Sunday, August 19, 2012

Playing catch-up...

I haven't written lately, actually since my surgery, so I need to catch up. On August 8th, I had my surgery. I was terrified!!! They woke me up at 330am to take my sanitizing shower. I fell asleep until they came to get me at 515. My nerves were shot! They took me down on the bed, to a pre-op room. David, my stepdad and his wife, Connie, were there. I cried the whole ride down. Dr. Abercrombie, the anesthesiologist, came in to see if we had any questions, and we didn't. I remember them taking me into the OR, having me scoot from the bed I was on onto the OR table, and then Dr. A was softly talking to me. Then I was out. Before I went in, I told David to call the kids at 730 to tell them I love them. I also had told him that when I was in the PACU recovering, to talk to me and make me wake up, bc not waking up was what I was afraid of. Last year, my papa died during open heart surgery. I know that we had two different circumstances, but I was worried. He went into cardiac arrest twice during surgery and they couldn't finish the surgery. I was so worried. I don't remember much after surgery during my time in the PACU, but David told me. He said that I had this tube down my throat, and since I couldn't talk, I was gesturing to him. I was making my hand show a telephone, and he said I was asking if he called my babies. He said yes, that he did. I don't remember them taking the tube out of my throat, which is probably good. I am not a very good patient. I complain about every little pain or discomfort. When I was working on waking up, David was talking to me. He recorded me, and after coming home and seeing the video, I wanna kick him! I cannot accept responsibility bc I was still coming out of anesthesia, that's my disclaimer. I hope he doesn't show anyone. Anyway, I only had to stay in the PACU for one night. They said it was a good thing. Oh, but I remember the dang chest tubes. When I was 18 and had my back surgery, I had a chest tube. It was in my side. I thought that hurt when they pulled it out. No-pain came when the PA came in to remove the 2 I had in my chest. That was some major pain. By the time I left the PACU, they had taken away most of my IVs. I was taken back upstairs to a new room. They still had problems with my blood pressure. Some of the time, they had to skip my meds bc of my too-low bp. 

Dr. Hunter, my surgeon, told me that the surgery went really well. Before the surgery, he told David that it could take 6 hours before he could come out and tell him what happened. David got 2 phone calls during my surgery. The 1st was the let him know I'd gone on bypass, and the 2nd was to let him know I was off bypass. About the bypass...I wanted to know everything that they were going to do to me. And how...was I going to be on bypass? Yes. Would he take my heart out and repair it, or leave it in? Leave it in. Things like that is what I wanted to know. Oh, and the question they had for me...did I want to be resuscitated if needed? Um, yes! My blood work showed that my platelets counts and WBC counts were low still. I may need transfusions of both during surgery. Afterwards, I learned that no transfusions were needed! Yay!

I came home on August 13th. Longest day ever!!! And it was emotional, well, I was a wreck. I was worried about being at home, bc my nurses weren't going to be there. I was going home to my babies, which I was so happy about. That trumped everything else. But, there was a catch. I needed to wear a lifevest. They want to be extra cautious, and I am having to wear it for 3 months. Ok-in order to go home, there were things that needed to be accomplished. I had to sit up in a chair 3 times that day. Ok-easy-peasy, I did that after day 1, bc I had to change positions a lot. Also, I had to make sure that I could walk about 150 hearts. In the unit I was in, every 25 feet, there were heart stickers on the floor. I had to be able to walk those. I went 2-3 times a day. I wound up doing 220 just on the last day. So I had done my part. What were we waiting for? Well, for one, my insurance company didn't want to cover the cost of the lifevest. At this point, I was just ready to have them bill me for it, and just get home. But, the case manager worked it, and insurance agreed. Finally!!! The lifevest person would be in shortly to fit me for it. Shortly meant 4pm...ugh!!! She came in, fitted me, explained how to work it, and that took an hour. Basically, when I heard about this lifevest, I'm thinking Kevlar type vests. Or vests you use for a boat. But, what it is, is a lot of straps. There's a strap that forms a racer back pattern on my back, and straps like a backpack for my shoulders, and a strap that goes around me under my chest. On the racerback part and the left side, I have rectangular electrodes, and the rest of the straps consist of circular electrodes. If my machine beeps, I need to press these 2 buttons and read the screen to see why it's beeping. It could mean low battery, an electrode isn't touching my skin, etc. could also mean I'm in distress. So I press the buttons, I'm ok. If my heart stops or something, the machine will shock me. She told David that even if he sees this happening, to not touch me. Let it shock me, then get me to the hospital. It's kinda scary, but the doctors only want me to wear it as a precaution. They doubt I need it, but just in's aggravating, but it's ok. After the lifevest rep was in, I only had to wait on the IV team to come remove my PICC line. My nurse went over my discharge instructions, and that's all I was waiting for. 2 1/2 hours later, the IV team (ok, just one person) came in, and literally took 5 seconds to pull the PICC line, measure to make sure that it was the same size as what they'd put in, and that was it!

I got to leave the hospital at 8pm...David and I dropped off my prescriptions, and then I got to see my babies!!!! Best moment ever. I had missed them so much. Yes, we had FaceTime, but it was not the same. I was a happy mama!!

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