Congrats! Good to hear life has finally returned to normal. Funny how we mark these anniversaries but in my book, they are an important reminder of the second chance at life we've been granted. You have such a young family and it is so important to keep yourselves as healthy and fit as possible. There are lots of different kinds of exercise available and perhaps you'll just have to find one Ken enjoys more than another to help motivate him. You can only push so much though and well don't you know it. Take care. Keep in touch.
Thank you for being at the one year mark and remembering all of us here.
Your advice about being proactive is right on.....as much as I know I would like to put the inevitable off, that is not a strategy.
You all have a beautiful family and now the good health to enjoy it!!!
Tara and Ken so glad to hear you have recovered and congrats on the year anniversary. I am in the same boat as you. I totally agree to be proactive and get the surgery done before complications arise. Once the heart enlarges it never goes back to its original size. Anyway, congrats and God bless.
Nice to hear from you. Isn't that great that Ken is doing so well that his surgery isn't even a thought? Now, that's a recovery. Looks like things are normal at home now with the girls' flu taking over. Hope all are well now.
I see the cardiologist tomorrow for a follow-up about the Beta Blocker. Can't believe I've been on the pill that long. Gosh, time is just flying by. Were you reading what we were wondering about the calcium and vitamin D? Interesting.
I'm keeping pretty well and just look forward to gaining more strength and stamina but I think it's coming along and I don't have any complaints. I can actually say I feel pretty good most of the time. I've been blessed with the steadiness of my recovery as well.
Just dropping in to say hi and hope this finds all well in your house. Is Ken still feeling totally well and not having any symptoms? With any luck this is so.
I'm having only the odd palpitation now and then so would assume the Beta Blocker is working as it should. I still have another few weeks to go before I see the cardiologist for a follow-up. Of course I find I get tired more easily but otherwise am enjoying a fairly normal endurance according to my rehab. I'm still using 1/2 of the magic pill.
My husband has gone golfing to Tennessee with the guys even though he was torn as to what he felt was right. We aren't often apart and after this past while, he really needed to be pushed to go and have some fun. I haven't been cleared for out of country travel yet insurance-wise. Are you feeling good about Ken's recovery and current health or do you still get the odd reservation?
Great picture. It's nice to put a name to a face.
Yes, I am really feeling the cold and I know my circulation is supposed to be good. My arteries are clear etc. I keep our house at 70F but I'm wearing heavier sweaters this year. Sitting around and not working I sometimes am putting on a wool sweatercoat thing I have that fits over my sweaters. My hands are cold, especially if I've been typing or writing or something. When I'm done I'll notice my hands are freezing. I've been told it's the blood thinners. While it's most uncomfortable, I don't think it's a problem. I hadn't thought to mention to my cardiologist lately.
The cardiologist did say I could change the dose on the Beta Blocker between 1/2 - 1 depending upon how I process it, ie. if it makes me too tired then cut it back. I'm not too tired but I did notice my pulse went much lower and the rehab nurse is going to adjust my exercise numbers for next week. She didn't seem concerned about the lower pulse, I was just thinking because my resting pulse is now back to 53ish, if I took the other half of that pill I might go even lower and I wouldn't want that to happen so I'm going to leave the 1/2 until I see the doctor again in 4-5 weeks and then we'll discuss it.
I can understand how Ken would want to get back to doing what he used to do without having to rethink the whole situation. I'm now lugging the vac, pulling the frig and stove out and so on. I'm being careful but now that it's been 5 months, surely I'm ready to move on. Obviously Ken is getting antsy and wanting to get this surgery into the background where it belongs too. Enjoy the veggie box Ken made. When do you start planting there?
It's nice that you are keeping up with Ken's journal. Talk later. Cheryl
Hi Tara and Ken
Just taking a moment to check up on you and Ken and ask how he's making out. Last week everything looked to be going well so I'm hoping things will now return to normal.
I was at rehab this morning and discussing the doseage of pills I'm to be on and the nurse said that even though I'm just taking the 1/2 pill, the doctor probably wants me on the full pill. The 1/2 option was just giving me time to adapt. I'm still just going to take the half for now and will let her know when I decide to up it. I've only had two noticeable incidents of palpitations. The nurse said my pvc's aren't the same things as the double and triple beats. She gave them a fancy name and I forgot it already. Will have to ask her again next week. Because the Beta Blockers have reduced my heart rate she has to adjust my exercise rate. It will be interesting to see what she comes up with. I may just yet be sweating with the oldies!
