Monday, July 30, 2007
The Journey - Prologue
Several years ago, R was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve. It is a congenital birth defect with the potential of being hereditary, though no one else in his family has it. The big problem with this valve is that it leaks. Now, I'm not a doctor or a nurse, so please pardon my non-medical terminology. Due to this leak, the heart must re-pump out what's leaked back in then pump the new stuff as well. This causes strain on the heart, obviously. Upon diagnosis, the leakage was considered moderate.

Annually, R undergoes a stress test to further monitor his condition. This year (about 6 weeks ago, though it seems like years), the stress test results indicated that not enough oxygen was getting to his heart. This could have been due to blockage and/or the valve. From here, R underwent a cardiac catherization, also known as cardiac angiography. This requires sedation, though no general anesthesia. (I spelled anesthesia correctly the first time, I really should be a damn nurse!) The results of this test indicated clear coronary arteries, but what was now listed as severe insufficiency with the valve, requiring replacement - and be quick about it. The right coronary artery was, in fact, not clear, but I'll save that for the surgery portion of the story. Next stop on our journey is an appointment with the cardio-thoracic surgeon.

You know how normally if you get sent to a specialist, you have to wait weeks and weeks for an appointment? I overheard the nurse at the cardiologist's trying to get us an appointment for the same day. Yeah. That's when I started to panic a little. We saw the surgeon a few days later (he only has office hours once a week, in surgery every other day.) Dr. M was everything I needed him to be. And more. Seriously. He was kind, funny, arrogant (but in a good way), and normal. He has a presence about him that just oozes confidence. He looks you in the eye when he speaks to you and he makes you feel like you are the only person in the room. Simply, I adore him. Sort of important when you're basically giving him your husband's heart to play with, right? We discussed R's case, talked about valve options and the pros and cons of each option. R went into the appointment with one option in mind, but in the end, we decided to go with Dr. M's preference. Dr. M explained how this option, the porcine aortic valve with root, was the most conducive to the life R wants to lead - active, healthy, athletic. He told us if we wanted another opinion, he would recommend we get it, though we were not in a position to wait more than 6-8 weeks for the surgery, regardless of whom the surgeon was. R's condition was truly dire and the consequences were such that I can't even bear to write them.

In the end, we were both more than pleased with Dr. M. The agreement we had going in was if either of us had any reservations at all about the surgeon, his personality, his knowledge, his ability, his hairstyle, his shoes, anything - then we choose another surgeon. This was, really, going to be the beginning of our new life - version 2.0 if you will. We had to both be comfortable with the surgeon. We were, so the surgery was scheduled. We requested the first available opening. That happened to be July 19, R's birthday. It is also the birthday of his Aunt and a very close family friend - so we agreed and hoped the good Karma would lend a hand.

coming next.....Surgery Day


Thursday, July 26, 2007
We're home!
We arrived home late Tuesday afternoon. I'm exhausted, so I'm quite sure R (Mr. Snob) is even more exhausted. I was going to write the story anyway, but he specifically asked me to do it, so we don't forget any of the details. It was a hell of a few days, that's for sure. So, I'm working on our story and will likely post it in increments...I'm thinking sections like Prologue, Surgery Day, Recovery, Post-Op Hospital Stay, and Healing At Home. Something like that, anyway.

I'm struggling with putting my thoughts in order and I'm still adjusting to being home. Yesterday was my first day of normal food and I celebrated that by puking my guts out. So perhaps I will continue my self-diagnosed bland diet. I think I've consumed more Diet Coke in a week that most people do all year. :-)

Anyway, I wanted to let you know we were home. Most of the hurdles have been overcome. R is still having some breathing/lung expansion issues. And obviously pain. Oh, holy wow the pain.

More tomorrow....I'm working on the first part of the story.


Thursday, July 19, 2007
Very Happy, Indeed
Hey there, how are you? Lots to tell you, but I'm mentally exhausted and am not sure how well I'll be able to explain everything tonight. I'll do the short and sweet version and then expound the details later, okay?

The surgery was a success! There was additional....uh, defectiveness found, but it has hopefully been remedied. He's out of surgery and resting in the recovery unit, still on a ventilator. Should be off the vent within a few hours....

I'm going to try to rest...I might be back later or tomorrow. Still need everything you've got, if you don't mind. We're not quite out of the woods just yet. I'll feel much better once he's off the vent- it's just a precaution, but he's not on the road to recovery til that comes off.

Thank you for your prayers, karma, energy, all of it. I felt it and can't even tell you how much it helped.

Happy Birthday
Today is Mr. Snob's Birthday. What a day it will be.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Pretty much everything on my to-do list is done. The last load of laundry is in the machine. The vacuuming has been done. The house isn't exactly sparkling, but it is in a condition that can accept guests and offer some feeling of restfulness, so that's good enough for me. And if a visitor looks in my closet and judges me based on it's contents - well, they can just get the hell outta my house!

