Asheviller: Ron and Valerie Move to Asheville…

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Sat
31
Oct '09

Trick or Treat Day

Today was a trick. We got a call this morning from a real estate agent and scheduled a showing for between 2:00 and 3:00. It has been a few days since the last showing so the house needed a bit more tidying up than normal. Being that I’m on a “can’t lift more than ten pounds” limitation because of my angiogram, Valerie had to do most of the work. It took us about two hours to get everything looking good inside and out and we left the house at 12:30 to go the the Redmond Farmer’s Market (last day of the season), have lunch out, and run a few errands. We got back home at 3:30. There was no sign that an agent had been here. The lock box hadn’t been moved. No business card. No show. No notice. No cancellation. Just Trick or Treat. See my August 18th entry.

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Fri
30
Oct '09

Angiogram Take 2

Yesterday’s angiogram was uneventful. I checked in at 7:45am, was on the table at 10:30am, the actual procedure was over in less than 10 minutes, and I was discharged by 3:30pm. The news (I’m done labeling my heart test result news good or bad) is that my heart arteries are still clear. There was no damage done to them during my surgery. But, the other news is that my ejection fraction is only 28% when it should be greater than 50%, which it was prior to the surgery. Anything less than 35% signifies heart failure and has lots of risk associated with it. My heart (specifically the left ventricle) is simply not pumping out the volume of blood that it should. This can be due to lots of things — one possibility suggested by Dr. Maidan, my cardiologist, is that my heart was damaged during surgery because it was on bypass for so long or because the bypass was stopped and then restarted. But that’s just speculation. I’ve been reading everything I can find on the subject and found a couple studies that did show in some people a drop in ejection fraction after mitral valve surgery. That doesn’t mean that its okay, just that it’s a known possible issue. Valerie asked Dr. Maidan whether exercise would help, and he said, no, though it wouldn’t hurt as long as I could tolerate it. He also didn’t give any indication that the number was misleading and due to the test being done only three weeks after surgery or that the numbers would improve.  However, several of the nurses who cared for me during my angiogram dismissed the problem and said, “just give it time.”

This is serious enough that I need to get second opinion so this morning I called Dr. Hill’s office to see if I could get him to review my test results and offer me some education and advice. Dr. Hill is the cardiologist who saw me while I was in the hospital for surgery. He’s a really nice guy, down to earth, and I think more experienced with valve repair patients than my doctor and other cardiologists here in the Seattle area — just because they do more of them in Spokane. I left a message and his nurse is to call me back. I don’t know if I can just have my records sent and have a phone consult with him or if I’ll need to go to Spokane for an office visit. Doesn’t matter. I need to talk with him. More information is always good. For now I’ll just keep walking and exercising and taking vitamins and supplements to improve my heart health. Gotta keep my spirits up, too, which right now is difficult. Too many kicks to the gut recently.

So as not to make this post so negative I will say that having robotic surgery out of town and then going to a local hospital where it’s not performed, really makes you the “celebrity” patient. Every nurse and tech quizzed me about the surgery and my quick recovery. Some wanted to see my incisions. They were really impressed with my heart-lung bypass scar in my groin with one saying he didn’t know it could be done “down there.” The funny moment came when my nurse, Kevin, was filling out the admission paperwork and was asking about my surgery. He asked when I had it done and I said, “September 30.” His next, totally straight-faced, question was, “what year?” Guess I don’t look and act like someone who had valve surgery just four weeks ago.

Wed
28
Oct '09

#%^*&)!;”[\}]@*&%^ #@+|?>;%@# !!!!!

The good news is that my valve is fixed and my heart has already reduced in size, a lot, back towards normal.

The bad news is that my heart function (the actual pumping of blood) is now less than it was before the surgery. My heart muscle isn’t doing the job that it should. This could be due to an artery being damaged during the surgery, the heart being stressed/damaged from being on bypass for 4 hours, or who knows what?

So, tomorrow at 7:45, I go back in for another angiogram to see if there is some sort of blockage. If there is blockage, doctor Maidan says that he can open it back up and that should restore the heart function.

