Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sweetness at Swedish

Today I spent most of the day at Swedish Hospital. The traffic was good and I got there in record time. I drove into the parking garage and snagged a prime spot near the elevators. These two indications were great and I hope the rest of the day would be just a good.

For the folks new to the blog here is a link. below. I had an Atrial Septal defect (Hole between the right and left atrium). It was first discovered in May and n July I had my first two surgeries at Overlake. Those two Major Open Heart surgeries failed and so then we went to Swedish and Dr. Mark Reisman.

In Nov 14th, I went in for the Clam Shell Operation. Here is the link

The actual surgery and here is the link

I went in for my one month follow up. I can’t believe it has been a month already. Times sure flies. It has been five months since my first two surgeries. It seems like all that I have been doing the last five months is having more surgeries, test procedures, more tests, lots of Doctor appointments, sleep, taking drug, trying to heal and trying to get back in shape. If the first surgeries had worked and not failed, then I would have been back in the saddle sooner. Oh well….

So first appointment today was with the folks who did a couple of tests. One was an ultrasound that looked at the blood flow in the heart. It also looked at the size of the heart. The second test was the Transcranial Doppler Bubble Test (or TCD) is a noninvasive ultrasound, which permits assessment of the intra cranial cerebral (brain) circulation. They put an IV in my arm and for some reason it really hurt badly today. Normally the IV doesn’t hurt but this one hurt the entire time it was in me. I had to rub the arm above it to relieve the pain.

The ultrasound (echo) test is where they put electrodes on your chest area and check various locations. It uses sound waves to produce images of your heart. They took a bunch of images for Dr. Reisman to review.

The TCD test was new to me. They put a halo on your head and make it tight. There are two electrodes on each side of your head.

For both setups, they took separate readings. Then they started to do the “bubble test”

They had a syringe with saline and air and quickly agitated it and made micro bubbles and then injected into me. The TCD monitored the blood flow in the head after the micro bubbles were injected into my vein. . The Echo test also monitors the micro bubble activity in my heart. One test was to see if the blood flows from one side of the atrium to the other side. One was when I was at rest and the other was when I blew out air that I had held for 10 seconds.

Since they were not Doctors they could not give me official readings but they did say I was doing well, so after this I had a time for lunch so I darted down to the café in the hospital.

The food was good in fact. It was far better than Overlake café food. I had Greek chicken with couscous. The meat fell off the chicken and the couscous was very tasty. I ate it all up and then had a decaf breve.

At 1:00, I went up for my appointment with Dr. Reisman. Susie, who works with Dr. Reisman, came in and chatted with me. She noted my progress. She is very nice and a quick wit and makes you feel at ease. I really like her as she is a good person.

Dr. Reisman came bouncing in and I mean bouncing in. He is quite the energetic guy and funny. He does love to tease so we had a friendly banter going on for a bit. I told him that he should give a pay raise to Susie.

Ok, the real meat of the appointment was when I was at rest; no bubble flowed through the right to left atrium which means the seal is working. In fact, it was better than they thought it would be. When I did the holding and blowing part of the test, there was some leakage from one side to the other but it was within the range for someone at my time frame and condition. I still have arrhythmia and the block.

I have had three low level migraines since the surgery, They were not the ones that lay you flat on our back with the feeling of your head wanting to explode. It was at the base on the left side, I was able to massage it and put heat pads on it to help it. It did not warrant a migraine pill. I am hoping that the surgery will have the migraines go away. It is somehow tied all together, we just don't know how yet.

In addition, my asthma has not been kicking up and I can take full, deep breathes of air. I quit taking the singular after the last surgery and the Advair about a month before the surgery. My lungs do not feel stiff, sore or slow or even congested. Even when I walk to the barn and work dogs, I am not winded and gasping for air. I maybe tired due to the lack of exercise but the breathing part is doing fine. In fact, at the last sheepdog trial, I was able to blow my whistles loud and hard. The dogs ignored me anyways!! ;-)

But the good news is the clam shell is working. It is doing its job as it was intended to, it has not FAILED. I am so excited that it is working. My color has returned and I am up to 124 lbs now and gaining. I am not as tired and my hands and feet are warm. Before they were icy cold. My incision is still very sore and I am to take it easy on it. It is still healing. He took me off the Plavix.

Dr. Reisman let me take a peek at the test and I was bale to see the clam shell and bubbles. The clam shell is quite thick and looks solid. It’s a far cry of when I last looked at my tests and saw no wall.

Wow, such great news. Finally, I am on the road to recovery. My next appointment will be in five months and then again in a year. Usually, by the year, the heart tissue will grow over the clam shell and they should be no leakage. Right now, I am feeling so much better. It’s nice to feel human again after so many months of pain and suffering and not getting better.

Tomorrow I go to Dr Condon for my Protime tests. Once they get the rating between 2.0 and 3.0 and it holds steady for three weeks, then I get the Cardio Inversion (Shock) to reset my heart for the arrhythmia. I went to Dr. Condon on Wednesday and my rating was 1.8. It needs to be higher. They put me on a higher dosage of the blood thinner. So if all things go correctly, it will be in three weeks. Then he has to figure out about the pacemaker or not. I am not going to worry about that until January. Now, I just need to get better and build up my stamina.

It’s time for healing now. It’s a tunnel that I see the light at the end of and it’s a nice bright light. See ya all there soon at the end of the tunnel!!

1 comment:

Darci said...

Im so happy for you and your family. Its been a long haul for all of you I would suppose. Great newz