It was six months ago today that I had my aortic valve replaced and my atrial fib repaired! I feel great and am doing my aerobics, walking my dog, and all the other daily activies without shortness of breath or any other problems. I also recently spent a week at Big Bear Lake where the altitude is over 6,000'. My friends tell me I'm looking great and I've even lost 15 pounds although I wouldn't recommend any one else doing it my way! I want to thank all my friends, old and new, for being such a great support group. And special thanks to Adam Pick for writing his book and setting up this blog so this 83 year old can have keep in touch so easily. I love you all!
Hi, everyone. Life is good, I'm good and I hope you all are the same. My visit to Edwards, the company that makes the pig valves, was amazing. I'm so impressed and thankful that I'm living in an age when all this technology is available. Edwards is located in Irvine and is comprised of five large buildings on several acres. They also have plants all over the world. One of the buildings is research and development and two or three are large labs called "clean rooms" when hundreds of ladies (mostly Asian) are sewing platelets into the valves. Many have been there over 30 years. My guide showed me the history of the plant and there were many pictures recording the process during the last 30 years. It really made me appreciate the technology that went into my new life-saving device. Thanks, Andrea, you were a wonderful and knowledgeable hostess.
I can't believe that it's been almost a month since I've added to my journal. I'm feeling great and I graduated from cardiac rehab yesterday. Today I went back to my aerobics class. It will take a little time to get back in the groove but I'll try. Cardiac rehab was wonderful and gave me the confidence to keep exercising. I met a lady who makes the pig valves and I'm going to see how it's done next week. I'm sure it will be amazing. What a time we live in! Bev
I got the good word on Friday that I'm released to go back to cardiac rehab and that I can drive. My knee healed quickly and if it happens again, I'll know what to do. I'll take it as a sign to be vigilant and to take my time. So on to greater things! Thanks again for your caring.
Good progress is being made. My knee is getting better each day--no pain, just some stiffness. It may be Mr. Arthur Itis kicking in. I see the knee doctor on Friday and I hope he'll release me so I can get back to my life. I did walk Lucky today and we were both happy about that. On the heart front, I'M OFF COUMADIN!! I've been waiting three months for that! Just baby aspirin. No more protime tests, yeah! I'm continuing to be vigilant and careful--darn!
Pride goeth before a fall! I was being so careful with my walking that I didn't think about my sitting. I was getting into a friend's car on Sunday and twisted my right knee and felt something pop. So back I went to St. Jude's for two days with a knee sprain or strain. Now I've got a big brace on the knee and have to use a walker. Darn! I guess I'm not as steady as I should me. Rehab is on hold and is my driving. Please pray that I remember to be careful! Bev
I can't tell you how happy I am to be able to do most of the things I did before my operation. I am surely one of the lucky ones. I was reminded of this when I attended a funeral of a friend's wife who had had a similar operation just shortly after mine. That reminded me again not to take good health for granted and thank God for every day we have on this beautiful earth.
The only hurdle left in my mind was to tackle the freeways here in southern California. So last week I drove to Tustin and it felt so good. No problems and I was practically singing by the time I got home. Now I have to concentrate on my rehab gym three times a week so I can build up my endurance. You, my support group, have been so wonderful. Thanks for all your prayers and love. They have made a big difference! Many hugs, Bev
The last few missing pieces are falling into place. I started my cardiac rehab at St. Jude's and think that that is just what I need. We work 10-20 minutes on each piece equipment (recumbant bikes, treadmill, steps, arm exercises) and then there's a 15 minute cooldown. I'll go three times a week. There is also an educational aspect. Yesterday we learned what pills we were taking and why. I also walked Lucky yesterday and we did just fine. Hooray! Hugs, Bev
I'm coming up on 8 weeks post-op on Tuesday and if my friends are telling the truth I'm doing much better this week. I'm trying to remember to "Take it Easy". I think I'll make a banner and put it on my bathroom mirror! So far, so good. I still have my wonderful dog-walkers but other than that I'm pretty self-sufficient. Feels good, that 's for sure. Thanks again for all your loving thoughts.
Gentle hugs, Bev
I was at my computer yesterday afternoon when the rolling started. There was a 7.2 earthquake in Baja which was felt up the coast of California. No damage here, just a reminder that "the earth moves under our feet!"
