Monday, December 04, 2006

Good to Go

Walter's scheduled for surgery at 7:45 am. Central time, I think. Evansville, Indiana. In Indiana you never could tell what time zone you were in, and now I hear they went and fixed it, and I still have no idea what time zone it's in.

They tell him he'll be in surgery for around 3 hours. On Saturday he'll be released.

That fast.

The problem is, his incision won't be healed yet. In fact he'll still have a drainage tube in.

Meaning he should not be around any MRSA carriers.

We'll be checking into a few things to take care of that. There are some recovery rooms there for people who are released from the hospital, but still not really ready to go home. Maybe his insurance will cover it, maybe not.

The four docs working on him are:

-Cardiologist In Charge - I don't know what formal names they give the team rankings. I also don't know what the guy's position in the facility is. What matters is, he's the lead guy, the boss, in Walter's case. Dr. S. I'll call him *CIC.*

-Cardio Partner, Dr. P - He did the heart cath. Say, *CP.*

-Surgeon - Don't know his name yet. You've maybe heard surgeons referred to as *mechanics* by other doctors. It's not that they disrespect surgeons really, no more than you'd disrespect a good mechanic. They still can look down their noses at a mechanic, and in the hierarchy of medicine, non-surgeon docs often sneer a bit at surgeons. They may enjoy putting them in their place if said surgeons are perceived as overstepping their bounds.

-ID Doc - Since I took care to inform and re-inform them of my own MRSA, and Walter's got a good chance of being a carrier now too, they assigned him an Infectious Disease (ID) doctor. Thank you thank you thank you.

I talked to Dr. CIC on...Friday? Anyway, he was in a hurry to move on but took a minute on the phone with me anyway.

For kdad especially, I wanted some precise information on Walter's blockages. Here it is:

-90% blockage in the right descending coronary artery prior to branching to posterier
-70-80% in circumflex (CX)
-60-70% in LAD.

I've no idea what all that actually means, except that if it were my house plumbing, I'd want to throw away the pipes too.

kdad says that they usually don't do a bypass unless there's at least 90% blockage in one vessel. So as shocking as the actual percentages sound, hearing the word *bypass* means a minimum of 90% anyway.

When I talked to CIC, Walter still wanted to come home for the surgery and I was worried. I told CIC that the surgeon had acted like it was no big deal if Walter left.

CIC's response? --I don't care. He's just a surgeon. No. I'm not releasing Walter before the surgery. He's not going anywhere until then. I'm the one in charge here. Not the surgeon.--

Quietly and absolutely firm. Brick wall time. I mean CIC is a ROCK on this issue!


Huge relief.

I'd already told one nurse about my MRSA. I checked with CIC and he hadn't been told yet. It's probably in the chart but so what.

I explained: --I'm colonized and constantly reinfect myself. After I got home from the hospital in 2004 Walter had three separate skin infections that looked like MRSA to me. I wouldn't be surprised if he's colonized too. Also I had a severe reinfection through my entire left leg six weeks ago, and Walter came home over Thanksgiving. So he's been very recently exposed to a heavy germ load from me. I don't know if you'd do a nasal swab to check on him or whatever, I just want to be sure you know so you guys and Walter are all safe.

CIC's immediate response? --Okay. We'll get an ID doc on him right away.

And don't come here.--

So I'm officially banned from setting foot in Deaconess.

Which is a good thing.

Walter told me CIC was already late for his next appointment and trying to get out the door. Being perfectly selfish - and unabashed - about Walter's health, I couldn't care less. Except to be thankful that CIC took the time to talk to me anyway. Very decent of him.

They swabbed Walter's nose, armpits, and groin to test for colonized MRSA germs. Walter's now doing antibacterial nasal swipes twice a day, too. Good good good. He may get a load of the toxic antibiotics during his surgery, just in case.

For today he got a special decontamination bath to sterilize his body for surgery. Not that it'll get him truly sterile. Pure sterility is almost impossible to achieve. The focus is on killing all the germs you can, to work on percentages rather than aim for complete sterilization.

And what did they use for his scrub soap? Hibiclens. Same as mine. A little taste of home, there.

I asked if he was nervous. Some anxiety, sure, he says. But he's much more concerned about after the surgery than the act itself. He and I are the opposite that way: I figure if I survive the surgery, I can handle the post-op. Him? He has no fear of death. The first two or three weeks after the surgery will drive him nuts instead.

The success rate for bypass surgery these days is over 99%. Phenomenal. Comforting.

kmom got there okay and spent an hour visiting. She took his laptop back to her hotel room for safekeeping. I know she'll be there tomorrow morning too. Even though he said not to trouble herself!

At 3:30 am they started poking and prodding and medicating and harassing him again. Change his nitro patch, get a blood thinner shot in the belly, take some pills, do the antibiotic nose swipes. More xrays. Take all the monitor leads off, take a Hibiclens bath, change all the clothes and things, put the monitor leads back on. They never let you rest in those damn places. Finally he got a nap this afternoon.

At least he doesn't have an IV drip any more. The lead is in him for shots of stuff but it's not hooked up to a bag any more.

The monitor? It's wifi.

He has leads glued on him, but they aren't attached to wires to the machine. He can walk around.


That place trips me out.

He's in good hands, there.


Nancy said...

They had me on a wireless monitoring device as well. Dang thing was worn around my neck. After a couple of days it was like a brick slung around my neck. But, it was better than being tied to another machine.

Livey said...

Sounds like he is in great hands! Prayers are with you all. Call if you need me. Love ya!

k said...

OH! Nancy, I remember you telling me about that in the hospital, and I thought it was some other kind of monitor something for your lungs.

Medical technology goes so fast, every time you gotta go in there everything's all different again.

Thank you, Livey. You are a rock.

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