I think Kevin is ready for some phone calls, a visitor or two and e-mails! He still has a ways to go but he needs some human contact (other than exhausted me!). Ok, I'm having trouble covering all the bases and your encouraging communications will help Kevin's recovery!
Don't tell him that you heard it from me! Go for it!
I'm sorry for the late posting but I couldn't get a connection from post-op and we were busy getting Kevin comfortable after we got home yesterday evening.
I was able to see Kevin exactly one hour from when they took him in the operating room. When the nurse came to get me, she said Kevin was talking about the meals he planned to eat on Saturday (today). When I saw him he was drinking a ginger ale, got up for a walk around the unit, I helped him get dressed, the surgeon stopped by and we were on our way home.
The good news is that the surgeon was able to actually remove 2 of the 4 pacing wires that caused Kevin such discomfort and pain!!!
Kevin's recovery will go much better now! The next step is to get him enrolled in cardiac rehab!
We truly could not get through this without your love and support! We are so very blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives! Thank you so much for all you have done for Kevin and me!
At 3:40PM Kevin was taken into the operating room to hopefully remove the pacing wires; worse case clip the pacing wires to eliminate the poking and pain. The entire operation should take approximately 1 hour, an hour in recovery and then home! We arrived at 11AM this morning as instructed but the surgeons first surgery took longer than expected ... I guess.
Kevin and I were more than disappointed to receive a phone call when we were on our way home from meeting with the surgeon that he had decided to postponed Kevin's surgery to remove the pacing wires to Friday, 9/23!
Your continued prayers and encouragment are greatly appreciated. We are so grateful for your continued support!
Surgery is Scheduled to Hopefully Remove the Pacing Wires!
Journal posted on September 15, 2011
Kevin is more than a little annoyed at wires poking him in a couple of spots at the bottom of his incision ... and at the idea of going back into the operating room. I think we can all appreciate how he feels! Please be in prayer for Kevin, our surgeon and the medical staff can safely and securely remove the pacing wires from the heart instead of clipping and leaving them attached to Kevin's heart permanently. It was intended for the wires to be left attached to Kevin's heart permanently ... only because he's on coumadin/warfarin for 90 days because of the maze procedure.
When the NP called me a few minutes ago she specfically said, "surgery has been scheduled to remove Kevin's pacing wires".
Perhaps I have my hopes too high because the NP called back to say Kevin does NOT need to stop his 2mg of coumadin for the surgery and that the surgeon will clip the wires. It's been 4 weeks and 2 days since Kevin's open heart surgery.
God has brought us this far and clipping the pacing wires is going help Kevin to heal faster because right now they're annoying and painful for him.
Please pray for our meeting with the surgeon on Tueesday 9/20 and for the surgery on Wednesday 9/21. Your continue support is what will get us through a complete recovery.
On 8/31 Kevin had a follow-up with the NP at the surgeons office and was released into the care of his cardiologist
On 9/7 Kevin had an echo-cardiogram to determine if the amount of fluid around the heart and if it's a problem
On 9/8 Kevin had a follow-up with his cardiologist for the first time since his surgery on 8/16 which was a very interesting appointment. The fluid around the heart is minimal. Kevin's weight has dropped about 15 pounds since he's been home and the cardiologist told him to eat protein including steak, burgers, etc for the next 3 months then to go back to his heart healthy diet that's he's been on for more than18 months. The disappointing news is the the small lump at the bottom of the incision. The cardiologist suggest we visit the surgeon office about it.
Today, 9/9 we visited the surgeons office. After discussing the matter with 3 nurses at the surgeons office it sounds like Kevin with have to be re-admitted to the hospital for an outpatient surgery to possibly clip the pacemaker wire. They don't believe it's a sternum wire because it's too soft but it's very pointy and could puncture the skin and cause an infection so it needs to be corrected as soon as possible. On the way home I picked up a copy of his 8/31 chest x-ray to deliver to the surgeons office on Monday. This means Kevin will have to be off the warfarin for 5 days. This concerns us because the purpose of the warfarin is to keep the blood thin to prevent a heart attack or stroke.
Please keep Kevin in your prayers! Thank you all so much!
Every step counts! We live in a single family home and Kevin walked 6 houses in one direction and then the other. I don't recall him taking a break! I was completely surprised. The new pain mediation has made a marvelous difference.
He's a little down the evening; tired of being confined. We have one reclining chair that I have to recline for him and he's upset now that he can't do it on his own. His incision must heal more before he will be allowed to lift more than 10 pounds.
