It's hard to believe it's been 4 weeks already. I had two plus weeks with the home health team...nurse came 3 times a week to test blood for Coumadin levels as well as oxygen levels, blood pressure, weight and pulse rate. The physical therapy team came 3 times a week had me doing sitting exercises with arms and legs, then adding cycling on legs, then arms and pully exercises for upper body, then standing exercises. We walked...starting inside around the pool table for 5 minutes, progressed to outdoors and am up to 20+ minute walks around the neighborhood (with lots of inclines). David has been my walking partner since pt got dismissed last week.
I've done the exercise program daily and continue to increase the reps. When I was released by home health, they said I was ahead of schedule. Yeah! I go tomorrow to the Institute for Healthy Living to start my Cardiac Rehab. I am driving short distances now, so I'll be able to get there without David having to take off work.I still have difficulty getting comfortable to go to sleep at night. (I'm one of those people that is usually asleep when my head hits the pillow), but I lay awake around 30 minutes. My heart beats really forcefully and at first it would shake me, but I can already tell that it is starting to settle down. When it's really quiet I can hear my valve "ticking". I thought it would drive me crazy, but it isn't bad at all...something I'll have to live with from now on.
I'm doing more around the house; laundry, cooking, piddling in the yard and garden for short periods of time. I made it through the whole grocery store this past weekend (the week before I had to go sit out the last 2 aisles while David finished the shopping).
I don't have pain and haven't had any pain meds since shortly after I came home from the hospital. Some of my muscles get sore and I only take Tylenol for that. The worst pain is from sneezing. I try to brace for it, but it still hurts. But it isn't long lasting.
I appreciate all the good wishes, phone calls and visits. As I continue to get stronger, I hope to be able to do more around the house. I still have to rest a lot, which can be frustrating at times.
Well, even though we're home, Debbie is stil having frustrating issues. She has dizziness and nausea, and not a very good appetite. The dizziness has been a problem even when she tries to focus while reading. They started physical therapy and home health care today, and have already adjusted her coumadin (blood thinner) dosage. Hopefully these things will get worked out in a short time so improvement can get back on track.
WE ARE HOME AT LAST!! Got Debbie home about 15 minutes ago. Stopped on the way & got some FRESH fruits & veggies to fix, so nutrition should improve. We'll see how the first night away from the hospital goes. She's resting now after getting a taste of some decent food.
We're still waiting for the word to go home. Debbie got 2 units of blood yesterday, and her hemoglobin got up to where the Dr. wanted it. She's still tired and somewhat lethargic, but she did make her morning walk. She's also been making short trips (to the bathroom, etc) without Texas Ranger. For those who asked about giving blood, I will try to find out. Thanks again for the continued prayers and well wishes. David
Well, looks like no going home yet. Dr. said hemoglobin level is too low (went from 7.9 to 7.2 since yesterday), so she's going to get blood today. No energy. Hopefully this will get her recovery back on track. Will update more later. David
Well, after a rotten night last night, including nausea, emotional roller coaster and pain as usual, Debbie is doing better today. She has even named her walker "Texas Ranger". I know, go ahead and groan. Dr. J came in today & said the blood work looked good, so maybe no transfusion. Food has tasted better, she got a shower tonight, so hopefully things are getting better. Like you said, Debbie, "We'll get through this together". Amen to that, dear. David.
Still having some chest pain, but they only give pain meds on request. I'm only taking one about every 8 hours rather than 2 every four hours. PT comes down twice a day for: walks around the floor, upper body exercises, breathing exercises, grooming and personal and they check vitals every 4 hours. Then someone else
Comes to check blood sugar, but not on the same 4 hour schedule. However doc didn't order any extra tests so I got 9-12 sleep. 12-3 Sleep, then down from 4-6 today. Getting groggy again. Post more later.
Well, as Debbie's sister alluded to, the switch can be made. She should be able to get some solid food tomorrow and get off the liquid yuk she's been forced to choke down. Her pain seems to be diminishing, as she went 12 hours and 8 hourse between pain med since last night. They worked her pretty hard this AM, but she's sleeping now, and her nurse said she is going to try & leave her alone tonight as much as possible. The Dr. indicated earlier he may order a blood transfusion, since they can't seem to get her blood stabilized. He is still trying to figure it out, and the transfusion is only if he cannot. We're hopeful if she otherwise continues to improve, she will get to go home this weekend. David
Sister Report: Mother and I are with Debbie. She is sitting in the chair and even more chipper than yesterday. The doc is having trouble getting her blood numbers right and her oxygen right, so he keeps ordering different meds and tests, but he is still pleased. They have the bandages off her incision today so that it can dry out a bit, and the surgeon will be in later to look at it...but it looks pretty amazing to me. She is doing good on her walking and occupational therapy exercises. Next goal: trying to get off the liquid diet and onto real food, but if I tell what has to happen first before that switch can be made, it will be TMI.
