Last night, Caitlin was stable but at 4am we woke to the news that her left leg, site of the new arterial cannula, was swollen. They couldn’t detect any pulses in the foot. Her leg would soon be in danger if they didn’t act. At 5am she went back into the OR to receive a fasciotomy–they would make cuts to the fascia on either side of her calf to release the pressure.
It was successful, but two hours later, they weren’t detecting pulses again and they had to do an adjustment. They’ve been checking the leg every 30 minutes. So far, so good.
She’s mostly sedated, but sometimes she swims up and when she does, she gets agitated. It’s clear that she’s alert. She pointed to the breathing tube in her mouth. Then made the writing motion. We gave her the white board and she clearly wrote, Transplanted?
It broke my heart to say no, not yet.
(They tell her what they are doing before each procedure, but of course, with the anesthesia, she forgets.)
She began to write more, faster and faster. It was hard to make out the words, but we saw a couple of angry ones: “mistake, fucked-up.” Her oxygen saturation levels started to go down with her agitation so we had to take the white board away. She’s been asleep since.
Here’s a thing that gave me some chills, though. When they first wheeled her to the OR to do the fasciotomy on her calf, I decorated her ICU area a bit. I hung some Christmas lights above the bed area.
I hung personal photos on the wall.
Jess, above, on the left, is one of Caitlin’s most beloved friends. They share a close, close bond. That “I Love You” card is from her. Inside is the kind of letter you save forever.
Jess recently went through a year of dealing with a complicated case of breast cancer. (www.kenyahandlethis.com) Right now, she is in India, on a long-planned trip. She wasn’t going to go, but Caitlin said, “You got through your cancer, and now you’re free. You can travel. Go!” Jess decided to go but said that she would carry Caitlin with her. She’s been texting me the entire time she is there. She’s been wearing a bindi (red dot) on her third eye, for Caitlin.
When I opened my Whatsapp to send the above photo to Jess, I saw that a couple of hours earlier, Jess had sent me this text.
—-Maryanne, with Nick