Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Surgery Update

It has been a long week so far and it’s only Tuesday. I feel horrible and been sleeping and sick since I came home from the hospital. I got up to write this since so many people have emailed or called for status.

We got up at the ungodly hour of 5:00 a.m. on Monday and jetted off to the hospital. Arrived at six for check in and they put me in the bed. The night shift nurse came in and told me that they were going to put an IV in. I stated and those that know me will know exactly how I can state something that I wanted an experience nurse to put in my IV. She said they were all experienced and I told her about last item that the nurses had botched the IV so bad that my arms were bloody messes. I asked for the person who was good at doing that….a short, older man but I could not remember his name but he was a specialist. She did know of such a person but I was adamant that I wanted a nurse that had lots of experience and not a new hires like last time and I was not going to be a guinea pig. Just then, the specialist stuck his head in and I pointed to him and said I want him to do my IV. Turns out, he was not a specialist but a nurse although I told him he was a specialist. His name was Sudkev or something like that. Quick as a wink, he got the IV in and it did not hurt.

The operation was set for 8:00 a.m. and could be 2-4 or so hours, as it would depend on the complexity. I sent Getty home as there was no reason for him to hang around for hours and he gave the nurse his cell to call him after the surgery. Dr. Kathy Davis was also at our place and would come and visit after the surgery before she went home. Kathy had arrived on Sunday and we worked dogs. It was good seeing her again and we talked about the days when our dogs were younger and how life has gone by so quickly.

Soon the nurse came by to wheel me down to the operating room. They had great music going when I arrived and the team was quite funny. We joked and laughed and I felt at ease. Dr Heywood arrived and we talked about the procedure. I would be awake during the procedure and could see the monitors and so forth. They put the catheters down my jugular vein and one on each side of my leg. Talk about pain….the neck pain was bad so I asked the nurse to turn up the drugs. I could feel a bad hurting pain in my right leg and is where they had to hold the leg vein down with tons of pressure. It really hurt. A lot!!

I was awake and keep asking them to turn up the pain med on my neck as it hurt so bad that I wanted to cry sometimes. Between that and the leg pressure pain, I was feeling bad. Apparently, I asked Dr Heywood if we were done and he had not even started. I guess I asked him a lot during the surgery if we were done. That will teach him that he should knock me out next time. I do remember the pain in the neck was hurting and asking the nurse many times to turn up the meds which she did and I would drift off and then wake up and ask her to do it again. I also asked about the leg pressure pain. Dr Heywood said I asked many questions, repeatedly since I could not remember the answer from two minutes ago. I am glad they were patient. The team, I will have to say, was very efficient and good and made it go easier.

Finally, they were done and wheeled me back to the room. It was about four hours for the surgery and I was glad it was done. I bet they were glad too. It seemed like forever and the pain at sometimes was horrible. But it was successful and I hoped it would be the last of the surgeries.

Selma, the day nurse made sure I was comfortable and set up to relax. I remembered her from the pervious times that I was at Overlake and she is a good nurse. You are probably wondering why I went back to Overlake when the Open Heart surgery was a failure there and I vowed that I would never go back? Dr. Heywood came recommended by Dr Condon and he is a specialist at the Ablation surgeries.

I was pretty groggy for most of the afternoon and Kathy stopped by. She hung out for a bit, we chatted, and it was good to have her there. Having a dear friend like her there makes all the difference in the world and especially so when you are struggling. I am tired of the many surgeries, procedures, and test done to me. I am just plain worn out now. I have to keep a positive attitude or I can fall into a deep abyss of self-pity and not crawl out. Sometimes you feel life has dealt you a bad hand and it may but the way to beat the bad hand is to keep going and think it will all work out and it will get better. Having a good support of friends is key and that has helped. Having a good husband sand family is critical to success. I cannot imagine going through all of this without this support group.

In addition, you cannot forget Tess and Nan who have been by my side all during this. Many times last year when I would wake up in the middle of the night in pain and crying, they would be next to me, licking away the tears and putting a gentle paw on me as if to say “It’s ok, I am here”. In addition, it was ok then because you can see their compassion and caring in their actions. It is truly amazing how they seem to know.

Kathy had to leave to make the long drive down to Medford, OR where she lives. It is an eight-hour drive and since it was raining, it would be longer. I really appreciated that she stopped by and reassured me that all was going to be ok. She was hoping to see Dr. Heywood before she left but no such luck. Of course, about 2 minutes after she left, Dr Heywood appeared. Talk about timing.

You know, I can see why Dr. Condon recommended Dr Heywood. Not only he is a good Dr (and a former Ultimate player, which gives him five stars in my book) but also he actually cares about his patients and does not talk down to them. He called Getty to update him and that is good news in my book. He gave me a picture of my heart and explained all what was on the picture. I will post the picture tomorrow and you will be amazed. I am too tired and feeling horrible right now to do it.

The heart has four parts and the part they worked in is the upper right section called the right atrium. The electrical circuits were misfiring and sending wrong signals to the heart, which called flutter. That made my heart beat faster. Dr Heywood went into the heart via the neck and the tow leg veins and burned the circuits so it would not misfire. When one circuit would be burned then the circuit would look for another path. Therefore, he would have to stop that path.

