Well, just a short update. No pain to speak of, appetite coming back thanks to stopping metformin after many years of taking it. Dry mouth almost gone, feel a lot more like eating. Some days I have lots of energy, other days I just want to sleep. We went shopping at Sam's Club and Walmart yesterday---I was really glad they have those motorized baskets! I hopped on and off to pick up objects, but overall was glad I had somewhere to sit down when I needed to. Staying up more and more, but when I lie down it still feels wonderful. Next Monday will be the third week anniversary of my valve replacement.
Our 51st wedding anniversary is Sunday, and we're going to our favorite restaurant (Ruth's Chris) to commemorate the occasion. Happy New Year everyone! I love you all!
Well, it's been a couple days since I wrote. Progress has been steady. The worst part now is that my taste buds seem to be numb and nothing tastes very good to me. That, plus my lack of appetite anyway, is conspiring to make me lose more weight. I've been eating when I can and whatever I can that will stay down, but it's an uphill battle.
The incision is healing nicely. The pain is down quite a bit, and that's good because they took me off of pain meds in case they were what was making me nauseus and sick to my stomach. Things have settled down quite a bit here, and I am getting more support from my family than I had last week, and for that I am grateful. I am now on 200 mg of Amiodarane two times a day, plus Plavix and all of my other medicines that I was on before. No more A-fib since discharge from the ICU of the local hospital. I was able to eat a soft boiled egg just now and it tasted good, so things are looking up!
Today was a relatively good one. Did a lot of spirometer work, stayed out of bed as much as possible and got some good sleep for about two hours. Pain is down at the moment. Going to the cardiologist at the hospital for EKG and get his opinion on my condition. Mary came over in the afternoon and started making a good batch of Mom's chicken soup. That should be good!
Today is Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. I swear, the time just CRAWLS in the hospital! Today was spent waiting and waiting. They started wanting to do various scans and tests looking for bleeding, as my hemoglobin had dropped 2 points overnight. All the time in the ICU I was using the spirometer frequently, because I still have some residual fluid in my lung bases and it hurts to breathe and I've been told that can only help.
After noon, the new cardiologist came in my room and told me I had almost died on Monday. I guess I didn't realize the importance of watching for atrial fibrillation. He said that since I had converted to NSR (normal sinus rhythm) on my own and had not had it any more within 24 hours, he would let me go home, providing I come back Thursday for an EKG and checkup by the doctor. Needless to say, I am kind of fearful that I might do something to cause the A-fib again, but if I get it again I know what to do. Thanks to all of the hardworking nurses and phlebotomists who tried in vain to get blood out of my arms--you tried so hard not to hurt me and I appreciate that. Of course, they always eventually got the blood, no getting around that, but it was always agony doing it.
So today I'm home again and unfortunately am on several new medicines that are large and hard to swallow, and some of them have terrible side effects.
How's that for an update? Writing this journal helps me document what is going on day by day so I can refer to it later.
Haven't been on the computer or the journal lately.
Saturday was difficult and though I thought I was doing fine (and everybody else) I really wasn't. Using the spirometer religiously, but still moderately out of breath. Tried to eat some food later in the day and threw up 60 seconds after the first bite. Things went downhill from there. Soon my heart was BOUNDING and I was really out of breath! Checked the BP and that was only a little high, but the heart rate was 192. I was stupid and thought I could just ride it out, but that was a bad mistake. I called the contact person at the hospital and the doctor on call, who advised me to get an EKG and be checked by an EMT. Instead, I took a nap and didn't get them checked.I think mainly I just didn't want to drive all the way back up to St. V in Carmel in such pain and distress.
When I woke up I felt much better, so I dismissed the earlier symptoms of A-Fib.
Sunday, all I remember is that I watched the Colts lose and not much else.
Monday, Dec. 17, when I woke up I felt very shaky and extremely weak. I called the nearest hospital (HRH) and expplained my symptoms and was told to get to the ER immediately. I'm afraid my details on all of these dates and people I talked to are possibly not accurate, but the gist is that I had to spent all day Monday and Tuesday iin the ICU of Hendricks Regional Heath, five miles away from our house.
