Yesterday, Thursday Sept. the 17th, Danny and I went to the U Med Center for his checkup and progress assessment. Everything was fine and healing as well as could be expected, all except his eyes. The lower eyelids were not closing all the way due to tight skin on his face. The problem is not only cosmetic but also a serious concern for his eyes. If the eyes dry out too much, then damage can occur.
Dr. Morris had seen Danny's eyelids the previous two visits and voiced concern the first time, then seemed hopeful the following week. Yesterday, he saw that the problem was not getting better so he scheduled Danny for surgery this morning. You could see Danny was very disappointed as he learned of what needed to be done.
Danny prepared himself for the surgery by not eating after last night, the typical action taken for surgery. I woke up at 3:00 a.m. (which is very common for me) and found Danny sitting at the kitchen table. He had been up since an hour after going to bed. I am assuming this new problem was worrying him and so he was unable to sleep. I was planning on waking him up at 5:00 to be ready on time, so we went ahead and started preparations for the day early. His wounds are itching and giving him fits that are almost driving him crazy. Unable to really scratch because of the tender new skin everywhere, all we can do is rub lotion on all that delicate skin. The lotion gave him some relief and we were ready to leave at 5:50 for his scheduled arrival at 7:00.
Yesterday we were told there would be two other patients to be operated on, so we thought we would be third in line. After signing in and going to the Pre Surgical area this morning, we were told Danny was up first and the procedure would start just after 8:00 a.m. The rotation of doctors had taken Dr. Morris off duty and put Dr. Cochran as the surgeon to work on Danny's eyelids. Just before entering the operating room, Dr. Cochran told us the various options she would be looking at as to what the actual procedure would involve. One option was to bandage Danny's lower eyelids after the graft had been applied, with little pillows of cotton or gauze to keep the lid immobile. The other was to sew Danny's eyes closed, with the possibility that he could peek out between the eyelids. Dr. Cochran also looked at Danny's mouth and told us since his mouth is only half it's former size, an option of surgery to help that is possible. She said she would rather wait until later on and see before doing anything to his mouth.
The operation didn't take too long and was over at about 9:30 a.m. At 10:15 I was allowed to go see Danny. He's been placed back in his same private room 21, of the 4th floor Burn Unit. As I walked in Danny was awake and doing fine, except his eyes are closed. He's not supposed to open them for three days. To do the grafting, the doctor cut a section of skin from his left side just under the armpit. This time it wasn't a harvesting like his previous skin grafts, this one took all three layers of skin from an area a bit bigger than two postage stamps. That wound was sewn up the same as if it were a laceration. An incision or release as it is called, was made in each of Danny's lower eyelids and the harvested skin was sewn into place. Right now, he looks like he's had a botched makeup job. The thing that's probably going to drive him crazy will be, about a third of the way from the outer ends of his eyelids, the doctor sewed his upper and lower eyelids together on both eyes in order to keep him from blinking. As I said before, this will last for three days.
One of the staff printed a sign to put on Danny's room saying: "I Can't see. Please tell who you are." Danny will need to have someone help him with everything now since he is essentially blind for awhile. His only control in life is his call button. When I left this morning, he was sleeping. He was probably catching up from no sleep the night before. As I write this, Judy (his mother) is most likely with him. Andy should be getting off work soon and will go be with him as well. I'm not sure who else may have seen him so far. Hopefully this will be the last of the surgeries.