Sunday, June 12, 2011
Pulmonary Heart Valve Replacement : 2011 - 9
Late Friday June 3, 2011: Room S9126:
This room had a view to the North blocked by the prayer garden one floor below.
The next morning I was able to observer the roof of the prayer garden. It had flora that was under 6" tall in the colors of an autumn hand knit sweater my sister gave to Cassie a few Christmases ago. Mostly dark greens with rusts and cranberries and bronzes blended into this beautiful carpet.
To the right of the roof top was downtown.
To the left was Miller Park.
I could make out a few of the century old buildings at Woods Memorial just West of Miller Park. I know it has been renamed for some politician, but this is the name I know it by.
Why is this relevant? The modern hospital building of this site is is where the real-estate agent from Ralph, Michigan had his heart valve done in March, 2011. Both a civilian and military hospital within view of each other doing the same remarkable work.
More important to me was a 4 story building to the East of Miller Park. I knew that just behind this industrial confectionery plant was Harnischfeger. This is where I knew Larry was spending his day.
I could see all 4 directions from some perch in the halls during my walks.
To the West was Alverno College. The tree line was too high to pick out West Allis Memorial Hospital.
To the South I could see the tower at the airport and on one occasion saw 8 planes take off. There was a tiny verticle line just to the East of the airport. I am convinced that was the smoke stack of where I work.
To the East is a local high school and a few blocks beyond is St. Francis Hospital. It is where both my babies were born. It is where I was treated for breast cancer last Summer.
The nursing care was now 1 nurse / 1 nursing assistant for up to 8 patients.
There is a sequence to remove the tubes inserted during surgery based on the results of lab work and healing and some other miracle.
I remember the two drainage tubes being removed sometime during this part of my stay. Again, no pain was felt. It was a sensation and a sloppy, slurpy sound. When it was over the tubes were flopping around on the towel placed to catch them. The only visual I can use to describe them is think thick sausage casings made of rubber.
Every so often throughout my stay an IV or line or whatever piece of equipment was removed, or normal activities were introduced. Then I was monitored for a bit to verify the results.
From the time of ICU my heart was monitored via some kind of holter device hooked up the the IV tree. This was converted to a battery pack that fit in the pocket of the hospital gown once I could walk on my own.
It was pretty cool when someone came inspecting because a lead had unstuck. Somewhere in Mission Control a scientist was monitoring every beat of my heart.
Saturday June 4, 2011:
This was a busy day.
Sometime this day the line in my left arm with the acordian pump on it completely failed. It was removed and until I left the hospital my blood sugar draws would be done the old fashioned way before and after each meal. It was not fun, but I did not miss that line in my arm.
My appetite was slowly returning. Phil sent his macaroni and cheese with cauliflower while I was still in ICU. He also sent homemade tapioca pudding. I picked at it as my appetite improved. After a couple days I sent it home. My appetite was not equal to the portions.
Somewhere between the surgery and Friday, meals were introduced. The hospital Larry's mom stayed as she declined had a macaroni and cheese in the cafeteria to cry over. St Francis hospital does a stunning oatmeal. This hospital food service had limited foods to enjoy. Their vegetarian bean soup was nice. Their fruit plate was fine. I do not know what they did with the cottage cheese that came with it. Their fresh vegetable plate tasted like something left on the buffet table too long. Then the food starting getting bad.
The nursing staff began paying attention to bowel sounds when I transfered to the 9th floor. I began to declined Hydrocondone for pain I did not have. They plyed me with various methods to get things moving. I did what I could by walking as much as possible. Sometime on Saturday success was met and I requested a package of Tucks.
X-rays had been taken where ever I was, so far. There was a request for a traditional x-ray. I was chaired and wheeled to the basement for standing front and side shots. Then, quickly returned to my room. The heart monitor I was set up with was good only for the 9th floor.
Lasix was kept a part of my reginma to reduce H2O and swelling. The catheter was kept in to allow me to rest instead of having to use the bathroom. There was one unintended consequense that blindsided me, by leaving the catheter in 4 plus days. I would later discover it was a spastic bladder. It presented itself to me gradually as vaginal orgasm.
Go ahead, smirk. Get it out of your system. Everyone does. It was no longer fun after the 3rd go 'round.
I was aware of the sensation while walking the halls with Larry. I sent him home by 9:00 on a Saturday night ---- anyone who has raised young children knows how this works with problems and access to medical care ---
I was able to time the spazms to five minute intervals. I thought this would pass.
The nurse came in somewhere after this and I explained what was going on and asked if there was something topical to use to numb the area. I later discovered there is a pill for just this problem.
