Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Another Stressful Event

Hello, my dear bloggy friends. I truly do not mean to go so long between posts but life and other stuff seems to get in the way often. Since I last wrote, we have had our world shaken. Our son, who is 35, had to have another open heart surgery May 5.

I noticed on Facebook on Friday, April 24, that he and Trisha were on their way to see his cardiologist. When I asked why, Trisha told me there were some issues that needed to be checked out. He had blood work and an echo-cardiogram and the results were not good. In fact, his cardiologist was very concerned. There was another leak around his artificial mitral valve which was much more severe than the first one. The first one was plugged in January of 2013 and apparently, because the tissue the sutures were in was not in great shape, the additional pressure of the plugs caused more sutures to pull through and created the additional leak.

After the visit, I received a call from Doug telling about the problems and that he would have to undergo a third open heart surgery. He had his first one when he was 3 to repair a hole in the center of his heart that never closed. In addition, the surgeon discovered that his mitral valve had a pie shaped wedge deformity and would need replacing at some point later in his life. That point came when he was 14. He had gained quite a bit of weight and was having trouble breathing and had no energy. When we went to see his cardiologist in January, we were told he no longer accepted our insurance and that we would need to find someone else. Long story short, we were transferred to an amazing pediatric cardiologist who, although he had no idea why we were there (the former cardio hadn't messengered Doug's file like he was supposed to have done), he listened to us and examined Doug and gave him an EKG. He determined that Doug's heart was not beating in rhythm and wanted to try to medicate him back into rhythm. He was going to send him home with medication but something worried me and I asked could he not do this in the hospital.  He said sure and admitted Doug that day to Children's Hospital in the ICU. During the medication process, Doug developed V-tach which means his ventricle was pumping very fast and not pushing any blood out to his body. We almost lost him which makes me every more grateful that I insisted we do the medicating in the hospital.

After determining everything that needed to be done, he was admitted to the University of Tennessee hospital and had OP surgery to replace his mitral valve and to implant a pacemaker. When he had his surgery at 3, the electrical leads that tell the heart to beat were severed and this was the reason he didn't beat in rhythm. He was also in A-Fib which meant his atrium was beating rapidly but sending no signal to the ventricle.

He has handled all this with calmness except for a few years when he was very angry at having to deal with all the attending testing and everything that went along with having artificial things in your body. His mechanical valve clicked with a watch. We use to joke that he was like a Timex, he took a licking but kept on beating.

Fast forward to May, 2015, and the surgery. His mechanical valve was 65% loose when the surgeon got in there. My fear has always been the bypass when they let a machine take over for his heart an lungs. I really don't think I've let myself think about the other part, the opening of his sternum and the opening of his heart. This surgery was performed at Emory Hospital in Atlanta, GA. I don't think Doug could have been at a better place to have this done. The doctors are wonderful and for the most part, the nurses were fantastic. My daughter-in-law is a nurse and she had some problems but I think that was a result of knowing what needed to be done and not seeing it happen with the nurses. Doug did have a really rude one the first night he was in ICU but after that, they were all nice.

We had planned to come home when he got out of ICU but a problem with a lead for his pacemaker showed so he had to go back to surgery on Friday morning to have the lead replaced in the proper position. The surgeon had to move it to get to where he needed to be in the heart. We stayed until Saturday morning and when we got to the hospital, he was walking in the hall and feeling great. It is always amazing to me how well people bounce back from surgery. Modern techniques are so much better than 21 years ago. The relief in knowing that he is going to be okay and that he has more good years ahead of him is overwhelming.

On the way home, we stopped for a visit with the grands and enjoyed an hour of talking, laughing and listening to those sweet kiddos. They wanted to know if we had seen their Dada. I told them yes and that he was doing great. Lilly wanted to know if he would still click and I told her I didn't know. The things children ask. Elijah asked if I had been to heaven and come back. Sweet boy, I told him no I didn't go to heaven but before I could explain that it was Gran-gran, both Ella and Lilly told him that was who went to heaven. Then Ella looked at me and said, "I really miss Gran-gran." Such sweetness and love. We got home late Saturday night and this Grammy slept all day Sunday and Monday.

Mother's Day sort of passed me by but knowing that I am blessed with 2 wonderful children and their equally wonderful spouses and the sweetest, cutest, most amazing grandchildren I know, was all the present I needed. And knowing that my son is going to be fine and that the problems are behind us for now was just icing on the cake.

I hope each of you, here in the US, had a wonderful Mother's Day and that you got to send time with family. As I get older, I realize that family is all that matters. No matter what else is going on, family is a precious gift and one that should be appreciated every day.

Thank you for visiting. I'm not making any promises but I hope to post a little more often. I have a few things to show you that I am excited about and I need to catch up with my reading.