If there is no blockage and it’s just that my heart muscle was damaged from the long surgery then I need to monitor it closely – maybe an echocardiogram  every month or so to see if it’s getting better or worse. If it gets better, great, if it doesn’t or gets worse then I will need to get a permanent pacemaker to make my heart squeeze harder.

 It ain’t over yet…

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Tue
27
Oct '09

Recovered?

Tomorrow is three weeks post op. In the last 48 hours I have: Helped Valerie (just a little) dig a 6′x6′x1′ deep hole at the back corner of the house; carried five 40lb bags of rocks from the driveway down to the hole; installed the plumbing for a yard drain in the hole; cut out, removed, and replaced a rotted out sill plate; removed, replaced, and painted 24′ of siding; made numerous trips to Home Depot and Cedar King. Oh, and I vacuumed the house and swept the deck for this morning’s showing. Needless to say, I have slept really really well. Valerie says I should have milked the recovery more. Now the gig is up — no more babying.

I see Dr. Maidan, my cardiologist, tomorrow at 3:00. He’ll tell me how I’m doing and hopefully give us the okay to drive to Asheville and spend a couple months. My only real concern is my heart rate which is still in the 80′s and low 90′s. Maybe that’s okay or expected but it’s something to discuss. My BP is low, sometimes less than 100/70, but that is due to the medication I’m on to keep my heart from working too hard during recovery. I have to be careful when I stand up quickly because everything goes black for a few seconds. All in all, I can’t complain being just three weeks out.

Mon
26
Oct '09

Waving the Magic Wand

The fundamental problem with our house is that it has been advertised as only having three bedrooms – because it only has three “obvious” bedrooms. When buyers and agents search the MLS they select the city/area, a price range, maybe the minimum square footage, then the number of bedrooms they want. No one will select our price or square footage and only three bedrooms. Nearly all houses of our price and size have four bedrooms (or more) so our house never shows up in anyone’s search results. They simply never see it. That’s why we have had such limited traffic.

Shazam! You now have four bedrooms!It was apparently a BIG mistake for us not to put another bedroom and shower in the basement when we finished it off and turned it into a game room/shop/theater. Who knew? I thought the average children per family was now under two. But we’ve gotten feedback that people want a place for their guests. Hey, there’s a Comfort Inn just down the road…

Legally, you can’t advertise a house as having four bedrooms when it only has three. But…the definition of a bedroom is that it has a door, a window, a closet, and that the septic system is rated for that number of bedrooms (ours is rated for four). There is no minimum or maximum size limitation for the room. Wave the magic wand and it sounds to me like our basement could be considered a 4th bedroom, eh?

So…effective at noon today, our house just became a four bedroom house. We changed the verbiage in the description to say that the “lower level can be used as a 4th/Guest Bedroom” and with a full-price offer we will give the buyer $5000 to add accordion doors (location tbd) and a shower so that the basement could truly be a guest suite or the ultimate teenager’s pad. Our agents may be getting a divorce over the decision (Michael okayed it but Dana is still shaking her head) and there may be some pissed off agents when they show the house and look for the 4th bedroom, but so what? We meet the legal definition and we are upfront in the MLS description. Hopefully, this will get us more traffic and some potential buyer may think it’s a great idea to have guests stay in the basement and not waste the space for an extra, normally unused, bedroom. We’ll soon know.

P.S. We just got a call, five hours after the change, that we have a showing tomorrow at 10am.

Wed
21
Oct '09

Let’s Play, “Deal or No Deal”

Before the contract made it back around for initials (deleting the card table and altering how the allowance for adding a shower and a fireplace would be paid) the “minivan” family decided to walk away from the deal. I can’t reveal their reason on a public blog but I can say that from day-one my “flaky flag” was up. I had a sixth sense over this and told Valerie and our realtors that I wasn’t getting my hopes up because it just didn’t smell right. In a previous post I said something about there being “more to the story” than I could publicly comment on. That’s what I was referring to. I don’t mean “flaky” in a bad (wacko) way, just in an unreliable, erratic, unpredictable way. Turns out I was, unfortunately, correct. No Deal.

