Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Heartstopping

Yesterday, Walter had another Cardiac Incident.

His heart stopped beating for 9 seconds.

That's a pretty long time.

So now they're going to put in a pacemaker.

After my initial reaction - that I didn't like it one bit - I mulled it over for a few hours. Talked to kdad. Heard that the doc said we don't want Walter passing out whilst driving that rig. Heard from kdad that these days, putting in a pacemaker is a 15 minute procedure, and the most time is spent on making sure the thing is set correctly. They adjust it from the outside, using a computer. The pacemaker goes in just under the skin and is about the size of a watch. Tuck a couple leads in a vein or so, up to the heart, and you're done.

After a while I came to like the idea. I want Walter's heart to keep going, and if it stutters, to get a kick.

After a while longer, I actually developed a fondness for the little sucker.

So...I guess it's all right. They put it in him tomorrow at 1 pm.

Meanwhile, he's running laps around the cardiac floor. They had to hold him back today and make him rest first when he wanted to do his therapy walk. After a nice nap they let him go.

He walked unassisted, at a normal walking pace, around the entire floor. Twice.

After dinner he did it again.

Understand, this is Wednesday, and he had a triple bypass Monday. Two days ago. They cut through your sternum. Crack open your ribs. Stop your heart and put you on a heart-lung machine. They go in your leg and strip out a big long vein, long enough to do three bypass veins. All that stuff hurts.

Surgery was Monday. The next day, Tuesday, he was sick from all the surgery and was barfing from the pain meds. His heart stopped beating for nine seconds. When the machine went off and the nurse came in, he thought it was just a little skip in his heartbeat. He thought the anxiety he felt - that classic heart attack fear - was just a panic attack from laying down on his back. Like it put him in the same place, mentally, as when he had his heart attack in the truck.

No. His heart was stopped. That'll scare most anyone.

That same day he also walked twelve steps, unassisted.

Today he did two laps around the entire floor, two times.

When I talk to various people at the hospital - the insurance folks, finance department, rehab coordinators - they all know exactly who he is and how he's doing. Part of that is because they are very, very good out there, and they take an interest in all their patients.

But the rest is because they're seeing what kind of person this man is.

8 comments:

Desert Cat said...

My grandmother was like that. She had a mild heart attack, and after they sent her back to the nursing home they were going to schedule her for PT. But she did her own PT so effectively--walking up and down the hallways holding the handrail on her own until she regained her strength--that they cancelled it.

I'm glad to hear he's doing so well.

But are you taking care of you? Any feedback from the docs today?

Nancy said...

Caaaahhh rimminy!

Walter is one tough guy.

Be careful K!! You need to get well.

Cindi said...

Gonna try to post again. My computer was lagging bigtime yesterday.

I am relieved that Walter is doing so well only a few days after his surgery! I feel for you too since you are so far away from him.

How are you doing??

LL said...

I'm still reading and keeping him in my thoughts.

Livey said...

Sounds like he's a tough cookie, just like you!

k said...

I'm doing better now. The fever thing was juuuuust getting going when I started my antibiotics so hopefully that awful flu-ey feeling won't be as bad.

It's frustrating to be sick at such at time. It makes me want to scream!!! I want to be strong and run around getting the house ready for my cardiac patient to come home!

argh!!!

So instead I'll revert to an old role and play *executive* instead, and set up my little army of family and friends and docs and hospital administrative folks and Walter's employer and such, coordinate everyone and be Information Central so I can sit here nice and quiet with my feet up...

sigh...

Livey said...

Hey don't you be sighing about that!
That position is the most important!
Without all that you have been doing it would have been a lot worse!

k said...

Well, I sure hope so, because it was a lot of work and I am very, very, very tired.