I thought that I could walk Lucky using my walker to get up curbs. Dennis offered to go with me. I glad he did cause I found I'm not quite ready for that yet. Patience, Beverly!
Hope all is well with you. Hugs, Bev
I saw Dr. Jamal and Dr. Weinberg today and got great reports. They are so pleased but not as much as I am! The best news is that I can drive again! They also cut out two of my meds so we're going in the right direction. I want to thank all of you for being with me on this journey. I can't begin to tell you what it has meant to me. Thank you, dear Adam, for making all this possible.
May God bless you all. Happy, Happy Easter.
Love and gentle hugs, Bev
It seem like a write in my journal every four days. This was a beautiful day--temp was in the 80's. I was able to go back to church today for the Palm Sunday service. There were so many hugs and greetings that I felt like a celebrity. What a blessing you all are! This week is full of doctor's visits and I hope I'll get the ok to drive locally. Then I will really feel that I'm on the road to complete recovery.
Your prayers are so appreciated. Love, Bev
Adeline took me over to USC yesterday to see Dr. Cunningham for my post-op. He was very pleased with everything and said not to come and see him again,unless I wanted to! He is really a gifted surgeon.
Today I let my caregiver go so now I'm really flying solo. I'm taking everyone's advice and trying to take it easy. Not easy for me! But the thoughts of having to go back to the hospital and scaring me straight.
Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers, Bev
Looking back to the calendar, I had to count it twice....6 weeks, yep,6 weeks, which in the short term seems like a snap, but during...is very elongated, emotional, and full of up, down, and sideways. 6 weeks ago, mom was standing at her counter, hardly able to take a breath, hardly able to walk the hall, which alarmed me enough to hop a plane the next day and see what I could do to help. Now, she has returned from the first appointment after her release, with her new cardiologist (she switched horses upon arriving back in Fullerton) and her heart is beating like a champ, no afib, all signs looked great, and he is going to keep a close eye on her progress. She returns to see Dr. Cunningham, the surgeon, on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Lucky remains glued to her every move, curled and cuddled at every resting place, and refuses to take his eye off of her. Home health care comes in for a morning and evening shift, friends fill in in-between, but she is feeling, at this point, that after Tuesday, she may be up to flying solo..... without the assistance of the home care services. Karen chocked the freezer full of good home cooked meals for her to zap, and friends have been more than generous with their offerings. We will see after Tuesday, but it is remarkable to witness, and to hear her voice on the phone, again, sounding like "Bev".
I have followed others HV journals, read lots of guestbooks, and I feel like this blog is such a community and a huge asset. Folks keeping tabs on each other, Fran and the Captain recovering on the same floor at the same time, Steve, new to the scene, and his amazing knowledge. Cheryl is a huge inspiration for all bloggers. There is a wide birth of angst and elation, and it plays out - here- like a micro drama, but it is all so real, so connected, and so amazingly valuable. Although we initially started this blog as a way to keep friends and family informed, the unexpected, was the community and the support from within. Kudos to Adam Pick for his foresight, and allowing all of us into his room.
It's been a ride- Thanks to all, Lisa
After a productive day, on Karen's part, to sort out bills and other glorious monthly business, mom took time to lay low, stroll about, and enjoy Karen's last day there. Tonight, Lucky, her mini dachshund, arrived about supper time- complete with 2 potential doggy-additions. One in particular, Lucky has been snuggling up to at night- hey, camp for 5 weeks.....:) the other, a tag along gal-pal. Both suitors at my mothers court....doin' their best to win over her heart. (Camp happens to also serve as dachy-rescue as well, and mom did mention, IF, ...if another dachy seemed to be compatiple to Lucky, if.....) and there she is, 2 sweet 2 year olds, rippin' at her heart strings, while Lucky is just trying to figure out- what happened!
Tomorrow starts the part time caregiver routine as Karen jets off in the early AM to return to life as she new it before all of this. From here, mom gets to start regaining herself- one day at a time, with a dog, or 2 or 3, and a dedicated soul, the caregiver, keeping the beat and instilling a sense of normalcy, to the otherwise, broken routine.
