Hope you managed to pretty much get your man cave furbished for your laying-in. A journal is always a good idea to have on hand so you can make notes etc. It is especially good to keep track of what you are taking and when, reactions, calls, callers etc. Not much longer left now.
I love the man cave idea. You are so clever and I especially love Barb's comment on the beverage refrierator joining you in your man cave. I could just hear her saying those words and I could see the look on her face. You know, she is my BFF right? Anyway, I think about you and pray for you often and your attitude is amazing with the ordeal you are facing. I truly believe that is half of a person's recovery is their attitude and you are a model for any person to follow that is in a similar circumstance.
Tom, again you were on our minds last night as Henry and I went to our favorite place in the world "Prissy Pollys". On Thursday and Saturday evenings they have bluegrass bands playing there and last night the name of the band was "Roy McMillan and the High Country Boys". "High" because his boys/sons sang quite high and it was great. I thought you would get a big kick out of this one song they sang. I wrote down the name of it and the chorus. The name of the song is "A Great Big Woman and a Little Bitty Bottle of Wine." The chorus is: "A great big woman and a little bitty bottle of wine. I don't care about the woman but I'd sure like to keep the wine." It was great fun and we look forward to you and Barb coming down here again to share in some BBQ.
Take Care and look forward to your posts.
Also, I just love your pictures, especially the one with the tissues all over your face.
well Uncle Tom this is my firt blog I have ever read. I am touched by your post. You have such a sense of humor. I will be thinking of you as you travel this journey. Good luck with everything and hopefully you'll be up to visiting soon because the alternative is just not acceptable. We love you :)
Stacey and Family
I enjoy reading your entries. I'm a week and 3 days post surgery and figured I'm now qualified to offer tips. ha ha A couple items I've found to be very valuable are: I'm not sure what it's called but I call it a grabber. An item they sell that helps you pick up dropped items. It seems as soon as I set foot back home after surgery I was struck with butterfingeritis - the tv remote, cap for the medicine, toothbrush, etc. you name it and I've dropped it and watched it mock me from the floor - until I get my grabber!! Another thing is some kind of jar opener, some lids are on sooo tight and I used to open them without even thinking. A couple other things, anything on high shelves that you might use - towels, cereal, etc. get them down. I brought my computer up from the basement and that was a BIG help. Try not to worry too much, I'm sure you'll be in good hands.
Believe me you will be doing more than walking to the refrigerator. I'll be waiting for you to walk to St. Charles from your house. I know walking is a big thing and of course Barb is right. Good thing you recognize that also.
We are all praying for you.
Uncle Tom....I have never been one to follow someones blog until Beth posted yours on facebook and I have two things to say...Numer one you are a great writer and I love reading your posts, so much so that I am now a full subscriber :) The second thing you are such a strong person you and the rest of the Schrage Clan are in my thoughts and prayers. God will be there with you through it all and with him everything is possible! I love you and keep on blogging because honestly I'm addicted :)
You got a virtual hug back, hope you felt it through cyberspace. Your bride was right on about vetoing the refrigerator. You will have to get up and walk several times a day and back and forth to the kitchen will be a necessity (in addition to the bathroom, of course). Looks like you'll have a busy weekend with your projects.
I just wanted to you to know that you have been in my daily prayers since Beth told me of your health concerns a while back. I have enjoyed reading your blog and am happy to see that your sense of humor has not been effected:) Stay strong and keep praying.
Hi, wow I have teared up, you are so loved and strong. my goodness I have known you for so many years, your family. Your not just Beth's dad. I want you to know I am praying for you and that I love you. Keep writing and I will keep reading.
