Saturday, August 9, 2008

Barb is singing right now

Barb wrote a new song yesterday. Well, she is still writing it. But she is singing it right now. It brings tears to my eyes that she is singing again.

Aug 8th

Barb's Blood pressure was a bit high prior to exercise at Cardiac rehab today. 145 over something, then came down to 138 over something after exercise. We need to track this a bit & let Dr Theleman know.

July 25th echo cardiogram at Dr Theleman's office

While Dr Theleman was reviewing the echo cardiogram taken today he got quite excited. He said "This is good, this is real good". Then he turned to Barb and said "Your CURED!!!".

Pretty cool. She's not completely healed, but this sounds wonderful.

I could see the way the heart was contracting and relaxing in the echo, but I had never seen it prior to surgery. Dr Theleman turned to me to explain. " Her heart is contracting 20% which is good, but before..... Have you ever tried to bench press more weight than you can possibly lift?"

"Yes, I have."
"It was like that."

So, now n0 more Carvedilol, Enalapril, Furosemide, or potasium. Back to the Dr in a month for a follow up blood test and in the mean time watch out for sudden weight gain or swelling in the feet.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Barb is still improving

July 1st: Barb went in for her checkup with Dr Hamman. She is doing fine. She shared with him that the people at rehab said no arm exercises until Aug 18th. He said that he is sure they are good people, but they are stuck in the 80s. He says it is OK to do some light arm exercises and twirled his arm vertically like the tail rotor on a helicopter. I wish i had a picture of this and Barb's expression. Barb said " I just want to make sure I don't hurt myself." Dr Hamman responded " Your not going to hurt yourself. I put you together with bailing wire." He also told us they did a study were they went out and got lawn mowers for people to push that had been out of surgery for two weeks ad they did fine !!??!!

Barb is supposed to go back in November for a echo cardiogram to see how her heart is doing.
She is still taking all the same meds, but is supposed to drop the Furosemide (water pill) and potassium supplement on Aug 1st.

July 14th: Barb told me she has more energy now than she's had in a year. She still feels some slight pain / discomfort in the sternum area when she bends over or moves certain ways. She is doing 15 minutes on each of three exercise machines at cardiac therapy now.

July 16th: Barb was shopping at Wal-Mart and decided to push a cart instead of ride in an electric one. After about an hour she had trouble getting her whole breath for a few minutes, but was OK after that.

Today, she will see Dr Theleman for the first office visit mainly to get established with him as a patient and for him to review her information.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Update Still making progress

Tuesday June 23rd: Joy took Barb to the Cardiac rehab assessment. I am told it went fine. They measured her, did fat and body mass calculations and took her blood pressure. Barb says they are very nice and not at all militaristic.
They have sit down (with a back) bicycle machines. They put a monitor on her and had her do some leg and foot exercises. They decided to do two sessions per week (Barb says to cut down on travel). After that they went to Marshalls to do a bit of shopping. Barb could only handle about 20 minutes there.

Wednesday night. We tried sleeping in our bed for the 1st time since surgery. It did not go well. Barb was very uncomfortable and her breathing was shallow. In retrospect, we should have gone back downstairs after the 1st half hour, but stayed the night there.

Thursday Night: We are back to sleeping downstairs on the recliners.

Friday June 27th: Donna took Barb to her 1st regular rehab. Barb says it went well. They tell her it will be four months before she will do any arm based exercises. Toward the end of each session, Barb is supposed to call out "One more minute" then the person monitor wakes up from their nap and actually watches the monitor for the last minute. (Really I don't get what this step is about.). Once Barb stops exercising she waits till they say "OK Barbara, you're cool!". Then she can leave. I guess they are doing their part to avoid un-cool people roaming the streets.

Now, when Barb goes upstairs she typically pauses for a very brief time after three steps. She does not have to sit and rest on the landing any more either.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Not much new

Barb is still making progress and moving about a bit more and a bit faster. She has an appointment on Tuesday for an assement as a first step to start cardiac rehab.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday June 17th

Barb was home alone today. When I got home from work she had squirted chocolate all over the walls. (Just kidding about the chocolate).

She's feeling well enough to start noticing things like I need a haircut.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Update for the last x days

Sorry, I've been a bad blogger. Time keeps on drifting into the future.