Think of it like this. You have a fire and want to save the house that is in the path of the fire. One-fire shoots a section towards the house and you stop it by bring the grass in its path so it has nothing to feed on. Then the main fire shoots another section out and you stop it with a section of the grass you born down. Then you eventually burn a fire path in which the grass is all gone and then fire cannot advance anymore. You have stopped the fire from burning the house down and you have a burned roadway that you did it, the fire retreats and soon burn down. After all, it is done, then what remains is a burned path between the houses and the fire but the fire is dead. It cannot advance anymore because it has no path to feed on. That is basically what Dr Heywood did, eh would burn a section and the circuit would shoot out another path and he would burn that path until he had stopped the entire circuit progressing. As he would burn a section, he would watch to see what the circuit would do and when it would shoot another path, he would block it.

My heart would try to create a short circuit and Dr Heywood would disrupt it, watch, and repeat, as the circuit would try to short circuit a new area. All of this take time and that was why it took four hours. However, in the end, he got the short circuits all burned and the heart to beat normally. Yeah!!

My heart was beating about 60 beats a minutes so that was good. However, it would toss an extra beat in and it should have been beating off the sinus node but instead was beating from the bottom section. I hope that it would begin to beat off the sinus node. The sinus node is the pacemaker of the heart. I will discuss this with Dr Condon when I see him next. Dr Heywood said not to worry and all systems looked good.

Getty showed up alter to pick me up. My mom was at our house making dinner for us and I looked forward to it. Selma, the nurse brought me a chicken dinner so I picked at it, saving my main appetite for sushi. We checked out, my stomach was a little funny, and I thought it was due to the dinner that I had picked at. Nope, not so. On the way home, I started to feel bad and grabbed an empty bucket that Getty had in his truck and threw up. I threw up over a quart of stuff and I have no idea how I had that much in me as I hardly ate. Then we got home and mom had delicious sushi, pan seared scallops and more food waiting for me. All of my favorite food she spent hours preparing for me. I was feeling bad and managed to eat two pieces of scallops and sushi before I gave up. I was hurting really badly, my stomach hurt, my neck was n immense pain and I felt really, bad. I have not felt this horrible in a long time and I curled up on the couch.

The dogs greeted me when I got in and were very careful with me, sniffing me and licking any exposed part of my body. Tess jumped on the couch, curled next to me, put her paw on my back, and was very gentle and her worried eyes never left my face. One the floor, also staring at my face was Na and she would lick me every now and then. They were very concerned about me and were my caretakers, again.

Mom and Getty ate dinner while I curled up and slept off and on. I cannot believe how bad I felt from the surgery and he pain I was feeling. Interestingly enough, I did not feel any pain in the two leg incisions.

I slept on the couch so it would be easier to get up in the middle of the night if I needed and the Tess and Nan never left my side. I would wake up in pain and toss and turned and their faces would be next to mine.

Moring arrived and mom and I chatted, Getty got me some coffee and I was still feeling bad and add to the pain, a severe migraine. I took a sip of my coffee and then had to run to the bathroom and throw up again. This time I threw up some bright red blood and that concern me. I threw up quite a bite of stuff. Liquid but a bunch still. I felt horrible and started to cry. I lay back down again and Tess and Nan went into their nursing mode. Mom and Getty tried to help but all I wanted to do is sleep. Mom had to leave to go to a dentist appointment so she will be back tomorrow.

Getty called Dr Heywood and ended up talking to the nurse. Apparently, after another surgery, Getty remembered that I threw up. The medication is making me sick. I have a migraine headache, my stomach hurt, my neck hurts and I feel horrible. Gee, what a lovely day?

The nurse said by this evening I should feel better and I hope so. I hope I do not throw up again and my migraine goes away. I slept all day and just got up for a bit. I plan to go back to bed after I post this. I hope I have an appetite soon. I do not even feel hungry.

Anyways the bed calls and I still feel horrible so I am to snuggle with Tess and Nan and hope that I feel better tomorrow. At least the surgery was a success and now all I have to do is recover from this.


Anonymous said...

Hang in there, Diane, we're pulling for you!

--Claire and Nikk

Welsh shepherdess said...

Hey kid, this is the last of the surgeries and after that, crikey, you'll be dangerous again on the trial field. From the hills of Wales, we are sending you all our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

sheepkelpie said...

Pain like that will cause LOTS of problems. It galls me that you were in so much pain during the OP. The anesthesiologist's job is also to give pain relief. If you can NOT take the meds, don't- take something else. There is no reason on this planet to be in pain (other than momentary) during any procedure in this day and age. Having had experience with this sort of thing, I can tell you, they knock me out unless it's a minute or less. A little Versed (sp?) and or Ketamine works wonders. Next time I swear I am going to be by your side and kick butt should they try and allow that much pain again.

An English Shepherd said...

Sounds like you have been through a lot.

All the best you get well again soon.

Wizz :-)

Monique said...

Thinking of you. Let me know if I can help.