Well, it is past the 6 month mark and Rob is getting more and more active. He is exercising regularly, he is working in the yard, running errands, visiting with family and what else comes up. He still has some issues with the COPD which will always be and he is adjusting to them like a trooper!! He is doing better at reading his body again and knows when to stop and rest. He is gradually introducing his previous activities back into his life. He is doing well!! Would not want to repeat this experience but sooooo happy there are people out there who are good at what they do.
On the 14th of Aug. will be 5 months!! Seems like much longer than that! Rob is doing so much and of course he over does but it is difficult to know how much is too much until it is too late. He is getting better at giving himself permission to rest or to say no, not now. He has not had any depression. I think I worry about him more now than he does. I am having to work at keeping up with him now as it had gotten to the point that he could not keep up with me. What a wonderful gift the surgery has been. Thank you to the experts in this field. linda
Again it seems longer than the 9 weeks since surgery!! Rob is doing well, family is making sure he is not bored and he has developed a new interest, genealogy. He has walked on the treadmill for up to 45 min. He is driving and the blood is still not where it should be so still adjusting the coumadin. Took a trip to visit family last week-end and the questions that came up are: Is this too much? Will we know if we can stay over night or not? Is this too much pressure on the heart? Is the heart really alright? The anxiety was there but didn't stop him from going and he did great! It is amazing how good Rob said he felt! He goes for an ultra sound next week. There are still things to be careful of but pretty much life has returned to normal! Thank you medical field!
It is amazing how quickly the body heals! This last Wed. which was 6 weeks to the day post op, Rob went driving! I think he was feeling stuck and feeling that he had lost some freedom. Now he knows he can still drive and go if he has to. He said he didn't think he would be driving much for awhile but he did today and feels fine. He said he was nervous but did fine. His stamina has steadily increased, his mood has been great the whole time, and he forgets that he should not be doing some things but catches himself. He had a follow up today with his PCP and got a good bill of health. He is doing great! He has the echo-cardiogram at the end of next month. He is meeting the milestones with success!
Today Rob had an INR to determine if the coumadin level is right for him and it is not so it will be adjusted again! He is becoming more and more active. YEAH!! He still needs his naps though. We figured it is probably both the COPD and the surgery recovery that makes it difficult for him to be too active. He wants to do the things he did last year at this time outside and can't so is adjusting his thinking knowing it will wait or someone else can do it. Nurse Helga stands by her man!! The pillow is a goner now!! He practices the breathing without the spirometer which is a good thing, so that is pretty much gone too!
Yesterday Rob did the stress test and got that out of the way! He did great! His heart rate was wonderful, his blood pressure was great but he could not keep his oxygen up without increasing the oxygen! The Dr. said he is doing great! We are pleased. Of course he still tires easily but his stamina is increasing and he is getting a little more active. He says he feels better than he has in years!! The coumadin was increased again. He has not gotten depressed yet, just frustrated as he sees the things that he usually does in the spring that need to be done and he can't do them. We decided they are just not a priority at this time. The pillow and the spirometer are not in use as much as they were. He will be beginning the cardio physical therapy within the next week. He is actually looking forward to that! He has lost 8 more pounds! Nurse Helga is keeping an eye on him!
Rob is doing well. He is now working out on the Total Gym using only his legs. He is walking around the house and on the treadmill. Walking has helped him a lot. His oxygen level drops quickly if he takes the oxygen off but his heart rate is wonderful. He can now put his shirts on and take it off but his shoes are still too tricky for him to do himself! He does get his socks on though! He has my recipes all sorted now! Thanks Rob!! This next week comes the photos! The numbness in his fingers is finally clearing out. He has lost all the fluid weight and then some. He feels better each day! He is resting periodically through out the day and still sleeping well through the night. Several nights ago he took the wedge pillow off the bed so now he is sleeping flat or on his side through the night. The pain in his back, between the shoulder blades is getting less and less. Today is Easter family is coming over which will be fun! HAPPY EASTER!!!
Seems like longer than 3 weeks ago we were at the hospital in the waiting room! Rob is doing well, I have returned to work part time this week so I gave Rob some projects to do at his leisure! He does such a good job at organizing!