So, we’re back to square one. The showings will continue for now. Argh. We need to decide if we can afford to lower the price (no) and try to keep selling or give up this whole relocation idea. Maybe our densitydestiny is really to stay here. Either way, we need to go to Asheville for a couple months to work on Camp Bell. That will probably happen in early November if I get the okay from Dr. Maidan for travel/driving.

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Tue
20
Oct '09

Did I Say “No More Showings”?

We aren’t finalized on the contract, yet. We needed to make some adjustments to a couple pages and everyone needs to sign again. We are also going back-and-forth (actually it’s a non-issue in my mind) over them wanting us to throw in the card table. Not happening. One, we’ve given too much, already. It’s not a cheap table. Two, it’s our Y2K Party card table. Besides breaking it in for New Years 2000, we’ve had lots of great times playing cards and games on it since then. We want to continue the tradition in Asheville. Third, it’s a piece of furniture, it’s not attached to the house. The most recent version of the contract, which they now have in their possession to sign, does not have the card table included.

Last night at 7:15 our realtor calls us and asks if we could show the house. Huh? What? Apparently the “minivan family” is borrowing some $$ from relatives and they wanted to see what they were buying. So, we had to do the production number one more time. Sorry, we didn’t vacuum. We were out by 7:45 and back home by 9:30. Our realtor said the family was happy with the house and was even taking measurements of rooms. Sign. Sign. Sign. Dagnabbit. And, no, you don’t get the card table.

P.S. They have explicitly said that they don’t want the pool table.

Mon
19
Oct '09

I Feel (Almost) Normal

I walked Serena last night for 45 minutes—alone. Valerie was comfortable (not really) letting me go myself as long as I stayed on the streets. At 5:30 our neighborhoods are pretty busy with people coming home from work, walking their dogs, etc so if I passed out I’d be quickly found. But, I felt fine. I wasn’t winded. I wasn’t light headed. I felt (almost) like I did 3 weeks ago. The only indication of my surgery is when the incisions rub against my shirt. Now, I doubt that I could break into a sprint, but I had a good pace going and was sweating a bit. Gotta do more and more every day.

My pulse rate has dropped slightly but it’s still in the low 80′s most of the time. It doesn’t go up much when I walk. Maybe that’s what my “Coreg” is supposed to do…regulate/moderate my heart rate. I’ll find out more, maybe, on Wednesday when I go for my echocardiogram.

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Sat
17
Oct '09

Just Hold Your Nose and Sign It

We got an offer on our house last night from the “minivan family” (see yesterday’s blog) and we signed it. We did wait until this evening after we heard from the folks who looked at our house at 4:00. They said our house “wasn’t for them” so the decision was easy. Assuming the loan goes through and there aren’t any issues, closing is scheduled for November 25 (the day before Thanksgiving and Valerie’s birthday) or before.

Although I held my nose when I signed, it does mean that WE NO LONGER HAVE TO SHOW THE HOUSE! It also means that the next 4 weeks will be CRAZY getting ready to move.

I talked to our builder in Asheville and he’s finishing a house now and will be building a garage for his daughter next. Our architect needs to finish our plans and get them to the City for permit and I need to talk to an Asheville bank about a construction loan. Luckily mortgage interest rates are still at all-time lows and it was a very quiet hurricane season so building material prices haven’t risen since our July construction quotes. All this points to a potential construction start date the first of the year.

As for moving…we have two quotes in hand. I’ll probably go with Mayflower and will call them on Monday to see when we can get on their schedule. It also means that we have tons of stuff (furniture, generator, compressor, etc) to sell. We’ll start taking pictures and posting items on Craigslist ASAP. Does anyone need a couple old portable color TV’s that aren’t digital-ready? I didn’t think so.

