Sunday, November 30, 2003

Randy wanted to go walking on the new walking trail near our apartment this afternoon and walked a mile with hardly any effort at all. He felt fine afterwards; Meggie and I needed a nap.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Randy's helping with some light housekeeping stuff (unloading the dishwasher, folding towels, and such) and walking a great deal. He'll be happy when the staples come out of his chest incision (Dec. 10), but seems to be resting better at night now.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Randy gets stronger each day; still badly bruised from the IV incident and fussing about not being able to sleep because of incision but otherwise great.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Had a great Thanksgiving. Mom and Dad came over to spend the afternoon with us, and we all ate too much terrific food. Meggie is noticably protective of Randy, making sure no one gets too close. :-)

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Some problems sleeping because of post-op pain, but otherwise he's doing great.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Back to Dr. W's office to have sutures removed from the incisions made to relocate the brain shunt. Incisions look good, and steri-strips were applied.

Monday, November 24, 2003

The second chest drain came out this morning, and I was able to bring him home this afternoon, thank goodness! He's tired, but seems to feel better just because he's finally home.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

One chest drain came out, but one had to stay. Dang it. Bill, Gladys, Jeff, and Lindsay came to visit. I took a quick shopping break to go to Target while Randy was watching the Cowboys play.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

I went home for a couple of hours this morning to do a load of laundry and check on Meg. I figured since it was Saturday Randy would have tons of visitors. As of 4:00 pm (when I went to the cafeteria) no one had come or even called. Not a soul. I asked about 3:00 if he wanted to call his granddaughter, Sky, and we did. I was furious that none of his family checked on him today. Dr. K came by and said his chest drains should come out tomorrow and he will probably go home Monday or Tuesday.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Oxygen and chest tubes still remain. A blood test resulted in a dose of iron and potassium and a unit of blood. The IV they'd left after surgery had collapsed, and it took the nurse several sticks to get another started. There was only a small amount (30 cc) of the unit remaining when the IV stopped working. It took two nurses and several more sticks to get another IV running enough to get the rest of the unit in. Randy got so sick he couldn't eat dinner until several hours later. His sister Sharon and her husband Bill came to visit. His son Dewayne and his girlfriend Kim came by later.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

I ran home for a few hours to check on Meggie, get the mail in, and such. No visitors, but that was okay since we were both so tired.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Randy's cousin Kathy and another cousin, Jimmy visited in the afternoon. Gary came to visit after work. Bill, Gladys, Anita, Lindsay, and Noah came, too. Randy was very tired, but glad to see them.
Surgery lasted about 4-1/2 hours. Dr. K did three bypasses and said everything went really well. Mom and Dad came to wait with me, and Randy's brother Bill with his wife Gladys and daughter Anita. Randy's brother Gerald also came to wait. Anita had to leave around noon to take her son Noah to the doctor, and Bill & Gladys had to leave just arter 2:00 to be home when Anita's daughter Lindsay got home from school. Mom and Dad waited until I was notified that I could go to ICU to see Randy. They had driven up from Pigeon Forge (where they were taking a mini-vacation) and were heading back to their camper. Gerald went back to ICU with me. I was prepared for the IVs, ventilator, and drains, so the only surprise I got was that they had shaved Randy's head. (In case they had to do more than relocate the brain shunt.) He was pretty uncomfortable and fighting the ventilator, so our first visit was short. A couple of hours later, he was more alert but still fighting the ventilator. Gerald went home, and Randy's brother Gary arrived. He stayed a good while, until 8:00 or so. He went to ICU with me twice. As he was leaving, their cousin Kathy arrived and stayed a little while. When I went back to see Randy at 8:30, they'd removed the ventilator but were having trouble controlling his pain. Morphine in his IV didn't seem to be helping. When he became alert enough later to take oral pain medication, it made a big difference. At 9:30 they asked me to wait in the waiting room while they put him on the side of the bed and let his feet dangle for a few minutes. When I returned, they'd moved a straight-backed chair into the room and left a pillow and blankets for me to stay the night, even though they advised me to go home and rest. I told them that 1) I wanted to stay with him, and 2) I'd been up since 3:00 a.m. and it wasn't safe for me to drive anyway. So I managed to sleep a little. He had a pretty good night, all things considered. ICU isn't the best place to try to get any rest. At 6:00 I went to take a "bird bath" in the ladies' room, changed clothes and had a light breakfast. Then I made all the ncessary calls.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

