Into the storm

Monday night April 4th, 2011 I had a great Italian dinner with my wife Pam and went back to the hotel room which was 20 minuets from the George Washington Bridge. Cat nap sleep'n all night,listening to the train whistle off in the distance think'n I'm Woodie Gunthrie ride'n north on those rails with just my guitar and a knapsack. The committee in my head is arguing over which way the Dr's will insert the needle in my neck... down or up. I rolled over a dozen times; Pam knows I can't sleep and she says so. I hope my luck holds out and the cath lab shows my arteries are clean and I don't need bypass surgery also. I'm allowed to eat breakfast.... I hope the waffles are not soggy.
Tuesday 12 noon the cath lab gets started and by 2:15pm Dr. Williams tells Pam there is no significant blockage but due to calcification on the aortic valve they will probably need to replace it.
Wed AM 6:20 pre op and 7:30 I'm lying on a table with my arms spread out and they are starting IVs in my wrist. Now I pride myself on being a great patient and I'm trying to rest easy and not move... I open and close my eyes trying to figure out what works best for me but then I realized my lower body is shaking uncontrollably... can they all tell? Lights out for me, this is the last I my open heart surgery.
12:30pm Dr. Stewart's part of the surgery is over and he tells Pam that he replaced the aortic valve, repaired the septal wall, did the maze procedure and fixed the aneurysm which was now 5.5. By 4pm I'm in ICU.
Don't sleep!! Wake up!! Tube is down my wind pipe which makes things uncomfortable but I try to roll with it all. Later Pam told me I was biting on the tube. I wanted to sleep so bad and they kept telling me to wake up. Hours later the tube came out and my mouth is as dry as a desert... moist swabs are a wonderful rush. I finally got sent down to a stepdown room. I made it thru... still alive.
Very, very weak and thirsty, I realize I really did make it thru, I was so out of it in ICU, Oh how good that first apple juice felt going down.
Next day the physical therapist came in to try and get me to walk; I very slowly got up and moved to the edge of the bed, then stood up, hold'n the walker but not moving anywhere. The therapist said to try and take a few steps in one place, I did and then sat right down. I had a lot of surgery done, Dr. Stewart basically rebuild my heart. I had some complications with extra V-tach heart beats and the nurses came rushing in to me in the middle of the night... Who are you? Where are you? now I'm confused and not sure what I was saying. More IVs go into my arms and meds now control the V-tachs. They did blood work, test my blood surgar, blood pressure etc. etc. shots in my stomach for blood thinners and the best news was after two days I was able to get a window view of the G.W Bridge and Hudson River. I was supposed to be in the hospital for 5 to 6 days but it turned out to be more like 11 days because of my complications. The Drs and staff were all great... the food could have been better, it was much better up in Boston in 2006. I started to walk a little and even climb a few stairs in the hospital.
Pam and I drove home on Saturday April 16th. Pam did all the drive'n. Don H. Krantz


Benjamin J. Carey said...

Great post Don! Raw and to the bone :) That sure brought me back to my own surgery.....I remember a lot of those same things. In regard to the part about being out of it and not knowing what you're saying; my wife told me a couple days after being home when my bloods were low and I was hazy that I asked her "Where am I working? Who the hell is paying the bills?" lol.

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