If this post seems a bit glum, it is. After the foul odor from the contract wears off I’ll be okay. Valerie’s trying to put it in perspective for me saying how many people out there would be thrilled to sell their house in four months and make the profit we did in this down market. She’s right, but it still hurts. Ah, we’ll try to make up some of the $$ by putting lots of lipstick on Camp Bell before we list it for sale. It’s all good.

Fri
16
Oct '09

“My Density Has Brought Me To You”

From the movie, “Back to the Future”

George McFly:    Lorraine, my density has brought me to you.
Lorraine Baines: What?
George McFly:    Oh, what I meant to say was...
Lorraine Baines: Wait a minute, don't I know you from somewhere?
George McFly:    Yes. Yes. I'm George, George McFly. I'm your density. I mean... your destiny.

Valerie is a big believer in density destiny. For example, she believes that we weren’t able to sell our house this summer because we were supposed to still be here in Woodinville for my annual heart checkup so that my heart problem would be discovered here, instead of in Asheville, and it could be fixed by one of the best valve repair surgeons in the country, conveniently located in Spokane.

If you follow that belief then it would make sense that a family just happened to drive by our house on Tuesday, grab a flyer (I think there was only one left in the box), like what they saw, return on Wednesday for another look, call our agent from the street and just happen to catch us coming back from walking Serena so that we could clean the house for an immediate showing (and me being recovered enough to help a bit), have them really like the house, have them come back for another 90 minute showing on Thursday night and be meeting with our agents tonight to possibly put together an offer to buy our house and maybe close in 5 weeks on Valerie’s birthday. Whew!

Lots can happen and there’s more to the story than I can post on a public blog, but maybe she’s right…maybe George McFly was right! “My Density Has Brought Me To You.”

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Thu
15
Oct '09

My First Post-Op Sweat!

I worked up my first post-op sweat yesterday and it had nothing to do with my exercise plan. We had a house showing and had to get the house ready in 15 minutes. We had just gotten home from our walk at Marymoor and noticed a minivan parked in the street out front. Just after we got in the house the phone rang. It was our agent asking if he could show the house. There was someone out front (in the minivan) who was very interested and wanted to see it. He was on his way from his office to our house and would arrive in 15 minutes. Hmmm. I had heart surgery two weeks ago, Valerie is in the shower, the house has been lived in for a few days since the last showing. Sure, why not?

We managed to do everything on our checklist except vacuum and sweep and were able to back out of the driveway in exactly 15 minutes just after our agent arrived. I was sweating but my pulse never got over 110, I promise! They were at the house for over an hour. That’s a good sign. To fill the time we made an overdue Costco trip. Needless to say, I got in a lot of walking.

Our agent reported that they like our house and want to come back tonight at 7:30 with their kids for another look. Based on previous ups and downs and hot leads that went cold, I’m not getting my hopes up, but we’ll see. I was thinking of maybe being in Asheville for the holidays anyway…

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Tue
13
Oct '09

So Far, So Good

I had an appointment today with my cardiologist’s nurse. Everything looks good: EKG, blood pressure, incisions, heart and lung sounds. The only thing out of the ordinary is my heart rate. It was 91 in the office and the lowest it’s been at home since I was discharged is 83. It’s probably that my heart is just irritated from the surgery but they would like it lower so that my heart isn’t working so hard. The medications I’m on should be doing that but my dosages are very low and can’t be increased because they also reduce my blood pressure which is around 110/75. So, for now, she just wants me to monitor my heart rate and also make sure that when exercising that I don’t get it above 120. If it doesn’t drop over the next couple weeks then I may get switched to another drug that has less impact on blood pressure. So far, fingers crossed, I haven’t had A-Fib. I have a 3-month risk window where it could occur. If it does, I need to get to the hospital and get “converted” back to a normal rhythm so blood clots don’t form. That’ll hurt.

But, I’m walking at a normal pace for an hour each morning. Sometimes I add in another 30 minutes in the evening. If I’m not moving I have zero pain but once those arms start going and my right arm rubs against the incisions…ouch. I also pop a Vicodin when I go to bed and take another in the middle of the night. That helps me sleep through the pain of rolling around but man, oh, man, those Vicodin dreams are long, crazy, multi-chapter, 3-D, picture shows.

