Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Heart Surgery

This week was extremely stressful for me.  I went into the Cardiologist last Thursday to get the diagnosis from my T.E.E. scan and my C.T. scan.  It turned out that I did have a hole in my heart, and that I did have to have it mended if I want to have more kids.  Now the problem we were facing was when to do the surgery.

Our family reunion was coming up at the end up July.  I really wanted to wait until after the reunion.  I have also been participating in  a Challenge group to be accountable for my own weight loss.  I was doing great and didn't want to give that up, but it turns out I had a very short window to have things done.  Our medical insurance would be changing mid August- along with Jaroms' job...meaning the fee for the surgery would be considerably higher.  My cardiologist was taking vacation from July 25th through the end of August.  So...we scheduled the surgery 4 days out from my diagnosis appointment; Monday, July 15th.  I didn't really have time to think about things.  Instead I wanted to make sure I got everything in my life wrapped up just in-case I died on the operating table (I had continued dreams of dying through this surgery AND the day before going in for surgery, Xander drew a picture of our family, but I was flying in the air with Angel Wings...made me feel great).  I cleaned out the Primary closet and organized the class binders and new secretary binder.  I cleaned out and updated the President Binder, I cleaned my house and dejunked...and then Monday I cleaned and folded the laundry, did the dishes, vaccuumed...went through all the mail...and then headed into the hospital.

We arrived for surgery on Monday at 1pm. It took almost 2 hours for prep...more tests, blood work and then the placement of the I.V. (it was a 20 guage...holy hanna it was huge). My good friend, Melissa, stopped by while on duty at the hospital.  It was so nice to see a familiar face.  At 3pm they finally took me back for the procedure.  I had never been in a full blown operating room before.  It was cold, and very sterile.  I started I always do when I go into shock.  They put 3 warm blankets on me which helped, and then hooked me up to the sedation.  I stayed awake long enough to watch them prep my body and turn it into a table, say hello to Dr. Reddy, ask how long the procedure would be (5-45 minutes) and feel the pinching of the needles numbing my leg.  THANKFULLY I was out after that.

About an hour into the process, I woke up.  I didn't say anything to the nurses.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching the enormous monitor and I probably wasn't coherent enough to really say anything.  The Doctor was having trouble getting to the area of the heart where the hole was located.  I could feel the tubing and the wires inside my body.  It was almost creepy to feel the wire in my heart.  It didn't hurt, but I could feel it kind of like someone rubbing your arm.  At one point the Doctor asked how I was doing and all I could do was smile.  The nurse asked if I wanted more sedation and I should my head to indicate 'no.'  Needless to say, I left the operating room 2 hours after entering, and was almost as alert as when I went in.  I must have been fighting the sedation, because once out of the operating room, I felt my eyes get really heavy and the last image I had was that of my sweet husband standing above me.

A few minutes after being placed in the CathLab, I was awakened by a nurse.  I don't remember details of very much after the operation.  It wasn't until 7pm that I was coherent enough to remember a few things.  I tried talking to the nurses and my husband, but it is still just a blur.  I wonder if I was making any sense.  At 7pm, the worst part of my entire experience happened.  A nurse came in and had to remove the tubing/sheeths from my leg.  The pain was indescribable.  I almost past out as she removed the sutures, and then when she pulled the 11cm and 8cm tubing, I almost threw up and past out again.  I had an ice pack on my neck which helped a lot, but as the nurse applied 15 minutes of intense pressure to the site, I did everything in my power to stay alert.  Jarom continued to tell me to breath, the heart monitor continued beeping at me, and the nurse was trying to get me to talk.  I just wanted to dissolve into the hospital bed.  I kept telling myself it was almost over...but it wasn't.  15 minutes never seemed so long.

6 hours of holding my leg completely still was almost unbearable.  I kept stretching my calf muscles, but that was the extent that I could back hurt, my legs hurt, my I.V. was still aching...I didn't sleep at all!  I tried to keep my mind off of my leg by talking to the nurses, watching T.V...attempting to sleep.  My nurses from 5pm to 2am were absolutely AMAZING! The switch out from 2am to 11am was awful!  He never came to check on me.  He wasn't nice when I finally called him into the room....typical Davis Hospital (and just when I had hope that they were getting better).  I really had to use the bathroom around 6am and I hadn't been told if I could use my leg yet or not.  When I asked the nurse, he didn't even ask...he just said sure you can.  So, I slowly got up, put some weight on my leg and got myself to the bathroom.  All of the sudden, my leg started throbbing, my chest started aching, I started sweating, and my hearing was impaired. I pulled the string for the nurse to come help, but soon realized he was not near by.  I got to the bed as fast as I could, cleared the mobile table, grabbed my throw-up bucket and started heaving.  I leaned back so that I wouldn't pass out.  10 minutes later the nurse comes in the room and asks if I am feeling alright.  I told him I was nausious, and felt like I was going to pass out.  I also told him that I had a splitting headache and would like some Asprin.  He hooked me back up to the monitors and left...didn't respond at all to how I was feeling or pay attention to to sweat dripping down my face.  So, I lay there helpless for over an hour.

Dr. Reddy came in around 10am the next morning.  He saw that I wasn't feeling well.  He checked the site of surgery, and then asked why I hadn't been given any medication.  The nurse kind of mouth offed to him and thankfully Dr. Reddy did not take that well.  I ended up getting Asprin for a splitting headache and was was soon discharged from the hospital.

I didn't quite feel ready to leave, but I knew the nurses on call weren't going to help me feel any better.  I actually had one nurse tell me that I needed to get up and go.  When I said I was still attached to the cords and monitors, she walked out of the room.  After 15 minutes, I took off the blood pressure cuff and oxometer, so the alarms started going off.  The nurse came back in and took the electro-cords off of me and then told me that I had to take all 10 sticky sensors off myself.  I couldn't reach half of them because they were down my back (I went home with at least 3 still attached to me).  I asked for post op instructions after getting dressed...that was quite the experience.  The nurse literally read the paper to me as fast as he could.  When I stopped him to ask a question, he wouldn't make eye contact.  Instead he read on.  After signing my discharge papers, the nurse told Jarom that I was free to go.  The nurse was expecting me to get up and walk out the front doors all the way to the car.  He already knew that I hadn't been feeling well, and he didn't offer a wheelchair.  JERK MUCH!?!?!  It was a completely different nurse that came in with a wheelchair and I am so thankful she did.

I don't know if it is just this hospital or if 50% of the hospital staff are really that incompetent.  Once my youngest child starts school, I think I will go through the nursing program so that patients who really need care are getting what they deserve and what they pay for.  No one deserves to be neglected.  No one needs to have concerns unanswered.

I truly hope I never have to go through this surgery again.  It was a million times worse than child labor.  I honestly don't know if my body could have handled much more pain...and most people say I have a high pain tolerance (I am starting to doubt that).   Through this experience, I have made up my mind on two things: I want to go into nursing for the right reasons -to help people, AND I don't want another hospital trip for at least 2 more years (no more babies for a while).  I dread the thought of Davis Hospital and I feel sorry for the GREAT doctors that have to practice through it.

I'm glad I am still alive.  Recovery has been alright.  I'm sore and exhausted.  My kids are giving me a run for my money.  I am just thankful I have my husband home in the mornings to help with everything.  Jarom has been truly amazing!  I love him now more than ever and I know that love will just continue to grow.

Novel writer...I know...

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