December 2018

Wednesday: I took Julie to the VA Hospital today for a consultation with an Ear Nose and Throat specialist. This man is by far the best doctor we have seen since I moved here, and therefore by far the best specialist. His enthusiasm came across as exceptional caring and empathy. The end result is that right after we get back from our mini road trip between Christmas and New Year, we will spend almost a whole day there, for several tests and another consult with him. His assistant was equally helpful. When I quietly mentioned to him that we were unhappy with Julie’s Primary Care Provider, he simply directed us to the Patient Advocate, who, he said, would be able to hook us up with a different provider.

After that, we grabbed some lunch in the cafeteria, which is on the other side of the complex, so I left Julie sitting on a bench while I went back to retrieve the car. She was messing with her phone and looked up to see Santa and Mrs Santa, and begged them to allow her to take their picture.

Thursday: Surgery is today, with a 10:30 check-in for 12:00. It’s still early and Julie is still asleep. I’ve taken all of my morning meds and I’m just doing stuff to keep my mind from wandering.

Out of surgery, which turned out to be a diagnostic at this stage. The issues they found are:

  • The Aortic valve is degraded and needs to be repaired.
  • The Aorta itself is bulging, needs to be contained.
  • An artery exiting the aorta is blocked, needs repair.

Sitting here in recovery with my right hand elevated and doing nothing except holding the phone steady while I type labouriously slowly with the left. Because the arterial entry point was the right wrist, it is encased in a thing that looks like a clear watch, with a vacuum holding it closed while the nurse gradually reduces the vacuum every 10 minutes. I’ve taken a picture, but will have to wait until we get home before I can upload it.

Home now. Here’s the picture.

Friday: This was taken this morning. That sticky thing is about 2″ across, and it has to stay on for the rest of the day. I can’t shower with it like this either.

Also taken this morning, showing the swelling on that side.

Saturday: Hmm. I recall saying that I was actually looking forward to that surgery, because I figured that when it was over, I could breathe normally again. Now that I’m facing the actual repair job, I’m not so sure about what I’ll have to go through to get there.

Sunday: I’ve just taken a shower. I have a fantastic bruised area on most of my forearm.

Wow. Things move quickly around here. Here’s the timeline:

  • Nov 9 – Appointment with regular doctor. Referred to cardiology at both Providence and Western Washington.
  • Nov 18 – Providence not available until Late Feb.
  • Nov 27 – Appointment with cardiologist at Western Washington.
  • Nov 28 – Echo cardiograph. Showed nothing new.
  • Nov 29 – Surgery scheduled.
  • Dec 6 – Diagnostic surgery. Showed blocked coronary artery.
  • Dec 6 – While still there, visited by Cardio Surgeon.
  • Dec 10 – Can’t return to work.
  • Dec 10 – New appointments set up.
  • Dec 11 – No truck, no access to workshop.
  • Dec 14 – CT Scan.
  • Dec 19 – Vascular Ultrasound.
  • Dec 20 – Open Heart Surgery.
  • Dec 25 – Merry Christmas.

Dec 12 – From now until the surgery, the exercise plan: Every morning, take a shower and go for a walk. Fortunately, there is enough level ground to the North and South. I can actually walk into downtown Everett on level ground.