Thanks for the tip. When I'm next at the drug store I'll pick one up. I've always used a sharp knife which leaves some split ends and crumbs and often I'm searching the kitchen for the rest of the pill. Now that I'm officially a druggie, I think I may just invest in one. You have a good night.
I do hope your leg is fully healed and you can get back to your running. The waiting is tough, isn't it? You could write volumns from all of the sordid things your mind congers up. I always say I can deal with what I know - but it's the unknown that drives me nuts. I like Ken's attitude.
Thank you for the information about cutting the pills in half. As I'm only taking half right now, I'm going to try and cut them into quarters and see what happens. I just noticed that my pulse has dropped to 55 resting rate (well sitting here typing) so that is getting kinda on the low side. I won't be too quick to up my dose to the full pill anytime soon.
Hi Tara and Ken
That follow-up was definitely a good news day. You both have to feel tremendous relief to get the "go on with your life" message. You are right Tara, it must be hard to let go giving Ken the assurance that you are confident he is indeed okay while all the time wondering when he has a little episode of something, is he really okay.
There may yet be a few things here and there that may require attention so try and take them in stride. It looks as if many of us healed patients have needed some tweaking.
You will bit by bit return to pre-surgery mode and your lives will revert back to "normal". Ken has just graduated to fixed and now he can put his concentration back to being a husband and dad as he learns to live with the new him. I'm glad this day has come for your family. Cheryl, Ontario
Hi Tara and Ken
Thanks for thinking of me. I'm happy to be off the monitor and on the pills even though they make me a little wonky so far. I cut the pill down to 1/2 today and maybe will start off just a little slower. I'm sure I'll be fine. I would like more energy but I still plod along and accomplish stuff, just much slower. I find I can walk better on the treadmill at 3mph for 35 mins than I can freestyle in the Mall. Boy, have I saved magnitudes of money this past year! Pete loves it.
How's Ken? You were concerned about the fluid in his left lung. Is he using his spirometer all the time? Keep him busy with that darn thing and hopefully next week will bring a positive doctor's report. His other numbers did sound pretty good though which is good. The ups and downs get nerve wracking after a while and take a toll on the confidence. How do you handle the set-backs? Does it rattle you much or does your medical background give you confidence in where he is headed?
I find I'm feeling really good and feeling confident I'm done and then I get a twinge or something and I'm back to wondering. It shakes you. The support one gets from this journal is amazing because it comes from those experiencing the exact same thing. Thank goodness for the proximity of friends and family but they aren't going through it in quite the same way. I'm so grateful for my friends on this site.
Hi Tara and Ken
(Tara, I left you a message on my own journal as I forgot you were Ken's wife and I was looking for you in the patient's directory. Thank you for writing to me. It helps, it really does.)
Gee, sorry to hear about Ken's setback. Like Eric and Fran, you know too much and that sometimes can be more scary than knowing nothing at all and going with the flow. Sharlene in Qatar just got out of the hospital as well after a setback. I suppose we are all still a little suseptable to infection so should still exercise care.
Ken remains in my prayers for a quick and full recovery. As caregiver you can't let up and will just have to take the flack for now if he kicks up a fuss. Keep on him even when he doesn't feel well. When he doesn't feel up to it - shorten the length of exercise but don't stop doing it. It's very easy for us to succumb to our feelings of just not feeling up to it and sometimes we have to be pushed.
Thanks for updating Ken's journal. It was great to hear from you both.
this pain is sounding familiar now. I did a little too much the other day and my neck is not sore. i am also told it is normal as all the muscles are still growing together. and time truly will heal it. i look ahead to the next week because we heal slowly and at least after a week i can look back and see that yes, something else is improved.
I am well-acquainted with North Florida Regional. In 1994, when my parents lived outside Chiefland, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had her mastectomy, chemo, and another hospitalization at NFRMC with all her doctors in the complexes you mentioned. Her breast reconstruction took place at Shands. Mom is alive and cancer free today. We had wonderful experiences with the NFRMC hospital and doctors! Great place! I have my mother today thanks to God and to His work through that place. I am grateful.
