Here we are 12 days post-op on the road to recovery. I've been home for 4 days. Went out last night for the first time. My wife and I ran an errand that took about an hour and we stopped at Dairy Queen on the way home. My lower back has been hurting from time to time since surgery and was a little sore after riding for that long. Other than lower back pain, I haven't had any pain.
Today, we joined the fitness center near our home. I walked on the track for 4 minutes, rested five minutes, then walked one more lap and got on the stationary bike. Still not bending, lifting, or stretching. Was able to peddle for about 15 minutes. Rested five minutes and walked one more lap.
I'm feeling pretty good about being able to do all that and plan to go back everyday for some slow, gradual exercise.
On Feb 1st I start a cardio rehab program at the Hendricks County Regional Hospital,Danville. This rehab will be three times a week for at least a month and maybe longer.
I have already contacted Divers Alert Network to begin the process of being released to scuba dive again.I do not expect that to happen before the first of April.That will be just in time for me to begin teaching my two grandson to dive this summer.
Thanks to everyone for all of your support
Dad is still continuing to do great. His platelets are getting back to within normal range and the excess fluids is coming off. Right now he's just waiting on a lab test result to come back, which can take a week to process. So we are thinking Wed - Thursday timeframe that he will be discharged.
Busy day ! Dad had many visitors throughout the day and he really enjoyed that. Towards gametime his grandsons (and I) stayed with him through the Colts game until abut 11pm. He surprised the staff that took care of him to pizza, they have been wonderful to him (and family) this week. His platelets are a little off kilter and he still has a little bit of fluid to get off, but other than that he is doing great. He's walking the halls, doing his breathing excercises and agravating the staff (ha, that's a hint he's feeling better). Continue thinking of him through this recovery time - he's doing great !!!!
Great News, Mike is ones step closer to coming home. He was moved to the step-down unit this evening around 9:00pm and he is feeling good. He is starting to feel a little discomfort now, which is to be expected, but his spirits are high.
Mike is joking around with all the nurses and Doctors and is actually trying to teach them a thing or two. He will ask them if they know what major disease that the Rotery International Orginization has just about wiped out by about 95%. So far everyone has been stumped. So without telling you the answer lets see who knows without looking up on the internet or other means lets hear your guesses, Mike has now got his phone for txt purpouses only, so he is reading everyones comments. I'm sure he will get a kick out of everyones answers. I will post the answer here on the day that Mike gets discharged.
Again, I thank everyone for their Prayers and support.
Mike had a really awesome day, they were able to remove his ventalater this morning and had him sitting in a chair. He has been up multiple times walking the corridors and antaganizing the nurses saying he was going to "escape" down to the cafeteria cause he was hungry. He was able to have lunch and dinner and them being a full diet which is really great. His breathing is very good and able to do his breathing exersises.
The Dr. came in while I was there and told us that Mike was one of his best behaved patients he's had in quite a while and he emphasized the best part saying hes had alot of trouble makers which was very funny to hear because if you know Mike, him and behaving under the stress dosent really mix.
Again I want to thank you all for your prayers and ask that you continually remember Mike and his family as we continue with his recovery.
Still great news to report. Mike is feeling much better after having the vent removed, he's actually able to talk now (Ohhhh GREAT !)... ha ha. He was able to sit in a chair for awhile and even went for a short walk. He had clears for lunch and will get a regular dinner tonight :) We are already making plans to have a Colts party there Saturday night with his grandkids.... so he's definately feeling better. Thanks for the messages on the guestbook, I'm sending them to Karen and she's reading them to him. More updates tomorrow ! Mindy
GREAT NEWS ! Mike had a decent night last night, this morning they were able to remove the ventilator successfully !! He's still not able to talk, very raw, so he's writing notes. He will be able to get ice chips soon, then clears for lunch and maybe a light supper tonight. They are going to get him up in a chair shortly for the first time, then the plan is to move him to a step-down unit within the ICU. His vitals are excellent and so far doing great ! I will post another update this afternoon sometime. Thanks for all the phone calls, very much appreciated. Thanks again - Mindy (Mike's daughter)
Good Afternoon All, Mike is fairly alert and responding to questions. We were hoping that he would get off the ventelator today. He did pass the breathing test, however his blood gases detected an imbalance between Ph and Co2 and the respiratory tech and Drs. Felt that it would be best to keep him on it for the next 12 hours to let nature take the course and see if his output will allow the extra Ph to leave his system.