Hello Mr. Schrage, this is Beth's friend Melissa. I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your daily blog. I believe this is an extremely important thing to do, which is to recognize reality, express your feelings, and make sure you have a positive outlook. Positivity is a MAJOR factor with recovery for any illness/injury. Without that and family support things are much more difficult to deal with. Your sense of humor is infectious and with that it's hard not to be positive or at least be able to look for the positive in situations. There are positives in every situation and sometimes they are hard to find, but once you do, focus on them and move forward. I am keeping you in my prayers and wishing you a speedy and successful recovery! Take care, Melissa
I noticed your posting was much shorter this morning. Did that close date give you a bit of a jolt? I'm assuming you are sitting back and reflecting on what else needs to be done in the next, less than two weeks. Well, I think it's better than having to sit and stew for a couple of months. You'll be getting to recoup just as summer hits so there won't be any excuses about not being able to get out and exercise. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
Beth just sent me your journal on face book, and I have been catching up on all you have wrote and reading what people have written to you in your guestbook. I have come to a wonderful conclution, you have a lot of loving family and friends out there. I'm sure you know that :) I just wanted to let you know that we are praying for you and have been since we found out from my mom. Another message to let you know you are very loved and are in our prayers!
Love, The turbeville's
Well Tommy here we go. Now with a definitive surgery date I guess this is really going to happen. I am so grateful you have found this site. It sure has made a tremendous difference and is a wealth of information. Thanks to all of you who are sharing your stories and supportive notes. My prayers go out to you all.
As you can see it is early morning... many thoughts keep going round and round in my head. We have never faced anything like this. Being a nurse for so many years does not prepare you for when a spouse has to go through something like this. I am not the writer in this partnership so this comes very hard for me.
Tommy - you are the best thing that ever happened to me. You have been the rock,comforter,guide and humorist in this incredible relationship. Whenever the tough gets going...Tom's sense of humor was the element to get us through.
I was the luckest girl in the world when we got married. You sure have made it an intersting journey filled with
faith, laughter,and love.
We both have terrific parents, siblings, children ,grandchildren nieces, nephews,frineds,work & church families. The support of all of you has been remarkable and we are truly blessed.
So lets get this show on the road to recovery. I will be there every step of the way. I do not know how any surgeon could improve a heart that is already the "perfcet heart".... A heart that is filled with compassion and abundant love. So let's just see him try.
All my love always...babs(Tom is the only one that can get a way with calling me that)
Wow, you'll barely have time to pack your toothbrush and pajama bottoms (please take those along in case the hospital gowns are short). I had to wait 2 1/2 months, but I wanted a specific hospital (Cleveland Clinic) and surgeon (Marc Gillinov). So, had to fit into his schedule. Have put your name on my prayer list for that day. You'll do well.
Hi Tom, just thought i would drop you a line, from Sunny Florida. I get people ready in my dept for Heart Surgery, and just along the corridor is where they go after Surgery, to me there is no greater reward than to see them walk along the hallways aftewards, it is truly amazing to see. I
Hey Tom: Here in sunny, sweaty Flordua. Oh doing a will. Man I can remember that. Wow I found out I richer dead than alive, lol. As far as funeral arrangements I had the guy in shock. You see I will be cremated. They asked me what kind of urn. I said a cardboard box. He asked what would I do with that. I said "Well I hope nothing for I will be in it." Hmm what was he thinking I would hold it?
Anyway my prayers are always with u and your family. A friend of mine Billy had 3 bypasses and he did great so I know u will too. You have a heart of gold. Gee I hope they don't take it out and get money for it for gold is worth alot. lol
Keep your spirits up and I say "Keep on trucking." You have alot going for u and I know u will be kicking butt soon after. Much love and prayers are with u. Jackie
Funny as it may be in preplanning your funeral, it really does make good sense. Emotions run high upon death and one sometimes tends to pay for things they get talked into when, if we had the choice ourselves, we wouldn't want to bother blowing money on this or that. My husband and I bought our plots and stones 30'some years ago at a little cemetery we thought looked peaceful - go figure! We were such an easy sell. The salesman kept wanting to go through his book page by page and I kept flipping the page to the end asking for the final price. He was getting so put out with me. With the funeral planning done I just had to get some cd's made so that is what I occupied myself with pre-op. Like I'm going to be able to hear my favourite artists but nevertheless, that is what will be playing.
I commend you anyway on getting these gruesome details out of the way while death is hypothetical. Someday down the road you have just made someone's life easier and that is the act of a loving and caring person. (I'd like to say I'm one of those two choices but perhaps it's because I'm a controller. We won't go there.)