Barb keeps getting better. I can see the difference between any two days. Sometimes from one day to the next she feels a little worse, but between any two days it's always better.

Her sister Beverly flew in from Florida last Sunday. Barb & I dropped her at the airport yesterday morning to go home. Bev was a huge help last week. We are extremely grateful and will miss her. Hopefully we can visit again soon under better circumstances.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday June 10th

Barb was feeling low and moving pretty slow this morning.
Dr Hamman looked at the incision and said the little bit of weeping of fluid happens and is nothing to worry about. We discussed the effects of the varios drugs: Furosemide will not make one cough. It is OK to move the timing of drugs around. None of them have to be taken at the same time as others. As in, we can move the Carvedilol and Enalapril to be an hour apart. That way they will not affect her so much. In trying to asses how she is doing, Dr Hamman asked her if she could walk 100 yds (No way). He says as bad off as Barb's heart was (congestive heart failure) prior to surgery it will take her longer than usual to fully recover. He says she should start Cardiac rehab in about one week. We will have to figure out how to get her there and back home three times a week.

On the way West, we came across Stavros (Greek restaurant) on Northwest Highway and had lunch. Barb and Bev had a Greek salad. I went for the heart healthy ( yeah, right) Gyros plate.

This evening, Barb is again feeling better.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Barb's progress since getting home.

Since getting home Barb has progressed rather nicely. She walks up and down the stairs to the second floor for showers. We are both sleeping on the recliner couch in the living room as it slightly elevates so she sleeps better. (Last night she had me lower it as far as it goes which is also progress). Barb has had several good nights sleep and is feeling stronger each day. When we first got home she needed help getting off the couch as it is a bit low to the floor. Now she get up on her own. She still needs help with the putting on / taking off walking socks and her brace plus taking showers.

A little recent history:

Thursday / Friday: Home but exhausted. I picked up one of those plastic lifts for the commode as otherwise it is too low to the floor.

Saturday: Donna, Howard, Angie, Brent and Joy, Rob, Austin visited


We started paying more attention to which meds have affects on how Barb feels:

Hydrocodone makes her a bit tired.
Furosemide seems to stimulate her to cough a bit and of course stimulates the expected trips to the bathroom.
Carvedilol makes her feel like she is floating. Combined with Enalapril... She goes to sleep for at least half an hour.
Lipitor: She does not seem to notice an affect.

Joy picked up Bev at the airport (Bev is staying the week to help Barb) Rob, Brook, Austin, Angie, Brent, John, Casey, Peyton, Jack came for a visit and cooked steaks, fish tacos and made salads. (The kids had frozen pizza). Our next door neighbor Kim brought us wonderfully tasty roast beef and Rosemary baked potatoes. (As you can see there is no risk we will go hungry)

Barb had some issue with constipation over the last 4 days which is no longer an issue.


We noticed a little (light orange) drainage on Barb's incision. I called the doctors office and left a message. We are timing Barb's meds around their effect on her. She also switched from hydrocodone to Tylenol for the pain med during the day today. Stacy from Dr Hammond's office called back. We will go see him at 10:45am tomorrow. She said it could be the beginning of an infection, but she doubts it. I had planned to go to work tomorrow, but will go with her instead. We started a list of questions for the Dr.

Barb, Bev and I went for a drive to get my car's registration renewed. Then we went to Dairy queen for grilled chicken sandwiches. Barb also directed a driving tour to show Bev some houses and property for sale in the area. Barb is in a great mood and feeling energized. :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Twice a day:

Carvedilol - 3.125mg is a beta-blocker
Beta-blockers can be used to treat some types of heart disease. Beta-blockers improve the heart's ability to relax, decrease the production of harmful substances produced by the body in response to heart failure and slow the heart rate. Over time, beta-blockers improve the heart's pumping ability.

Enalapril - 2.5mg is an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor
This drug belongs to a group of medications called ACE inhibitors. It is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults and children. It works by relaxing blood vessels, causing them to widen. Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems.
This medication is also used with other drugs (e.g., "water pills"/diuretics, digoxin) to treat congestive heart failure.
Vitamin C 500mg

Once a day:
Lipitor 40mg Atorvastatin Pronunciation: (a-TOR-va-STAT-in) is used along with a proper diet to help lower "bad" cholesterol and fats (e.g., LDL, triglycerides) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. It belongs to a group of drugs known as "statins". It works by reducing the amount of cholesterol made by the liver. In general, atorvastatin is prescribed after non-drug treatments have not been fully successful at lowering cholesterol (e.g., diet change, increase in exercise, weight loss if overweight). Lowering "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides and raising "good" cholesterol decreases the risk of heart disease and helps prevent strokes and heart attacks.