We are so grateful for all the support we have gotten, thank you to everyone. We know recovery will be "slow and steady" thankful there is recovery! We wish all those who are "waiting" good fortune and try not to worry about the surgery, it will come, you will be in recovery! Life is good!~
Time is interesting as it gives mixed messages. Just 18 days ago Rob was in surgery, seems like a long time ago and yet it is not that long ago.
Rob is doing well, his stamina is increasing as he is not napping as much, and the spirometer is his enemy and his friend. I think this is a love hate relationship! The walking helps more than anything. He is making progress slow and steady!! YEAH!!
He slept in bed right away using a wedge pillow. He does not keep the heart pillow close any more, he did go out and get the paper this morning, carefully. He says he feels better than he has felt in years! In several months he might be trying to keep up with the ever ready bunny!! We would love to hear from someone who has COPD and had the HVR surgery!
Today we had the follow up the the cardiologist and all is good. Last of the stitches removed where the drains were, medication adjusted a bit and have a stress test set up for 2 weeks! In about a month will begin cardiac rehab if everything is going well. Which it will be! Making progress of course not as quickly as we would like but still progress and we can't hurry up Mother Nature! Healing is in progress!!! YES!!
Yesterday was a good day, not much coughing and Rob had more energy. Today he is coughing a lot and getting lots of phlegm out. He is feeling good however all the coughing is tiring! He has been walking and following instructions. He is doing well on the stairs. He said he finished his lasiks so now maybe he won't have to pee so much! He has a follow up Dr. visit with his cardiologist tomorrow.
Today Rob had to go to the hospital for some lab work, it was a chore to get dressed and get his jacket on and get in the car and then to fasten the seat belt. OMG! Oh yes, make sure the oxygen is on. All of that done is a days work!! I got his oxygen hose coming up from inside pants so we had to take the oxygen off and pull the hose through while we laughed! the ride to the hospital was a rest time and he didn't think he could walk in so I got him a wheel chair. That was a relief!! When we got home I had to check the oxygen as he has a concentrator set up to work in the car, we got in the house and took his jacket off and we rested up! I am so grateful that I can do what I can to be here for Rob.
We do not realize how valuable our body and ability to do things is, we take so much for granted. It is past time to look at the value and beauty of our abilities and nature and each other. We are so appreciative of all the support, prayers and help we have received! Words can't express how much we appreciate every one. Thank you everyone!! It’s amazing to me that almost every day another person joins the journals and shares their story. I never realized how many people are affected by heart valve disease. I’m just so grateful that I found Adams book and blog, because all of these stories and all of these people helped us very much in getting through this journey. Rob said he felt calm prior to surgery due to having an understanding of what was happening and knowing there are many others who share this experience. It’s a connection that we all share and a connection that we all understand and we are grateful for it. We are so appreciative of the dedication of the professionals who have guided us and of their talent. Good luck to all of those who just had surgery or will be having surgery very soon. You’re in our thoughts and prayers!
Hi Everyone! Got all checked out which was much longer than the check in!! Was not sure if I would be released as there was some issue with the labs regarding the blood clotting. Everything got resolved and we got on the road and headed home. We stopped 3-4 times on the road and Linda made me get out of the car and stand, just a few min. to stretch and get some movement. It was good!! 4 hours later we were home! What a good feeling! The grandchildren (19 & 11) had dinner ready and the table set for us when we got home!! What a great welcome!!! My legs have been getting a work out, all bodily functions working, legs getting stronger, did cough more yesterday and last night. Sure felt good to be in my own chair and bed!!! The dog was really happy to have us home! He has settled down and snuggles now.
Rob is doing well however the hematologist looked at the blood work again and saw a discrepancy. Rob is having a reaction to the Heperon so that was discontinued and he will now have to be on Coumadin for 3 months. They are giving him a shot and a pill tonight and he might not be discharged tomorrow due to this as they want it closely monitored so will call his PCP tomorrow to see about an appt. on Fri. and about Home Health coming in to draw blood and get the results to his PCP. Now trying to figure out how to check out without checking out of the motel just in case he can't be discharged. Would rather take care of things properly while we are here than have a problem on the ride home. For me Fri. would be a good day for discharge! He would not be happy about this. He is now telling the nurses how to add flavor to the food!! Will let you know if he is discharged or not!!