They said I was in atrial fibrillation, but since I had waited two days instead of going immediately or one day later, they couldn't do the eastier treatment. The put me on high doses of heparin and Coumadin, plus I was already on Plavix. My veins are ALL shot, and it was torture all night with them trying to start two IVs, and draw blood. Then all of the fluids I had been given possibly made my veins unable to be poked....I'm not sure how that works. They said my potassium and magnesium were very low and started me on IV and then pill form of both. They also started me on amiodarone to help restore the rhythm. Which it did. I started feeling better, but still did not feel like eating, nor did I eat much. But that's another story.
it's Sandy posting now--thanks to the family members who have been updating in my place since surgery. it has been horrible--wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. I am so uncomfortable. more later--too tired.
Yay!! The nurse took out catheter and drains and I was able to walk around the whole floor today! Lewis, Kelly, Mary, and Linda all came to visit today, but using the incentive spirometer and talking to everyone made me tired and out of breath.
Had some real food for lunch which tasted horrible. My family told me it was just that my taste buds weren't working right. Hopefully dinner will taste better.
If I continue improving like this and following directions about not using my arms to lift myself up, I'm looking at going home Friday or Saturday. (Posted a post op pic from yesterday on the photos page)
I am awake and most of the tubes have been removed. This afternoon I walked around the nurses station twice an have been up in a recliner. A small setback where there was approx. 600 ml. fluid that had to be drained from my pleural cavity. Breathing much easier now.
Lewis is staying with me tonight as moral support, but really don't want any visitors till tomorrow afternoon. I just want to sleep.
Thank you for all your love and support!
The surgeon told my family that the surgery was boring and routine, just like he likes them. I am the proud owner of a brand new pig valve. The valve used to open to the size of a dime to let blood flow through. Now, it opens to approximately the size of a half dollar! I should be feeling good enough to enter the mini-marathon next year. :)
I can get phone calls on my cell phone but I will be on a ventilator for at least 3-4 more hours. It will be a busy night with nurses coming in and out to get me up and check on me all night, and I will still be dopey from the anesthesia for a bit longer. Hopefully, I can take phone calls by Wednesday, but I will let you know. Thanks for all the love and support. I love you all
It is 11:30. Whew, what a day. The stressful day before, the sleepless restless night, the IV, the the heart lung machine, then the actual surgery...I am worn out. The surgeon is downstairs briefing the family on his performance and letting them know exactly what he did and what to expect.
Well folks, at 10:32 the new valve was in place and functioning well. Everything went as planned and I am feeling better already! Thank you so much for all your support. More updates as soon as the surgeon is finished sewing me up. As soon as the surgeon is done he will come out and tell Mary, Lewis and Kelly how I did and what to expect.
Woo Hoo! Can't wait to get this over with. Thank all of you for your concern and prayers. Somebody else will be posting for me until I'm back in operation, more or less. Don't know who yet, but I hope somebody will take over here.Today is a very busy day--I made a list of all the things I need to get done before I go to bed, and I'm staying up until they are done!
Keep praying for everybody involved in this operation (literally). God is faithful and I trust my life to Him. I love you all.
Today was supposed to be the day the surgeon, anesthesiologist and other people involved in my quest to receive a brand new aortic valve. Things did not go as expected. First of all, we were greeted by a nurse, who stated the surgeon was not there today, and neither was the anesthesiologist. That was a big disappointment. Then, the nurse informed me that I am no longer going to receive the Freedom Solo bovine (experimental) valve. They have stopped doing them until next Thursday, and my surgeon did not want me to wait any longer for my replacement valve, therefore they are just going to implant a pig valve instead. There were five of us in the little exam room, and it was not very comfortable to sit on the gurney. One by one all of the staff came by to educate us about what would be happening next Monday. It was interesting, and the time went by quickly. Got educated concerning the incentive spirometer, the heart pillow, what kinds of tubes and drains I will have when I wake up from anesthesia. The chaplain came in and talked to us. I really liked her! The PA who works with the surgeon in the OR came in last and answered all the questions anyone still had. I got the impression they are wanting me to walk and be as active as possible once the anesthesia wears off, so I plan to do as much walking as possible, until it is time to visit the podiatrist again for her usual "callus clipping".
They gave me the Bactroban & cotton swabs to sterilize my nose before surgery, one sleeping pill, to be taken the night before surgery, and the Hibiclens to sterilize my body before surgery. I think they want to keep me very busy to help the time go by faster :)
That's it for now...hope the surgeon is able to come to work Monday! I guess I'm the first patient of the week--I like that--he will be fresh and rested.
Until later....thank you all for your good wishes and encouragement. I'm having fun reading some of your journals.