Most of the time I merely function as the editor of these posts but it falls on me to write today's entry as Mike is currently in a deep sleep from which he will be woken sometime late this afternoon.
Our morning began at 4am which isn't so bad if you actually go to bed at say, 8pm, but no, not us - we were snacking at Denny's at 10pm and finally off to sleep around 1am. We managed to hustle through the admissions process only to be slowed up on the Preop Treatment Unit. This is where they ask you to strip down, put on the fancy hospital gown and then wait, and wait, and wait.
A full hour passed before nurse Audrey was able to attend to us as she had so many other patients to check in. The usual drill - when did you last eat? do you have any allergies to medications? checking the wrist band with the chart so they don't mistake you for John Smith getting the appendectomy, that sort of stuff. Then it's Gina, the nurse practitioner going over the surgery and making sure there aren't any questions. Then we had Rene, the OR nurse, a nice young fellow who just happened to know where Saipan is - so you know what that means...photo op!!
Last, but certainly not least, the anesthesiologists, Drs. Brown and Walker, who weren't sure exactly where Saipan was BUT hey, they're giving you really good drugs so you don't feel any pain and better yet, remember absolutely nothing! For that alone, they deserve the photo op!
So at around 720am I kissed my husband goodbye and they wheeled him off to the OR.
Has anyone had to wait for hours while a loved one is in surgery? It's HARD, I mean really hard and BORING. If not for Starbucks in the cafeteria and WiFi in the waiting room, I would have gone insane. As it was, I managed to keep busy surfing and checking out funny blogs. At 9am, good old Rene called me from the OR to tell me Mike was on bypass (a machine pumps the blood to the rest of your body b/c it's kind of hard to cut into your heart and work on it when it's still pumping!) and the repair was about to start. At this point we did not know if repair would be possible or if the valve would have to be replaced but we were optimistic.
Just after 11am I got the call from OR to say they were closing him up and that the surgeon had been able to repair the valve. YAY - the best news ever! A few minutes later (the guy who holds your heart in his hands doesn't actually have to sew you back together too), the surgeon came down to give Mike's mom and I the full report. For a while he wasn't sure if he was going to be able to repair the valve but with a little bit of Gortex and some fancy sewing, he was successful and what Mike has now is his own fully-functioning tricuspid valve. Relief does not even come close to describing how I feel at this moment!
Now we try to get a little bit of rest and return to ICU later when nurse Jenny will try to wake Mike up and hopefully remove the intubation tube so he can breathe on his own.
The fun is only just beginning....stay tuned for more post-op tales from LA - hopefully in the words of Mike, not his ghost writer/wife.
Thanks to everyone for your good thoughts, prayers and positive vibes!