Thanks for sharing. Here's wishing you guys a healthy and happy new year!
Thank you so much for your recent posting to my guestbook and for sharing your experiences and your encouraging words, as I prepared for my Jan. 28 surgery. It really helps to share with people who have blazed the trail before you. So glad Ken is doing so well! Thank God! I pray that he continues to 100% and feels better than he did before the surgery!
Are you from Gainesville, Florida? I know there are other Gainesvilles. Did you have your surgery at Shands?
Hi Tara and Ken
Thank you Tara for taking the time to give us really good detail on Ken's progress and what you find out at the doctor's. It's very helpful and every little bit helps. I find if I sleep the wrong way it doesn't take long before I know it so even 9 weeks post-op I still have tender times. In defence of Ken's eagerness to be busy with the kids - sometimes you don't know you've overdone it until you've done just that! You'll just have to hit him on the nose with a paper enough and he'll soon figure it out.
Glad to hear you are both progressing well.
Sounds as if you are well on the road to recovery. Good to hear you are making gains. Keep us posted how your post-op appointment makes out too. I'm sure it will all be good news. Cheryl, Ontario
Thanks for your info. And good luck Ken! I am home now 7 days after surgery still haven't slept nut a few hours at a time and getting is very difficult from bed. I also had that shoulder/neck issue so I am glad u wrote abt it! Good luck
Great tip about the laundry. Thanks. My tubal incisions leaked a little blood for about at least four weeks, so during the day I put a bandage on them to stop from soiling my clothes. During the evening I would clean the wounds with alcohol and leave them unbandaged for sleep. Eventually they did totally heal so don't despair. Chery, Ontario
Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I am so glad you are doing so well. I go in on the 20th for valve repair. After reading about you I feel more comfortable going through my own surgery. Thanks!
Wow, time doesn't stand still, does it? So glad to hear both Ken and you are on the road to recovery. This journey is an extremely emotional one as well as physical. I think this site is meant for us to be as honest as we can be so those who follow us have as much information as possible. The end result is what is really important - your family is intact and physically better for it. Will look forward to postings of Ken's recovery. Cheryl, Ontario
Hi Ken and Tara
Congradulations on the repair and good luck on your recovery. Sounds like you are at it already. It won't take you long to be on the go - in the backseat! Enjoy this new lease on life.
Glad to hear that everything went well. A repair is much better than a replacement. No coumadin for the rest of your life... Hooray. Take each day one day at a time and it does get so much better You will be amazed how you've come in just a couple of weeks.
Hi Tara and Ken,
Mike and I are looking forward to your quick recovery. You are in our prayers and thoughts. Ken is a pretty tough guy so we don't expect anything less than a quick recovery. Love you guys,
Cayla, Mike, Luke, Kaden, and Evan
Joel just got out of the hospital today, so I've got some suggestions of things I wish we had done. First, Logan's suggestions are all really good. I packed books and magazines -- neither Joel nor I had time or energy to read anything. We hardly even watched tv.
I spent the night with Joel every night except one and that night two of our kids stayed. We had two people in ICU at a time with him, but we could be in there as much as we wanted to. The ICU nurse even brought me warm blankets! Joel took a lot of comfort from having family around. You do have to take care of yourself too, though, and don't get too tired.
Here's another tip: push liquids as soon as he gets out of ICU because you have 12 hours from the time they take out the catheter until they put it back in if he hasn't urinated. And even then they told us that most men have to be recatheterized and given Flomax to get the urinary tract restarted after surgery. I am not sure why they don't just leave the catheter in longer to begin with, but they don't.
And the morning they say they're going to send him home, assume you might get out of there by supper time, but order supper anyway. Patience is the key here.
Make sure he gets enough pain medication. When they took Joel off morphine and started with pain pills, they didn't give him enough and the pain got ahead of him. He spent a couple of really bad nights because of that. Once he got medicated enough he could sleep and then he started feeling better quickly.
In our experience, the hospital staff were all very solicitous to the family (and the patient) and went out of their way to make us comfortable. You'll both do just fine.