Mike's daughter and Karen have been with him through the day and tonight his son in law is coming up. I (Steve) have been forwarding the updates from Mindy and Karen and Family to take some of the load off them. So I will be able to see Mike tonight for the first time and be able to include my thoughts on Mike also.
Praise the Lord that everything went great and continue to keep Mike in your prayers as he continues to heal and recruperate. Also keep us and the rest of the family in your prayers as they need all the support they can get. If you have the means to contact any one of us, your well wishes would be really appreciated and would also be great for us to relay to Mike any tidbits or remarks that you would like to let him know.
Good Morning Everyone, Mike had a great first night. He's Fully aware of his surroundings and is shaking his head for answers. His vitals are looking great also. Most likely, sometime this morning they will remove mike from the respirator.
Will update you all again sometime this afternoon. Again, we cant say enough how we appreciate everyones prayers and support.
First, I want to thank everyone for their prayers and support.
The OR Surgeon just spoke with the family, Mike was able to get a tissue valve, and they were able to repair the 2 aneurisms. The procedure went as well as they expected and the family will be able to see him in the next hour or so.
The next 24 hours will be crucial for them to monitor Mikes blood pressure, bleeding and the possibility of a stroke. We all know that Mike is in very capable hands.
Again Thanks for all your support and prayers for Mike and family and please continue to do so over the next several weeks. When I get more info I will be sure to pass it on to all of you.
O.K. The OR just came out to tell us that Mike is still stable and doing well however that Mike will be in surgery for several more hours. Again thanks for all the Prayers and please keep them coming. Prayers are also welcome for those of us at the hospital waiting for the news. Will Post again when we hear more. Thanks
We have recieved an update from the OR. Everything is going as they planned and Mike is stable and doing well. Thanks for those who have sent prayers and well wishes and please continue to keep Mike and his family in your daily prayers
Wanted to update you on Mike. He slept comfortably last night and was very relaxed this morning. We arrived at hospital around 5:30am, went back to get prepped in OR at 8:00am. Surgery officially started at 9:30am. Expected duration of surgery 6-8 hours. More updates coming soon.
At the hospital for 4 hours today getting pretesting done, blood work, chest x-ray. Met with anesthesiologist.
Leaving at 5am in the morning, surgery planned to start at 8am. My wife, daughter, and sister will be there with me. Hope to have a good report for everyone by tomorrow afternoon.
Waiting for surgery is a dismal experience. We are recognizing now that when Mike breaks out in a cold sweat, he is taxing his malfunctioning heart and needs to slow down. He is really starting to show signs of the boredom and frustration. 13 days to go. Mindy will be here with the kids on Sunday. That will be a welcome visit. Phone calls are also welcome. Give him a call! 317-664-0188 Thanks! Karen
Saw the surgeon Friday and got the news regarding the CT scan I had last Tuesday. All bad news. To make a long story short, I have two aneurysms that will need to be dealt with which makes the surgery more complicated and lengthy.
The surgery is now scheduled for Jan 4th. And, due to the complications involved, I will probably need a mechanical valve which means i will have to take blood thinners the rest of my life. Not real happy about either of these. Waiting is even more difficult than before knowing the complications. There is even a possibility i may need a coronary bypass since one of the aneurysms is at the root of the coronary arteries.
Shocked, but not worried. None of this will prevent me from working and diving after recovery. The risk factor is up from 1% to 10% but I'm feeling confident that all will go well and soon this will all be behind us.
Talked to the surgeon yesterday. Wow, what an overload of information. Fortunately, we had a good idea of our options and the general physiology of the heart before the meeting. That left time with the surgeon to talk about details. We were told that the valve disease is at a critical stage which translates into the size of the opening in the aortic valve. Normal, at this hospital, is 2 to 3 cm. Mine is .83 cm. Two Cardiologists and the surgeon agree that surgery needs to be done asap. The surgeon explained that the valve is calcified and actually looks like a stone. There is a risk during removal of the valve associated with the crumbling of the calcified area. The calcification falls apart into sand like material and all this matter must be carefully removed to prevent it from getting into the blood stream and causing a stroke.
