Today has to have been the longest day I have had in a very long time. It started at 4 AM when we got up to get ready to go to the hospital. We found out on our way down yesterday that Doug's surgery had been moved from 11 AM to 8:30 AM and we had planned to stay close to their home. A better plan would have been to stay closer in to Atlanta and we could have a few extra hours of sleep.
Anyway, we left the motel at 5:30 AM and got to the hospital around 6:45. Let me tell you, Emory Hospital is one BIG, HUGE place. There are miles and miles of hallways and I think I walked most of them today. First we parked and then had to take the forever long pedestrian bridge over to the hospital. When we got into the hospital proper, a very nice lady assisted us and explained where we needed to go for surgery. This involved walking down the first long hallway to the E elevator and then going to the 3rd floor surgical waiting room. However, we found out that he wasn't going to be on the surgical floor; he was going to have the procedure done in the Heart Cath lab.
Back to the E elevator, back done the long hallway, hunt the B elevator and go to the room. After we spent a few minutes with Doug and Trisha in his room, we went to the correct waiting area. As it was only 7:15 or so and the surgery was still over an hour away, we decided to go get some breakfast in the cafeteria. Back down on the B elevator, wwwwwaaaaayyyyy down the hallway again to the G elevator, down to the ground floor and boom, the cafeteria. We had a good breakfast (I made myself eat something even though I really didn't want anything).
After the meal, we went back to the G elevator and found that we could go to the 4th floor (the one we needed to be on) directly on that elevator. It was still a long walk but much shorter than the one we had done just to get to the cafeteria.
Anyway, the surgery was about 3-1/2 hours and was successful. Doug had a mitral valve replacement when he was fourteen and the sutures were failing and the valve was pulling away, leaving holes where the blood was leaking out. This is fairly common in mitral valve replacement but the leakage is usually around 10% and not a problem. Doug's had reached 40% and was considered severe. The surgeon placed 3 plugs around the valve to close the leak. He was able to use the arterial veins in Doug's legs. He ended up having 2 arterial punctures and 1 veinous puncturce. The echo they did during the procedure showed the plugs were in place and holding well.
He will have to stay in the hospital for a few more days to make sure the plugs are holding and to get his INR levels (Prothrombin time-the time it takes blood to clot) back to a good level. He has been on anticoagulant medication since his original surgery and this has to be at proper level before he can leave the hospital. He also had to lie flat for 6 hours after the surgery before he could start moving around and he won't be able to walk until tomorrow.
We left at 5 to head back to the motel and he was getting antsy about moving. He had one more hour to lie still and it was starting to get to him. But the important thing is the surgery was a success, he was awake and alert, and he had great color. I really wanted to stay longer but Trisha was with him and taking very good care of him (she's a nurse) and I was absolutely worn out.
Thank you all for your wonderful comments and prayers. The love and companionship of the blogging world is wonderful and I have felt that love this week.