Thanks for all of your great thoughts and support-Lisa
...the best script of all, sitting in the sunshine-mentally peeling off layers of hospital aura; of the beige-wall, sealed window, multi-machine enriched environment.....she is getting her spunk back. Karen graciously extended her stay til Friday, allowing more time to wind up daunting household/business chores, and to complete the circle of her stay. Mom cruised the culta-sac with her walker, ate lunch on the patio, had some great visits, and as she sat in her recliner talking to me tonight, she was commanding the world again as though she were sitting on the S.S.Enterprise. Must I remind her she has been home 1 day? Breathe, I remind her....it doesn't all have to happen THIS week- Oh, she said reluctantly, and conformed- Whew...Lisa
Released from the 4th floor room- to the first floor familiar room of home, mom was sent away at 2PM...yeah...but I felt a bit of angst in her voice...after the timed, clockwork of the hospital effeciency, to the nuances of home again with a new schedule, new pill program, new agenda, she seemed a bit bewildered. Alot of adjustment, doctor visits to schedule, in town family schedules- the dust will settle after Rod & Karen embark tomorrow, and the real agenda kicks in. Rod & Karen are huge in conducting her upcoming schedules, but ultimately,mom will need to take over her life again, and move forward with the independent spirit she is known for. I told her to go outside and sit in the sun for a few minutes- clear her head- and draw in breaths of the spring air, which harbor answers for those willing to take it in- patiently. Keep up the support, Thanks to all, Lisa
After a nice Sunday pace, a few laps in the ward, some very nice visits, sunny glimpses out the window, Sunday was as it should be- a day of R& R- now it is back to business.
The TCCenter, on weekends, is different from the otherwise weekday pace. PT staff and doctors are scarce, so it is a good time to hunker down, get to know your roommate, see friends, and just-...heal.
Now here it is, Monday, and we are back to busineess, a flurry of activity, from lapping the ward, PT visits, visits from care giver establishments negotiating the next move, conducted under the stream of glorious 80 deg. temps in the St. Francis garden courtyard, to more PT visits to be sure she could sit up, lie down, and walk stairs with the best of them,... before announcing they may release her on Tuesday, as in Tomorrow!
Atta girl! It was indeed, another winner day.
As I spoke to her, she was finishing her ice cream, had welcomed in her new, to be, short-lived roommate, and was awaiting the arrival of Karen, Rod and Josh- now in town, due to arrive anytime. She now has a plan, which will involve a few family and friend involvements, but means getting home, and getting on with life. Keep those good thoughts coming- Lisa
...said Judy, upon seeing mom in her newer room of 404.
Groovin' and healin' on the 4th floor, transitional rooms are the cats... a place to re-create your independent life from critical care- to- real life, whatever that might be. But the big deal is that you get PT care, you get to wear civilian clothes, and have visitors. Meals are served in a common area, or your own room, but mainly, civilian life re-occurs here. Mom got to shower, wash her hair, have a walk-about the beige corridors, and nap. Her "room with a view" revealed the wind blowing the old palms, keeping her in touch with the weather, the daylight, and the real-world experience, as you can know it from the 4th floor of a multi story hospital.
Karen had a chance to go to reconnect with old friends in Camarrio, and have a sleep over with her son, Josh, on their boat off Ventura. Meanwhile, mom, tube and oxygen free, got to reconnect with her own valuable friends, & strut about the hallways with the steadness of a walker- for now- livin' large-ish.
She enjoys being back wth the world- Her voice, her attitude resonates over the distances, and I can feel it all the way to NY.
Keep up the support, Thanks, Lisa
Bev is now in the TCC unit at St. Jude's, Room #407, and is doing much better. Thank you for all your prayers.
She still tires very quickly, so for now we are asking for no phone calls, but if you would like to visit, please come between 10:00 to 2:00, and limit your stay to 15 minutes maximum.
Thank you again for all the lovely cards and blog notes. They have meant the world to her. She's now able to have flowers in her room, but I've already brought in the bouquets we have for her, so her space is filled. If you want to give her flowers, can you please wait a week or two until she's back home again? Thanks again. Bev truly has some wonderful friends. Karen
I wanted to add my own little favorite memory (but I'm being blocked from entering it in your guest book). It was about our time at Angel Camp.
We were waiting for the rest of the family to arrive for our reunion, and you initiated a stroll for the two of us down the historical main street of Angel Camp. We read the history of each of the store shops as we passed by or entered them one by one. What a delightful day!