He's had an allergic reaction to a medication and the doctors stopped the one they thought was causing it but the rash persists so we're a bit puzzled as to which mediation is causing the rash ... there are so many medication still at this point :(
We have an appointment on Wed 9/7 for an echo and Thurs 9/8 we see the cardiologist who is regulating all of the medications. The home health nurse will come for the final visit on Tues 9/6 and then we will go to the cardiologist local office once a week to monitor the PT/INR's for the Coumadin/Warfarin. The blood thinners are necessary because of the Maze procedure on 8/16.
He dreads night time the most because he doesn't get much sleep. He still moves from recliner to recliner until he's comfortable to sleep for a bit until he's interrupt with the need to visit the bathroom; which he does several times a night.
He really is a very good patient! Things are going well but I would still like to ask that you keep Kevin in your prayers for a successful and complete recovery.
This is a most difficult situation for both of us and it's all of you that keep us going!
Thank you for your continued love and support! Linda
Our follow-up with the surgeon's office was Wednesday 8/31. Prior to the appointment Kevin needed a chest x-ray and they gave us a CD to take to the surgeon's office. The x-ray revealed fluid around the heart which apparently is not uncommon after valve replacement surgery. The body could absorb the fluid which is our hope of course. So we're going to be walking a bit more as Kevin can tolerate it.
If the fluid doesn't subside it will require an overnight surgery to be drained. Please pray for us that the fluid around Kevin's heart will be absorbed by his body and that we can avoid surgery.
He still have some swelling around his ankles/feet and walking will help to eliminate this as well.
Kevin's pain medication was changed and he's a much different person. I was he had been given this medication in the hospital but the point is we have it now, it's working and we both are finally able to get some much need sleep. He still is not sleeping through the night but I'm happy to get 4-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep!
I purchased a couple of bath brushes today because bathing him is physically straining for me.
He's still in pain and greatly bruised on his chest and arms. The surgeon's office told us some patients don't bruise or experience pain at all ... this is amazing to me!
We want to thank our helpers who continue to be available to us and they are Angela, Debbie, Dan and Donna. I don't know what we would have done without them.
Many sincere thanks for the cards that keep coming! They really cheer both of up and encourage us! We are so very thankful for each and everyone of you for supporting us in this life changing journey. We continue to thank and praise God for his constant Love, Devotion, Grace and Mercy!
Thanks to Kevins's Office for the Fruit Arrangement!!!
Journal posted on August 30, 2011
Monday 8/29 we were pleasantly surprised by the most beautiful fruit arrangement! It's absolutely delicious! It's exactly what we need and the delivery, one week after being home, could not have been more perfect! To everyone at Kevin's office, thank you all SO much!!!
We simply cannot thank you enough for your postings, card and continued love, support and prayers! It's all of you that are keeping us going!
Here are some of the highlights of Kevin's first week at home:
Have I mentioned previously that I'm exhausted? It's a lot of work having him at home and I'm too tired to update our journal. God has blessed up with help when I have to go to work or run errands but when I'm home, it's just the two of us.
He's first day home, he ordered a chair for the shower. He doesn't have the strength yet to stand in the shower. The incision has to be washed daily with Dove liquid soap and always with a clean towel; never a reused one. Before his surgery I scrubbed the washing machine with clorox to reduce germs. I've always got a load of laundry going.
Because he's on blood thinners; Warfarin being one, we don't want put him at risk of falling so I walk with him wherever he goes, yes even back and forth to the bathroom. He may not use any knifes, scissors or sharp objections while on Warfarin. This is a scary drug but temporarily necessary because of the Maze procedure.
I try to keep fresh fruits, vegetables and home cooked meals for Kevin so preparation keeps me busy and I find it difficult to eat myself because I'm constantly doing things for him.
God has put us in this situation for a reason and I will happily do whatever needs to be done for Kevin to make a full recovery. He's a wonderful patience.
He walks outside in from of our house, usually once a day, 2 doors in one direction and then 2 doors in the other direction and back home. He walks at a good pace but takes a break for 15 seconds at least 2 times during his walk. He's making great progress!
Kevin's first check-up with the surgeon is this Wednesday 8/31PM and we must get a chest x-ray that morning on CD to bring to the surgeon's office. If I'm not confused, I believe our appointment with the cardiologist is Thursday 9/8. Then we have to also schedule an appointment with our family doctor as well.
Until next time ...
Neither one of us realized just how much work the first day home would be!!! From 7AM to 11PM I probably sat, accumulative all day, a total of 45 minutes. needless to say ... I AM EXHAUSTED!!! The truth is I wouldn't have it any other way ... Kevin is worth it!!!