My sister-in-law and her family arrive home in a few hours so we'll be heading over there, I've missed them all more than I thought I would and can't wait to squeeze them all and smother them with kisses. So much has happened in the month they've been gone.

I'm working on a list of the pig jokes - I promise to put them up soon!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Ten Things
Well, shit. Here it is Tuesday already. And I thought time wouldn't fly by while we wait for Mr. Snob's surgery on Thursday. Funny how it's the stupid crap that is making me nuts. Like today, had to get a pedicure. HAD. TO. I have no idea why. I mean, sure I like to have my toes pained (today: OPI-Romeo and Joliet - not Juliet, Joliet - I don't know why, either; it's an OPI thing) but I'm pretty sure while we're at the hospital no one is going to notice my feet. What with the whole open heart surgery for Mr. Snob and all. But for the last 2 days it's been consuming my thoughts....have to get pedicure. Now. Can not wait. Now. But maybe the surgeon's a foot fetish guy and would have completely botched everything if my toes weren't freshly painted and exfoliated? Just can't risk it.

Saturday, some friends of my Mother-in-Law held a prayer thingie for Mr. Snob and some other friends who are ill or recovering. I did not do well during this little shin-dig and pretty much cried the whole time. I make jokes, it's what I do. It's my first and most-trusted form of defense. During a prayer thing, with the old ladies praying and all of us reciting the rosary, and a special read-aloud section for the sick people...well, it was just all too much. Hard to make jokes that they wouldn't see as entirely inappropriate. Which, we can all agree, they are, but still. They need to be said. A few of my friends were there, thankfully, and let me mumble my jokes about pork rinds, and smelling like bacon and what if a famine strikes, can we slice off a little bit of Mr. Snob's thigh and fry it up? (Didn't I tell you? His replacement valve is from a pig)

My stomach is in knots and I am worrying about seventeen kinds of shit that doesn't matter. Things like this:
1. Shredding old mail.
2. Is now a good time to switch moisturizer? What if I'm allergic and have to see everyone with a rash on my face?? Good Gawd.
3. Who's going to let the wonder dog out?
4. I should have rearranged the furniture.
5. 2 Sweet Sixteen birthdays to celebrate this week and I can't think hard enough to buy gifts. I always buy gifts, never ever ever give cash or gift cards. Giving cash or gift cards means I am a failure. I am giving cash, fuck it. They'll understand.
6. I need to clean out the refrigerator.
7. I need a new small-ish, multi-pocketed duffel to have at the hospital. Something to hold all my stuff that I'll be carrying, especially the day of the surgery (likely to be an 18 hour extravaganza of fun and frivolity if you count the getting there early, then the surgery, the time in recovery, the waiting and then the transferring to ICU. And the waiting, oh the waiting). I'll have my i-pod, the PSP, a book (thinking I'll re-read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), a toothbrush, etc etc dear god I should have bought a bigger bag.
8. I still want to paint the kitchen orange - maybe just one wall.
9. Laundry, laundry, laundry.
10. I should have started cleaning sooner.

Thursday will be here very soon. I'm nervous, I'm scared, I'm so many things....but I am also so grateful to you. Thank you for letting me vent. I promise to keep you posted. You are all go great to offer help and I just might be taking you up on it.

To my special dear internet goddess friend, O'Mama....thank you for the chocolate, the teddy bear for Booger and the little tiny pin that is so full of good energy it damn near lights up my house. There are no words, my friend.


Thursday, July 12, 2007
Ten Things
I'm having trouble stringing words together in a coherent manner, so I'll hide behind Ten Things and you'll read it and like it, dammit! (I kid, mostly...I'm needy, throw me a bone already)

1. I saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at the midnight premiere. It was crazy good and I really want to see it at an IMAX theater! Harry rocks, can't wait for the new book next week.

2. Movie theater popcorn is one of my favorite foods.

3. Yesterday, we replaced the storm door on the front of the house. A quick easy project turned into a 6 hour debacle, but it looks fantastic.

4. Today, I painted the trim around the front door, the trim around the garage door and the front side of the front door (the main door, not the storm door. For that would be dumb.)

5. I have no less than 4 lists going right now. List of things to do before next week, lists of people to call, lists of people to call people, lists of things to bring.

6. Mr. Snob's getting a new valve!

7. I'm going sort of crazy.

8. My sister-in-law will be home from vacation in time for the surgery.

9. It's pretty difficult to explain to a 5 year old that her dad's having surgery and she likely won't see him for several days while he recovers in ICU. We'll get her up there to see him as soon as we can, but it's likely not going to be for 2-3 days post-op.