After the family got together, we explored the miner’s cave and town, played games, and had our black and white picture taken the old fashioned way with frozen expressions.
At the end of the week, we celebrated Bill’s 80th with a bonfire cake – lit up enough to call the fire department in, but instead, we had a huge water gun fight, INSIDE THE CONDO. For some reason we couldn’t do it in the pool, or outside. Was it raining then? I don’t remember. Don was the one who took the plunge with the first squirt, and you didn’t stop us, but joined in instead. Did you end up paying a big fee for a clean-up crew? What a wonderful mess we made. Karen
What a difference a day can make. Today, she summed it up to "tremendous"...
She had a nice Birthday. The staff brought her a little cake, Judy supplied 3 green birthday candles (for 83) (unlit mind you, hence the abundance of oxygen in the building :) which coordinated with the charming purple flowers in the icing. Songs were sung, cards and presents were opened, and blog stories read. She loved it all-
Her battery of tests all pointed to a clean, clear bill of health, They will continue to monitor one specific area, but all in all, whatever they were probing for showed zippo. At this point, she has been xrayed to the hilt, tested, retested, poked and proded, it leaves one to wonder, as Adeline alluded- any stone unturned?
Then later in the afternoon, Karen, Judy & mom met with a social worker who discussed her next faze- a transitional care room- there within the hospital- where she can spend appropriate time getting strong, healthy, have PT support, meals and live in an environment which is 1 step from actually being home. Sounds like a win-win to me. There is a bed opening up in this TCC facility tomorrow, so she will transition there and receive further care she needs till she feels like she can make it on her own again.
Karen got to take some nice time with Joyce at the farmers market today, filled moms home with amazing flowers, and got a chance to regroup herself after yesterdays ordeal. She can indeed now make plans to go back to her life in Mo. knowing mom will be cared for in this transitional care center. Hats off to Karen for the difficult days, decisions, and support she provided to mom during these critical times.
I hope all of you had a nice Bev\'s birthday-day as well.Thanks again for all the support- Happy days, Lisa
I just got back to Bev’s house after a long day at the hospital. As Lisa mentioned below, her colonoscopy showed only dry, old blood not any current bleeding. We were very glad to hear this, but we’re still waiting for more answers on what had caused her to lose two pints of blood.
At 3:00, she began what she called “the worst test of my life.” It was a tedious, four hours on a cold, flat “slab of concrete” taking x-rays of her lower colon, and drinking barium to contrast things for the radiologist. Dr. Jamal, who oversaw the x-rays, must have gone home after the test, because he didn’t stop by her room to discuss what his findings were. He seems to be a very knowledgeable man, and was the same doctor who did the colonoscopy early this morning, and the endoscopy yesterday. I guess after such a long day, he’s entitled to go home sometime. He mentioned earlier that depending on the outcome of the x-rays, they might give Bev a pill/camera at a later date (as an out-patient) to explore the lower colon in a more extensive way. I think she’s in very good hands with him.
Bev’s current favorite nurse is “Marie,” a middle-aged blond lady who is very nurturing. She’s been Bev’s night nurse for the past three nights and is very quick to respond to her needs. She’s promised Bev a midnight surprise for an early birthday celebration. I hope it’s not another shot! Karen
So, it seems, after a battery of tests, that mom has been through the wringer. Although I cannot be there and see her, I feel her energy- and I do not wish any of this on anyone. One test shows she is not bleeding upper-wise, another shows old blood lower-wise, a 4 hour xray later and the jury is still out. Karen has been holding court all day at the hospital, waiting for the happenchance to have at least 1 doctor deliver some news, somehow. System checks are far and wide- at USC, they were paper intensive, charting everything by hand- but there was a hierarchy, and that was clear. Now, back on the home turf, we are sorting out what that hierachy is, and with all the glitzy computer charting, I am not convinced it is the answer, as I hear conflicting tales of care. I suspect she will be there through tomorrow, as she should be, hearing of her fragile state. But saying that, she said something to me last night, a stoic sentance that resonated of my grandfather and knowing that his blood flows though her veins, gives me comfort that no matter what, she will pull through. In honor of her birthday, Wednesday, please take a moment of your day, to stop, take in something that really matters to you, and give it your undivided attention- for at least a minute- then share that with her-by letter or note, she would like that- Thanks to all, Lisa
I just got back from visiting Bev at St. Jude\'s. She looks great - rosy cheeks and more upbeat. Her pro-time blood count is now in the normal range, between one and two. I found out it had been over ten last night, way too thin.