We arrived at the hospital a little earlier than our 5:00 a.m. appointment, but were not kept waiting long. After we checked in, we were escorted to Room 2323. Randy was asked to change into a hospital gown. After he was in bed, vitals were checked and blood was drawn for type and crossmatch. He was told that he wouldn't be transferred to the surgical holding area until 7:00 and we were left for him to rest until that time. He turned the TV to ESPN to watch "Sportscenter" and promptly dozed off. When the nurses arrived to take him to the holding area, they had to actually wake him up to give him Valium. I went to the ICU waiting area and spoke to the family advocate who assured me that I would be given frequent updates by cellphone, but it would be awhile since surgery was scheduled for 9:00. I went to the cafeteria for a light breakfast and called Daddy and Randy's sister Sharon to let them know that my cellphone was on.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Yesterday we went to Dr. K's office to get the paperwork for Randy's pre-admission labwork. We thought this would involved drawing blood and going home. WRONG! We went to short-stay surgery to get the work done; they were very busy, so we waiting a hour and a half past his appointment time for them to even start on him. However, once we were in their pre-admission testing area, everything went along quickly. They did a urinalysis, took blood, and did a new chest x-ray. They we went through orientation sessions with a pre-admissions nurse, a representative of cardiac rehabilitation, and an anesthesiologist. They gave us lots of reading material and a videotape telling us what to expect during his hospital stay. The pre-admission process took much longer than we'd anticipated, but they went to great lengths to make us both feel well-prepared for his surgery.

We have to be at JCMC at 5:00 a.m. next Tuesday; his surgery is scheduled for 9:00, but they have a lot of prep work to do before surgery actually begins. He has to shower Monday night with a special antibacterial scrub and again before we leave Tuesday morning. So, my best estimate is that we'll have to be up by 3:30 a.m. Tuesday at the LATEST.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Randy's "nitro headache" was back yesterday, but he just generally felt bad all day. (Probably from being out and about too much on Sunday.) Hopefully today will be better. He didn't sleep very well last night, but he has a lot on his mind. Surgery's a week from today, so that's a lot to think about.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Dr. K's office called; Randy has to have pre-op labwork done on Nov. 13, and surgery will be on Nov. 18.
The new pill to replace the nitro patch seems to be working better. He had only a slight headache yesterday afternoon, so we're hopeful. Still waiting to hear from Dr. K's nurse with a firm surgery date.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

The new pill has given Randy another headache. I told him that we'd give it 2 or 3 days, and if he still has a headache he'll have to choose which one gives him the lesser headache because he'll have to use one or the other until he has his bypass surgery.

Friday, November 07, 2003

I called Dr. P's office (cardiologist) to see if anything can be done about the headache Randy has the whole time he's wearing a Minitran patch. We thought it would wear off in 2 or 3 days, but it hasn't. Dr. P's nurse returned my call and said that some people never adjust to the headache from the patch. She'll call in a prescription for a long-acting tablet to see if that works better for him.
I called Dr. W's office, but they were closed. I called Dr. K's office and spoke to his nurse. She'd been trying all day to get surgery scheduled. They're going to do only one surgery (thank goodness), with Dr. W moving the shunt out of the way just before Dr. K performs the bypass surgery. She said it looks like the surgery is going to be on Monday, November 24, possibly Friday, November 21. She said she will call us Monday with a firm date. She said that Dr. K "went along" with doing both surgeries and the same time and that he's comfortable waiting until Nov. 24.
I called Dr. B's office and informed them that Randy wants to cancel the scheduled surgery next Wednesday because he wants the surgery done in Johnson City. The lady I spoke with said she'd tell Dr. B.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Randy received a call at 10:29 from Dr. B's office telling him that surgery was scheduled in Bristol for Wednesday, November 12 to relocate his shunt. Randy told them we had an appointment in Johnson City to see about having surgery done there. They said if he decides to have surgery in Johnson City to call and let them know; otherwise he should come to Dr. B's office Friday to preregister for surgery. 1:00: Arrived at Dr. W's office and found that his office is next door to Dr. K's (cardiac surgeon). Staff was very friendly and handled all questions in a prompt, courteous manner. We were seen on schedule. Both Dr. W and his assistant were knowledgable and answered all our questions. Dr. W's opinion was that two separate surgeries would not reduce the infection risk unless there was a year between the two surgeries. Dr. W said he would confer with Dr. K on Friday and come to a final decision about whether one or two surgeries would be necessary. He said we would hear from either his office or Dr. K's when the decision was final.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

After two nights using Ambien, Randy seems more rested and calm.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Dr. K's nurse called and said that we have an appointment with Dr. W, a neurosurgeon in Johnson City, on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 1:15, but we should arrive at 1:00 to do the paperwork.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Dr. R's nurse called Randy and told him Ambien was being called in to our pharmacy for him. Dr. K's nurse called and told him that Dr. K wanted Dr. B to go ahead and reroute the shunt before bypass surgery (two separate procedures). Randy called me at work, very upset. He did not want Dr. B to perform surgery, and he did not want any surgery to be performed at BRMC. I called and left a message for Dr. K's nurse to call me. While waiting, I spoke to Dr. P's nurse to ask for guidance. She told me that legally Dr. P cannot intervene in Randy's case until 90 days after bypass surgery. When Dr. K's nurse returned my call, I explained that Randy, for personal reasons, did not want Dr. B to perform his surgery and wanted a neurosurgeon in Johnson City to perform the procedure. She said she'd get an appointment as soon as possible.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Picked up films from BRMC.