Tomorrow’s The Day

Well, tomorrow is indeed the big day. Surgery day. These last couple of days we have been preparing for Monday. We flew in late on Wednesday, May 13th. Then we started bright and early on Thursday with pre-op day. We spent almost all morning at the hospital. Our time there consisted of lots of smaller appointments, some more traumatic than the others. Chest x-ray was not much fun. Both Lori and I were having to hold Savannah in the proper position while the radiology tech got everything situation for the x-ray. We did at least get through that one without vomit. We couldn’t say that for the physical examination with the cardiac pre-op nurse practitioner.

2015-05-14 07.20.42On Thursday, we also met with one of the cath doctors ahead of Friday’s heart cath. We also had a good meeting with Savannah’s cardiologist here in Boston, Dr. Kevin Friedman. He answered some of our questions and laid out some of his post-op expectations. Lastly, we toured the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) and the heart floor. It was shortly after noon that we ended pre-op day. This allowed us to get caught up with my mom, who also flew in on Wednesday. We all came back to the Yawkey House for some lunch and relaxation. Just for reference, the Yawkey Family Inn is a family housing facility for Boston Children’s Hospital patient families.

Friday came with a 6:45 AM arrival time. Savannah was first case in the cath lab. Overall, the cath went very well and required no intervention. Her pressures were good, and there were no surprises with regard to her anatomy. This meant that her cath was pretty short and uneventful. While Savannah was in the cath lab, we did get to meet with Dr. del Nido’s surgical fellow. She was very helpful and informative. She built on Dr. Friedman’s explanation to give us an even better picture of what to expect.

Now when I use the word “picture,” I mean that both figuratively and actually. We discussed the finer points of the tubes and the wires, as there will be a lot of them. There’s even a 20% chance that her chest will remain open after surgery. The surgeon may choose to leave her chest open if the swelling is too great. These are the kinds of realities that you need to braces yourself for as a parent.

The biggest piece of news that came from that discussion was the fact that the plan is to do a single bivent surgery and NOT stage it into two surgeries. This is great news! Savannah is big enough that a single surgery should be all that’s needed to achieve a bivent. There’s still some unknown territory with regard to how del Nido is going to get the blood flow from her left ventricle to her aorta. Then there’s additional mystery surrounding whether or not her pulmonary valve can be salvaged or will need to be replaced.  We will have a chance to discuss these topics with Dr. del Nido on Monday morning before her surgery.

2015-05-15 12.14.25After signing the consent for surgery came six hours of post-cath observation. Once all the initial drugs wore off, Savannah began to realize where she was, how uncomfortable she was, and how much it hurt. Her nursing staff was great, but it was still a long 6 hours. Once we got to leave the hospital on Friday prevening, we began our weekend. We’ve spent the vast majority of our time in our room here at the Yawkey house. In part, we don’t want germs. More so, we don’t want pollen.

Whatever allergens are plaguing New England right now are affecting all of us, including Savannah. I’m to the point of routinely taking Benadryl Allergy capsules on top of my usual allergy meds. This stuff is crazy!

We certainly appreciate all the kind words and messages. We can certainly feel all your thoughts and prayers as we go into tomorrow’s surgery. Please keep them coming and thank you. Some of you have also asked about an address where you can send cards, packages, etc. The best way to do that is going to be to send stuff here to the Yawkey house. The address is below. We’d ask that you NOT send flowers, as we have enough pollen already, and no balloons. The hospital has restrictions on balloon, and Yawkey is a hospital-owned facility. Thanks for your understanding.

The Yawkey Family Inn
Attn: Savannah Hensler Family
241 Kent Street
Brookline, MA 02446


  1. Bud Fields says:

    Hopes and prayers for a SUCCESSFUL surgery and QUICK healing process for Savannah. May GOD be with Savannah, her parents and her surgeons.

  2. Laura Muers says:

    Thank you for providing the address! Have you been given a time for the surgery – both start and length?

    • Ryan Hensler says:

      Our arrival time is 6 AM. Surgery will begin around 7 AM. It will likely be about 12 hours before we get to see her. It’s hard to predict the actual length of the surgery, time on by-pass, etc. There are just too many variables at this point.

  3. Janelle (Bean) Swan says:

    Praying for y’all, the surgical team, and our Savannah Joy. Our church has been, and still is, keeping her (and y’all) in prayer, and I’m keeping everyone up to date as much as possible. We’ve kind of adopted y’all as non-resident members, and will continue to petition the Lord on your behalf. We love y’all.

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