Thursday, July 24, 2008

Surgery Update

Hi y’all,

I am home and glad to be here. It was a tough week at the hospital.

I went in Wed and at 2/3:00 they had prepped me and then they opened me up (open heart and not via the leg vein) and cut a patch from the lining of my heart. They sewed it between the two upper right and left atrium. The hole was so large they couldn’t have a upper wall to attach so they attached it to the top part of the heart. The closed me up and were checking the vital and they saw there was a problem with one of my major veins so they told Jeff that I had to be rushed in and they opened me up again, EXCPET this time they open the entire chest area (with a bone saw) and then found the problem.

When they had stitched in the patch they went over a vein they and had looped that patch over it. So they had to remove and re-stitch me. When they went in they had no idea what was wrong and Jeff was upset…..he heard they had problems and that was not good news.


I was on the bypass machine for 8 hours and normally it should have only been three hours. Plus I was bleeding and they had to fix that.

I don’t remember hardly anything except the nurses refilling me with plasm/platelets? A lot in fact .

Kathy Davis, a DR friend of mine came up and stayed with us…she talked to Jeff and got him less worried, She also called the hospital trying to find out what was wrong. She couldn’t find out until after the surgery.

Kathy spent most of the week in the room with me, making sure I was ok, working with me to do the exercises and eating and great support. It really means a lot when someone is in the room with you. She was able to take the Doctor’s Speech and translate to laymen’s words for me, my mom, Jeff, brother Nelson and other folks.

Each day was really rough as I have never been is so much pain. You are very helpless and can’t use your arms….try getting off the couch, bed or anywhere without using your arms. You can not use them to push, pull or hold yourself steady.

I was not healing as fast as they wanted, I threw up 3 meals and had no appetite and felt weak and didn’t care.

I had a air-puffer in which you blow air into and my goal was 1200 and I could barely do 750, no matter how hard I tried.

On Monday, they did a chest x-ray and saw there was fluid in the lungs. They waited until after breakfast and I threw that up, for me to settle down. They did a ultra sound and saw there was fluid in my lungs. It was in the part that does not drain but just builds up.

So they had to do a lung tap….there is some fancy name but what it is that they stick two tubes in your back, one to each lung. They drained 1200 cc of blood from the right lung and 800cc from the other. It hurt like hell and I wept and Kathy held me for support. I had to wait until it was drained before they took the tubes out and it hurt so bad. Then after they pulled the tubes out, my lungs hurts since it was trying to expand. Jeff had not gotten there yet and it was a good thing as it would have freaked him out. Jeff and my mom arrived later when I felt human.

I know a few of you folks came to see me but I was so drugged up that I hardly remember seeing you. I know on a couple of your folks I just fell ASLEEP in the middle of our conversation!! Don’t take offense. And thanks for the cards and flowers….they sure brighten my room

Mom, Nelson, Jeff, Kathy and Kumiko (mom’s best friend) were pretty much there the entire time. It helps when one wakes up and sees friendly faces. I know Jeff had to limit people on visits as I was very ill and weak. (A lot of it had to do with the 2 liters of blood in my lungs.

So that afternoon on Monday, we decided one more day in the hospital to make sure there were no more nausea and lung issues.

I got the green light on Tuesday and we finally arrived home. The walk from the upper driveway to the couch wiped me out. My mom made a huge spread of food and Jeff, Chuck (herding friend), Nelson, mom and I had dinner….well, I had 2 bites of beef and ½ bowl of soup and then had to go to lie down as I was feeling bad. So they had dinner without me but I heard how tasty it was. Nelson apparently chatted with me and I don’t remember a single word he said. He is a really cool brother and I blessed to have him. I got the best mom in the world….she is staying here and cooking home made Japanese meals for me each day. I can eat her food and trying to make up for lost food time. The food in the hospital was dry, overcooked or quite good. I ate lots of sorbets and fruit pieces. I know they try really hard to make a good meal but being able to have sugar or salt sure narrows your food choices. I know when I got out of surgery I looked like the Pillsbury Dough boy, I had 2 or 3 chins, round face, huge fingers….and had gained over 27 lbs…all water weight which I am trying to lose now.

Each day I have been getting better and better but it will be 8 weeks before I can semi function as a human again. But it is better than being dead!!

I still have a lotta pain in the chest area where the tube was for drainage and the front incision. This is going to take awhile so I can not lift more that 5 lbs or use my arms above my shoulders or below waist.

Tess has been missing me….when I was in the hospital she just moped and refused to get out of her bed. When Kathy shows up, Tess will leap all over and act out of control. However, when Kathy went upstairs to see Tess, she gave a weak wag and didn’t move at all. Then she knew Tess was missing me. Tess barely acknowledged Jeff too. Nana was nervous and trying to figure out what as going on.

Tess was very happy to see me when I came through the door…you would think she would bounce all over me but she stuck to my side and was very serious. She would crawl up on the couch and cuddle and kiss me all the time. She knew that I was hurt and was very careful when she was next to me. Normally, she would flings toys in my lap for me to throw them but she laid next to me and kissed and cuddled me. Nana tried to get on the couch a few times but Tess snarled at her and so Nan only could visit when Tess not next to me.

Jeff has been a wonderful husband. He helps me up and down, sets the med out for me and takes care of the farm. He had a bunch of stuff dumped on him and has very well.

I have wonderful set of friends and you all know who you are. The road to recovery will be a long haul but with good friends like you the road is much smoother. My students and friends took dogs to help with the workload. Sue MacDonald has been keeping informed as well as others. I asked Jeff who called him so I could thank that person and his eyes glazed over…so if I did not acknowledge you, that is why. Tony from work (like my second father) has been keeping people informed and I love the *bit of honey* candy that I got from work. Kathy also kept people up to speed. As well as Monique and Audrey and so forth

I’ll post to the blog daily on what is happening. Each day, I am better and losing the water weight, eating lots more and more energy. But when I am tired, I just pass out to sleep. I am awake more of the day too. Be warned if the words don’t look right it is because I am on heavy pain meds all the time

I had some of the top surgeons who took care of me and the Nursing staff was a 10 plus scale. I don’t remember all of them but the few that stick to my mind are Vita (sp?) Cherise (sp?), and Christina. There was a super Nurse aide (?) named Mariana….she was born with a heart of gold. The staff was just awesome and made me feel like I was a human than a patient with a number. I was really fortune with the great Doctors and nursing staff….it made my stay lots nicer and they care. If you ever are at Overlake, I sure hope you get the great staff I did!!

I am fading now so going to sign off. If you want to come out to the farm, you are welcome anytime after 12:00

Thanks for caring
Diane

1 comment:

kristi said...

Hey you! What an ordeal! So glad to hear that you are on your way to recovery. I might have to "come bye" to partake in some of your mom's cooking. Can't have enough food from the homeland!

And next time I see you ... the Italian sodas are on me. Keep hugging that pillow, and I hope to see you soon!

Kristi