FUROSEMIDE 40mg - Pronunciation: (fyou-ROW-seh-mide) Furosemide is a "water pill" (diuretic) that increases the amount of urine you make, which causes your body to get rid of excess water. This drug is used to treat high blood pressure. Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems.
This medication also reduces swelling/fluid retention (edema) which can result from conditions such as congestive heart failure, liver disease, or kidney disease. This can help to improve symptoms such as trouble breathing.

Klor-Con M20 POTASSIUM CHLORIDE Pronunciation: (poh-TASS-ee-um KLOR-ide) This medication is a mineral supplement used to prevent or treat low amounts of potassium in the blood. A normal level of potassium in the blood is important so that your cells, nerves, heart, muscles, and kidneys work properly. Normal blood levels of potassium are usually achieved by eating a well-balanced diet. However, certain situations cause your body to lose potassium faster than you can replace it from your diet. These situations include treatment with certain "water pills" (diuretics).

Enteric Coated Aspirin 325mg
This medication is used to reduce fever and relieve minor to moderate pain from conditions such as muscle aches, toothaches, menstrual cramps, and headaches. It may also be used to reduce inflammation and swelling in conditions such as arthritis. Aspirin is known as a salicylate and a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by blocking a certain natural substance in your body to reduce pain and swelling.
Aspirin is also used in low doses, alone or in combination with other medications, as a blood thinner to prevent blood clots after surgery on clogged arteries (e.g., bypass surgery, carotid endarterectomy) and to reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack.

As needed 4 to 6 hours:

HYDROCODONE / ACETAMINOPHEN 5-500 Pronunciation: (hye-droe-KOE-done/a-SEET-a-MIN-oh-fen)
This combination medication is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Hydrocodone is a narcotic pain reliever (opiate-type) that acts on certain centers in the brain to give you pain relief. Acetaminophen is a non-narcotic pain reliever.

Thursday Barb is at home

Barb was released from the hospital this afternoon and is at home. We were greeted by Kim our next door neighbor with a hug and freshly planted flowers at the entrance to our house.

I went and picked up the prescriptions ordered for her and she has a follow up appointment with Dr Hamman on Tuesday June 17th.

Earlier today, the Physical Therapy folks worked with Barb and she walked up a flight of stairs and back down.

Joy, Angie, Brent and Rob cleaned the house for us and went shopping for heart healthy food. Angie and Joy said they were quite enlightened by reading all the labels. (They also seemed to enjoy throwing away our old food and had a contest to see who could find the item with the oldest sell by date. (I think I heard Sept 2007)

I need to organize the drugs and vitamins a bit. I'll post what they are later.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tuesday night and Wednesday

Barb had a pretty good night. She slept well and was awaken only at 1AM for a breathing treatment. We started trying to time the requests for pain meds at the 4 hour mark.

Pain Meds = less pain.
Less pain = more able to handle needed coughing to avoid pneumonia.
More able to handle needed coughing = More able to do deep breathing exercises which opens up the lungs, helps avoid shortness of breath and also helps avoid pneumonia.

Dr Hamman stopped by and said she will probably go home tomorrow.

Barb just had another breathing treatment and should be getting breakfast soon. I'll be heading to work shortly.

Wednesday afernoon & night
Joy P dropped Donna off and Donna stayed with Barb all day. Barb says Donna has a talent for patient care. They also had a very nice visit together. Robert came by and visited and was Barb's coach on her afternoon walk. After work and drove Donna home.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


John and Joy were here at 7AM. Barb is doing OK, but not great. I left for work around 7:30. The plan s for Joy to stay with Barb until Joy DiGiavoni comes in the afternoon. Angie was here after I left. Angie and Joy (P) went with Barb for a lap around the nurses station. After lunch Barb got a breathing treatment which helped a lot. Joy D and Barb did a lap around the nurses station. Barb is really having trouble with her right foot turning out because it is so weak.

