Saturday, November 15, 2008

It was a success and I am home!!

The surgery was a success. I am home and watching TV and eating BBQ chicken and mashed potatoes. It’s Saturday night and we are watching “Dr. Who”. Life is grand and I am happy.

The journey started early Friday morning when we left to go to Swedish Hospital. It was a cool morning and I walked the girls to the barn. Tess ran to the truck, her tail wagging and her happy smile as broad as the Grand Canyon. She danced with joy, thinking perhaps we were going to a trial since I had gotten up so early. Tess bounced off the truck and spun in circles around me and then when I went into the barn, a look of puzzlement appeared.

Her dance of joy disappeared when I opened the kennel and called her. Nan ran in and stood with a dejected face. Tess dropped her head, and put her tail between her legs and shuffled in. She stood at the gate, white rimmed eyes showing disappointment and a saddened state. As I left, I saw two very sad Border Collies, their muzzles shoved into the wire mesh and sad eyes.

The flood had receded so the roads were drivable. We checked in and then waited. Kathy came in her own car but took the scenic route and went to the other Swedish Hospital. When she arrived, she hung out with me at Pre-op and then Getty went to the waiting room. Dr. Reisman and brought a colleague, Dr. Jones. Dr. Jones is a pediatric interventional Cardiologist. Dr. Jones would be assisting Dr. Reisman.

I got to change into the ever lovely fashionable hospital gown and then the nurses got me ready for surgery. Kathy hung out and helped me when I had any questions and that helped ease my fears. Swedish was using my surgery as a case study. They had about 30 or so Doctors from all over the world who sat in a Viewing room and watched the televised operation on big screen TVs to learn how to use this specific device from my surgery.

The Operation room was very cold and my arms began to shiver. The nurse put towels on my arms and in a few minutes I was ready. They sedated me enough so they could ask me questions. As I drifted off, I asked the nurse to tell me when I woke up to let me know if it was successful or not.

My veins were very small so the Doctors had to use a smaller catheter. They threaded the tube to the heart and inflated the balloon. The balloon is on each side of the hole and they use the balloon to gauge the size of the hole.

Lucky for me, everything looked okay to proceed. The hole was 2.2 – 2.3 cm size. Once the Doctors had an ultrasound probe in the heart, they were able to see what happened to cause the hole to reappear. The center of the patch had died. Apparently, in some cases the tissue will die and I was one of them

When they woke me up in the Operation room, the first words that I heard was “it was a success”. I was so thrilled and it made my day. As I was wheeled up to my room, I was happy this long journey was over. I was pretty drugged up still.

Kathy and Getty showed up and we chatted. I know we talked about the State of the Union and How to Solve the Oil Crisis. Just kidding, we really didn’t do that!!

My mom, Kimiko and Nelson arrived and then the nurse hustled everyone out to do an EKG. Nelson bolted home and then Monique and Nancy arrived. Getty left to go home to feed the sheep before it got dark. We talked about dogs and training and I was worn out. When everyone left, I feel into a deep sleep. I was exhausted.

Dr. DoLack arrived and updated me on a couple of issues. There are two problems that still need to be dealt with. Neither are life threatening.

The first issue is Arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is when both atria are not beating rhythmically all the time. Sometimes they are in atrial flutter or atrial fibrillation. They do not beat normally but twitch instead sometimes. To try to fix this, they will do an electrical shock procedure (like I did last time when I was at Overlake). If that doesn’t work, they may do an ablation (burning of abnormal electrical conduction circuits)

The second is Third Degree Atrioventricular Block. A conduction problem called third degree atrioventricular block. When the signal from the atria (the two upper chambers of the heart) is contracting it didn't get conducted down to the ventricles properly (the two lower chambers of the heart). The ventricles SHOULD contract every time the atria do, but with this problem, they don’t always get the message. If this problem doesn’t correct itself (which is most likely won’t), they will probably do some more testing to see if I have any symptoms related to this problem. If I don’t, they will just leave things alone. If I do have symptoms, I will need a pacemaker.

I woke up in time for dinner and a good meal. The food has been great considering it is hospital food. I got tasty decaffeinated Vanilla Lattes and peach cobbler. For my main course, I had turkey and gravy and Caesar Salad.

I got to stroll the hallways several times and the nurses kept an eye on my vitals and made sure my incision was not leaking. The nursing staff was very friendly and helpful and was on top of things. When one of my heart monitors clips came undone, they rushed in to make sure I was ok. They also made sure that I had plenty of cranberry or orange juice. I really appreciated how hard they worked and their cheerful attitude.

I watched TV then feel asleep, knowing that I was on the road to recovery. It was a good feeling to fall sleep with!! The morning arrived too early with the nurse checking up on me at 6:30 a.m. For those of you that don’t know me very well, I am not a morning person. The morning rushed by quickly with EKG and an Ultrasound and then I was ready to head for home.

Kathy and Getty arrived and we bailed. We made a quick stop on the way home to Olson Mills Saddlery. I found a cool cell phone case and Getty got it for me. Kathy managed to find a helmet and Getty managed to find a chair to sit in when Kathy and I had fun in the store. Shopping at a Tack store is not on top of Getty’s "Must Do List." Lunch was at Wibbley’s Burgers and then off to get my prescriptions. Finally we arrived at home.

The day would not be complete unless we worked dogs. Kathy worked Jill and Jill was ecstatic to be working. Tess and Nan stood at the gate, awaiting their turn. I was not in condition to be working dogs in the field so I worked the dogs from outside the gate. Everyone was happy and we went into the house for our afternoon nap. By this time, I was wiped out.

A couple of hours nap help rejuvenated me and Getty made bbq chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and stir fried vegetables. Dessert was ice cream of course. A few episodes of CSI and Dr. Who ended the day on a good note.


Ben and Deborah said...

Great news Diane!

Darci said...

Most excellent Diane! Welcome home! So glad the surgery was a success!.

Janet said...

Great news, congratulations! You are one tough cookie. One who now knows much more about heart physiology than most engineers or sheepdog handlers!

Kathy said...

Woo Hoo. So glad to hear that the procedure was a success and that you are back home!!


Frank said...

I'm so happy that it was a great success Diane especially after Getty told me at Nationals what had happened! My heart has been with you and I look forawrd to hearing more about your return to health. If you all are ever down in the Bayarea come visit and stay with us on our little farm) or I get up to your neck of the woods I'd love to do a Biodynamic Craniosacral session on you.

Love, f*