It has been hard to watch Ken with this latest frustration. He is the heaviest he has ever been and it is water. He knows this, but it doesn’t make it feel any better when you don’t fit in your clothes. He cuts out a lot of sodium foods. Still nothing budges. I see how frustrated he is and can do nothing but encourage and pray.
This is something I have not had too much experience with. I have high blood pressure so I don’t add salt myself. I just have never had the water weight like this. I continue to support and do my best. I just know we will get past it. One more trial that we will win!
I was not panicked. Just concerned. I did not think that I needed to worry too much, but I did pray. I had to pray we got there in one piece, as the roads were a bit dicey. We got there and I dropped Ken off at ER so I could park the car. I knew he would be in a room when I returned and he was. They had already started hooking him up to do his EKG and we were once again drawn into the crazy world of do a test and wait.
At one point they gave Ken a nitro pill. After that the symptoms subsided and they did another EKG. His EKG had changed ever so slightly. Right after this they took him for his CT scan. I sat in that little room thinking about the fact that the nitro effected his symptoms. For the first time I started to worry. I started to get major anxiety. He was gone a bit and I really just needed to see him. I was very relieved when they brought him back and said they were thinking of keeping him over night for observation. This was a relief because I WAS worried at that point.
I left Ken so I could go home and get some things for us. (Yes, I stayed with him.) I made a couple phone calls as I was leaving the hospital and warming up the car. Then took my time going home. Once I was home I gathered items and took care of the cat. On the way back I stopped to get something to eat. I sat and ate it before heading back. I guess I took too long because Ken started to worry about ME. Time to settle in for the night.
I slept on a cot and we got a few hours of sleep. Not much though. The morning brought more testing and waiting. We made do but it was a LONG day. When the Cardio doctor came with his nurse practitioner they pretty much said they knew it was not his heart. However, the doctor started talking about staying another night. We wanted nothing to do with that! They sent him for a stress test and called it good. We finally got out after 5 that night. 24 hours in the hospital, but it was all worth it to know he was well and safe!
From the wife’s point of view!
After my first 10 minute visit I was a little shook but yet so relieved. Shook because there was so much to take in and try to understand. I sat in the waiting room with Vicki and we chatted and did our thing waiting until 2:30. That was our next 10 minute visit time. We went in to see him and I stepped up to hold his hand and say hello. The breathing tube was still in. He was looking good for a man who just had heart surgery. Vicki came up to the bed and got in a short “chat” and got to see that her brother was going to be OK.
Back to the waiting room for an hour. In that hour our son Matt showed up. When the next visiting time came up Matt and I went in to see Ken. Matt cautiously approached his dad. It was hard to see him with all the tubes and lines, but so good to see him aware and good. He STILL had the breathing tube in so we could only talk and hold his hand. The nurse came in and said they would be taking the tube out soon. A chance to hear his voice on our next visit. We retreated to the waiting room and more time wasting.
For the next visit I only went long enough to hear his voice….say I love you. Then left Matt to visit with his dad in private. It was important that he knew his dad would be OK. After that visit Matt headed home. Vicki stayed until the next hour. She went to see him but he was sleeping soundly. She informed me that he needed his CPAP machine hooked up and that she was leaving. I thanked her for being there. I really appreciated her calm company.
I went to see how he was sleeping and talk to the nurse. I could not find her. I told the staff at the desk outside his room that Ken needed his CPAP hooked up ASAP. I explained that I could see him having breathing issues as we spoke. I was assured it would be done. I believed them so much that I watched the time tick by and went back a half our later. No CPAP. I hunted down his nurse and told her I really thought it was important. She agreed and said she would get to him very soon. Next time I went back, a half hour later, he had it and was sleeping better. He woke up and talked to me a few minutes. Then I felt better leaving him to sleep.
I stayed for one more visit. I decided to work on a puzzle in the waiting room on my last hour there. It was very calming and time flew. I then went down for my last visit before I went home to try for some sleep. I got there and the night nurse told me I could stay as long as I wanted. I sat for a visit and she also informed me that she was going to get him on his feet to stand next to his bed that night. I was so excited! When the time came, she helped him to “walk” his legs over the side. Then he slowly stood next to his bed. I was SO happy to see that! It wore him out! He got put back to bed and I helped settle him in before leaving. Home for the night and back early for rounds.
