Troublemaker

So this week at Emory I have gotten in trouble for:

Using a space heater

Using a hairdryer

Walking down a hallway I always walk down, because they gave me a crappy heart monitor

Bringing & taking my own Tylenol

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Saturday’s Mani & Pedi.

My good friend, Ann, took me to get my nails done on Saturday.  If I haven’t recommended a nail salon before, I am now – Nail Envy, Congaree Road.  Clean, the employees are sweet & work hard, offer you a water, soda, or wine.  The decorations are beautiful, flat screen tvs with pretty scenery or style network.

 

Ok….so more to the point. I was sitting on the end chair, then Ann, then this girl named Katie. She had a pedicure, then fell asleep & was sweating a lot.  Katie started to wake up, and thrashing.  Ann & another client, who was a nurse, held her down while my nail tech called  911.  The other client/nurse also got her phone out of her purse & called her mom & sister. She was diabetic. When the paramedics arrived & tested her, her blood sugar was 28 – normal is 60 – 120.  They gave her an IV, and a Pepsi with a sugar packet dumped in it.

I don’t tell this story  to teach in embarrass Katie or anything,  This continues to teach me that I am not the only one with a serious condition.  I also saw grace shown by Ann who walked Katie to the bathroom with an IV, and helped her throw up.  I’m sure that when Ann went to get a pedi, she didn’t envision helping someone throw up & get your blood sugar up.

Starting Cardiac Rehab

This Thursday I will be interviewing with GMH Greer Campus to start a 12 week exercise program.  I briefly stopped in last week to take a look, and was quite intimidated,  This was such a weird feeling – I used to confidently walk into Sportsclub &  go to a spin class, weightlifting class, or body jam.  My confidence  & identity came from the fact that I ran 18 marathons from 2001 – 2006.

I was told I will start with putting 3 leads on my chest to monitor my blood pressure and pulse. Starting on a bike for 10 – 15. I think I will bring my Zune.  The nice things about the  atmosphere is it’s smoke free!!! Why on Earth people would have  heart problems  & then us tobacco ????

I am intimidated to go to a gym where a bunch of 70 year olds are more fit than I am in.  I am scared!

No Place Like Home

Judy Garland’s famous line, “There’s no place like home,” really is true.  I have been home for 6 days.  It’s so comforting, safe, and I am learning how to do things for myself.  I am able to brush my teeth, wash my face, walk 10-12 minutes on my parents’ treadmill.  Having my own pajamas and blankets are part of my home. Having my favorite foods (even though I have a small appetite) is such a luxury.  My own shower is another luxury! I don’t have to share with anyone else, put plastic bags over my IV’s.  It’s really comforting to be at home. 

My mom & dad, as well as my brother & sister in law,  have worked so hard hard to take care of my children, Chloe & Jack.  The kids have such a special relationship with the grandparents.  The kids look forward to seeing them first thing in the morning, bath time, and night time kisses.

I have a long way to  recover…I am starting a 12 Cardiac Rehab program next Thursday to teach me to exercise with monitoring heart rate & BP; I will also have lots of lab work 2-3 times a week., and I have many bruises to heal.  But the most important thing is that the open heart surgery was successful & I have a 2nd chance on life.  Thank you God!! I will not waste it – want to live in light of the cross every day. 

Home (at last)

On Thursday evening, after 23 days in the hospital, I was discharged.  We stayed that night at the Hampton Inn in Atlanta and then came back to Emory the next day for lab work and a check-up; Doctor B wanted to make sure that I was healthy enough before I went all the way back to South Carolina.  Then we had to wait for 90 minutes at CVS while my 10 prescriptions were filled.  The ride home was not easy, especially on super diuretics, but Katherine our sister-in-law rode with us to be my bathroom buddy on frequent stops.  We got home on 7:30 on Friday night.  It was a pretty busy night, ending with Joel taking a midnight run to Wal-Mart for Popsicles (I’m still on fluid restriction).

Leaving the hospital was very emotional–happy to be released, but anxious that I wouldn’t be able to make it away from the safety of the hospital.  It was a challenge getting all of the prescriptions organized, but we have a big pill box and now have them broken out for the next week.  One of the less than pleasant things we have had to do is have Joel give me Lovenox shots in the stomach.  Joel has done it much better than the nurse at the hospital did–he does it quick, then applies pressure before putting the tape on the gauze, so it stops bleeding.  Joel says that is the "for worse" in "for better or worse."  We’ve had a lot of "for worse" lately, we’re ready for some "for better."  The shots are to prevent blood clots until my INR level gets above 2.0.  We were getting close when it was last checked on Friday, and we’ll find out tomorrow if we need to continue.

Each day has generally been better than the day before it–some of the anxiety has worn off, and I have been overwhelmed with joy being able to re-connect with Jack and Chloe.  The tape strips on the chest incision have come off.  Each "first" has felt like  a momentous occasion–first meal with the whole family, first night in my normal bed, first car ride, first trip up the stairs, first time kissing Jack, first time going out to eat, to celebrate our twelfth anniversary.  We have had times in the days since we returned home that have seemed like normal life, which has been great.

My energy has continued to increase–I’m walking 10-15 minutes on the treadmill, 3 times per day, and have been able to go up and down the steps and my parent’s house 3 times a day.  My pain is in check most of the time, but still gets pretty strong around my incision about 30-45 minutes before my next 12-hour morphine.  My remaining fluid has continued to come off with the help of my diuretic, but that means that I have to run to the restroom all day and all night.

How you can pray for me now:

  • Remaining water weight will continue to come off
  • Coping with fluid restrictions
  • Peaceful sleep (I have had very vivid dreams/nightmares

The week ahead will be pretty busy for us.  I’ll be going to the Greenville Memorial Outpatient lab multiple times this week to get my blood drawn, I will be starting cardiac rehabilitation, we have to go back to Atlanta on Wednesday for a checkup, and I hope to reconnect with my therapist.