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Sat
10
Oct '09

Healing and Heeling

On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I walked for an hour at Marymoor Park with Valerie and Serena. Friday’s walk was with no bench breaks! I was walking or standing the entire time. Of course I’m still at a leisurely stroll but I’m happy to be able to walk for that duration. Today we’re back for another morning Marymoor walk and I’m going to add in an evening neighborhood walk, too. We have a house showing from 6:00-7:00pm so that’ll work out well.

Mornings are still painful because I (apparently) keep trying to roll onto my right side while I sleep. That’s where all the incisions are and by morning they are most irritated. Maybe I’ll try setting the alarm for 5:00am, taking two Vicodin, and seeing if that will lessen the pain when I wake up a couple hours later.

I am HUGELY aware of any transient pain in my chest. I got zero indications from the surgeon, cardiologist, or discharge nurses that I have anything to worry about but man it’s scary when I get a chest pain for a few seconds. It’s probably just healing pains from being internally manhandled for several hours but I feel like grabbing the phone and dialing “9-1″ and hoping I fall on the last “1″ key if I pass out.

I have an appointment with my cardiologist’s nurse on Tuesday. I also have an appointment with my primary doctor on Wednesday but I think I’ll cancel that since I’ll get into the cardio office before him. I have an echocardiogram on the 21st and an appointment with my cardiologist on the 28th — my 1-month anniversary. I’m hoping that he clears me to drive to Asheville in early November. Gotta get this Asheviller show on the road!

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Thu
8
Oct '09

It’s the Simple Things

Over the last couple days I’ve been making a list of the simple things (quotations, observations, bits of wisdom, etc) that I witnessed while in the hospital. Some are funny, some serious, but they are all definitely things I want to remember. Check back occasionally as I’ll add to the list as I recall more. Here goes, in no particular order:

•  On Thursday, the day after surgery, I kept getting the hiccups. Needless to say, that was painful. Valerie found this solution that, thankfully, worked every time. The 30-Second Hiccup Cure… Eventually, they stopped completely. Whew.

MrT• Prior to surgery I received an armpit to toe body shave. That’s done so they can sterilize your skin all over with a betadine bath in case the surgery needs to change and they have to cut or puncture you someplace other than planned. However, armpit to toe is not exactly correct. They only did my right armpit (where one robot arm went in). The body barber explained that after surgery I could choose which way I wanted to go. And, she didn’t shave my privates, entirely. I got what they call a “Mohawk”. Think Mr. T, but “down there” instead. Guess I get to choose if I want to keep that or not, too.

• You know how nursing homes are filled with elderly woman and maybe one or two elderly men? Well, cardiac care floors in hospitals are filled with elderly men and maybe one or two elderly woman. Hmmm.Roncutus of Borg

• I know that my family traveled at large expense and time to be with me and I REALLY appreciate that. If you feel that you were “slighted” and didn’t get to spend enough time with me after surgery, I apologize. I didn’t limit visits because I don’t love you, I limited visits because I was recovering from surgery in the cardiac care ward and needed privacy and lots of rest. It was stressful for me to wake up from my frequent naps to see everyone sitting in chairs staring at me. I knew that you were there with me whether you were in the hall, in the lobby, in the cafeteria, or wherever. I can’t thank you enough for putting your lives on hold to support me and Valerie through this difficult time.

• Valerie was my rock. She held my hand, fed me ice chips, and kept a cold cloth on my head the first night in ICU. She also sneaked me some ice water but got caught by the nurse.

• The nurses in ICU and CICU were the best. Besides all the medical stuff, they even took the time to microwave my orange sherbet for a few seconds so that I could more easily eat it to soothe my raw throat caused by the breathing tube.

Locutus of Borg• “I am Locutos of Borg” (I was told that I said this while coming out of anesthesia in ICU).

