery.  The fear we all had was that they would not be able to figure out the problem and they would have to amputate his foot.  Also, thrombosis (a blockage of the artery) is painful, and Jeff was in a lot of pain.  The morphine was not helping and no matter how hard Jeff tried, he could not make his foot move.  Before they transported him to the operating room, he was able to move his foot up.  This brought us some encouragement.  We both tried to focus on blood moving through his leg and staying positive.  Before any surgery, we usually look at pictures of Santos and try to focus on being together as a family.

Jordan, Santos and I sat in the waiting room.  After a few sensational meltdowns, mostly due to exhaustion, Santos fell asleep.  Jordan ran back and forth on a taxi to the apartment to bring food and blankets.  I tried to keep friends and family informed while we anxiously waited for any information.

A little over 2.5 hours later Dr. Huynh, the thoracic surgeon, came to the waiting room and told us that she was done and that they were able to find a clot in the artery near his pelvis.  The artery had received some blunt force trauma during the surgery.  Once they removed the clot and opened up the artery the blood started to flow to his foot.  We were relieved for good news.

I spent the night with Jeff in the ICU.  He was in pain and had a difficult time sleeping.  This is not uncommon in the ICU due to the constant stream of nurses and the loud machines.

Jeff was transferred back to his room in the late morning.  We were all tired and overwhelmed.  The surgeons assured us that the removal of the blood clot would not have any long-term effect on Jeff’s recovery.  Essentially it is repaired and will continue to function normally.

Jordan stayed with us until Friday morning.  We were all sad to see him go.  Santos and I have been making our way around Houston on the bus or the Metra train.  We have a settled into a rhythm.  We spend at least part of the day at the hospital with Jeff and the rest of the day in some air-conditioned area.

Jeff continues to work toward recovery.  He has lost a considerable amount of strength since he has been hospitalized for 3 weeks now.  He has been in bed for the majority of his hospitalization.  It has just been the past couple of days he has been able to get out of bed and take steps outside of his door.

We hope to be back in Denver on Sunday, July 24th.  Although the thought of ever returning to Houston used to bring me to tears, I am learning to accept that this where we are supposed to be right now and resistance if futile.

After our last stay in Houston, I said goodbye and was convinced that we would only be back in the fall for Jeff’s 6 month check up.  To be honest, I was okay with never coming back again.  When Jeff was in the operating room with the thoracic surgeon, I frantically sent updates to people I had been in touch with during the day.  I admitted to our friend Angela that I was “really nervous.”  She responded by saying something to the effect of “Whatever happens, it will be exactly what Jeff needed.”  She is right.  Whatever the outcome of this journey, it is exactly what was meant to be.

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