Have to say that with your special wit, wasn't sure about the funeral visit "thing". But apparently you were serious and got the task done. My family knew what I wanted and never did go to a funeral home and pre plan. Maybe it's different for you guys? Keep smiling, am sure you will.
Thank you for the sweet message this morning. I guess God has a way of knowing exactly when it's time to get things done, because I seem to be having a little more trouble breathing today and a little more chest pain..but that will be behind me tomorrow:)
I know I'm biased, but I am very proud of my children and think they are absolutely beautiful as I'm sure yours are also! Never thought about the southern name thing but you may be onto something....
Not sure what I was thinking when I named the middle child and gave her 3 names-Madison Reede Carol. She will probably be in some psychologist's office down the road blaming her problems on the fact that her mother gave her such a heavy name to carry:) She actually likes it and goes by Maddie.
I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers and look forward to reading your updates of having David read them to me when I am able.
Thanks for keeping us smiling,
Thanks for keeping me informed. Sorry to hear about your up and coming surgery, but knowing you, you'll be just fine. I'm sure this won't be an EIGHT!!!. Take care and I'll continue to read your story.
P.S. I'd love to go to that concert too, have a great time.
Just heard of your heart problems yesterday at church. So sorry you have to go through this ordeal!
Tom and I will certainly pray for the success of your operation and recovery. I am sure God will keep a close watch over you and Barb at this time.
We will be in touch and please let us know if there is anything we can do for you or Barb.
Love and prayers, Tom & Judy Maier
I'm back again after reading today's post. It's strange isn't it? - how sometimes it takes a life-altering situation to put so many things in perspective. Going to see your favorite musicians, eating ribs, enjoying your grandchildren rather than stressing over a job where you are always on the giving end and receiving very little in return. But you, unlike most people, didn't leave the job because of your illness, YOU had the good sense to say ENOUGH knowing that it was not healthy staying in that environment and to that I APPLAUD you!!!!!
As for the ribs Tom, don't think of where they are located just think of your friend and ours -- "Prissy" and all the history behind that establishment as well as the love that goes into them and you'll forget all about where the "ribs" are located. We went there on Saturday with Heather and Danny. Danny and Henry got the ribs and you were the topic of conversation because of your great love for this delicacy - Henry's too and now Danny's. The owner of the restaurant, as he always does, came to our table and spoke with us and asked us how you liked the ribs that Barb brought home for you and of course we told him - "they were great."
When I read your blog from yesterday and saw its title I immediately thought of one of my favorite songs back in the day believe it or not by none other than my favorite group - The Monkeys and of course my favorite Monkey - Davey! Thanks for the memory!!
The Monkeys? When I say Ontario - no, no one thinks it's just Toronto but as we live about 45 minutes from Toronto, I just offer that city rather than try and explain. We used to live there when we were first married but long ago moved to a much smaller town and commute instead when we need to. Toronto is a lovely city to live near! Yes, you aren't all that far from here. We have friends in Syracuse - he's a doctor and she runs the practice.
Do your children and grandchildren all live close by? We have two grandchildren and find we are busier now than when we had our own boys at home. We are just getting ready now to head out to a lacrosse game where I video film the game - well, only when my grandchild is on the floor. You will undoubtedly have tons of wonderful support.
I'll say it again, your positive attitude and great sense of humor will be a big boost to helping you endure the surgery. It's not all that bad but after 8 months post-op, I can now say that!
Jackie & I just want you to know that we are with you in spirit all the way through this. I have no doubt that your great sense of humor will get you through the journey. Our prayers are, and will continuously be, with you, Barb and your family. We'll be following your journal.
I just read your blog from yesterday and wanted to let you know how much it touched me. God is such an important part of my life too. I really don't think I could have gotten through all this if I didn't lean on Him. I'm 3 1/2 months post op and feeling wonderful. They said in 6 months I'd be even better. Wow!