• The last words I remember were by the anesthesiologist just after 7:00am, “Okay, we’re ready…”  My next cogent thought was seeing the clock on the wall in front of me at 6:30. My brain struggled with that since I expected to be awake shortly after noon. I remember thinking, “Is that pm?” “How could that be?” “Is that clock right?” “What day is it?” Then I was out again.

• My other recovery thought, though I don’t know if it occurred before or after 6:30pm, was Valerie smiling and giving me the thumbs up—our preplanned, unspoken, signal that my valve was fixed rather than replaced.

• Thursday morning, the day after surgery, the nurse removed my urinary catheter (all you guys can cringe now). A few hours later I hadn’t been to the bathroom, yet. The nurse told me that if I didn’t pee on my own, soon, that she was going to have to put the catheter back in (all you guys can really cringe now). I grabbed my bottle, went to the bathroom, and thought of all things liquid. I stopped short of running warm water over my hands. In a few minutes I managed to produce about 1/2″ of highly concentrated pee and proudly handed it to the nurse, telling her that she scared the piss out of me. It was probably a very old joke for her, but I thought it was funny.

• “That’s not a cough, that’s a throat clearing!” is what one ICU nurse told me when she was trying to get me to cough up the mucus in my lungs.The Christmas Tree Painful is an understatement.

• The super IV attached via two punctures into my jugular and stitched into place so it wouldn’t pull out was named by my family “The Christmas Tree.” I guess, maybe from the right angle, it sort of looks like a triangular pine tree with lots of pretty colors on it.

• “I underappreciated the severity of his valve problem.” Surgeon Dr. Siwek to my family after the surgery.

• I was supposed to have four incisions; one 2″ in the goin for the bypass, one 1″ in the right chest for the camera, and two ½” in the right chest for the robot. But, because Dr. Siwek wasn’t happy with his initial fix (and they had to remove everything in order to do the echocardiogram to determine that) I was essentially operated on twice and have seven incisions; three extra in the right chest.  I’ll take that over sawing through my sternum any day!

• While I was in the ICU, I was directly connected to a heart monitor, a fancy 19″ LCD screen that displayed all my vitals. The morning after surgery I was sitting up and feeling fine when all of a sudden the monitor started flashing red, beeping wildy and spitting out a paper EKG. I’m like “Holy shit, that’s me!” The nurse came running over and looked at the printout. She showed it to the other nurse and they shrugged their shoulders and said, “It’s okay, just a rapid beat for a few seconds. Not unexpected.” For a moment I thought that was all she wrote.

• I’ll apologize now to all the members of the Microsoft Alumni Network for causing their health insurance rates to go up next year.

Wed
7
Oct '09

Just a Walk in the (Dog) Park

I just wanted to drop a quick note to say that I’m back and feeling good and to THANK YOU for all your wonderful thoughts, prayers, and support for Valerie and me. We couldn’t have gotten through this without you. I’m writing this 7 days and 2 hours from when I awoke after 6½ hours of surgery and 4 hours of heart-lung by-pass. Today I walked (slowly) for a little over an hour at Marymoor Park. It was flat and I was no speedwalker, but I was thrilled to be this mobile so soon after surgery. I have very little pain throughout the day but mornings are a bit rough – that’s what the Vicodin is for. Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be better than I was before the surgery.

If you know anyone who might have heart surgery in their future I can’t recommend enough Dr. Leland Siwek and the Heart and Vascular Institute at Providence Sacred Heart in Spokane. They are truly first class.

Again, thank you for all your support!

Remember, the answer to the question, “Would you like more morphine?” is always “Yes!”

Ron and Valerie

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Mon
5
Oct '09

Home Again

We are leaving Spokane today; we may not make it the entire way home. It is noramally a 4.5 hour  drive, but we need to stop every 45-60 minutes for Ron to move and walk. 
All is well.

6 pm – we made it home!

Today’s blog by Valerie

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Sun
4
Oct '09

Recovery

Update on the hole count: 8 incisions and 8 major punctures (and countless stabs for blood draws, glucose tests, stitches…).

Ron’s plans for today (of course he has plans): Walk (still a shuffle), Sleep, Eat; repeat. 

