The date has been set. September 15th. The location? The Nebraska Heart Hospital. I will be checking in at 5 AM for a 7:30 AM surgery.
Two days short of six weeks, this adventure started. I woke up one morning and my hands were swollen and I couldn't move my fingers.
The journey started with a trip to my personal physician. The first tests were taking blood. That night I got a call to be at the clinic the next morning and quickly I was at the hospital having a CT Scan and an ultrasound.
All the tests kept coming back to one thing – the heart. More tests... a lot more tests and a lot more blood work and the results are in.
Very early on it was determined that I had an aneurysm on the aortic artery. More tests were taken to make sure this was the only problem. Well more things were discovered.
I don't know the exact terms so I'll write what I remembered the surgeon said to me and later on I repeated to the nurse and she said I understood it quite well.
Besides the aneurysm, two other repairs were discovered. By te heart there are numerous veins that circulate the blood... one of them goes out the left side and circulates through the body and goes in on the right side... well mine doesn't do that... it makes it some of the way and then back flows away from the heart... the doctor said, it's a hole in the heart.
The other discovery was the aortic valve. This valve opens and closes with each heart beat, mine doesn't entirely close, which leaks blood to my legs, my hands, and my lungs. It explains why I get so winded so easily.
This valve needs to be removed and replaced. One option is with tissue from a cow... the other option is a mechanical device. The tissue has a life span of ten years and would need to be replaced... the mechanical device will work for a lifetime... with it, I'll be on blood thinner for the rest of my life.
Anyway, on the 15th, a four hour operation will take place to repair/replace the parts that are defective. Later that afternoon, I'll be sitting up in bed and if I want to eat, I won't be laying in bed, I will be sitting in a chair. By that afternoon I'll learn how to use a pillow to get out of bed and how to protect myself if I cough or sneeze.
If all goes well, I will be released from the hospital in three to five days. Then, depending on my progress, I could go directly home or go to a swing bed at a local hospital. All depends on how well I get along and how confident I am in taking care of myself.
Well Folks, I don't ask for a lot in my life. Tonight I am asking for your prayers. I'm already looking forward to next weekend... if all goes well, I will be back home and hopefully resting comfortably...