Dr. Jamal did an endoscopy in her upper GI and said it looks fine - no bleeding. She\'s not strong enough today to do more tests, so they\'ll do the colonoscopy tomorrow morning.
Bev talked to two different doctors who said since she has a pig valve now she can stay off the Coumadin in the future. Thanks again for all your prayers. They are working! Karen
Bev doesn't feel strong enough to accept visitors yet, but I thought it might be nice for her to hear from each of you on her birthday, which is this Wed., March 10th. She'll be 83 years old. We laughed last night while watching the Academy Awards in the ER room, when the announcer said it was the 82nd Academy Awards. Sort of fitting for this 82 year old.
Since she won't be reading this blog while she's in the hospital, I'd like to ask you, her dear friends, if you will kindly sign her guestbook or send a card, with a birthday note that includes one happy memory you have shared with Bev. I'll print them off and read them to her on her special day. Thank you for your continued prayers for her. Karen
Bev was admitted to St. Jude’s Hospital tonight, and will be staying there for the next two or three days. Let me explain why. The past few days, she has been very breathless and lethargic, almost the same as she was before having surgery.
Last night she felt worse, and with every few steps she gasped for air. I was very concerned, and called the paramedics. They assured us that all her vital signs were normal, but wanted to take her to the hospital for more tests. Bev didn’t want to go, since she’s had had so many days in the hospital already. I thought the paramedics would have pressed us more on this point if she really needed to go, so I gave in to Bev’s wishes to stay home.
Today, she seemed even worse. I called Dr. Cunningham’s office, and after he heard what her blood count had been on Friday at Dr. Bonavita’s, he immediately said take her to ER. He suspected there could be bleeding on the heart, since her blood is so thin. I called the paramedics again, our “E Ticket,” according to Steve Crouse - the PT, into getting quick action in ER.
St. Jude’s staff is very impressive. They quickly took a chest x-ray, echo-cardiogram, blood tests, etc. The staff doctors said her heart is fine, with no leaks, but she is bleeding somewhere else internally, because her blood is so thin. They suspect she might be bleeding in either her stomach or colon. She is very anemic. They are giving her a transfusion of blood and plasma, since she’s at least two pints low on blood. Tomorrow, they will probably do a colonoscopy and endoscopy to see where she is bleeding. She’s in good spirits, though. She wanted to know if Dr. Kang drank a lot of orange drinks (she thought his name was Tang). Karen
I'm getting anxious to have my little doxie, Lucky home again. But since I can't lift more than 5 lbs (he's 14)and I'm not walking outside yet I didn't know what to do after Karen goes back to Missoui. So I posted a "help needed" sign on the bulletin board in our complex. A wonderful neighbor answered my call and is very willing to help--two times a day! He's a pastor of a Lutheran church in La Habra and likes to take walks. Now tell me that's not a God thing!! Bev
No path is ever straight and mine hit a bump in the road yesterday. But thankfully today I'm much better. My legs had swollen up but that's all gone and I was weak and wheezing. It reminds me to be thankful for each step forward and to keep my eye on the prize.
Have a good weekend.
Gentle hugs, Bev
Yesterday afternoon, I stepped outside for a brief 15 minute walk and came back to find Bev snoozing happily. Two and a half hours later, she woke up and said she hadn't been sure if it was daytime or evening (it was about 5:00pm). She said she finally figured it out by the stockings on her legs. The long, tight stockings are suppose to be worn during the daytime hours to prevent blood clots, and since she had them on still she knew it was daytime!
She had a difficult morning today: Short of breath again, very pale, and easily fatigued. Doctor Bonavita's office took her "pro-time" blood test and found her blood is too thin, some adjustments are being made on her Coumadin intake. They'll check again this Monday to see if her blood has thickened. Please continue to remember her in your prayers. Thanks. Karen
Bev continues to grow stronger each day, with many notable improvements, such as: Being able to shift her own weight in bed, sleeping in longer intervals at night (from her previous 2 hours to now 3 hours), and she's able to stand and walk on her own for short distances.
