Friday, June 10, 2011

Pulmonary Heart Valve Replacement : 2011 - 8

Wednesday, June 1, 2011, 5:30pm: ICU, 1 to two patients per nursing team.

I was woken up with 'Nannette, your husband and daughter are here.'

'Hi Mom.'

'We're going home now.'

It was audible and cherished.

Cassie told me when she saw me I was doing a one sided spaz with my arm and leg. That is not part of my memory.

Next I realized an ache in my shoulders and the inability to move them to a more comfortable location.

The next sensation was the breathing tube in place. The anesthesiologist told me I would wake up with it in place. It was terrifying and I panicked.

Again, the original voice, 'Nannette you have to calm down and breath'. I tried. Then I came to for round two.

'Nannette, don't panic. Breath. We cannot remove the tube until you can breath on your own.' Something to focus on. I am a problem solver. I can do this. Every brain cell and muscle I could muster was directed to intentional breathing to get that tube pulled.

I floated in an out of the anesthesia and heard, '60%'. Then someone said my assisted O2 was cut back. I kept doing whatever I could to breath on my own.

Every time I found reality I focused on breathing in and out. It was my mission. It was my singular goal in life.

Someone asked me if I was in pain. When I tried to respond I was told they could not understand me. Yep.... go figure. Must be some sort of test for brain activity. If I were dumb enough to answer, I was not smart enough to breath.

There was no pain except the deep ache in my shoulders from lying too long in one place. I was not hot or cold or tingles or... Just that ache and the tube down my throat.

Then, somewhere in the night between June first and June second the tube was pulled. My arms were unbound. My shoulders could rotate out the kinks.

I was asked to talk and no sound came out. Next try was a vibration. Each attempt was closer to a single word. Finally, I was able to ask for ice chips.

Their procedure is to grant small sips of H2O to swallow, but not inhale. Ice chips followed once this was accomplished.

I was so achy from lying in one position for so long.

My time in ICU was spent having almost constant lab work.

There was a portal in my left arm with an accordion box that would form a vacuum to bring a blood sugar sample to the line for collection. All open heart patients are treated for diabetes right after surgery. It is a very common post operative side affect that passes.

There was that original line in my right arm hooked up to multiple drips.

There were two wire leads directly to my heart should there be a need to shock it to correct a rhythm in my chest.

There were two drainage tubes for whatever they are needed.

Later I realized there was a line into my neck being used for other drips.

There was a catheter attached to a Foley bag.

There were no lines in my groin area, even though I saw a marking for a location.

I slept in short frames of time. When I was able to make out the time it seemed to be in less than one hour spurts.

Thursday, June 2nd included a visit from the surgeon, his PA, the anesthesiologist, my Pastor, Tina from Weight Watchers, Larry and Cassie, and I think my cardiologist was on site with his PA. Or was it the 3rd for him? Most of it images. I doubt that any was coherent.

I was retaining H2O so Lasix was put in my IV drip. The Foley bag immediately had a fountain. That stuff is very effective.

This Spiro-blah-blah-blah-ometer was introduced to me some time after the surgery. I was still in the breath in, breath out mode and some fool thought this would be fun to do.

Then I met Jamie in the middle of the night. Straight and to the point, no nonsense, these are the consequences that I needed to hear.

The Spiro-blah-blah-blah-ometer is used to force open the aereola (sp) within my lungs that were allowed to do whatever they wanted to do while I was on the heart lung machine. Should I not utilize this instrument it was entirely possible I would develope pneumonia and be put back on the breathing tube. Nuff said. I was converted.

There is a lot of mental over lap in a short time frame, so please excuse me if something is out of sequence.

Friday, June 3, 2011: The arrhythmia cardiologist introduced himself. He is the guy responsible for making the most of what the surgeon did.

My heart was NOT happy about the surgery and was in some kind of atrial fibulation. His goal was to guide it back to some sort of 'functional' as the heart healed. This is done via short term drug intervention. The goal is to be off the drugs in some factor of 4. I don't remember if it is 4 weeks or 4 months. I do know the side affects to my liver are not nice if used long term.

The back up to my surgeon for the weekend showed up. The rooms are designed with a corner window for the doctors - nurses to use for observation and the never ending documentation. I saw him looking my way and talking so, I stuck out my tounge and said. 'If your'e going to talk about me you should talk to me.' I have no idea how it came out. But he did introduce himself.

My pastor from my Summer church visited. He is looking forward to my healing sufficiently to attend his services. He also repeated that my husband's soft ball team should go easy on his church's team.

The most surprising visitor was my general practicioner. I knew she was being fed information as I went through the pre-op testing. It surprised me she was aware of my situation among the 10 (?) patients she sees per day. My visits to her are at most every other year for things like wart removal.

No complaint. I never made a connection between her inquiring mind and my heart.

There were x-rays taken while in bed. Things have changed since 1960 when all x-rays were flesh against a cold glass plate.

One thing not yet mentioned was crying. I just needed to clear something from within and did it with tears into the softness of the cotton blankets. It was a lot to take in physically and emotionally and socially in a short time frame. I would pull my knees up and cry for a few minutes. It calmed me to go on to the next challenge. I would do this alone.. most of the time. larry was gone. I was on my own with my thoughts and God. It purged emotions that needed purging.

Late on Friday I was moved to the 9th floor. I was up enough to be walking with the IV tree. The
arrhythmia was being treated. Room 7128 was reserved for someone who needed more attention than I did.

I think this was when the hospital chaplain showed up and introduced himself. A Baptist from Brazil. How cool is that. Yes, I can be that high maintenance.

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