Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Care and Feeding of Your Heart Repair.

Recap: Hubster has a stent placed in his 99% blocked artery.

This tour of hospitals is about over. Today is moving day. We get to go home. I wonder if Trip Adviser has a section for "favorite vacation spots - hospitals".
Estimated departure time is between 11 and noon depending on when Dr. Stentnballoon comes to give his parting remarks.
I miss his visit, but Hubster is given the green light. Now we wait for the nurse to come with the "care and feeding of your new stent" information.
Medicine. My never touch the stuff man will now be a card carrying pill popper. Five of them. One, with a warning by everyone associated with this procedure that he has come in contact with - "you MUST take this EVERY DAY for a year. EVERY DAY. NO MISSED DOSES, or you may... drumroll... DIE." Okay, this one is pretty important. We won't even discuss all the side effects that could happen. If you take this medication you may die. If you don't take this medication, you may die. Its comforting to know Hubster and I are cared for by the Creator of the Universe and knows the beginning from the end. Our days are written in His book.
Dressed and ready to go, except for the IV tubes that need to come out at the last minute. We wait. His nurse comes in with a teaser. "Give me about 15 minutes." We start the countdown. Finally she comes in, takes the remaining remnants of Hotel Hospital Down Town out of Hubs arms and then goes through the rules of the new game. You can do this. You can't do that.
While she finishes up, I get the car and wait for my man. I have his get well balloon. Time to go home.
So, to wrap this up - we went out on Thursday for dinner. What we got was dinner and entertainment.
Next time, I think I'll cook dinner at home. Oh yeah, dinners? Low fat, low sodium, low calories, low carbs. There goes Chinese food anyway.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Balloons and Stents

Recap: Hubster had his heart catherterization and a bit of a scare.
Sleep and hospitals are like oil and water. Thankfully, they don't cram a sleeping pill down your throat anymore.
Back to fasting. No food - no water - except for the tiny sip to slide a handful of meds down the gullet.

Today's the day for the heart stent procedure. Hubster's got a reputation. Every new doctor and nurse  come in, pat him on the shoulder and with a wink of the eye say, "so we heard about your incident last night." He's in a cardiac care unit for goodness sake. This type of thing doesn't happen all the time? Not by the way the floor chatter is going. We decide they must have needed a little excitement to curtail the boredom.
I'm there for morning rounds. Doctor Stentnballoon comes in to give Hubster the lowdown on THE PROCEDURE. It's not done at Hotel Hospital Number One. Something about the law requiring that there needs to be a full cardiac surgical team available. HHN1 does not have one, but another hospital down town does. HHN1 contracts with Hotel Hospital Down Town. Thus - another transport via ambulance. But this time we get to stay there.
We get the procedure game plan. A tiny incision in the groin through the artery, up to the heart. Another wire with a little balloon is inserted, expanded and then a tiny mesh reinforcement is inserted. The plaque is smooshed to the walls of the artery allowing the blood to flow freely again. Balloon is removed. Badabing badabang. It will take between one to three hours depending on how his heart cooperates. He'll be sent to his happy place so he won't feel anything, but only long enough for the procedure to be completed.
The transport comes, all business guys, so no entertainment on the ride over.
Hubster's mom and sister - who surprise us with their visit since they came from a town 3 hours away, stay with me in the waiting room. We have time for a visit to the cafeteria for snacks and the gift shop for a get well balloon. The wait doesn't seem long before the nurse team that took him in arrive. "Hugs and kisses before we take him to his room. Doctor will be out in a minute to give you the update. He did well." And he did. He looks good. He's awake like he was when they wheeled him in.
Doctor Stentnballoon comes out smiling with two glossy pictures - suitable for framing. Before and after, and explains what he did. The artery was 99% blocked. The first small stent slides in and up beyond the plaque. Another one is put in and does its job. All is well. It only took forty minutes start to finish.
Hubster is now back in his room - a two bed, but we get it all to ourselves. He has to lay still for at least two hours so he won't bleed. That would be no good. No good at all. He's a model patient and obeys orders.
His mom and sister leave. I eat mac and cheese and a salad from the cafeteria and watch him enjoy his second meal - pot roast and potatoes.
We're both tired and ready to settle in. He's doing well and I know I can leave for an early evening at home. We're on the homestretch now.
Conclusion: The Care and Feeding of Your Heart Repair. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Another Night, Another Interruption. Or, What's So Special About Sleep Anyway?

Recap: Hubster had a heart attack and a heart catherterization.

Ambulances have no shocks on their vehicle.

Time for dinner - real food! First a roast beef sandwich, and then sliced roast beef and mashed potatoes. The menu tag that comes on the tray said meatless spaghetti, salad and other heart healthy food. Someone slipped him the good stuff (or bad which ever way you look at it).
Now it was time to settle in for the evening. Procedure over, daughter there to visit, son and friend of Hubster next in line to come.
And then...

Hub decided to shake things up a bit.
 He crashed. Like almost on the floor. Like - call in the crash cart, crash.
 He'd gotten up and was sitting in a chair when the nurse came in alarmed. Really alarmed. His heart rate was monitored at the nurses station and  registered a big drop. He said he was lightheaded and before you know it began to slowly slump head first toward the floor. The nurse barked for our daughter and I to leave. Being the devoted wife who was darn scared at this point, said,  "I wanted to stay."
 "No, you need to leave." Alarmed Nurse said.
"I'm his wife." I reminded her.
 "We need the room to work." She glared at me. Good enough. Daughter and I left to stand outside the door, hands clasped, praying. And then doctors and nurses from all over the hospital began running in. The crash cart arrived. Lots of yelling his name. Lots of hospital noises. Lots of praying on our part.
Finally, a nurse or two walked out of the room. Their faces looked relieved. "Is he stabilizing?" I asked.
Deep breath and thank G~ds.
Hubster only remembers feeling lightheaded, sitting in a wheelchair and then lying flat on the bed with an oxygen mask, people looking down at him and hooked up to his IV again with a full line of fluids pumping into his vein. Later we found the paddle pads on his chest. They were prepared to zap him if necessary.
The ER doctor, with sympathy in his voice, told us that it was a very benign thing that happened. His Visceral nerve acted up and caused him to faint. It can happen to anyone. But because of all the meds and such, Hubs heart rate dropped to 20 and his BP to 40. The dude almost lined out on us. Benign? I'd hate to have seen something sinister!
Hub's face began to change from gray to normal again and except for feeling pretty sheepish for all the drama, his vitals returned to where they were before the "incident", and he was back to his take it all in stride self. Our son and our friends came to visit. We all had a good laugh and life returned to normal...for a hospital.
Next time: Balloons and Stents.