We've talked about visitors again today, and decided she would love to see one group at a time, each day. We're booked for today (Monday) and tomorrow. If you'd like to visit Bev, please call first and we'll schedule your visit. Thank you for sending all the lovely cards. She has some truly wonderful friends. Karen
This is the first day I've felt somewhat human! Karen's cooking is enticing and I'm joining the clean-plate club! I've been doing my walking every hour, my ankle rolls on the half-hour and blowing in my lung machine. What a busy life!
I love all your cards and blogs and can't wait to see you soon.
This is me talking. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to be home. This morning Steve, a PT guy from USC, came, and my life is going to be so much easier. He understands how hard it is to transition. Now all I have to do is walk in the house a short distance every waking hour and do ankle pumps on the alternate half hour. That's DO-able. So I think I've got my routine set for a few weeks. We probably won't blog every day, but keep your prayers and good wishes coming – they help.
Rod and I brought Bev home today around 2:00pm. We bumped into Dr. Gumpta in the hall before leaving, and he said she looks like a million bucks. Well, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. Maybe she’ll look that good tomorrow morning, though, after I wash her hair.
I must admit she really has been a trooper during her hospital stay. I thought she would have complained more, she certainly had plenty of reasons to. But she held back, despite being awakened multiple times during the nights, pricked and pulled on, and forced to eat a super bland diet.
All in all, she’s doing great, and very eager to get her life back to normal. Karen
Beverly has moved upstairs to room 529 and is scheduled to go home Thursday, if all goes well. Lisa has headed home today. Yesterday\\\'s flight was cancelled due to inclement weather in Albany, NY. For awhile tonight, it looked like Lisa would get stuck in Chicago (her connection airport) but she called to say, although delayed, she\\\'d get back to NY tonight.
Bev is doing very well today. She\'s doing her laps, stair-stepping, and stretches. She also had a good time in her pig trough all day today (Nancy), and is ready to go home.
Good morning world---It's me,Bev. I'm using Karen's computer to let you know that I'm probably be coming home tomorrow! More later.
Your prayers have worked-it has been 1 week and 2 days since O-day! Hooray Bev
Arrived later this morning, as Karen & I checked out of our hotel, to find her relocated on the 5th floor- standing there with the support of her short lived IV station. She beamed a wry smile and looked at us with a confidence appropriate for the day. A new neighborhood, so to say, shared with another for the time being, but not hunkering down too comfortably, yet. Her neighbor- the one with the window, was checking out shortly, and given the absolutely gorgeous So. California day, I wished her everything to get a glimpse of it. While there, she lapped the ward with the PT, ate a full plate of lunch (after confessing to a nice breakfast}, and was indeed on the mend.
She said her own sights were set on checking out on Friday. When Karen and I bumped into Dr C as we were leaving around 4 PM,gleefully exchanging her progress, he said he would see what he could do to get her out on Thursday! Not sure if he was playing our charade or sincere, when we left she was IV free,and livin' large, in a duplex on the 5th floor. He may be right!
Rod & Josh arrive tonight,so Karen & I have come back to Fullerton to greet them. I fly back to NY Tuesday afternoon- Karen will pick up the slack and carry on.I have appreciated all of you out there supporting her and will tune into my own computer from home to follow intently along with all of you.
Thanks for it all- Most Sincerely, Lisa
Progressing along- she was bombarded with all of your great words, reiterating the fact that she has to eat! When she would get annoyed, I would simply pluck a few gems from the guestbook, so as not to endure the entire brunt! Thanks to all of you for the additional ammo. About 2PM, she was tired, and as she drifted off, I told her I would see her later....as I headed to the elevator, it hit me- the beach- I have to get to the beach. I grabbed Karen and in no time, we found ourselves, snaking through unknown parts of LA, to the commands of the installed GPS, toward Santa Monica Pier.The winds were up, the surf was crashing- it was spectacular. We walked barefoot, and the wind whipped all of our stresses away. We found an incredible Carribean hole in the wall and ate authentic food, ordering a plate of roasted sweet pototoes, and a lovely flan to go,for mother.Rejuvinated, we returned to the hospital, where she claimed she had been so worried about us, not knowing where we had been. That message, as well as the fact that she was asking to do the crossword puzzle. and looking for the phone to call some friends, all indicate, she is coming back! I have printed the updated guestbook and will see if today, contains the ticket to the next floor- fingers & toes crossed- Lisa
The majority of tubes and wires are gone. Bev is smiling more than before. We're still waiting for the remaining IV's to disappear so she can be transferred to the coveted "normal" room upstairs. The weekend Doctor says the move should happen sometime tomorrow.
