Sunday, November 20, 2011

Filet time

BigD is having his chest opened tomorrow, his breastbone sawed in half and pulled apart with a heavy metal retractor (goog a photo and see what fun it looks like) , his heart stopped for 4-6 hours, his vessels rerouted, then his breast bone will be pulled back together and wired shut, finally ending with a lovely 7-10 inch scar down the middle of his chest.

It all sounds so simple.

Lets just hope tomorrow isn't the day the surgeon decides to quit drinking and gets the DT's, or he feels a head cold coming on and lets out a gigantic sneeze and the bloody scalpel slips out of his hand and slices the aorta, or a young inexperienced surgeon begs and begs to help (think kids in the kitchen) and the frustrated old surgeon says 'whatev' and lets him take over.

This is the way my mind works. I can't tell anyone in my real life because they would think I was nuts, or mean, or whatever. So, I come here to let you judge my bizarreness.

Am I nervous? A little. But not about the surgery. It is taking place in the #1 cardiac facility in the world. Kings and Queens have been in the very OR that BigD will be in. The surgery itself will be fine. I am worried about after. Depression, anger, pain, and those are just what I will experience. He may have some issues too.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Nagging feeling part deux

So, where was I?

BigD went in yesterday for his heart cath. We were both nervous. Me, because I knew to what extent that he had changed over the past year. Him, because he didn't want to hear any bad news. Both of us, because we knew things weren't "perfect".

S3 was off school so he wanted to come along. This in itself caused a "WHA?" reaction. 17 year old boy kid has a day off school, and asks to get up at 6am, drive to the big city to the north and spend the day hanging out in a hospital that gives him incredible heebeejeebees instead of sleeping in, grazing the fridge and playing ps3 all day. Did I tell you he is a great kid?

Once we got BigD checked in and prepped, they told us to go eat. The procedure would take between 45 minutes and 90 minutes. 45 if they found nothing. 90 if they had to place st.ents. We went to eat and as a side note, I found it a bit ironic that the best cardiac facility in the world, the one where sheiks and kings bring their faulty tickers, has an array of artery clogging specialties on the menu. I guess it is job security for them assuring repeat patients.

Anyhoo, on our way back to the cath lab we ran into future DIL's dad. I can't go into details, but lets just say he has something to do with the above mentioned sheiks and kings when they arrive into the fair city for ticker repair.

Future DIL dad (from now on will be FDILD) has a tendency to talk . A LOT. I wanted to get back to the lab but he kept talking. No sweat because the desk at the lab had my cell number and said they would call me if the doctor finished and wanted to talk to me. We were gone for a little over an hour when we finally made it back to the cath lab. When I walked to the desk, the sweet lady sat up and said "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?". Apparently they had been calling my phone and paging me for over half an hour. As she was telling me this, my phone made the sound it makes when a voicemail arrives. It was her message from 30 minutes earlier. Crap.

I instantly had two thoughts. Yippee...they were done in less than 30 minutes because all was good. Thought number two...Shit, they were done in less than 30 minutes, not enough time to stent so things are in the crapper.

They told me BigD was being admitted in intensive care.....and we could go there. By this time S2 had shown up so the three of us went up to wait for BigD's arrival. We waited and waited. The kind desk lady called back to the lab for us to find out why BigD hadn't arrive upstairs yet and she said they were waiting on transport. Another 15 min went by and her phone rang and I heard our name. She called me to the desk with an odd look on her face and told me BigD was staying in the lab until he was discharged. HUH? Nothing made any sense. We made our way back downstairs.

We walked into the holding area of the lab and BigD was laying on the bed eating a turkey sandwich, baked chips (it is a heart facility afterall) and smiling. I was so confused. Patients don't go from being assigned a room in ICU to being discharged an hour later.

BigD said he talked to the doctor and the doctor said that there was only one area with a problem and he didn't think it needed to be stented. Now, thats what BigD heard. It's actually NOT what the doctor said.

Another hour passed while we waited for the doc to finish up another case and he came in to talk to us. What he actually said was........there is one vessel with 100% closure. As in completely. It is the major vessel. Yep, the wi.dow m.aker. Somehow BigD has developed an alternate circulation system and two new vessels have sprouted to take over the work. The man is a freak of nature. He managed to avoid dropping dead. Because it is 100% blocked he need not worry about a heart attack in that major vessel. It's already screwed. So now his other vessels are the ones that need to be addressed.

To say that my head is swimming still, would be an understatement. I have a ton of medical background, especially cardiology, and if I am befuddled, I can't imagine what the random patient must be thinking.

BigD has two options. He can either have a d-ouble by-pass or he can do nothing. Those seem like very unlikely equal options. Needless to say we have much to discuss, many more facts to ascertain, and multiple things to consider.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

You know that nagging feeling in your gut?

