A Day

Alarm was set for 3:45 am. Woke up just before it went off. Unlike many early risings for plane trips, we both fell asleep pretty easily last night, and are reasonably well rested.

Similar to airports, what seems to be a time when few should be awake – but everyone else is also trying to make that early flight, there was a line at the reception desk. 5 am, but we weren’t stressed about getting through security.

The rest of this entry may have more information than you want. Feel free to skip. This is a way for me to keep track as it happens.

Into the pre-procedure room area. Same place we went for the heart catheterization test a few days ago. I will admit to having lost track of the specific order and days of all of the recent appointments.

In this first stop he has been measured, questioned several times, poked once (so far), and just about completely shaved. The last is the biggest visual change. And we met with at least half a dozen folks that are in charge of his care.

It took the anesthesiologist saying twice it was time for hugs and kisses for me to realize I was being shown the door, or curtain. This was the first time this morning that things got emotional. 7:15 am. What is the last thing you should say, before everything is different?

The focus is really 3 months down the road, when abilities should start to return. The next three months of recovery are still the grand unknown.

We did finally settle on a bell so I can be at Carl’s beck and call. It is the type you might see in a hotel lobby when the clerk has stepped away from the desk. Our other choice was a cowbell, but the sound didn’t resonate and I didn’t want to be listening to Christopher Walken and Will Farrell references ad nauseam.

In the meantime I am cooling my heels in the reception waiting area. Doing some work. Focus can be distracting. As can the sounds of construction, drills and saws… they did warn that hospitals are not quiet places, but hammering was unexpected.

9:04 first update – stable, bypass underway (1 vessel)

I finally understand why I didn’t get where the Starbucks was that everyone uses as a landmark for giving directions in the hospital. It is closed and under construction behind white temporary walls. I could see the ubiquitous sign, but no cafe. That’s the source of all of the construction noise.

9:48 second update – stable, on the heart/lung machine, bypass still underway.

In addition to the construction noise there had been a crying toddler, and I accept that as normal and expected. Now a barking dog. I don’t think this is a service dog training aspect, so am slightly annoyed.

Took a bit of a wander. Around the block. Figuring out the lay of the land, beyond the parking structure to hospital skybridge. And a bit more work. Wander for some more food.

12:30 third update – off of the heart/lung machine with no complications. Watching for some time before closing.

Work and wait.

1:05 fourth update with the surgeon. Looking good. Closing underway.

1:20 packing him up. Up to the ICU.

In the family waiting room, another family getting some not so good news. Should I leave? I don’t know where I would go. So I focus on my stuff. First time I wish I had a second with me.

2:20 visit in his room, for a few minutes. Lots of tubes, he looks kind of small in the bed. Sleeping. And I have been kicked out for another hour.

Now to communicate with those who care.

3:35 Back to ICU. Still sleeping until ~3:50 when he “woke up”. It’s a little hard to tell the difference, except that he responds to commands.

During this interlude I took a moment to check out the array of things coming and going from Carl. My count was 2 in the mouth; 2 in the neck, splitting to 7 outputs and 2 inputs; 2 in the right arm; chest tube or 2 plus the aforementioned wires; and for the left arm a blood pressure cuff and O2 sensor. Plus a few more I probably can’t discern.

4:50 Major move forward. Breathing tube and stomach tube out. And he speaks, sort of. Complaints that are appropriate.

And so recovery begins. His sense of humor appears to be intact. When a worker delivered his bag of clothes from the pre-op area Carl forcefully (for this moment) said, “okay, let’s go home.” I told him we could, as soon as he can tie his shoes.

9:00 pm -sat up on the side of the bed, stood and got into a chair. Assisted fully of course.

And it’s now the next morning. Tired enough that I didn’t hit post. Not rereading either.

4 Responses to “A Day”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Glad that he has this stage over with and can proceed to recovery. I got very used to hospitals, but never enjoyed being there. Too many people and too much noise and stress. How long does he have to stay?

  2. Jan Miller Says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize Carl was having surgery!! So glad that he is doing well after the surgery!! Looking forward to seeing you very soon!!

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