Thanks to all her wonderful friends who have cared enough to write an encouraging blog note. This has truly been a support for her. Lisa read the blog notes to her again this morning, and the ones admonishing her to eat better have been especially helpful. Her lunch arrived: Ravioli and a fruit cup, not what she originally ordered. No, it wasn't anyone else's either. She gracefully refrained from her usual turned-up nose and tried her best to take her "medicine." Her eating habits aren't anywhere near what we're hoping for, but at least she's making the effort now.I'm proud of her. Karen
She remains of good spirit and color. Now we have 2 hurdles to conquer. Her diet & her lung capacity. Her stubbordness seemed to flair yesterday as I tried to force her gummy mac & cheese, but her ticket to the 5th floor remains in her hands. I think this 24/7 attention is getting a bit too comfy- time to pull out the Ms Ratchet- I'm goin' in! Lisa
It seems we are on the wean-down. Had her last chest tube removed yesterday, and before we left for the night, a neck tube,involving a bizillion other tubes was removed as well- leaving a much more simplified array of "junk" to get her through her weekend. Fascinating stuff to see- this last tube, less of a diameter than a small straw, had snaked all through her heart and up along the lower lobe-Angie showed me on a diagram, and I was astounded that it came out so simply, so painlessly like a tread being extracted. She had a more upbeat, lower key day, which was good to witness. Dr C is still eyeing Sun-Mon for her to be moved to the other floor.
She remains of low energy, which I attribute not only to her obvious situation, but that she is not eating enough. The dietician reminded her this is not pleasure food, but to look at it as medicine. I have to do trade barters to get her to consume, but as luck will have it, Karen came in at dinner time with a fist full of guestbook entries from all of you, and while she was intently listening to every word, I was able to jam a few unnoticed fork fulls of mashed potaotes and carrots past the otherwise, forbidden lips! One has to get creative.
We will report back later- Thanks to all- Lisa
This morning Bev is doing much better. She was able to sit up in her chair for three hours. Each time she does this her "numbers" look better (oxygen levels, blood pressure, etc.) The diuretic cocktail they've been serving her is working. Nurse Angie seems very pleased. Thanks to everyone for your prayers for her. Karen
We’re up…we’re down…we’re all around! After an elated day on Wednesday, she dropped into a bit of a low on Thursday- nothing that surprised Dr. Cunningham in the least. In his quiet manner, he said he expected that, but assured her that today, she would be feeling a bit upward again,
Every day, we have seen a new team of nurses. All very nice. Often, it is one very capable nurse, and one capable nurse in training.
Then yesterday, we got Angie. Angie transferred into USC 3 months ago from Colorado, and she is God-sent. She has an amazing nature, and teaches US along the way re: the things she is performing- all big words and drug names I could never repeat, but coming from Angie, it all seems sensible!
At one point in the day, Angie called for assistance to reposition mom on the bed. “Gilbert”, seemed unavailable, but “Jason” was walking by and she snagged him for the task. In walks this very handsome, blonde, muscular nurse- and oh- mom perked up with him! “Oh”, she said, “he’s so cute”,,,, and with that, Jason had no problem helping out in this room!
When lunch arrived, they brought her a plate of turkey club on whole wheat, complete with sides of soup, custard, and a chocolate shake. Seemed like a lot of food, to me, for day 2, but the only thing mom honed in on was- you guessed it – the chocolate shake. Soon, she was negotiating with the dietician to just have shakes- a powerhouse of 600 calories- but she wanted a variety please, chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry throughout the day. I suspect she will find food a bit more appealing today, but here she was, making her pact with the staff!
The body is a remarkable thing, no doubt- but coupled with the amazing technologies of medicine, the staff can tweak, and probe, and monitor each and every vital sign within the body. Yesterday, her difficulties were her kidney releasing her urine. It seemed she was holding a lot of fluids, which added to her discomfort, no doubt. But Angie was there to create “cocktails” for the IV’s, mixtures of this and that to help her perform, was spiking her shakes with extra protein goo, and pulling every trick she had up her sleeve to help mom out- and it worked. I just got word from Karen that they are very happy with what her monitors read, and we got Angie back again today, which we are all grateful for.