One of Dr Hamman's PAs came by (Don't know her name) and answered our list of questions: Results of X-Ray / pertaining to the knot on top of chest incision = OK. Barb can only use her cane for ballance, not to lean on. Breathlessness = breathing treatments and back on a little O2. Neck pain should go away.

They are going to have someone come in the A.M to fit Barb for a brace for her foot.

I got back from work around 5:30 and Joy D headed home around 6. Barb says she really enjoyed her visit with Joy D. Barb had another breathing treatment and did another lap around the nurses station. I went to Walgreens and picked up an ankle brace for Barb to use temporarily. She says it helps a little.

She's sleeping now. I hope she gets a good nights rest, but she is scheduled for another breathing treatment around 2:30 AM.

Monday night

3:30 PM ish: Barb did another lap arond the nurses station. She did not feel whoosy.

Barb was weened off the Oxygen and is no longer using it

7:30PM Barb was feeling a bit "whoosy" this afternon, so the nurse (Kathy) wanted to be careful about her walking. Checked her blood pressure and it was 91 over 66. She wanted to wait an hour and check it again.

8:30PM Kristin checked Barb's blood pressure ... 95 over 65. She and Kathy discussed it. Apparently Kathy said to go ahead and walk with her. They said they would get her walk in as soon as they could.

9:20PM Barb is really getting sleepy and still has not had her third walk of the day. I went down the hall and snagged a cart and tried to talk her into letting me help her walk. Of course Barb does not want to "get in trouble". After some more discussion, I changed tactics. I asked / told Kristin I was going to help Barb myself. She called Kathy and they asked if I had walked with her before. (Yes, I hope following Barb and a nurse around counts). They OK'd it. Barb did another lap and headed for bed.

Maybe around 11:00 Pm? Barb is wide awake and feeling a little short of breath. Kathy checked her stats and they were Ok. She said it might help to get a little Oxygen. She set it to 1. I suggested a sleeping pill and Kathy gave her "Resterall" . Over the next half hour, Barb said she was feeling better and fell sound asleep.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sunday Night / Monday morning

Barb had a good night sleep.
After breakfast (around 9AM) she did one lap around the nurses station. She was a bit woozy as she had a hydro codone for pain. She was feeling rather anxious which just might be the situation or maybe another effect of the Hydro-codone. We decided that she will just take two Tylenol during the day and hydro codone at night after she goes to bed.

Noon til 2pm : She's feeling stronger than yesterday and is in much better spirits. After lunch the IV nurse removed the Central line in her neck and added a new IV in her right wrist. They have to take the IVs out after three days therefore the one in that was already in her wrist has to come out. She's has to stay in bed for 30 to 45 minutes after getting the Central line removed and is sleeping right now.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sat night and Sunday Morning

Saturday night.
Unfortunately the patient in the room adjacent to Barb passed away last night. We do not know the details of his age or prior condition. Dear Lord, please be with his family in their time of loss.

Sunday morning / afternoon.
RN = Jim and PcT = Adrienne.
Barb is feeling stronger today. Her voice sounds stronger too.

Jim worked with Barb and she got up and walked in the hall twice. In between the walks she was given another unit of packed RBCs (transfusion). At some point while Adrianne was in the room the IV for the transfusion came loose and blood was getting all over. Adrianne was trying to reconnect it , but was having trouble. Jim came in & said "What are you doing girls?" . This was apparently quite funny somehow, but I think you had to be there, (Thankfully, I was home taking a shower and doing a few quick chores. )

Barb is pretty tired right now ad I think she will sleep soon.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sat evening

Barb did not have a very good day. The nurse and PcT seemed to be very busy with other patients. Adrianne sat Barb on the side of the bed to eat and Barb's feet really did not reach the floor. Her back started hurting and she felt like she was slipping. Barb wanted to get back in bed to support her back. I am not yet allowed to help. It took a long time to get Adrienne to come back to get Barb back in bed.

Barb is a bit frustrated because she was not strong enough to start walking yet. Many people say day 3 is the toughest.

Now the PcT is Lia and the nurse is Karen.
There are 34 patients on this floor with 3 PcTs. Not sure how many nurses. Barb is sleeping. I hope she feels better in the morning.

Saturday, Still making progress but kinda slow.

