I just wanted to thank everyone for their support, well wishes and prayers. David and I are overwhelmed at the responses and notes we received so quicklly after starting this journal. I have to say that this is definitely one of the things helping me through to my surgery date!
Well wishes to everyone and Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!
As you can tell, my husband is much more detailed than I am:) Thank you for what you wrote David. It felt like a lifetime but it was finally time for us to meet with the surgeon himself to let us know whether or not it was time for surgery or not. Up until the time he came in the door I was an extremely anxious person!! I just wanted an answer and a date to focus on. I got my wish! June 3rd I would finally have my heart repaired and be lucky enough to have one of the best surgeons in America doing the surgery. Once again, the staff was amazing. David and I left there excited, relieved, nervous and overwhelmed. It didn't even seem real yet. But it began to sink in...so our next appointment will be with the dentist to get clearance for the surgery. You have to have your dental work in order and your dentist give the ok before surgery is done. The appointment is the 13th to have 2 wisdom teeth and a molar taken out and a complete cleaning and scraping. This is all going to be done in one day due to time crunch. I have to say I feel sorry for David and some guilt for all the things he is having to do on top of taking care of me.
Today we received a package in the mail from Amy at Dr Chitwood's office, who is also absolutely wonderful. Inside was a copy of Adam Pick's book and some instructions for pre-op. What a great surprise.
Thank you to all of our friends and family for their continued well wishes and prayers!
Until next time,
Hello everyone, my name is David, and I am Kimberly's husband. I felt as though it was time for me to add my own experiences of the day Kimberly had her TEE. I might be a little long winded here, but I hope that it gives everyone a good idea of what happened and what we experienced this day.
First, I want to share Kimberly's view of Dr. Chadwick Wood (her cardio vascular specialist).
What a great and caring physician. I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Wood. He is the first physician I have ever met who actually takes the time to explain things to us in a way we can understand, he doesn't speak over us and he will pull his pen out and make a drawing to help illustrate what he is explaining.
Kimberly and I arrived at the East Carolina Heart Institute (in Greenville NC) about 11:15am and we were greeted by the valet attendent who confirmed we were at the right place. We went inside where we registered and I was given a visitor pass that I had to wear to go into the prep/recovery area, unfortunately it didn't stick very well and many times, I would find it on the floor next to me.
After checking in, we only waited about ten minutes in the very spacious waiting room before we were called and escorted into the prep/recovery room. We went to the little room (with a curtain for privacy). Kimberly changed, and within a few minutes, Dr Wood visited. He discussed a few things with her, and we reminded him that Kimberly has a high tolerance to the anesthesia (in 2007, Kimberly had a TEE and after only one dose of Fetanyl or versed, she was still awake and the physician forced the TEE and she felt everything) he reassured us that it was noted and would be taken care of and that she would go back for the procedure about 1pm.
Shortly after he left, three nurses came in, two pushing laptops on roll carts while the third nurse began getting the pic line in for her IV. While she was doing this, the first two nurses went into a "quickfire mode" of asking questions about her medical history. After a few minutes everyone left, and she and I had some time to relax and talk.
I have to say, everyone at the East Carolina Heart Institute were absolutely wonderful. They did so much to make us feel welcome and to put us at ease.
About 1:15pm, the nurse came to get Kimberly and I walked with them as far as I could and then kissed Kimberly and told her I would see her in a little while and reminded her "don't be difficult".
I left the area, and walked to the health cafe for lunch. Fortunately, not only do they have a great menu, and sandwiches, they also have a sushi chef, and a coffee bar.
After lunch, I walked back to the waiting area and pulled out our laptop to play some Mah Jong and discovered that the waiting area is a WIFI hotspot with an unsecured guest connection. So, after logging onto Facebook, I was able to give our family and friends an update on Kimberly.
About twenty minutes later, one of the nurses came up too me, and asked me to come back. They had given Kimberly quite abit of Fetanyl and Versed and she was still "talky talky". I walked back, saw her and yes...she was wide awake and first thing I said was "I heard you're being difficult" :-) Since they had given her anesthesia, she was not able to sign things on her own and I would have to sign a release so they could give her a stronger anesthesia called Dipravan. Dr Wood was there, and told me that he had never seen anyone take that much before and still be awake. The procedure had to be delayed because Dipravan requires a respiratory therapist on hand. Each time they would try something new, they would have to give her this numbing spray for her throat so that they could ease the camera down her throat after she was asleep. I again, kissed her and left, going back to the waiting room, where I googled Dipravan to learn more about what they were giving her.
During this time, Kimberly was still awake after having two doses of Dipravan. The respiratory therapist that administered the Dipravan was not able to give her more, so Dr. Wood called the OR asking if there were any anesthesiologists that could come down to assist in finally putting her to sleep so they could begin the procedure.
Well, it was about 4:30pm when they came and got me and told me that she was in recovery and that she was awake. Walking back there, she was asleep and I sat there with her.
Over the next three hours, we talked, she slept, and during that time, the nurses came in and had to check her gag reflex by sticking a tongue depressor down her throat. Once she had a reflex, we would be able to start the check out process. Dr. Wood came one last time to check on Kimberly and was amazed that she was awake. He gave us some advice, some things to look into and then told us he would see us in a few weeks.
Before we left, was did ask one of the nurses how much anesthesia she had been given, turns out she received 17 doses of Versed and Fetanyl and five 30mg doses of Dipravan.
Needless to say...Kimberly slept most of Saturday. :-)
Thats all for now, I look forward to sharing more with you as she and I go through this chapter of our marriage.
The day is here to meet with Dr. Wood. He is an absolutely WONDERFUL doctor...I can't express this enough. He is never rushed and never makes you feel like you are wasting your time....as is the same with his staff. The echo shows that my condition has gotten worse since my last echo last summer. He wants a better look and schedules me for a TEE (camera down my throat)that Friday the 23rd. We are amazed at how quickly things are progressing.
We are once again greeted wonderfully by the staff at the Heart Institute. My echocardiogram is at 3:30. This is a simple thing where they do an ultrasound of your heart. But it distresses me because you have to lay on your left side for approx. 20 minutes and I have trouble breathing when I lay on that side. David senses when this starts to happen and is right there by my side trying to calm me. We are then scheduled to meet with Dr. Wood on April 19th for the results. Can I say this will feel like forever:)
Taking a step in the past, to show what has led up to today. We finally have the appointment with the valve specialist at East Carolina Heart Institute, Dr. Wood.We are shocked at how amazing the staff and dr are...we are not used to this. They put us at ease right away and Dr. Wood answers all our questions and actually listens to us. After our initial meeting with him he sends us right away for me to get a chest xray and blood tests to make sure there is no fluid in my lungs and I am not yet in heart failure-everything clear!:) I am scheduled for an echocardiogram on April 12th.
Looking forward to a fresh start with a fresh heart!
Journal posted on May 7, 2010
After reading other journals, I thought what a great idea to keep up with our journey through the process before, during and after my surgery-plus the benefit of letting our family and friends take the journey with us.
In the past year my health has deteriorated significantly. I am very symptomatic, as they put it. I have trouble breathing, chest pain, fatigue and a cough that won't go away.I want to say that I could never have gotten through this without the wonderful, unselfish support of my husband, David. He has been with me every step of the way and does not miss one appointment, no matter what it is for.My wonderful children for their help and understanding. And the prayers and thoughts from family and friends that mean more than they could imagine and keep us lifted! Thank you!!!