When I went in to Rob's room this morning he said the Dr. said he could be discharged tomorrow!! Wow, now my nursing skills will be tested! Poor Rob!! His heart rate has decreased to 88 which is wonderful, it has been between 108 and 111 since surgery. He says he feels "great". removing the anvil pain which is minimal now. All of his bodily functions have returned, he is on a blood thinner for a while. He has a nice steady walk, uses a walker to help steady himself, he can't use his arms for any kind of support as that puts pressure on his chest. He said he is itching more!! YEA!!! The healing properties are kicking in. Thank you everyone for all of your prayers and support. It means a great deal to us! The support has been invaluable for all of us. thank you again. linda
Today was much better for Rob. Yesterday was the 3rd day which is usually the worst day. He was up and much more active and participated in conversation fully. He is still retaining fluid. He does not like the spirometer or the respiratory treatments, they both cause coughing (which he needs to do to clear the phlegm from his lungs). OUCH!! I think he was exhausted yesterday due to everything being removed, even his "jumper wires", he calls the wires that were in his chest to his heart just in case. He now is walking 2 laps 3 times per day and it isn't as tiring as it was to begin with. He is standing up straight, with the help of a walker, he is moving around pretty good. He is doing the transition from sitting to standing and standing to sitting well and he doesn't hurt with it much. He says his level of pain is about 1.5 except for coughing then it is a 6. He is joking with the staff and thinking more. He orders his own meals and he was sitting on the bench looking out the window most of today instead of "in the chair". The incision looks good and is beginning to itch he says. It is looking like he will be discharged on Tues. or Wed. The weather has been winter today and will be tomorrow and clearing on Tues. He says he thinks he is breathing easier than it has been for over a year. We thought this was due to the COPD but it was more due to the valve declining. The Dr. was confident and has a great bedside manner.
Rob just finished his first walk round, he walked 2 rounds with the help of a walker. He only stopped one time between rounds to rest! Wowie! This is just amazing! He is now only on a cardiac diet. He needs to limit fat. He is still retaining fluids. He is doing well considering all that has happened to him in the last 3 days. He stated that he feels better than he has for years aside from the anvil in the chest! He has not had any pain medication since yesterday and he says he is not having pain except when he coughs. The nurse said the pain medication is a narcotic which is a cough inhibitor. So if he needs something for pain it is tylenol at this point.
Today has been a difficult day, this morning, all the tubes were removed, the wires connected to the heart were removed and the central line in his neck was removed. This is a good thing just painful and stressful. His body is still retaining fluids and he is having difficulty coughing. They gave him some medication to help break up the phlegm in the lungs to help with the coughing and another medication to help collect the extra fluids take to his kidneys so the kidneys can get rid of it. He seems to be more tired today. He has not walked partly because he has been busy with respiratory therapy and the disconnection of the tubes.
Rob has been walking, had visitors today and hopefully will get more tubes out tomorrow. He is learning how to sit and lay down. He is still looking good, blood pressure is a bit low, his heart rate is still high, his glucose is still high. We are sure his body will adjust and balance itself out within the next few days. He already has more energy since getting the blood.
This morning Rob was up and at 'em at 4:00a.m. He had eggs, green chili and pears for breakfast. He walked around the nurses station once by 9:00 a.m. 9 laps around the station =1/2 mile. His liquid output is not up to par, he is retaining fluid and the Dr. prescribed 2 pts. of blood as he lost a lot of blood in surgery. The Dr. is hoping the new blood will help his kidneys to get rid of the fluid retention. He rested well this morning, stated his neck and shoulders didn't bother him but his chest still feels like an anvil whacked him. (Kind of did). His spirits are good. He ordered his dinner, pork chop, corn and cho. pudding. He will go for another walk this afternoon. He sat in the chair for 2 hours this morning then was ready for bed. He still looks soooo much better. He is still receiving IV liquids. The physical therapist and the occupational therapist have both been in today and will probably be in again this afternoon.
His color is pink instead of ash gray, his voice was weak this morning and has strengthened some through out the day. Today, was off to a slow start, however during the day Rob got out of bed and sat in the chair for at least 2 hours, later he took a 2 lap tour around the nurses station which is rather large, this afternoon he sat in the chair 4 hours. the chest drain tubes were removed, which made him happy even though it was painful. The Dr. came in and said he could not go home today (he was joking), Rob said, (Oh Good). He ate some steak, mashed potatoes and orange sherbert and drank a Dr. Pepper! Wow things have really changed in the last 20 years. Solid foods are introduced much quicker now days. He will be walking again tomorrow. He even turned the TV on and listened to the news for about 5 min. He is coughing and hugs his special pillow against his chest. He is able to hold the little ball up when inhaling with the breathing device he has to use for strengthening his lungs. This is wonderful progress so quickly.