Dr. Cunningham suspects she will be in ICU till possibly Sunday. The goal is to completely wean her of her IV’s and she has a ways to go at this point- again, “typical” of someone in their 80’s. Father Rob and Mother Lyn came to visit Thursday, which she was very happy for. Otherwise, she is not ready to receive visitors. However, I have copied pages from her guestbook on this blog to share with her, so she knows all of you are out there rooting her on.
We will keep you posted later- again, my appreciation for all of you- Thanks, Lisa
2/17 I walked into Bev’s ICU room this morning and found her breathing tubes had been removed. Her facial coloring is great. Except for all the wires connected to her, it’s hard to tell she’s had major heart surgery. The nurses informed me she’d had a difficult first night from the discomfort of the breathing tube.
She’s very alert, taking in every beep and hum of the machines, conversations of patients next door, and the nurses at their station just outside her door. The first thing she wanted to know was if the operation was over. She thought she was still in pre-op. After learning the surgery was a success and they had used the pig valve she wanted, she said “Good, now you can call me Miss Piggy."
Doctors Cunningham and Gupta visited later. “Where have you been? Why haven’t you seen me?” she wanted to know. Dr. G said he’d been by at least 100 times, and Dr. C said he’d been there at least 5 or 6 times. When she asked for more pain meds, they jokingly said “no way,” she responded by sticking her tongue out at them. They said the operation went great, without any complications.
When it was time for a nap, she requested ear plugs and a night mask. After shopping at a local CVS drug store, Lisa and I played a little ‘dress-up doll’ with some bright orange earplugs, a green, transparent spa mask to ‘relieve stress, reduce swelling, and restore youthful eyes,’ and a coordinating paisley orange and lime green sleep mask. The nurses said Bev is having her spa day. She’s definitely having too much fun for being sick. Karen
While I was here posting her journal, Karen went ahead to check on her this morning. Reported back that all of the tubes have been removed- the main breathing tube and another that went through her nose- and she remembers nothing of yesterday- drugs are amazing. She is asking for her ipod- so I am scooting off to go deliver more tropical remembrances, and other varied distractions. - Talk later- L
Bev did great! She was out of surgery at about 1:15, after being wheeled in from pre-op at 8:30 am. Karen and I were able to be with her throughout the pre-op procedure, which was helpful. We had an ipod loaded with her favorite cd’s and some random stories to provide a soothing environment for her. The team - nurses, anesthesiologists. and the additional fellows Doctor were amazing. We discussed the non-invasive procedure, but after a lengthy discussion of pros & cons re: the traditional, breastbone-break version, it was decided, for her specific case involving both the aortic valve AND the a fib, that to “git ‘er done” in one fell swoop would be the choice. Presented with that amazing team, the idea that a later procedure of a second “non-invasive” through the groin technique to further correct the a fib could result in less than 50% results, the idea that the a fib correction would keep her off Coumadin, that recovery was perhaps just 2 extra weeks, and other such discussions, that the decision was made. She is at peace with this. For those who understand the significance, the very last nurse we saw wore a do-rag hat with swimming fish, and the last song she heard on the ipod was a Hawaiian melody. I think the imagery of this carried her throughout the process..
The Dr. said the surgery was smooth- that it was everything they expected to see when they got there. Her post op was a bit laborious. - Seemed she wanted to keep drifting away to those tropical breezes, pounding surf and swaying palm trees. She was unable to have the breathing tube removed before we left last night, which frustrated her, but all the great nurses assured us that each patient has their own threshold of coming to, that they wanted to not push the process, and allow her, her time.
I am sorry for the delayed posting. I know you have all wanted to know. I wish I had thought of this earlier, but I will
have my brother, Rod, post the journals while we are at the hospital. This computer is at the hotel with free business services, but the hospital does not offer such a thing and I do not wish to leave the hospital while she is available to be with.
I am about to leave now to see how she did through the night. We will be in touch- Keep those prayers, and great thoughts coming.. She needs ALL of you right now. Lisa
Tomorrow is the big day for her. She's resting comfortably in a hotel in LA. She is scheduled for 8:30. We'll keep everybody posted tomorrow as soon as we know anything. Your thoughts and prayers are felt.