Room move next!
Up at 4am. To the hospital before 5:30. Let the games begin! We do not sit around and wait for long. We are taken back and put in a prep room. Nurse comes in and asks questions and is way too cheery for that time in the morning. Then she leaves us so Ken will be able to get “dressed”. More like UNdressed. Gown and socks only.
Let the fun begin! Vitals checked, tons of questions asked and answered. Then the shaving starts. Yes, I said shaving. TEEHEE! Ken got almost all of his front half shaved. Neck down. He had already shaved his face the night before. He made sure to tell the young nurse who was shaving him that he was a bit ticklish on his tummy. She was avoiding that while others where coming and going and talking to him. This process took the better part of an hour. The whole time she worked hard to keep the more private parts covered. When she did get to shaving the stomach area, it was VERY amusing. Ken had to clench all up and make faces while trying not to laugh. Trust me, there were some escaping giggles.
More vitals and questions before he was taken away from me and I went to the waiting room to collect my beeper. The beeper was my life line to Ken. Now, I will not say that I was scared or even really worried just yet. I had instructions on how the day would go and what to expect. I knew there was a board in the waiting area that told you where your person was in the process. I had a color coated card to be sure I could read it. I had a beeper that would go off any time there was news and I needed to talk to someone. I also had three of the most awesome friends waiting for me.
Lisa, Teresa, and Kerry were waiting for me when I came out. They drove over from Illinois the night before and stayed near by. I was so glad to see their sleepy faces! After greetings and a little discussion they went down to the cafeteria with me. I would not have made it through without the distraction they brought me. It went a little like this… I would check “the board” and one of them would check on me. The beeper would go off and I would go find out what was going on, and they all watched my every move. Once they knew life was good, they went back to the jokes and the stories. The teasing and the laughter. Yes, that is what friends are for! Eventually his sister, Vicki, showed up too. She was there for the talk with the surgeon and this was very helpful.
When surgery was over they told me they would come get me when he was settled and I would be allowed to visit for 10 minutes every hour. Only 10 minutes!?!?! OK…I guess. I was retrieved and went back for my first 10 minute visit. He was aware and looked at me and squeezed my hand. That was all I could ask for at that point. After my 10 minutes I went back out to say good bye to my fantastic friends. I could not thank them enough for what they did. Then his sister and I sat and waited until the next visit time.
More waiting and progress stories to come.
Ken asked me to contribute to this blog. I wanted to a few times. I would start, stop, start again. I could not find the words to describe how I was feeling and dealing with everything. I have decided to just lay it out and hope you can understand it all. I will start with my emotions leading up to the angioplasty and then what I felt after that.
As Ken explained, the nurse from the cardiologist’s office was trying hard to reach us. When he found out what was going on he called me and told me we were going to need to go in for the angioplasty. He explained why and what that was. I was sitting in the waiting room at the eye doctors waiting for his mom to be done with her appointment. All I could think of was that I didn’t want to lose it there. Then he asked me to talk to his mom about it. “Sigh!” Hold it together even longer. I can do this!
The day of the angioplasty comes. I was prepared to sit and do some work on my computer while they worked on him. I barely got set up and the nurse was coming for me. She took me to a little room with a computer in it. I was not sure what was going on, but I knew in my gut that it wasn’t good. The doctor came in and went to the computer to show me the pictures of Ken’s heart. He told me that they found many blockages and that there was no way a stent would do it. I was stunned. He informed me that it was from years of diabetes issues. However, the working part of his heart was strong. At least one thing was good!
Once I was away from the doctor the anxiety set in. I paced and started to feel out of breath. I knew I needed help to not have an anxiety attack. I called my mom. She is always my rock and I needed her on the prayer chain. She calmed me and was very helpful. One more call to a friend to fill the rest of the time before they came to get me and I was calm when I got in the room with Ken.
This is where we learned of the waiting game that would become our lives. I didn’t know what that meant at that moment, but I soon found out it meant anxiety, stress, and headaches. We are almost there and I, for one, can’t wait!