Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Head Grafts

I guess I should mention, these pictures of Ethan were taken before his head grafts took place.

Lisa from Child Life brought some new toys to keep Ethan entertained. He was getting a little restless this morning before his surgery and was very hungry! Poor guy couldn't eat all night so he was starving, and when boys are hungry we all know they are not fun to be around!!

I absolutely love this little face...I could kiss it all day! I am so incredibly thankful his face was spared from being burnt.

Ethan was playing like a wild man all morning when he suddenly pushed away his toys and laid down on his tummy. I think the cool mats relieved his itchy face because he didn't move for a long time.

Ethan thought these were the coolest goggles. He looked like such a nerd but had all the people coming into his room loving them as he gave them a big cheesy grin!

After a long night of restlessness, he finally crashed on his play mat into a deep sleep...until the O.R. called and said they were ready for him an hour early! (These pics were posted by Britt)

I (Tim) was planning on coming home to Lethbridge on Sunday night with the girls but it ended up stretching to Monday morning as Hallie didn't have Kindergarten that day. I had a 3hr afternoon lab at the University that started at 2:15pm so my plan was to leave by noon at the latest so I could make it to class. That ended up not happening which was ok by me. The girls and I ended up staying for the rest of the afternoon but didn't actually leave until around 8pm-9pm. I really had a hard time leaving Ethan Monday night as I knew he was going to be getting his grafts on his head the next day. As I pulled out and started driving through Calgary on our way home Hallie burst into tears and I got a little emotional as well. I thought about turning the car around several times to stay the night and drive back early Tuesday morning, but I knew that if I did I would end up staying another full day and one more day might turn into the rest of the week. The girls need routine and need to be in school. Even though I have had the ok from my professors to take as much time away from school as I need (with the ability to defer assignments and exams to later dates) I also need to get back and finish out this semester. I can't afford to put my education on the back burner any more.

We pulled into Lethbridge late monday night and got a decent sleep at Grandma Linda's. Her and Grant have been amazing in helping with the girls, getting them ready for school in the morning, making huge breakfasts for us, picking them up from school, and watching them even though their own lives are extremely busy. We have really enjoyed their help.

I called Britt throughout the day on Tuesday to see how things were going. She said Ethan had a rotten night; he was restless and just couldn't get comfortable to sleep for any amount of time. I guess at around 3am Ethan decided to partially pull out his NG (feeding) tube, so Brittany paged the nurse who came in and pulled the tube the rest of the way out. Tuesday morning Ethan was happy as usual but was very quiet as a result of his sisters not being around. The girls sure lifted his spirits over the weekend, amongst comments from some people about how it would be too much work to have the girls around and how they wouldn't allow Ethan to get the rest he needs. The girls really helped boost his and our morale through the course of this experience.

Since Ethan is put under Anesthetic for the surgery, he wasn't allowed to eat the day of, including fluids up to several hours before the surgery. Britt said he was so hungry and wanted to eat all her food but wasn't allowed (its hard to starve your kid in a situation like this). The doctors bumped his surgery from around noon to 2pm or so, but then they surprised Britt and Ethan around 1pm and took him in. Ethan's surgery went well, Dr. Harrop said that they ended up having to graft his whole head except for a small piece near the crown of his head. They took skin from the un-burned portion of the back of his head and neck and grafted it onto his forehead since the skin colour was a better match as opposed to skin from somewhere else. As for the rest of his head, the surgeons took skin from Ethan's left thigh this time and applied it to the rest of the needed areas that were burned. I really don't know how it is all going to look when it is done, but I know it will be ok. We will still accept Ethan for who he is, and we hope others will do the same. As for the grafts that were done on his arms and foot last Thursday, Dr. Harrop said they looked really good. My last night that I spent with Ethan (Sunday) Ethan ended up taking his cast and dressings off completely when I was asleep. He (Ethan) woke me up and when I saw what had happened I held his arm so that he wouldn't damage the grafts until the night nurses came in and re-dressed it for him (the nurses were really great). At that point I was able to see the grafts on his right arm and to me they actually looked pretty good. I have never seen grafting at this stage before so I really didn't know what to expect. The colour was different but I think we can expect that only three days after the graft took place.

Ethan's new dressings will be on for a week this time (if I'm right), and the doctors said that depending on how his grafts heal, he might be able to come home in couple of weeks. If he needs more grafting on the patch near the crown of his head (the part they didn't graft) then his stay will be more closer to 4 more weeks. All in all, we are really pleased with how the doctors have helped Ethan. All the staff at the hospital have been unbelievable. We will really miss everyone when we leave. I'm sure Ethan will too, to an extent.


  1. Britt and Tim , I looked forward to every post. Thank you for allowing us to be apart of this experience with you. I think about you guys everyday and wonder how things are going with Ethan.. as a mom this has hit me hard to think if this was my son, I don't know if I could be as amazing as you two have been. Please know we are still praying and thinking about you!

  2. Hey guys, glad to hear things went well yesterday with Ethan's grafts. We look forward to the updates every day and are still praying hard. He's such a little fighter. Love you lots and miss you! Give Ethan hugs and kisses for us! xoxox

  3. So glad to hear the head grafts went well. We are praying everyday for you guys!

  4. Our hearts are full of love for you all and Ethan. He is consantly on our minds and in our prayers. The blog is wonderful- Ethan''s smile is worth a million bucks- he's incredibly brave. The pics are worth a thousand words and we love to follow the progress. Many wishes to you and all your family.