Tag Archives: open heart surgery

The Boy Is Home Just Ahead of the Hurricane

Wow! That was cutting it close, I thought, when the docs decided to let Hubby loose from the hospital on the eve of Sandy’s arrival.

On the way home, I filled five prescriptions for him and one for me. He got medications to keep his heart beating regularly and to maintain his blood pressure levels on exertion. I would have preferred a nice bottle of Kahlua for my Rx, but I got an antiinflammatory instead to be sure my old back doesn’t ache while assisting Hubby with daily activities.

After picking up a few groceries, we beat it home to complete preparations for the hurricane’s arrival. One daughter lives close to ground zero in the Washington, D.C. suburbs. We fielded questions for prepping from her.

Our sailboat is docked in the northern Chesapeake Bay. May it stay tethered where it belongs!

The last time the power grid was interrupted in metro-D.C., it was weeks before customer service was restored. At that time, the temperatures were 100 degrees. HOT! No air conditioning or fans. This time, more than 20,000 customers are without power a half day before the eye hits land. The power outage in the midst of the storm is estimated to be severe in impact.

In western Maryland, we experienced a several-hour long outage last night. Who knows why the power cut off, but power has resumed for now.

I’ve cooked food, filled the bath tub with water for flushing toilets and watering animals, gathered water and snacks for nibbling if the power goes out, assembled emergency lighting, filled gas cans for the generator, and other tasks to make riding out the storm as comfortable as possible. I have one more trip to make out into the elements to feed the horses and check on the chickens. Wind is gusting at 40 MPH and getting heavier. Soon no one will stir outside without risking bodily harm.

I am thankful I live in the day and age when I get lots of lead time to prepare. By taking advantage of the information provided by TV and radio, I am as ready as I can be.






Today hubby revisited the surgical suite. He received a pacemaker to stimulate his heart to beat when his heart rate drops below 40 beats per minute. The hospital monitors captured data during Hubby’s syncope  events. The doctors learned my husband’s heart slows dangerously, bringing on a vasovagal response. It’s hoped the pacemaker will prevent his passing out in the future.

Moving in the Right Direction Now

Today was a good day. Several measures taken by the medical staff reversed the scary medical situation my husband faced.

Hubby’s chest tube was removed. He no longer needed it. Hubby’s body began normalizing, so his arrhythmia started minimizing. It’s not gone, but the sparking incidents of the pacemaker are getting less and less frequent. He both sat up and walked without syncope episodes. His blood sugar and blood oxygen levels are good. His innards cooperated with each other so that Hubby’s lunch stayed in and things that needed out, exited. The body gone awry yesterday becalmed itself today.

It appears he is over the hump. One day at a time, one goal at a time, one step at a time. Hubby is moving forward.

Rough Day at the Hospital

According to the cardiac surgeon, thirty percent of open heart surgery patients experience arrhythmia after surgery. Wouldn’t you know, hubby is one of those. Today his heart would not come into rhythm on its own, choosing instead to skip beats or beat too fast. Finally, his heart just stopped when the nurses were trying to get him on his feet. He zonked. The nurse screamed–literally–for help. Six medical staff grabbed parts of him and heaved him onto the bed. Hubby’s heart restarted on its own. He came to and looked around, confused by the hubbub surrounding him. After the surgeon, the hospitalist and a consulting cardiologist conferred, hubby was attached to an external pacemaker.

“This thing is shocking me,” he told me in a quiet moment, sometime later. Guess what, darling? That means your heart has stopped beating and the machine is keeping it ticking. Shocks mean it’s working.

The day ended better than it started, when hubby’s heart decided to go rogue at 4 A.M. By 4 P.M., he felt better, looked better and was regaining his composure.

We’ll see what tomorrow holds.

Thanks to all of you who are praying, thinking about us, or supporting us in some way. You are our lifeblood in this moment. You are priceless.

Surgery Imminent

Today was the day for hubby’s surgery. However, a patient in more dire condition than hubby bumped him from his spot. His doctor courteously asked if hubby minded. He did, but the humanitarian side of him was gracious. How do you say no to a man who faces imminent death? You don’t. You yield with grace. Your own heart still beats.

In another day or two, a spot will open for hubby.

Friends and family have called, e-mailed, or traveled hundreds of miles to be here to offer support. Hubby and I feel loved.

I know when he wheels away into surgery, I will worry and wrestle with a dozen other feelings. Over the press of fear, I am choosing reason–at least in this moment. He has great medical people helping him.

So on the eve of surgery, I write. To keep sane. To focus on something else. To pretend everything is all right. Which it is, or will be.


The missing started

the moment you turned your back.

It felt like forever.

On Top of Everything Else

In the real world, writers don’t write when they should.

The real world overwhelmed my writer’s world on 10/10/2012. The quotation I posted that day became my mantra.


Here’s the text of an e-mail sent to a friend about my day. Read it and you’ll understand. All this on top of getting ready for husband’s surgery. Yikes.

Exhausted tonight. Trying to keep too many balls in the air.  So much to do before hubby’s surgery and to finish harvest and get ready for winter.
Cut hay today. Cut part of main yard and push mowed back yard. Planted fig tree and mulched it. Picked Swiss chard. For dinner used chard, tomatoes, pickled peppers and eggs from our own homestead. Made salmon patties with 2 veggies above as sides. The chard was amazing. Lightly steamed with balsamic vinegar-honey-butter dressing. Killer good.
Garden remnants:
I have ancho peppers to pick, de-seed, slice and dry. Banana peppers will get pickled. Green beans are plentiful and will get canned. Beets will be cooked for dinner. Remaining chard will be frozen. Potatoes have to be dug and stored. Sweet peppers and egg surplus will be frozen.
Got the haybine cleaned up after cutting tonight. It’s tarped and put away for winter. The cut hay looks good. I hope it dries nicely. Dew was still on grass in my yard in shady areas at 3 pm! It’s hard to get hay to dry in those conditions. Warm up will help.
Got the gate back on the hay wagon. It’s ready to go. Called the repair guy for the tractor.  Need it to get winter wood out of the woodlot.  I have to take my car for warranty oil change in next day or two.

Surgery Date

Just a brief update on hubby. The surgery is scheduled. The good news: the surgeon is highly credentialed, the facility is well-equipped and well-staffed, the statistics for the operation are promising, the nurses working in the hospital say nothing but good things about the surgical team.

We are confident for a positive outcome.

Update on the Hubby

Yesterday Hubby went through a catheterization of his heart in preparation for open heart surgery. The heart surgeon needs to know what’s going on in Hubby’s heart prior to cracking his chest. The goal is to keep surprises to a minimum.

Good news: all his pipes are clear, except one. There is 40% blockage in one blood vessel. According to the cardiologist who did the procedure, doctors don’t worry about blockages until they hit 70% or more. More good news: after heart surgery, other vascular issues that have the potential to be life threatening will likely resolve to manageable proportions. Hubby will take lots of medication, but his life will no longer be at risk.

Isn’t it amazing to live in the age of high technology? Hubby has a familial history of early death due to heart issues. His condition has a genetic link. He’s fortunate; modern medicine is saving his life.

His future (notice I speak with certainty) will include blood thinners, diet changes and exercise. A little weight loss won’t hurt either.

Missing in Action

For two weeks, I have been enmeshed in family concerns, so I have been missing in action on this blog. No short stories. Not much commentary. No visiting other blogs. To cut to the chase, my spouse is facing open heart surgery in the near future. So please bear with me during this time. My presence will be intermittent. Thankfully, I have several posts in the pipeline, already on the schedule.  Thanks in advance for your understanding and support.