Well, the last four days have been VERY stressful! (That is probably an understatement!) The surgery on Thursday went really well albeit a very long day with Richard heading to the first pre-op area at 9:30am and not getting to the ICU until after 7:30pm! I am SO thankful that Michael surprised us by flying in Tuesday evening and meeting us at the hospital on Wednesday morning. He was a HUGE support for me. He flies back home tomorrow.
The surgeon was VERY glad that he had been able to offer Richard the robotic option. (When we met him on Wednesday afternoon he told us we were scheduled for open heart but that he had a cancellation for robotics in the afternoon!) There were several tears (loose strings) on the valve so he cut them off, restitched the valve in place and put the ring on. Due to the enlargement on the left side from all the blood regurgitation, it took a while for Richard’s heart to start beating properly but he told us it was now doing okay. He was able to do ablations around the posterior of that left chamber to decrease the risk of the AFlutter recurring.
Yesterday, Friday, Richard was most comfortable sat in a chair. He looked good, great color etc. although obviously uncomfortable. He had started to have swelling but they were not able to give him Lasiks due to his blood pressure frequently dipping too low.
Today, Saturday, when Michael and I went in was a whole other story. Richard looked AWFUL! I was expecting him to have had his chest tube out as promised, been walking etc. NOTHING had happened. I was NOT happy! This was the day I picked a fight that I was NOT going to lose! Richard was in a lot of pain. He had been unable to lie down overnight and so had just been sat in the chair for over 12 hours! Not only that, Richard had not walked since early yesterday morning. I began to make my feelings known as there was hardly anything coming out of the chest tube. No one was cooperating & they were telling us the chest tube had to stay in until tomorrow, Sunday! Thankfully, another patient’s daughter reminded me about the Nurse Coordinator line for situations like this. Within 10 minutes of me calling her at 1:30pm and making a complaint, the chest tube was being scheduled to come out as well as the central line in his neck! Richard was finally able to lie down. After a chest x-ray, he was able to sit up and cough a pile of muck up for the first time and then take a walk around the ward. He is now feeling so much better albeit very tired having not slept since the surgery. I am of the firm belief that if they had just left him as he was, he would have had trouble with his lungs tomorrow!
He is still in the ICU but that is mainly because they do not have any beds in the step down ward until tomorrow. I did not leave this evening until I made sure the night nurse was going to be a good one. She was! She came in and immediately got to work. She and a colleague got Richard into bed and was arranging for him to have ear plugs so he could shut out the noise of the machines. NO ONE has cleaned his teeth since surgery nor washed him! This nurse, Stephanie, was going to give him a wash, take off some of his bandages etc. so that he can sleep tonight.
As for the swelling, it has got SO much worse through the day. I have always told Richard that he had sexy legs! He truly does have the most shapely, well muscled legs 🙂 Right now though they are SO swollen. With his blood pressure under control, they started him back on lasiks early this afternoon and he has had 2 doses. He has already lost over 4 pints of liquid and his legs are still puffy but at least it is now coming off!
I told him before I left that if I came back in the morning and found him looking as bad as he did this morning I would be kicking up another stink! (I truly feel sorry for the patients who do not have anyone to advocate for them.)
Keep praying for us please that a) he would recover fast & well and b) that I would be aware of all that is going on and have wisdom regarding his care.