Friday afternoon:
The Nurse is Tamica and I think the PcT is Beatrice

Friday evening: Nurse last night was Suma and the PcT was Beatrice.
Dr Hamman came by and mentioned Barb is a little bit Anemic right now. He said a transfusion might be appropriate and has a slight risk. He said it's ultimately up to Barb if she wants one. Barb said she'd rather avoid it if that would be OK.

Saturday AM
Barb & I both got some sleep last night. I ca't really say how much.
RN is Rex and PcT is Adrienne
Sat up in a chair for around 45 minutes.
Had some nausea and started getting real groggy. Hardly ate anything at all. I'm concerned that if she can not eat she won't get over the Anemia on her own. We talked with Dr Hamman about it and discussed the risks of a transfusion. Roughly 1 in 1000 of getting a no A / non B form of hepatitis. Barb asked him to use his judgement. He said he would look at the numbers again. He had Terry (the PA) remove the chest tubes and this made Barb feel a bit better. Terry told her the plan is to get her up at least three times today for a walk.
I checked out of the Baylor Plaza Hotel since I only slept there 1 out of three nights. The 3 Js and I went to the Elbow room and had a bite to eat and a drink. When we got back to Barb's room she was still in bed and had only eaten a little lunch. Barb told me she will be getting a unit of blood. She asked for something and I said it was in her purse. (Uh OH..... I left it in a drawer at the Plaza). I quickly took a walk and fetched it.
2:25PM Barb is getting 1 unit of Packed RBCs (basicaly red cells)

Jane, Joy, John, Angie, Rob, Brent, Brooke and Austin visited today.

If you ever need ice on Roberts 13 the code is 3825

Friday, May 30, 2008

Update for Friday evening

Barb was doing really well earlier today and is sleeping now.
From around 9:40 PM to 10: 30 she was rather anxious and feeling pain. She did not want to take a shot of morphine because she did not think she could handle it. Actually she had some in the ICU and there were no problems with it for her. She just did not remember it. After a while I convinced her to go ahead and take a shot. She kept apologising to the nurse for being a bad patient. I suggested she imagine what I would be like in her situation.

Anyway she is feeling much better right now and drifting in and out of sleep.

Barb is moving to Roberts 1322

Barb is moving from ICU to the Roberts building room 1322.
She will be going by wheel chair, which means she has to get up. I guess it is true they do not mess around in that regard.

The address here is
Baylor University Medical Center
3500 Gaston Ave
Dallas, Texas 75246

The nurses tell Barb she is doing well

Barb says the nurses tell her she is doing well, so she guesses she must be. I understand her completely. She is feeling pain in the ribs when she breathes or coughs. This is to be expected, but that is not going to make it feel any better. They are giving her pain meds, but too much would slow forward progress, so it is a balancing act.

At 10:15 AM, the nurse told me she has orders to prepare Barb for a transfer out of ICU to a regular room. This is definitely good news. They started the insulin drip and are monitoring Barb's blood sugar levels. (Insulin drip is normal after surgery, because the body as part of a fight or flight response release lots of sugar into the blood stream. Since she is laying quite still in a hospital bed, the muscles are not going to use it, so insulin is used to balance things back out.)

We do not know what time or what room yet.
Thanks again everyone for your prayers, thoughts, posts, emails and calls.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Barb is still doing well in ICU and some aditional info on her old valve.

I saw Barb at 5:15 and 8:15 PM. The ICU nurse says she is still progressing as expected. She is going to let her have a little juice soon. She might be out of the ICU and into a regular room tomorrow afternoon (at the earliest).

When I spoke with Dr Hamman earlier today, he told me her old valve was Unicuspid which he has only seen once before in his practice. Barb's surgery went well with no complications. He also mentioned that he did not see any indication of pneumonia on the Xray (or otherwise?) that was done last night.

Barb is doing well so far in ICU

Sorry it took so long for this post. Barb is doing fine so far in ICU.

Her surgery started at 7:30AM, I got a call from one of the surgery nurses at 10:41AM that she was off bypass and had the new valve. She went to ICU around 11:15 and I saw her briefly at 11:45, 1:15, 3:15 and am sitting outside ICU waiting for 5:15. They allow two people to visit at a time for 15 minutes roughly every two hours. The breathing tube was removed around 3:00 PM. At 3:15 she was alert, feeling some pain and thirsty. The nurse was getting her some pain meds. I'll leave it to your imagnation what she uddered (pun intended) to me.