The home health nurse, Eve, arrived at approximately 1:30PM; at 1:54PM we had a 5.8 earthquake. It started with a low rumble and was progressively stronger. I realized what it was as I sat facing Kevin and Eve as they were sitting on the couch. As I watched the cords of the blinds sway from side to side on the 3 windows behind the couch, Eve ever so calmly said, "we're having an earthquake" and the rumble picked up a bit and I thought the hYouse was going down and I immediately went to Kevin to give him a pillow for his chest and to protect him as best as I possibly could for whatever was about to happen.
Kevin is doing great and we have a lot of work to do to get him completely recovered. I keep telling him he's on loan to me from God and that he's worth it!
Checking out of the hospital is an overwhelming process! We were provided with a lot of documentation which is wonderful to have but when are we/I supposed to have time to read any of it ... yikes!
We left the hospital at 3PM and we arrived home at approximately 3:45PM. We were met at our home by our friend Dan. Kevin rode in the backseat with his heart pillow from Mending Hearts strapped to his chest with the seatbelt.
Dan stayed with Kevin while I went to the grocery store to fill 9 (YES 9!) prescriptions!!! I thought the pharmacist and her staff were going to flip so I asked if they had everything in stock or not and the pharmacist checked, said she could fill them in approximately 45 minutes. I took the time to grocery shop and when I finished shopping and before I checked out the prescriptions we're ready.
Day 7 Monday 8/22 Going Home Somtime After 1:30PM Today
Journal posted on August 22, 2011
ECHO Cardiogram was done this morning and 2 others nurses were working on him at the same time, one took his vitals and the PA cut the pacemaker wires (yes Kevin will have 4 thin wires left attached to his heart)... this place is crazy efficient! We probably won't get the results until after we leave here. It will tells us how well the replacement valve is working.
Highlights of our Day 6 Sunday 8/21:
- EKG results at 9AM were not adequate for release from the hospital
- INR level was not adequate for release from the hospital
- Kevin is back to eating at his usual pace
- Kevin had his first shower since before the morning of surgery
- Kevin walked 3 1/4 laps, every step immediately after surgery is progress, so no laughing about the 1/4 lap!!!
- I stayed overnight Saturday, we're both exhausted He's still in pain and he moves back and forth each night several times from bed to the cardiac chair
Being in the hospital doesn't allow one a chance to get much sleep so he's tired. For many months now, unrelated to his heart condition, his left shoulder and neck have bother him. Because he's not as mobile it bothers him more being in the hospital. He just took his meds and gone to bed for a 2 hour nap before lunch arrives.
He and I went on our own for a walk around the step-down unit. He has some build up of fluid in his lungs so he needs to walk more today, 3-5 more times, cough with his "Mending Hearts" pillow and continue to us his breathing apparatus.
A couple of Drs from the surgical team came in this morning and said they'll take another x-Ray today to help them determined if the 3 chest tubes can be removed today.
He is a great patient because he very cooperative with all of the medical staff. In my eyes he's truly amazing!
I'll update the journal again later today. In the meantime PLEASE PRAY that Kevin can do what is required of him to reduce or eliminate the fluid on his lungs.
In an effort to move a step closer to removing the chest tubes, the one closet to the lung was separated from the other two. If there's not much drainage from it, it will be removed, possibly later today!
Kevin ate half a bowl of oatmeal, all of a small dish of fruit, tea and grape juice.
The swelling of his face neck, arms and hands is completely gone today! His ankles and feet are very swollen and will reduce as he continues to walk more. He made a lap around the step-down unit this morning with only two breaks!
His mode/attitude is much better than yesterday!
Because he still has the chest tubes, he can take a shower yet but will get towlettes to clean up with later! His nurses are going to try and find a shower cap too!
Please pray that Kevin condition has progressed to qualify for the chest tubes being removed today. They cause him a GREAT deal of pain and discomfort! Once these tubes are removed and he can walk laps around the nurses station, all of his bodily functions work properly, the external pacemaker is removed, has a shower then they will consider letting him go home. He and the pacemaker got along much better yesterday.
The surgeon came in yesterday evening at 6:45 and he thinks Kevin looks great! He was also impressed that Kevin was able to take a short walk toward the nurses station and back. He' also able to rock himself ,1 2 3 times to a standing position with someone on each side as security. He may think he's being helped but he is not. He does it on his own!
He ordered a liquid dinner and he ate it all!
He received his heart shaped pillow for his chest from Mending Hearts yesterday! this is a big help to him. He has a small rectangles shaped pillow but the heart shaped is bigger.
His feet are swollen now. I'm taking him a robe, slippers, another set of eyeglasses and some facial cleaning clothes this morning.
