Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pulmonary Heart Valve Replacement : 2011 -6

My right forearm is raw from the veins out. They were flushed with saline on a regular basis during my hospital stay. I will type this posting as long as my brain or fore arms do not freeze up.

June 1, 2011, 5:15 am: Phil pulled up to the main entrance of the hospital. I got out and walked in. He took my car home to this week's body work.

I had done the 'night before shower' and the 'morning shower' using an anti-bacterial body wash. My allergy to chlor hex eliminated the hospital preferred method. I smelled of fresh mountain spring, when I normally go fragrance free. I was well fasted. Anything I could do to improve the outcome of the surgery was pursued.

I carried a canvas bag similar to those reusable totes used for groceries. It contained a toiletries bag, a Shutterfly book of our travels since June 2010, the information folder of what I would need to know when I could not think straight [such as the business cards of doctors I've seen], a copy of The Shack, and the prayer shawl, [well used during my brush up with cancer last Summer].

The elevator just inside the entrance took me to the third level 'same day surgery' area. I ended up in a hall behind a sign requesting I wait for the next available person. One of the people doing the admitting looked up and informed me she would be with me in a few minutes.

I felt like Daniel must have going into the lion's den. Things were closing in around me, and there was NO WAY I could stand in one spot for a few seconds, much less a few minutes. I backed up to one of the hallway walls and slid my butt down to the floor for the wait. I learned something new about hospitals. They do not like it when your butt touches the floor. And,(from the nurses I spoke with later in the week), there is a bunch of paperwork that is needed to be done when this happens. A chair was produced from somewhere. I stayed where I was because it was too much effort to get up to sit in a chair that did not look as comfortable as I was at that time.

Admissions was quick with a verification of who I was and the standard, "What is your birthdate?"

I was led to a patient waiting/transition room and given the clothes I would need to change into for surgery.

There was paperwork to fill out. There is one form that grants the hospital permission to dispose of tissue. I hand wrote in a request to see the original valve. It has tethered me for my entire life. I wanted to see what was so important about it. I cannot remember a time there not a shadow in the back of my mind weighing the pros and cons of an action relevant to how this valve would respond. I wanted to see the culprit!! I wanted to see how big it was... the reports gave it 3.8 cm diameter. Was that an inner or outer diameter? How long was it? What was the texture like? What color was it? I wanted to see it before it joined the scrap bin. I had no desire to take it home in a Mason jar.

My pastor showed up during the wait and provided comfort and company for a while. I sent him on his way. I needed time to finish rectifying my life to this point and what it would mean should I go to God leaving my remains to the cemetary in Northern Michigan where my husband's parents lie.

There is a man from my church who died this last Spring. He left our world for God's in a joyous dance, ever mindful of where others' were in their God quest.

My thoughts were: Where could I have grown more? I could not find one area. I chalked it up to my mind going a mile a minute with anticipation.

I began pacing the hall of the prep area. There was one other patient and no one seemed to care that I stay put. One wall of this area was glass. Bright sunlght streamed in and warmed my skin.

The next step was to go to a room for sugery prep. Here a line for IV was put in and I repeated my request to see the valve. A new nurse showed up and I repeated the request to see the valve. She told me it was not procedure. Maybe a picture would be possible.

I met the anethstesiologist for the first time. I understand why my surgeon chose him to be part of the operating team. He told me I would be taken to another prep room prior to surgery and he pointed to areas of my body where tubes - lines - portals - etc. would be put in. I understood he was describing where they were going to hook up the heart lung machine to my body, without him saying so outright.

The request for my heart valve viewing was requested and there was a quick conversation of my making the addition to the paperwork.

I was woken up ~ 5:30 pm. There is nothing in between.

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