The day was long and yet it went by very quickly. Up at 4:30 a.m. and at the hospital by 6:00 for Mom’s “8:00” surgery. The surgery didn’t actually start until 10:35. I wish there was more honesty in health care. Up to this point, we have heard statements like “the doctor is NEVER late”, and “you will be prepped and ready to go by 7:00”. However, as soon as we got to the waiting room at 7:30ish, the receptionist and my new BFF, Mary, quickly told me “he NEVER starts on time” and “you are looking at 10:30-11:00 start”. Her candor and honesty was refreshing and appreciated… and she was pretty spot on all day! It pays to make friends with the right people, as she went out of her way to keep me informed and comfortable. (I even got to pick the channel in the waiting room!)
I am grateful for the friends and family who worked at the hospital that came to visit during the day. They were a nice diversion and the day went pretty quick. Dad and I did lunch in the cafeteria where I had a very unhealthy fried fish basket with French fries. Yes, I could have gone with the much healthier salad bar, but I just couldn’t do it. Sometimes stress warrants a little comfort food.
The surgery wrapped up around 3:15 and we met with the surgeon. Following are his updates:
- She has a big heart (well, we knew that!) 🙂 The best way to manage an enlarged heart is for her to continue her weight loss journey and to manage her blood pressure. (Her bp has been really good since losing some weight already.)
- The mitral valve was replaced with a pig valve due to a heavy calcium ring (and her age).
- The tricuspid valve only needed to be repaired (it had additionally been slightly damaged by the pace maker wire, interestingly enough).
- The aorta is slightly dilated, but nothing to worry about.
- The aortic valve looked good; no action there.
- He did not do the oblation, as he didn’t think it would help (for the a fib), but he did do a “cardioversion” (aka shock with the paddles) to get her heart back into a normal, healthy sinus rhythm. He did say the a fib will likely come back at some point, but the healthy rhythm, even in the short term, will help her recovery.
- There were no clots, and he did not need to remove the appendage thingy since that looked good.
We got to see her once she was settled in ICU and, while prepared for the worse, she actually looked pretty good. She was still heavily sedated, although they will work tonight to get her awake and moving a bit, so they can remove her breathing tube. I can’t imagine her being awake while that tube is still down her throat. I want to gag just thinking of it. The nurse said they do have a quick acting sedation if it becomes problematic during the removal process. Nurse Lisa hopes to have the tube removed by the end of her shift at 11:30.
If all goes well tonight, Mom will move to the telemetry floor tomorrow. There’s still a lot of work to be done but the hard part is over. I know I am personally quite relieved, but will feel better when I see her awake and alert.
I cannot thank all of you enough for your emails, texts, phone calls, and most especially, your prayers. It felt so good to know there were prayers being offered around the world on her behalf.
A Mighty Heart (2007) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0829459/