We opted for the biological valve because of the bleeding risks associated with the need for lifetime use of blood thinners with the mechanical valve. Even though the bio valve will have to be replaced in approximately 15 years, the risk is much less because there will be no calcification to deal with at that time. Also, by that time, they may be able to replace the valve through a femoral artery approach which is a last ditch effort being used today on patients who are not candidates for surgery due to health issues and/or age.
He explained the minimally invasive surgery that is available. The major difference in traditional surgery and MIS for this procedure is that with MIS you have a 6 inch incision and only the top half of the breast bone needs to be separated as opposed to the 12 inch incision and the complete separation of the sternum in traditional surgery. This surgeon only uses the traditional surgery because of the risk factors involved with less space for performance. If we want to find a surgeon who will use the MIS procedure, for us it would mean a possible 3 month delay in having the surgery done. By choosing the traditional surgery we would be well into recovery in the time it would take us to use the MIS option. We have heard it said that MIS is less painful and a quicker recovery but getting it over with now sounds like an acceptable trade off so we chose to do it now.
My surgery will be done Dec. 15th, 2010. Before that I will have to have a CAT scan done due to a question about the enlargement of my ascending aortic artery. There is a possibility that part of it will have to be removed and replaced with a "pipe" in order to make a good fit for the valve. After the CAT we will meet with the surgeon again and firm up what will occur during surgery. And the usual blood work, x-rays and anesthesiologist consults associated with any surgery will be done as an out-patient so that means 3 more trips to the hospital before surgery.
I'm feeling very comfortable with my decision and knowing that 2 weeks from today I will be coming out of ICU with the worst behind me, God willing.
Can't wait for tomorrow to hopefully get some answers. We have searched the internet and have our list of questions. the biggest one being "Am I a candidate for minimally invasive surgery?" My daughter, Mindy, has put us in touch with surgeons at Jewish Hospital who are attempting laproscopic valve replacement procedures. We are expecting a call from them to set up a consultation.
Meanwhile, we will see the cardiologist at VA tomorrow for our first consult.
We called the Cardiologist and found out the appointment with the surgeon is Dec. 3, 2010. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I will drive to Ky to have it with our children and grandchildren. And we will continue to diet and wait, which is about all we can do these days.
We arrived at the hospital at 7am on this Monday morning. We were not really surprised when my daughter from Ky, 175 miles away, walked in right behind us. We are a close family and it goes without saying that we are there for each other.
We waited, me with an empty stomach in nothing but a hospital gown. We waited until about 11:30 for surgery to come get me and get me prepped.
This may sound like a simple procedure and it is certainly a routine one. However, my wife and I were a bit apprehensive over the procedure since my uncle died having it done just a couple of years ago. In other words, we REALLY wanted it behind us asap.
They moved me from the 4th floor to the 6th floor, prepped me and I was back in the waiting room with my wife and daughter for another hour.
They finally came for me and the procedure lasted about a half hour. The Cardiologist said my coronary arteries are clean and he wrote an order for a consult with the surgeon. The bandage could be removed in 24 hours. I could resume driving in 24 for hours. I was not to lift anything over 10 pounds for 7 days. I had to apply pressure to the cath site in my right groin when sitting or standing. I had a little bleeding under the skin at the site a few days after the procedure that formed a quarter sized black bruise. That was a reminder to be careful! So 7 lazy days take me through Thanksgiving. The low fat no sugar diet is working. The weight is starting to fall off.
Life is good. In 10 days my wife and I are heading to the Florida Keys in our motor home for 2 weeks of SCUBA diving. We plan a stop in KY, GA and FLA to visit family along the way.
Have a routine visit with a cardiologist today to read the results of an ECHO done last week. My primary physician wants to make sure I'm OK for diving. Had one last year and no problems at that time.
My wife and I show up at the appointment and, after the Dr. examines me for about 45 minutes, we get the shocking news. I need valve replacement and I must "take it easy" until it is done. In a matter of 5 minutes, our vacation was on hold, I have to lose 10 pounds,and I am facing heart surgery. Plus, I have never "taken it easy" and I'm not sure I know how.
The Dr. called the appointment desk to have heart cath set up for me. After we assured the Dr. we would do what we were told, we went home. Everything had changed but in a way we felt fortunate to have found out before we were 1500 miles a way and possibly 100 feet down in the ocean.