I am writing this from Katy’s ICU room… back in the little window seat/bed. I have been here many times in the last six years… I have slept if you can call it that listening to the beeps and the hums of the ICU. The ICU is usually our stop gap before home or the floor. We thankfully never spend much time within these walls because Katy is always too well to be in the ICU.
This time is different… so different. There are new noises coming from the ECMO machine that is keeping her alive… she is not the easy patient for this nurse… there are two nurses bedside at all times. There is no Frozen or Annie blaring from the TV… no crafting or card games. No it is sterile, quiet and horrible… no one can believe that it is Katy Murphy the firecracker who was tooling around the ICU halls in her go cart just hours before she was in cardiac arrest. No one finds it harder to believe than me.
How did this happen?! I keep asking… no one knows.
Monday was a normal day… well normal as far as days in the hospital go. Katy was in the ICU to try a big gun Beta Blocker in hopes of bringing down her heart rate… after 24 hours and reaching maximum dose and no improvement. It was decided that she would go back to the cath lab on Tuesday and they would see about finding a hot spot and ablating it and hopefully that would do the trick and no pace maker would be needed.
Katy was having her typical hospital 7pm snooze and Mike and I both thought she would be down for the night since she had an early day. Change of shift happened… Night nurse was preparing 8pm meds and Mike was headed across the street to pick us up some dinner. Katy woke up to take her meds… said she had a belly ache, I thought she may have to poop. Was putting her crocs on when I noticed her face/lips looked very purple/gray… looked at her a second later and her eyes were rolling back in her head… I screamed for the nurse (who thankfully was bedside with us) she looked at Katy and went to push the code button… I ran to the hallway and screamed help…within 30 seconds 30 people were in Katy’s tiny bed space. They bagged her and immediately started chest compressions… within 3 minutes the decision was made that she needed ECMO… the team worked flawlessly, nurses, doctors, everyone knew their role and did it effortlessly.
I of course was losing my mind… and begging God and anyone who would listen to save my girl. An amazing fellow ICU parent who was walking down the hall at the time picked me up and held me and told me it would be OK. He was so kind… I will never forget the kindness he showed me in that moment. Then my poor husband could hear my screams from the hallway and knew it was Katy… I can’t imagine what was going through his head as he walked through those double doors… I do know that the strength and courage he showed while watching the team work on his baby girl was remarkable. He watched the entire time as they performed CPR for what seemed like hours. Holding me and giving me updates as he thought I could handle them. Pointing out the good things… only stepping away once she was on ECMO to call my parents.
It is nothing short of a miracle that Katy is alive today. One of the nurses who was performing CPR (there were two and they switched off) came to see us last night and he said that he felt it was divine intervention in that room that night because it was bad. Her heart just completely stopped and her lungs filled with blood.
Because of pressure in her lungs once she was on ECMO she had to go to the cath lab immediately to relieve the pressure in her heart. They did this by making a hole between the ventricles. Now we wait… we are approaching the 48 hour mark and Katy is doing as well as anyone can hope on ECMO… There appears to be no damage to her other organs, her lungs which took the hardest hit are already showing improvement. Her CT scan did show a small brain bleed… nothing concerning at this time and certainty not unexpected.
The plan as of now is to begin warming Katy up overnight… and lift her sedation just enough to ask her to squeeze our hand… and move her feet in the morning. This will also give them the opportunity to assess her heart rate as she warms. If the heart rate rises as she warms they will still have to resolve this problem which means a trip to the cath lab for ablation. She would probably go to the cath lab while still on ECMO to put as less stress as possible on her healing heart and lungs. This procedure could result in the need for a pacemaker. We will just have to wait and see one day at a time.
I just want to see her beautiful blue eyes…and eventually that gorgeous smile that can light up a room. Everyone is hopeful that Katy will bounce back and make a full recovery… I am trying to latch on to the positive thoughts of those around me. I know that my girl is a fighter and she has THE BEST team possible working together to get her back to her sweet & sassy self.
Thank you for your calls, texts, emails etc. I am sorry if I haven’t responded…it’s just been too hard. Please know that they mean the world to Mike and I and hopefully one day Katy when she is old enough and I can share with her how she has touched the hearts of so many.