Finally the waiting is over now down the road to recovery!! Rob did well through the surgery. He is slowly getting the ventilator withdrawn this afternoon, hopefully by 5! Five hours was set aside for him and only 3 were needed. The nurse told me he will be up and having breakfast by 6 in the morning!
As soon as he knew it was certain to have the surgery he was relaxed and ready, more than ready. He is strong, he is healthy and his pain tolerance is high so I am sure he will do fine. He recognized me and let me know he understood what I said. the nurse asked him if he was in pain and he nodded yes so she gave me something for pain and he was fine then. Here's to a speedy recovery. linda
Well, the day is finally here! Met the Dr. today,he is great!!!! Some more tests, labs etc.was done and everyone is so nice. The procedure was explained, we were assured the Dr. is good at what he does, and we said "Yes, let's get this valve job done"! We are on the countdown now. 5:30 a.m. isn't too far away. At this time tomorrow Rob will be sleeping and recovering!!
Well, here we are the last day of the week-end, yesterday was great having family around, plan on doing more of that when we get home. The anxiety seems to come up more often now, tomorrow we leave for Alb. It is here! Taking deep breaths and moving thoughts to wonderful memories instead of focusing so much on the "to dos". It is becoming more and more real time. And guess what happens on the last week-end????!!! The kitchen sink springs a leak!!! Now is that bad timing or what!!!! Good thing we were getting things ready gradually to begin with! A good reason to not wait until the last minute!
Well, here we are finishing the week, the week-end is beginning and we leave for Alb. on Mon. We are packing, organizing, delegating, getting anxious and relaxing. Tomorrow we will be spending time with family, enjoying being together. Tonight we splurged and had a Dove ice cream bar! What a treat! We worry about relaxing, the pain, peeing on my own, and having a smooth bowel movement. We think about the time we spent on doing silly things which brings smiles, we finished our living wills and am looking forward to having a family party when we come home.
It seems that time moved so slowly for the month of March to get here, it gets here and there is much to do to get organized for the 7-10 days away from home. The time begins to move more rapidly yet slowly and now we are down to the last week-end, OMG where did all of that time go?! We have confidence in the professionals, we know we will recover quickly. We are ready for this to be done. The energy is flowing and will be racing when we get back from Albuquerque at the end of the month!
Only one more week, counting down the days! Only one more week-end. My gosh, this means get with the program and get some projects finished prior to Monday. Monday we leave for Albuquerque, NM. We are looking forward to the "get away" prior to the surgery. There is a calmness that mixes with the anxiety! I have been keeping busy and am looking forward to having more energy.
Thanks to all who have shown their support, it is greatly appreciated and so heart warming to know one is in the prayers of others. Only 6 days left! This journey is quite a journey!
Spirits are high, anxiety is kicking in periodically and the idea of being out of shape is strong. We have not seen where others are dealing with COPD and have this surgery. Can anyone share information on someone having the surgery with COPD. Yes, there are many questions kicking in, guess the fear is growing as the days get closer. The wait for the catherization, then for the phone call for the surgery date, then for the date is pretty intense as times moves forward and there is no way to prepare other than to be in the moment as much as possible.
The waiting is difficult, it does keep our minds busy to try to figure what all will be needed. We are planning activities that will keep our minds off of what is coming and give us some fun distractions from the wait. The support from others is wonderful, one thinks and feels so alone in times like this then people, family and strangers extend themselves to give support and concern. What a wonderful feeling to know others are so supportive. We are learning so much about ourselves and others. We thank everyone for all the advice, the sharing and caring. Rob keeps himself busy with errands, exercise and taking care of himself. He is in a good frame of mind. Our conversations are geared to when he comes home and the healing. We are for sure on another of life's unexpected journey's.
At this point in time we are leaving for Alb. 3/12, consultation with the Dr. is 3/13 and have to be at the hospital (Presbyterian Hospital) at 5:30 a.m. on 3/14.
Rob is exercising some daily, staying as active as he can. He tires easily when he exerts himself. He is in good spirits.