Debbie is still improving, but tody was like the second day after a big workout...lots of aches and pains. she got up & walked around twice today. The afternoon walk was an entire loop around the Heart ward. She finally got to where she can sleep in the bed instead of upright in a chair, so she should rest better tonight. They were supposed to remove the arterial line in her neck & put an IV line in her arm, but it hasn't happened yet. Oh well, we're still hopeful for continued recovery. David.
Debbie continues to improve even though pain & breathing difficulty are the main issues at the moment. They are trying to manage her pain & have given her a patch for her side to control the muscle spasms causing the breathing problems. She is going to have to sleep sitting nearly upright in a recliner, since it hurts her to much to lie down. Since I am going to stay with her tonight, it looks like I get the bed. She's resting nicely right now, so hopefully that will continue. Surgeon came in about 9:00 PM & said she's still doing really well. That's my girl!
Shelley again: Family has moved into the waiting room in the Heart and Vascular Institute while they move Debbie from the CV ICU to a private room in this part of the hospital. She sat up all morning, and they removed all tubes except one central line. They got her up for her first walk, and she did well on that. All the medical staff is saying that she is doing great, and she seems to be recovering from an uncomfortable night. She has seen her doctor this morning already, and he told her to expect that she would feel like she was hit by a mack truck for a few days! Her spirits are very good given everything she's been through. Keep sending those prayers and good thoughts. And the nurse just came in...she is settled in her private room! Yea!
David here again. Debbie had a rough night & is still in a lot of pain, but they have removed the breathing tube and have her sitting up in a chair. They are removing some of her IV lines also, and will be moving her to a private ICU room, so we can stay with her longer. Your prayers are working, as it looks like she is improving. Considering what she endured yesterday, Debbie is one tough lady, so watch out! I love you Debbie, and am EXTREMELY glad to see you getting better.
This is from David, Debbie's husband. We just got back from the hospital @ 9:30 PM. Debbie is still intubated, since she had some blood pressure issues earlier, and is still heavily sedated and in a lot of pain. She is stable now, and the nurses are taking good care of her and closely monitoring her condition. They still plan to try & sit her up in a chair in the morning. Thanks again for all the well wishes and prayers.
Around 5:00 PM they called us in to see Debbie. She is in the Cardio-Vascular ICU, and is doing very well. She has two nurses attending her, and they told us all her signs are strong. She is still intubated from surgery, but they expect to be able to remove her from the breathing machine later this evening; they are waiting for her to come out from anesthesia a bit more. She is responding to commands, and to the silly comments of her family, by shaking her head! She is getting stronger at the things the nurses ask of her as well, like raising her head off the pillow, and raising arms and legs. The nurses told us that they think she'll be up in a chair by tomorrow morning. We appreciate everyone's good thoughts and prayers!
The surgeon just came to talk to us. He ended up needing to do three things today. He replaced the aorta from her heart to her neck. He replaced the aortic valve in her heart with a mechanical one. But when he had removed the non-functioning valve, he discovered that the tube in her heart delivering blood to the valve was too small, so they did some work to enlarge that tube so that her blood flow will be right. He said it was a "big" surgery, but he seemed very pleased with it. Debbie is doing well, but they will keep a very close eye on her for the next 48 hours. The surgeon will be back in to talk to us again before we get to see her.
This is Shelley, Debbie's sister. We are in pre-op and just had a meeting with the surgeon. Since the appointment last week with him, he has decided that he does want to repair the aneurysm in her ascending aorta. He will replace the ascending aorta today as well as her aortic valve. She is ready.
Well, the day has come. We have a surgery date...Monday, October 8th. Dr. Jayakar will be performing my aortic valve replacement surgery. We arrive at Same Day Surgery @ 6:30am and the surgery is scheduled for 8:30am. He will be using a metal valve (this was my choice as it will last forever and I won't have to go through this again in 15 to 20 years). He will be checking my aneurysm and if need be, operating on it as well. The surgery should take around 4 hours. He said the incision will be about 7cm up to 9cm if needed for the aneurysm part of the surgery.
Tomorrow I have an ultra sound scheduled for carotid artery at 9:30, then pre op in the afternoon, blood work and more paperwork.
Went in at 6am on 9/27 with David and Shelley with me for moral support. The procedure finally got underway around 9 to 9:30 and only took about 30 minutes. Dr. Germanwalla came out and told them he was pleased with the outcome; my aortic valve was "severe" in terms of not working and all tests point to the same conclusion...that I need the surgery. I had to stay laying flat for 3 hours, then sit up for about an hour, then walk around the floor by nurses station and then they let us go home. I stayed in bed the rest of the day Thursday and most of Friday. By Saturday, I was feeling alot better. We have an appointment with the surgeon, Dr. Jayakar on Tuesday morning at 8:45am.