Summer of 2003, Ben had two major surgeries. The first one was performed in June by a pediatric surgeon, Dr. Latchaw. The name of the surgery was a "Fundoplication" or Nissan wrap. This is where they take the top of your stomach and wrap it tightly around your esophagus so that the food in your stomach won't "reflux" or travel back up the esophagus into your mouth. This surgery was done to prevent Ben from aspirating food into his lungs. He stayed 8 days in the PICU at Dartmouth and recovered quite nicely from the surgery. The only drawback was that his swallowing capabilities were changed and so when his secretions would pool in the back of the throat he would start coughing, choking and turning blue. We tried so hard to fix this problem but in the end, the only thing that helped was to have a "Tracheotomy" done.
Dad seeing Ben right after his trach surgery Sleepin peacefully after surgery Ben's fundoplication surgery
April 2003 was such a milestone for us. I just kept thinking that if we could make it to his first birthday that everything from there on out would be okay. Well, Steve and I planned this really big party with all our friends and family that have been so monumental in our lives and wouldn't you know that the night before his big day Ben catches RSV. I remember not having such a great feeling the night before because his oxygen levels were slowly dropping and by morning they were around 83%. I packed our bags and headed to the local ER where they then prepared to have us transported to Dartmouth by the DHART team. This was Ben's second go around with RSV and it was worse than the first time. We spent a total of 11 days in the PICU that time and it was eerily similar to exactly a year before when he was born. We spent the same exact days in the ICN there, the 5th through the 15th of April two years in a row.
Ben was only happy in my lap. Ben's sats were so low they had to use a face mask and nasal cannula to get him the oxygen that he needed. Ben got lots of neb treatments during his stay. Poor baby was so sick. This is mostly how he looked, he was really sick and uncomfortable. I never left his side.
Kaleb holding Ben at Dartmouth. He had viral pneumonia and was in for 10 days. Working the binkie with the oxygen mask. Ben sporting his Nike outfit. First thumb splints - they were a little big. This boy loved his baths. They would calm him when he cried.
Another stay at Dartmouth for viral pneumonia. This one lasted 8 days. "Look Mom, NO HANDS!":) Attempting a smile... Mimi made me this hat to keep my head from burning in the sun.