God continues to bless us with His mercy and grace! We are so wonderfully blessed!
Barb O'Connor I would love for you to stop by the house after we're home, please have your husband ask his co-workers for my e-mail and cell phone number. The Seattle office has it for sure,
Kevin was moved to step-down from ICU this morning. Karla was his nurse in ICU this morning and she and I gave him a sponge bath and he had a shower cap which is warm and washes the hair without water! He loved it!
A large IV was removed from the right side of his neck and a new IV was inserted into his arm where he already has one IV.
As soon as I arrived this morning I could tell and he admits he is in pain and he's irritable.
He ate French toast & apples for breakfast by himself. He picked at a chicken salad sandwich. The food is bland and his taste buds are out of whack because of all the medications.
Everything that is happening is normal so that means he is doing great!
I arrived a little before visiting hours at 8AM to update our journal. Kevin was sleeping when I called at 6AM ... I was glad to hear it!
Because of the maze procedure to correct the A-Fib Kevin will be on blood thinners for 90 days which I understand is routine. I forgot to tell you in last nights update that he has a portable "pacemaker" and when it's adjusted Kevin's blood pressure drops and he becomes very nauseated. The PA adjusted it during lunch yesterday and Kevin became immediately ill.
I talked to him last night about 11PM and he sounded great!
He should be moved to step-down (out of ICU) this afternoon.
I gotta go now and see my man! Will update later tonight.
Kevin is doing well. His visitors at the hospital are very limited. He's just had, as he likes to say a "3 for 1". His aortic valve was replaced with a cow valve (he says "moo" a lot!), bypass and maze to hopefully correct the A-Fib. He is in constant pain, on a scale of 1-10 he's a five today. He has a good attitude and is handling everything very well. He'll need a week a home to get settled before he can have any visitors. If you want to send him a card his co-workers can get our PO Box address from the Seattle office and I will e-mail it to our Church Family. If you want to send flowers please re-consider a donation to the American Heart Association or to our Church. Please let me know if you want to make a donation to our Church.
Cell phones and iPad's are not allowed in ICU so I will update this journal in the evenings when I return home.
Kevin was nauseated last night and this morning so he was only allowed ice chips this morning. I fed him his liquid lunch and liquid dinner ... yikes I think he's getting used to it because he didn't want me to leave tonight. I left him with his eyeglasses and iPod so he was happy when I left.
Words can not express how much we appreciate your love, support and prayers, please keep it coming because we still have some challenges! Thank you all so much for everything you have done for us!!!
Telephone Conversation with Kevin at 11:07PM ... amazing!
Journal posted on August 16, 2011
I called the hospital to find out how Kevin is doing and he was able to have a telephone conversation with me! The breathing tube was removed only 10 minutes prior to me calling. He gave me the passcode to my iPad! It will be easier to update our journal with my iPad instead of the iPhone like I did today. Thank you Kevin! He asked me when I'd be back at the hospital and when I told him 8AM tomorrow, he said that's an long time but ok :) This telephone conversation made me so happy!!!
I will update you tomorrow morning.
Please know that we appreciate each and everyone of you for your love, support and prayers! We couldn't do it without you! Thank you all so much!
The surgeon came to the waiting room and while Kevin had an irregular heart beat during the surgery he is stable now! I should be able to see him in about an hour! I praise and thank God for all he has done for us!
I will let you know as soon as I see Kevin but I'll probably have to go home first and feed our diabectic dog, Jaz. I'll see what the medical staff recommends ... I may return return for a little while tonight. They told me earlier to go home each night and get a good night sleep so I can take care of him when he comes home.
I want to thank Angela for staying with me all day today! She never left my side! I also want to thank Pastor, Dan, Donna and Debbie who came to the hospital today. You have all been a blessing to us!!!!
The nurse called me at 5:50PM to let me know the major part of the surgery is complete and it went well! He is off of the heart and lung bypass machine!!! They said he did great!!! The Surgeon will meet with me hopefully in 20 minutes or so (by 7PM) when I'll learn more details/specifics. I'll update our journal as soon as I know more.
Please keep praying for us, the doctors and the medical team.
Yesterday morning we went to the hospital for our pre-op. The EKG showed irregular heart rhythm; A-Fib. We were completely shocked! Our Cardiologist and Surgeon decided to proceed with the surgery and now 3 procedures will occur, the aortic valve replacement, one bypass and to correct the A-Fib.
After the appointment I had to work and Kevin went home. We didn't really have time to talk about it but we were both shaken.
