Sunday, September 05, 2010

A rough week. . .

This was to be a relaxing week at the Gypsy Journal Rally at Elkhart Campground. So many of our friends, both new and old, are here and we were looking forward to taking in some seminars and hanging out around campfires.

Early in the week our latest tenant to leave was actually out two days ahead of time. Unfortunately, when we did a walk through, we discovered that we would need to paint the apartment, something we had not intended on doing. With the rally going on and Terry's scheduled ICD replacement at the end of the week, we decided to call and see if we could get someone to paint for us. It was just not meant to be, I guess, so we spent nine hours on Tuesday and Wednesday painting the apartment. We still have the bathroom to go, but I can do that myself. We were still able to take in a session or two at the rally, but missed a lot. Still, it is better to have the painting done. Everything else on the apartment I can take care of myself, but we would have had to push our lease signing back too far if we didn't get it painted.

So with that done, we headed to Indy on Thursday, spending the night in Greenfield. We drove on in Friday morning. They had moved up his surgery time, so we had to be in earlier at 8 a.m. We are glad we stayed down there as it was an easy drive over to the hospital. Even though they wanted him earlier, it doesn't seem like they ever get moving very fast. The doctors came in and went over every case scenario. It was obvious to them that due to the peripheral blood vessels which had formed over the years in his upper chest near his ICD that the vein they must use for the three leads might not be good. Options include going in between the ribs and laying one lead on the outside of the heart. That, however, requires a different kind of surgeon and would require another wait. The other option would be to relocate the new device on the right side of the chest, run the leads across the front of the chest through a different vein and remove the old device.

In the end, that is what they had to do. They did a venogram and the vein structure on the current side had suffered clotting at one time and nothing could be done to improve it. It had set up like concrete. Dr. Groh asked Terry what his plan B was and Terry said, "Just do it." So they went to the right side and the venogram showed good flow through there. The surgery lasted a couple hours and he was out by 2 p.m. He got into a room about an hour later and was monitored all that night and the next morning. More xrays and testing the device and we were finally discharged about 2 p.m. yesterday and we started the long drive to northern Indiana.

This new device is a three-lead ICD (internal cardio-verter defibrillator). It is not for the sissy types, that's for sure. This device paces his heart 100% of the time. His bout with heart failure had resulted in very low heart rates and Terry was having trouble doing much activity at all. I think they are going to end up adjusting some meds along the way as well. The new device will result in better and more even heart activity and has been shown to improve ejection fracture in heart patients. In addition, they set it to increase with activity, which means if he does some activity that would normally speed up the heart, his device will actually do that and improve the blood and oxygen flow to his body as needed. In addition, the pacemaker part will more agressively pace the heart out of bad rhythms, reducing the need for any therapeutic shocks. We are excited that he now has the new device, but it is an ordeal.

They allow spouses to spend the nights with the patients and they brought in a roll-away bed for me. Unfortunately, the springs were all broken on it and the only thing holding the mattress on the bed were two bars strategically placed to afford the maximum amount of pain and discomfort imagineable on the user. At midnight, I took the mattress off the bed, threw it on the floor and folded the frame back up. At least I was able to get a little sleep.

It was a long drive home and we stopped along the way to check in with my sister and to also get Terry's prescriptions filled. Then it was back to Phaeton Place and the comfort of our air bed for Terry. We both slept reasonably well last night. Terry is sore, however, having surgical sites on both sides of his chest; but that should feel better every day.

No plans for today except to hang out here and watch the race tonight.

Till next time. . .



Anonymous said...

Yes, a very rough week but soon to be a good decision.
I'm sure Terry will feel much better after his "upgrade."
Susan (Happy Trails)

Jim said...

Hi Dale and Terry - wow, what a week. Glad to hear that Terry's surgery went pretty well, all things considered. Happy to have spent a brief moment with you in Elkhart. Hope to catch up with you guys later in the year or in 2011. Maybe see you in Kerrville? Jim B