The one that makes you hesitate for a second to process some information. It's the thing that you repress because it conjures up uncomfortable thoughts, or things you just want to avoid in general.

Starting six months to a year ago BigD started to "change". By that I mean he seemed withdrawn more. He would sit for hours playing mahjong and seem disinterested in everything. Since he had been taking a very low dose anti-D for years I recommended (when I wanted to scream) that he ask the doc for a dosage increase. Having been on the lowest dose for about ten years it seems realistic that it has lost it's effectiveness. Anyhoo....I noticed other "symptoms" as well. He was lethargic (p.s.doc..check the thyroid too), sad, emotional (continually telling me how wonderful I am, while it's terrific--he would almost be tearful--and I would wake up in the middle of the night and he would be kissing my hair and whispering how much he loves me...sweet but annoying at the same time), then I started noticing the physical symptoms. The weight gain (Well, I AM a kick ass cook), the ashen color of his skin when he would exert himself, the rest breaks that became so frequent it took him twice as long to do any yard work, etc. When we were in N.Y.City this fall I was walking along the parade route while he was marching and the thought flashed through my mind that I have seen that same pallor (ashen) and sweat on patients I was with in the ER during their MI's.

Knowing that it would piss him off, but doing it anyway, I subtly asked him repeatedly over the last six months if he was okay, if he felt okay. He admitted that he had been feeling down and that he felt out of shape (he is-and never used to be. I saw him on more than one occasion in his work capacity subdue the meanest of dudes without any difficulty). BUT, he also has no self control. We have talked about it over and over. If I make cookies (yes, temptress than I am, I DO cook and bake and the rest of us eat a sensible amount) he will eat 8 instead of 2, and then try to lie about it. I have taken to hiding my junk food to keep him healthy (I'm lying. I want it when I want it and if it's gone momma gets cranky).Last week I took 18 frozen cookie dough balls out of the freezer and baked them to have for dessert that night. I ate two, then left for the store. When I got home, there were 8 left on the plate. (There were going to be 5 of us at dinner). I was stunned. He ate 8 damn cookies that were for dessert.

He has been a regular at the R.ed C.ross donating every 52 days. They turned him away last week because his blood pressure was through the roof. He wasn't going to tell me but I saw the paper they gave him and confronted him. He said yep, it has been higher every time he has it checked. So, for the next three days I checked it a couple of times a day and it was ridiculously high. Now I got pissed. He had been taking this supplement crap to help with weight loss (hey, I have an idea...HOW ABOUT NOT SUCKING DOWN 8 COOKIES BEFORE DINNER) and it contains a legal version of amphetamine called phe.ntermine. He said that if it is sold over the counter it must be okay. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that he is as smart as he is when he is so stupid. He was taking some other crap for this and that too so I told him no more. If he wanted to kill himself he needed to do it at work because we get a huge death benefit then. I was kidding. Kinda.

Long story short, I got him in to see his doctor thanks to a friend that plugged him into a cancellation spot for the next day. He goes. BP is crazy high. Weight is up 25 lbs from last time. He finally admits to the doc that he has this *feeling* in his throat, upper chest, when he exerts. Not pain mind you, just a *feeling*.

Doc orders a nu.clear test for yesterday. I took a book thinking I would have plenty of waiting room time. Not so much. Cardiologist comes out pretty soon and tells me that BigD has significant blockage. When I press him for which vessel, he tells me "the one on the front". He doesn't know that I am schooled in heart shit so I ask him if it is the L.AD. He gives me a look and briefly smiles and says yes. This my folks is commonly called "The W.idow Ma.ker". You literally have five minutes to get help if this one closes off. Five minutes.

So on Monday BigD is scheduled for a heart c.ath (they wanted to do it yesterday but the 'good' doctor is away until Monday. BigD was ordered to go home, don't do anything, don't work, don't get stressed, nothing. Seriously I can't believe the hospital let him go. It's a huge liability if something happens to him over the weekend.

We are looking at s.tents or bypass. We will know once the cath is done. Then comes the hard part. Getting him to eat healthy food. This is a man that lives on fat, grease and sugar. This isn't going to be pretty. I make healthy stuff at home, but when he is out and about he is on his own and his resistance to the smell of ribs, greasy burgers, fries, is very low. It would even be okay if he ate that stuff in moderation, but he is a second and third helping guy and he never leaves anything on his plate. It drives him crazy to see people not eating ALL their food. You would think he grew up in the depression for gods sake. His parents were fine financially, they were never ever hungry, so I have no idea where this clean plate obsession (that has gotten progressively worse over the past few years) came from.

So fun times ahead for the OHN household.