When I got home from work Kevin was depressed almost without hope and would not talk to me. I wanted to take him out to dinner and he just wanted to "go for a drive" ... by himself ... in freakin' rush hour .... right! I told him in his condition that he could not drive anywhere by himself and that if he want to go for a drive that I would be his driver. We were both stressed, tired and hungry. I wanted us both to have a nice dinner out but at this point I wasn't sure where our evening was headed or what to expect. I told Kevin not to do this to me, us the night before his surgery. We got in the car and I drove to a shopping center nearby our house. Instead of going to our usual spot, Bonefish, we walked around the shopping center to investigate a couple of restaurants we had not been to previously. We ended up at a Wine Bistro where we enjoyed a fabulous dinner and time alone together. We couldn't be gone too long because we had to get back to feed our diabetic Jack Russell Terrier, Jaz. During our drive back home, our Pastor called. He returned from his vacation earlier in the day than he had anticipated and offered to stop by for a few minutes. Given the state of mind Kevin was in when I arrived home from work I thought this was a perfect idea, Kevin agreed and wala ... within a few minutes our Pastor was on our doorstep! Everything just fell into place, we ended up having a lovely evening. All of the message you posted, text and phone calls were greatly appreciated!
We were instructed to call the hospital at 7AM this morning and we are scheduled to arrive at 9:30AM and surgery is tentatively scheduled for 11AM this morning. Our surgeon is in surgery right now so it depends on when this one his completed as to the time he will begin Kevin's surgery.
We are Christian's and we believe in God and the power of pray. Please continue to pray for Kevin, his doctor and the entire medical team. Please pray the A-Fib can surgically be corrected and will not be a long term problem for Kevin.
Your continue love and support are GREATLY APPRECIATED! I will be sure to read your postings to Kevin when he awakes.
I will update this journal today and the situation progresses.
On Saturday we ran a few of the usual weekend errands. We can't remember the last time we went out to the movies ... at noon on Saturday we saw Cowboys and Aliens ... it was really good! After the movie we met Dan & Donna, our friends from Church, at a local restaurant. We always enjoy their company probably because we all laugh so much! It was so good for us to get out and to have pleasant things to think about and enjoy.
Today we spent the entire day cleaning our house. Kevin did what we could and had to take several breaks throughout the day. He's always a big help to me and I appreciate so much what he was able to do today. I of course did not finish but the place presentable for visitors who want to see Kevin during his recovery.
Tomorrow morning we have a pre-op appointment at the hospital where we will find out the time of his surgery on Tuesday morning. As we understand it, Kevin will be given a surgical soap to shower with the night before and the morning of surgery before he head to the hospital. We have to put clean sheets on our bed and he must have a clean bath towel each shower. I scrubbed my washing machine with clorox a couple of times the other day. This is all done to reduce germs, therefore infection. When you come to visit be prepared to was to wash your hands before visiting Kevin.
Ok, we get more nervous everyday. Please POST your encouraging words for Kevin so that he has them to read on Monday 8/15! Please continue to pray for Kevin, me, our surgeon and the entire surgical team!
Spur of the moment we joined several of Kevin's co-workers for dinner and it was a very enjoyable evening! It's just what we needed, to be with friends and to have many laughs!!!
Jon offered his beautiful wife Amy to mow our lawn weekly ... so we're canceling our lawn service! Thank you Jon and Amy! But Tex wants to mow our lawn too so we'll let Amy and Tex figure it out. All we know is that our lawn needs to be mowed once a week guys!
A wonderful evening out with this great group of friends was just what we needed!!!
Today is the first of 5 days of meds before surgery on Tuesday 8/16 for Kevin. Everyday is another day our minds are pre-occupied with the thoughts of that early morning that we'll have to drive to the hospital for the surgery. If my memory serves me correctly, I beleive today is the last day Kevin plans to work in the office until after his surgery.
Please pray for us that we'll continue to be strong in our faith and for each other. Kevin needs all of you and your prayers as well!
We are so thankful to Adam Pick for the journal abiltiy which allows us to keep in touch with our family, friends and co-workers avoiding lots of phone calls. Thank you Adam!
Kevin and I took a short road trip today to visit his family; specifically his Grandmother. It all went well despite the somewhat rainy day. Now that we're back home I can't help but think of all of the things I need to do around the house in preparation of Kevin's return home after the surgery ... so that I can focus his full recovery. Your prayers are appreciated as we are another day closer to surgery!
Surgery is just around the corner for us and we need your support. We will use this journal to keep our family, co-workers and friends informed of Kevin's progress. I hope you can imagine there will not be time for phone calls; we will be busy! For those of you who need to reach me, you most likely already have my personal e-mail address. Please keep us in your prayers!