I'll be doing a pod cast later on this week. You can read it on aging research.org. Wish me luck! Bev Simmons
If you want to correspond with me or anyone else on the HVJ directly all you have to do is go to Journal Central and type in the name where it says "search for journal" and it will come up. You then go there and type in the person's guestbook. Be sure to type in your name as the sender or you'll be the mystery writer. \
It is difficult to find the right thing to say. I can crack a good joke like the rest of them from time to time but I am in a more sappy mood now. My heart aches to think of you going through this. I cannot imagine how you feel. I never had a dad growing up and once I met Peter I was finally blessed with this experience. I truly consider you my dad - not just a father-in-law. You have shown me so much love and caring over the years that I never could have expected. I am so grateful for this. I just want to say thank you for all you have done for me and for all that you are to me. You are a wonderful father - now it is time to let your children take care of you and be there when you need us.
Taking a step back though - to the indignity . . . I can feel your pain there. I did give birth to three of your grandbabies. Even though childbirth is a beautiful miracle - you don't realized what you are getting yourself into until it is too late. When you go the hospital - first of all, you are not allowed to wear "underpants" (pete's FAVORITE word). You have NO privacy (no further description needed). You are told that you may poop on the table while delivering your precious baby (thank goodness I did not). You are in incredible pain. You vomit (yes, I did). The best part is you are awake for the entire process. Then, you sometimes get a nurse named "Pat" who has no bedside manner and treats your food supply for your baby like a sack of potatoes and makes you lock yourself in your bathroom, crying.
I like monkeys too! :0) I was singing on the swing today and said D-A-D-D-Y, G-daddy is his name-o! Then I sang pat-a-cake and put a cake in the oven for Gabby and G-daddy and Grandma. Can you come eat cake with me? We will have a butterfly one for Jennavieve's dance recital.
Just stopping by to say I enjoyed reading your blog today as I am in a very relective mood lately. Also to get the pat on the back:)
It was the Monkees....I had their album when I was little and my stepmother always played them.
In re-reading your journal entries, don't believe you have a surgical date yet, correct? Hope it won't be too far off as that beard will want to grow back. Are any of your grandchildren little ones and did they recognize you without the beard? By the way, our 2 daughters are 14 1/2 months apart and then our son was born 2 years later. Originally thought we'd like 4 (I'm from a family of 8 children)and when my husband said, well, what about #4? I said, we have both sexes. so 3 is it. Enjoy your style of writing, is that what you do for a living?
This is so cool. Heather and Danny are here and I called Heather in to read your blog. I think this is a great idea especially the support system with other people that have experienced the same or similar situation. We went to Prissy Polly's today and we thought about the whole time - Hen and Danny had your "ribs". Thank you so much for talking to mom today. I know that made her feel so much better and that she had a special "connection" with you. Thank you for putting her mind at ease as only you can do especially with that GREAT sense of humor you have.
Talked to Miriam last Wed, She filled us in on the events. Sorry to hear about your up coming valve replacement. I know from when Marilyn went thru it that God is a big part of it. He is there with you to guide the hands of the surgeon. All I can say is if you did not have such a big heart you may not have had this problem,,,, Remember our prayers are with you always, Yesterday today and tomorrow. God gave both Marilyn and I a very unexpected peace prior to Marilyn's operation, It was a peace I never will be able to explane, He will do the same for you Barb and your wonderful family. We are with you guy hang in there all will be fine.
Don't know where I was when you first signed in - must have been in la, la land because today is the first I've seen your wonderful journal. How cute is that when your grandchilren can get on and give you encouragement? Those notes are definitely treasures. I have two - an 8 year old girl and 11 year old boy - both serious hockey and lacrosse players.
I had a mitral valve repair in Oct/09 so Tuesday will be 8 months post-op. I'm in rehab (for heart!) and am doing fine. I continue with all of my other vices.
You are one of the fortunate few who enter this phase with a medically knowledgeable mate so I hope that will add to your strength of knowing your dear wife will be in the wings watching over your care. While I say this surgery isn't for sissies, in the end it isn't all that bad. The pain is soon forgotten and replaced by hope and planning for the future. You will have one.