She told me I could take a Vicoden. That was the only thing she had to offer me.
Problem solver that I am, I called my gyn's service requesting he return the call. It is now quarter to 10 and the telelphones are shut down to the rooms at 10:00 pm.
Just after 10: 00 I took the #%#$ Vicoden. Three hours later I took the second %@#! Vicoden. What a @%#$ sleeping pill.
Don't send nasty thoughts to the nurse. It was late on a Saturday night. I learned [commonly] the PAs stop work at ~ 4:30 pm then the on-call for problems goes directly to the surgeon covering the weekend. My gut tells me, if it's not heart related don't call.
Her body language was the same I saw on the CEO during an annual company wide report. The only choices available were not good choices. He had to retire people before they had planned, and laid off the balance to keep the company solvent. She was working with the only option she had, and her body language told me she hated it.
So, you're thinking, "What's so bad about a few more Vocodin?" They are a codein based drug. Codein wil bind up the bowels everyone worked so hard to get moving. It also impedes my thought process. I do not like that fuzzy feeling. Both would delay my release from the hospital.
Sunday June 5, 2011:
Every time the nurses shifted I repeated my night before. At this time I still did not know what the medical description was. I knew it would end with the removal of the cathetor.
The reason the cathetor was still in place was because I was getting lasix from time to time. They did not want me to have to get up to go to the bathroom. By this time I was capable of self directed movement.
One of the heart rhythm doctors showed up during the morning. I explained to him that I wanted the catheter removed and why. He made it happen. Things quickly returned to normal.
There was a visit from the pastor and his wife along with a prayer shawl she had made. Then a couple from church showed up to visit for a while. He had been on the same floor a few days before I arrived for a stent insertion. I discovered another church member was at Froedert and was next on their route.
I did a lot of crying on Sunday. Sleep deprived. Codein detoxing. Too active for my angry heart. I cried when no one was around.
In the early afternoon was another lasix treatment. It did what it should and I was thrilled to use the bathroom.
Just as the sun began to go down a sister showed up with a potted plant I was instructed to put it in my garden once I returned home. (Cassie planted it yesterday)
Supper had been put on the table in front of me. It was something I did not remember ordering. I looked like meatloaf and mashed potatoes with gravy and baby carrots. It did not have any flavor. Like... hello... have you not heard of Penzys?
I went into meltdown. My sister asked what was wrong. I told her the food was icky. She laughed.
Then I explained about the night before. While she was wiping the tears of laughter from her eye Larry showed up with a Burger King burger. Their burgers give me the runs. Considering what I was going though, I ate all but one bite of it. Then I began telling Larry what I went through the night before. With my glasses off I saw his smirk. And, my sister began rolling all over my bed again.
My notes also list a 'central line' was removed' on Sunday.
Monday June 6, 2011:
This was a whole new day.
I left a message with the company nurse to touch base with my reality.
The wires left in should I need to be hooked up with a pacemaker were removed.
I called the insurance company to verify coverage for VNA and cardiac rehab after I met the cardiac rehab guy.
A new 'line' was put in my arm should it be needed. It wasn't. And the heart monitor system remained. All the other tubes and wires and devices attacted to by body with stickup were gone.
I was well rested and let everyone know if the day continued on as it was I would be ready to leave on Tuesday.
My body was functioning on a near normal level, with the exception of my heart. This was where all the attention is now needed to allow for healing.
I made a phone call to my Gyn's office requesting clarification of my Saturday night experience. Gail told me it sounded like a 'spastic bladder' and there is a pill to make it stop.
WOW!! The difference making it past the weekend has on problems.
[My inquries led me to discover that only the admitting physician or his/her substitute can determine medical treatment while in the hospital. So... had the surgeon been contacted on Saturday night and followed through with my gyn (Wheaton Fransician) or an Aurora gyn this could have been taken care of Saturday. My gyn cannot treat me for gynecological problems without being invited by the surgeon.
This makes sense to keep all care central.]
I talked with my surgeons PA about my Saturday night. She came up with 'spastic bladder'.
She sent in the head nurse on the floor to talk with. Her assesment was, 'spastic bladder'.
Before I was released I spoke with my cardiologist's PA. Her assesment.... drum roll please........ 'spastic bladder'.
I was assured by the head nurse that this was a training issue and would not repeat. More than enough said on this topic.
Tuesday June 7, 2011:
Cassie arrived ~ 8:00 with over easy eggs on whole wheat toast and 4 cups of cut up fresh fruit. I cried. The eggs were still warm. The fruit had flavor.
She came back ~ 3:30 to take me home. Then, she filled my prescriptions.. except the Vicoden.
This is the end of my hospital experience.