We'll be praying for you both,
Mary and Joel Bryan
You asked for some "take with" suggestions. Everybody's situation is different, but I had major surgery (kidney transplant) 3 years ago and was in the hospital for about a week. When I go in for my heart surgery here's what I plan to do... 1 - Pack light, there's not much space for stuff in the room. 2 - Wear my "going home" clothes to the hospital. This will be a nice loose pair of sweat pants and a warm flannel shirt. 3 - Take personal toiletry items, a wash cloth, and a pair of pajama pants. If I need a robe, I'll just use another hospital gown put on the other way. I expect lots of tubes and wires so sleeves will be a problem. 4 - bring a notepad, small spiral bound notebook or steno pad and a couple of pens. 5 - A shawl or something similar to put over my shoulders (those pesky tubes and wires, again)6 - Don't forget your plug in cell phone charger. Although use will probably be restricted because of all of the monitoring equipment, there will be areas you can use it and you will spend lots of time on the phone telling friends and family how well Ken is doing.
Hi Tara and Ken
If Ken enjoys listening to music, I highly recommend taking along an I-pod or MP3 of the music Ken might like. I do remember short wakeful spells and just hearing music helped me relax.
Honestly though, Ken will be so highly sedated he won't remember surgery day.
I also recommend taking vaseline or something to put on his lips after the surgery. The lips get very dry, especially when the tube is in and if your lips are moist it really helps.
I believe ICU or CCU units have one nurse per patient so Ken should receive his meds as he needs them. One of their jobs is to see the meds are delivered on time. My nurse was stationed at the foot of my bed at all times.
Day 2 is a bigger day once Ken starts waking up and if you are exhausted you won't be much good when Ken is needing you more. ICU only lets a couple of family visitors in for about 10 mins every hour or so and your day is going to be mostly waiting. The time leading up to this surgery is extremely stressful and is wearing you down even though you may not realize it. You must get your rest and downtime because Ken will really need you once he's out of ICU.
Do be sure to keep telling Ken he's ok and all went well many times because probably most of those times you think he's hearing you, he's probably not remembering and eventually it will sink in. I think it's very important for the patient to know everything is ok.
Wishing Ken good luck and looking forward to hearing he's fine in a couple of days from now. Cheryl, Ontario
I don't know why they wouldn't let you stayIf they say no,just put your foot down. You also have to put your trust in the nurses. Believe me, tahat is a hard one but they are really good!! He will do fine and we are all praying down this way and up in N.C. So you guys are covered Let me know if we can Do anything!! The girls can come play down here if needed!! Wew love you guys
Tara and Ken,
Sounds like the two of you really have everything organized and in place for the surgery and the days ahead.
Of course, again, our prayers are with you.
You will find strength you never knew you had as you go through all of this.
Tara, trust me, men do NOT like not being in control and basically hate being in the hospital. Ken will let you and everyone else know this too, BUT...he won't remember any of it and YOU'LL be the one worse for the wear!! So, don't forget to take care of YOURSELF and try to trust the professionals to take care of him. They know what they are doing. Good that your mom is coming and sure she will make life as normal as possible for the girls. Continue to keep us updated and we will think of you this week. We'll give your dad a call to find out how things are going. Take care!!
Susan and Stewart
Please know that Ken, yourself and girls are in my prayers and let me know if there is ANYTHING that I can do. Have Ken give you my cell number. I'm thankful for the cath going so well and with great results. This time next week he'll be in bed and you'll be exhausted. Take care of yourself through it all. You both are in good (God's) hands. Again, please, if there's anything I can do let me know.
Glad your cath went well. As for working, I stayed home from work the next day (a Friday)but worked 2 doubles 3P-11/11-7A as a nursing supervisor in the local hospital next 2 days after that and had my surgery on the following Wednesday (10/21). I was glad to work because it kept my mind occupied while waiting for my surgery date. That's me however. Good luck on 11/4 and become very good friends with your incetive spirometer. Eric Southold
Ken and Tara -
You are on our minds constantly and our those in our prayer chain. You are both so strong - what or how can we help?? We will phone you, but just wanted you to know we are keeping up with your journal and loving you both so very much.
Aunt Sharon & UncleWyc