10. Someone stop me before I paint my kitchen orange.

Okay, we met with the surgeon and I love him. Love. After meeting him, I was calm, energized and confident about the upcoming surgery. But, I should have known that wouldn't last. I still have all the confidence in the surgeon and the surgery itself, I have a better feeling in the pit of my stomach than I have for awhile - BUT - c'mon, this is me. I worry, I fret, I freak. It's who I am. I am GOOD at it, great even. And this is my husband, my soul mate, my everything - they have to stop his heart to fix his heart. And that fucking sucks. They have to saw through his chest, people. With a saw. And yes, they have to stop his heart. The surgeon said he'll send out word to me throughout the surgery, and I appreciate that - just don't forget to tell me when his heart is beating again, so that mine can, too. He will be so much better after this is all done. The doctor said the first month or so will completely suck and it will hurt like a motherfucker, but it has to be done. We're preparing for everything knowing that it will be fine and we will do this together, like we do everything.

Surgery is Thursday the 19th, 7 days from today. The 19th happens to also be Mr. Snob's birthday. We picked that day hoping the good Karma that comes with it will help. The other option was the surgeon's birthday, 7/23. I told the surgeon I didn't want it that day because he would be in a hurry to leave!

I'll update when I can. I'm cleaning and painting and organizing so that I can spend the next month doing more important stuff - like helping my husband heal.


Friday, July 06, 2007
I suck at titles
We went to see Transformers, have you? YOU MUST! It may be due to my love for the cartoon a hundred years ago, but holy shit it was FANTASTIC. And the Camaro? Bumble Bee is his name, and he was soooo cool. I want that car. It's not even out yet, still in ...what do they call it...concept mode or whatever. But it was hot. The computer graphics in this movie were better than I have ever seen. Ever. We're going again this weekend! I'm working on the story of the guy who sat a seat down from me in the movie, he was really close to making the movie even better, but he never shut up. He was funny, but damn.

Met with the cardiologist yesterday. The risks of having not having the surgery FAR outweigh the risks of having it. So, we're meeting with the surgeon on Tuesday to discuss the procedure and schedule the date.

My good friend who I told you was sick has cancer.

It's been a shitty month. But I'm trying to be strong.

Monday, July 02, 2007
Catching Up
Hi, there. Remember me?

I am incredibly sorry for the lack of updating this week (and last). I'm keeping myself so busy. It's just a defense mechanism really, because when I stop and sit still for a minute, all the bad thoughts come. I don't like dwelling on them and so far the only way to not do that is to go go go like the Energizer Bunny. I've been monopolizing my friends, keeping one even from finishing remodeling their bathroom. I'm needy, sue me. Well, don't, please - I'm unemployed. Or maybe you should, it's not like there's anything there for you to have anyway.

Our friends are remodeling-crazy and it's getting me in the mood to do some sort-of cheap things around here. In fact, we tried to swap out the screen door today, but the existing door frame is held in place with some top-secret strange ass security screws. I'm off to Sears in the morning to find a removal tool of some sort. And I'm so handy that I took a picture of the screw so that when I try to explain it to the unfortunate salesperson, I have something to show him. Otherwise, I'm sure his head will explode.

A very close friend of mine is also having health issues. Her appointment with the surgeon is 7/9. We're trying to be there for each other, our spouses and our kids (though Booger doesn't really know what's going on, her teenagers are all too well aware.) This sucks. For real. I'm trying to be positive and say all the right things, but damn it, it still sucks. And many of the people we both happen to rely on are vacationing in the Philippines mostly unaware of what's happening. What a welcome home present.

Our appointment with the cardiologist is Thursday in the morning. Yes, I called and tried to get it sooner - nothing available, stupid holiday week. The big feeling of dread that I've been carrying with me for weeks has not faded and with the new issues with my friend, it's only getting worse.

Bad things happen to good people, I understand. I also am (mostly) aware that I can't control everything, but damn. It's easier for me when I can. That way I'm the one to blame. I can't blame myself for these bad things that are happening, but I still do. Also, Health problems aren't always "bad", I suppose. But certainly they are challenges and sometimes I just don't know if I'm up for this. I will be, and when the time comes, I know I'll do the right things, say the right things, be where I'm supposed to and all that. I'm really good in situations like that. I can take control and get it done. I'm just hoping I don't fail this time.

Went to Mass this weekend and almost starting sobbing right there in the pew. Much to the horror of the friend I was with, I'm sure. Though they never mentioned it, I'm pretty sure they noticed. I pulled it together, though and did find comfort in being there. The priest talked about being called and challenged by God. Uh, yeah. That's me. But he said it's how I react to it and I need to do so with faith and (ahem) patience. I'm trying, that's gonna have to be enough for now.

So, I'm sorry I've been distant. I'm trying to avoid these depressing entries, but they make me feel better by getting them out and I'm too lazy to hand write them in a journal. Thanks for bearing with me. There's some funny stuff going on, stuff I want to tell you, but every time I sit down to write, this is the stuff that comes out.