I see you are gifted with a wonderful sense of humor and that will go a long way in seeing you rise through the surgery and recovery. If you get a minute and would like a good laugh you must check out William Thune's journal - aka Capt'n Bill.
Wishing you well Tom. Glad you found us here on HVJ where patients and caregivers alike will weigh in to become your best supporters.
I started cardio rehab in the beginning of May. I go three days a week and the classes are at my local hospital. The classes are from 1245 until 200, and 15 minutes of that time is for a class on cardiac issues...diet, high cholesterol...breathing exercises...etc I like the confidence the class gives you, because there are nurses monitoring your blood pressure and advising you if your heart rate gets too high. I use the treadmill, stepper machine and two machines geared toward upper arm strength. My doctor put in for about 24 sessions....alot of people in my class have been approved for 36 sessions. I would highly recommend at least trying rehab....it is definitely a positive on the road to recovery.
I know this is not the first time you have had to shave your beard for surgery. That can grow back. Your blog is wonderful and obviously an inspirtaion to many as you have always been.
You are in my prayers.
It's amazing you're still on your wit game even though you are going through such an experience. I don't know if I could muster the same energy as you, but I guess, I'd have to be there to understand and weather the storm.
I truly do miss your presence and candor at HH and often times wonder to myself on many situations, "WWTWS" or "wonder what Tom would say". Your insight and perseptiveness was one that I relied upon. All told, I'm there whenever ya need me, buddy.
Well, that's enough sappy stuff. I wish you all the best, and will continue to read and write in your blog. Just think, I can be part of a segment when you decide to make this a big budget screen production.
Your journal entries continue to put a smile on my face. It is wierd that as I read your last entry, I realized we had 3 more things in common not counting the heart valve and sense of humor:) But I too will be having my surgery at a teaching hospital, though I feel very comfortable because they are well known and my surgeon helped to invent the Davinci Robotic procedure they will be using on me. Also, when I went in for my pre-op last week they asked me if I would be willing to take part in a research study and like you, I didn't hesitate as I felt if I could help in any way with finding more about heart disease then it was a privilege, so they will be taking a small biopsy of my heart during my surgery. Lastly, I know you talk about the not being able to play with your grandchildren. I have the same feelings except they are with my children. The feelings of guilt of mommy not being able to do something or go somewhere because she is "sick" have haunted me for years now and I hope one of the biggest blessings I will get from this surgery is the ability to do things with them again and eventually my own grandchildren:)
I know I have written a book, but one more thing, I wanted to thank you for what you said in your second post. It means more than you probably realize. And people are different, but I find as I get closer to surgery I am calmer but also a little weepier (if that makes any sense at all).
I look forward to reading your entries,as they always make me smile and will have my wonderful hubby who is taking over my journal in the hospital when I can't do it, read me your entries:)
Bikini Wax? Really? Ok so that is not the type of surgery that they are planning on doing is it? Either way from one surgery to the next, you have always come out on top. Your humor has carried you through the tough times as well as extended the good times even longer, spent with your famlily and friends. I think that maybe some of that has rubbed off on your children too so think of us as your little minions of comic relief. As for the miserable part, even santa claus gets pissed sometimes too it is freakin' cold up there you know.
All joking aside, I know that this surgery is going to give you your youth back. That your faith God will fill the canyons that humor cannot at times. Just know that during the ups and downs, there will always be someone by your side to help. We will all help you through this together.
I love you Dad and God-Speed on your road to recovery.
Loved reading the letters from your grandchildren, they're the best reason to get this surgery behind you. I only have one and he's 6 and our deal is I am going to run with him! We didn't say how far, but that's my goal. He's still fascinated by my "cut" as he calls it. Am curious to know what was the reason for having to shave the beard? Now, the bikini shave I understand and your dear wife can explain that indignity to Santa. Hope you get all your answers here, there's a great group of people post op and others in the waiting mode but we all have our hearts in common.
Welcome to this site...I had mitral repair surgery on 3/2/10 and had an uneventful recovery and now I am in cardio rehab. Any help or questions you need answered please post and one of us will answer it. Good luck as you begin your journey towards surgery and recovery.