Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mom's Surgery

Last Wednesday my mom had open heart surgery to replace one of her heart valves. It was a LONG day, but all went pretty smoothly. My brothers and I, along with my aunt Renee, aunt Janet, grandma Dianne, grandma Darlene and grandpa Clayton we all to the hospital before they took her back for surgery. Later in the day, my uncle Glade came as well along with a few other relatives on my grandma Darlene's side of the family. We took up half of the waiting room. My sister was there in spirit, but had decided it would be a long day of waiting and that would be hard on the boys. So she came to visit the next day, which worked out well since by then my mom was more awake.

When I say it was a LONG day, I don't exaggerate; I was awake for roughly 22 hours. My grandpa had offered to get a couple of hotel rooms for my brothers and I so we could go out the night before. Then the next morning I got up at 6:00 so we could be to the hospital by 7:00. By about 7:45 we were all kissing her goodbye and wishing her luck. Then I sat with every one's stuff while they all went to breakfast in the hospital cafeteria. The nurse called shortly before 9:00 to say they were starting the procedure.
My brothers went back to the hotel to sleep some. I took an hour and found a Curves to get a work out in. Then we spent the day just waiting. In that 22 hours I read 2 full books on my Kindle Fire. The nurse called every few hours with an update so we would know all was going well.

My aunt took this picture of my grandma's playing cards while in the waiting room. On the left is their step mom and on the right is their mom. It warms my heart beyond words to see just how much my family came together to take care of my mom.
Finally around 4:00 we were allowed to go back and see my mom. She was still out of it, but we all agreed she looked better then when she was life flighted out 3 weeks ago. Slowly everyone started to head back to home or hotels and it was just me and my grandma Dianne.

The one thing that didn't go as smoothly was the breathing tube. They had said in most cases, it comes out within a few hours of surgery. But my mom's lungs were still weak from the double pneumonia and they couldn't get her levels to where they would like them to be. Every hour they would check her levels and tell us: they were slowly improving, but still not good enough. I was tired, but I didn't want to leave until the breathing tube was out. You could tell they don't encourage visitors (especially overnight) in this ICU unit because of the very uncomfy chairs. Every other room my mom has been in has had a couch. (She should get a frequent flyer card, she's been in 5 different rooms at that hospital in the last month.) My grandma must have felt the same way because I couldn't get her to go lay down and sleep. She had gone to the mediation room in the hospital earlier in the night and slept for about an hour. But after that, we were both at her bedside.

Finally at 1:00 AM they pulled the breathing tube. Then they helped my mom out of bed so she could sit up for a little while. So then I decided to stay until I knew she was back in her bed. I KNOW the hospital would take care of her, but I still needed that peace of mind. So finally around 3:30, I headed for the hotel for some much needed sleep. I only got a few hours of sleep before people started calling and texting for updates. So I finally just gave up and got up around 10:00.

Since I had slept so little, I knew I would need a good nights sleep before even attempting to make the long drive home. I wasn't planning to go home until Friday, but if my mom was still in the ICU Thursday night, I needed to know I could sleep well somewhere. So I went to the lobby and paid for another night. Then I woke my brother up to give me my swimsuit. I had forgot it at home, but since Alden left after we did, I had asked him to bring it. When he handed it to me, it was only the top. I had been planning to buy a new suit before the cruise, so I decided to find a store and buy a new one to use that night.

Then I headed to the hospital. The good news was they had moved my mom out of ICU. Before heading up to her room, I stopped in the cafeteria for lunch. I LOVE that place.

My mom was awake, but not feeling well. But given that she had been in surgery for 8 hours the day before, that was understandable. Her shoulder must have been in an awkward position during surgery because it was giving her a lot of pain. So I asked the nurse for a heating pad to see if that would help.
Then I mostly visited with my sister while my mom slept.

At about 8:00, I was ready for bed. So I convinced John to spend the night (cause this room had a nice fold out couch) and I headed to the hotel. I spent a few hours in the hot tub, followed by a swim in the pool.

The next morning I went back to the hospital. My grandma Dianne was there and before I left my grandpa Clayton showed up as well. The nurse came in and said they could pull the chest tube, but afterwards, my mom would have to lay down for at least an hour. So we decided to take a short walk. My mom makes me so proud, she is such a fighter. She had a few moments where she got dizzy, but she had picked a point in the hall to make it to and she did. I think I get my drive and determination from her.

Just after they pulled the chest tube, Josh called to say he was headed home from work. I was still worried about my mom, but since I only see Josh on the weekends, I decided to head home. I should have stayed in the city; it was snowing when I got home. And the next morning we woke up to half an inch! When I got home that night, I called to let my grandma know. I was thrilled to hear my mom was doing better. I knew she would have no appetite for a while, but it still worried me to see her not eat her meals when they brought them. But after I had left, she ate some lunch.

My mom is improving and gets to come home today. Because of her age, they decided to replace her heart valve with a mechanical one. That means that she will be on coumadin (a blood thinner) for the rest of her life. Or until scientific advances find another solution. Which according to her doctor, there is a good possibility of her eventually being able to not need coumadin. It will be a long recovery, but the Dr. said that once she has healed from surgery, she will notice a difference in her overall health.


Jessica said...

Yay! She gets to come home! So happy for her and you. :)

Kyndra Sue said...

So happy she gets to come home! Garrett is on Warfarin too. So lucky to have modern medecine.