Today’s blog by Valerie

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Sat
3
Oct '09

Ron Has Left the Building

At 12:30pm Ron was released and shuffled out of the hospital.  He is still required to stay at the hotel across the street until Monday; but now he can finally sleep.

Todays post by Valerie

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Fri
2
Oct '09

Ron’s Walk-About

Ron is recovering quickly; by 3:30 pm he has completed his 3 required walks (shuffles) of the day.

Ron will probably be released from hospital care on Monday. I will be staying here until I’m sure that he’ll be fine on the drive back; Ron may have other plans, but he’s at my mercy. I love it.

Ron’s Post-Surgery Wisdom:
Keep your body healthy. It seems counter-intuitive, but the poorer your health, the fewer surgical choices you may have, and those choices are likely the most invasive with longer recoveries. Because he was in good health with clear arteries, he was a candidate for less-invasive robotic surgery. 

Today’s blog by Valerie

Thu
1
Oct '09

Ron Unplugged

2 am Ron had an x-ray while in the bed. To protect the patients below, the bed has a lead pad.
4:11 am I woke and called the nursing station to see how he was doing. They tell me he is sleeping well; latter Ron said it wasn’t possible to sleep.
The monitor started flashing red, the nurses showed up; checked it. “It’s okay, just a rapid beat for a few seconds. Not unexpected.”
Ron’s day nurse is Jane; CICU nurses are on 12 hour shifts and have 1 patient.
Ron does his breathing exercises or incentive spirometer every ½ hour.
7:30 am Ron is sitting up having “finger foods”: blue GoGurt , mozzarella stick… .
I put more cold washcloths on his head and get him some ice chips.
8:15 am Dr. Siwek visits on rounds, mentioned that he told family that you may not bounce back as quickly, doing well.
8:30 am Ron’s family visits.
10:30 Ron’s family goes to the lobby and gift shop; I stay while Ron has procedures: listens to chest (he has a rub in his cardiac sack – it’s causing breathing pain), sitting up, chest tube used to take blood. Ron is on Lasix to get rid of tissue fluids; as Jane said “he’s peeing like a horse” when she checks his bag.
I ask about the clock on the wall, Luis had wanted to know what it was. Jane says it’s a code clock and tries it out. They don’t use it anymore.
11:00 Jane removes Ron’s neck IV. There are only 2 holes that go into the same vein a few inches apart. The IVs are plastic tubes that are taped and stitched in. Jane complains that the doctors put the knots close to the skin; she couldn’t cut them with scissors, she used a tiny scalpel.
1:00 pm Ron got in the chair and back into bed by himself.
Ron has lunch.
Ron had me check the neck IV holes and chest tube hole. There was blood on the pillow; Jane said it was okay… it was old blood.
Ron gets insulin shot; before it was given in a drip, but he is disconnected now.
Ron’s chest tube (on right side) and catheter removed. UNPLUGGED
2:30 pm Ron has a bit of a headache.
4:00 pm Dr. Hill, cardiologist, discusses cardio plans:
Ron will be on meds to restructure and reduce his heart size.
Will check his heart size in 18 months.
Waiting to have surgery until the technology develops is acceptable.
Insulin levels are watched to keep the sugar levels low and improve healing.
5:00 pm Jane calls for transport to take Ron to the 6th floor.
6:00 pm Jane got tired of waiting for transport; she found an old wheelchair and took Ron to the 6th floor.
Pain level is 0; 1-2 when he breaths in.
Ron walked look for first time.
After dinner blood sugar was high (the cardiac menu had a huge chocolate chip cookie) – 186 had second insulin shot when sugar stayed high.
9:00 pm The nurse gives Ron his evening pills: lycenopril, lasix, asprin, co-reg, senna, ibuprofen, and a giant, awful tasting potassium pill.
She tells Ron he still needs to pee after catheter removal.
Ron drinks lots of water and pees a little (dark).
Ron walked the loop; his second walk.
He needs the pain pill after the walk.
11:00 pm Ron goes to sleep.

Today’s blog by Valerie.

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