Update for Wednesday night and early Thursday morning

Shortly after Terry the PA left Barb had a meal and for the first time this week ate more than a nibble or two. I had a taste of the meat loaf and it was actually quite good. Not good enough to recommend a hospital stay just for the food, but pretty darn good.

Stuff done: Chest X-Ray, plenty of blood pressure checks, EKG, about five vials of blood drawn, (Very nice lady that went and got them all instead of getting the one she needed and letting the other tech come for his 4.) She was kind of funny too. She said when the skinny tech shows up that looks like he is 17 to tell him she already did his job for him --- again.

The nurses and techs have been very helpful and nice here too. Barb took a shower last night and the nurse did the Chlorhexadine Gluconate scrub for her. Barb had Coreg and Lasix and Potasium the a sleeping pill at 11:55. Nothing by mouth after midnight.

It's now 5:50AM and Barb tells me she slept well till 3:30 am. She's up, in good spirits and wants to Post some stuff herself, so I'm handing over the key board now.

Hi Every One!

To my family and close friends:; I went to thank you for all of your kindness, your prayers, your thoughts, your cards, and calls. Thank you for extending your prayers to your church groups. I'm looking forward to being part cow. So I sign off saying ..... Mooo (hee hee).

What I really want to sign off saying is" I love you all".

Barb Cheney

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Another update - looking a little better.

Dr Hamman's physician assistant (Terry) came by and talked to us. The plan is to have the surgery at 7:30 am as long as it is safe to do so. Barb can have food and water now ad up till midnight. They are ordering another chest X-Ray because, he can not tell for sure based on the report from Grapevine if she has a problem with pneumonia or not. (They only get the report, not the actual X-Ray.) Anyway, they will put her on Lacicks, and anti-biotic as a start.

Try to avoid hospital hopping

Waited to 2PM for paper work and an ambulance and finally headed to Dallas. Then it took a whle more just to get in through emergency and to room 417 in the Jonsson hospital.

Now Barb sits here with no meds, and she can not have any food or water because we are still waiting once again for "orders". The nurse is making calls and I suspect is not getting any answers. We have no idea what the plan is. Is Barb getting surgery tomorrow? Or what?

Moving to BUMC

We just got the word from Linda (One of the nurses here) that Baylor University Medical Center (BUMC) has a room for Barb at the Johnson Hospital. The room number is 417. They are calling for the ambulance now.

Still here in Grapevine and a touch of pneumonia

The surgery is supposed to be in Dallas Thursday, May 29th at 7:30AM. However, I have the suspicion / fear it will get put off. Now, Barb has a touch of pneumonia in her right lung. Probably not dangerous on it's own and they will be giving her anti-biotic here in Grapevine for it. But, I doubt the surgeons will want to crack her chest if she is not clear for at least 24 hours. We will see.

Still no word when they will transfer her to Dallas. I assume we will get 20 seconds notice.

On the bright side she was ale to sleep fairly well last night.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday evening

Barb's lungs are clear. She ate a little bread, jello and a cracker. Her fever is gone.
She is sleeping right now and not couging as much. No Lasix today, and no Digoxin. Blood pressure is OK. I really hope she gets a good nights rest.

Not going to Dallas tonight

Baylor Dallas has no rooms available. Looks like Barb will be transfered in the morning

Tuesday Afternoon

Well, I'm back at the hospital. No specific news on when Barb will be transported. Baylor Grapevine is waiting on Baylor Dallas to get a room ready. The side effects of the Finigan anti nausea medication finally wore off after about 3 hours and Barb is just plain exhausted. She tries to sleep sitting up and when she falls asleep for maybe 5 minutes, her head falls forward, interferes with her airway and she wakes back up. She started getting nauseated again and the nurse was able to get her a different med that does not make her jittery. I adjusted her bed a little and this keeps her head back so she managed to sleep for half a hour at least.

Her temp is 100.5 and they gave her the daily bag of anti-biotics.

Monday afternoon & night

Turned out to be a bad day. Barb's coughing got much worse and we packed her up & headed toward downtown. Joy sat i the back with Barb. Bob decided to route past Grapevine in case things got worse and had the GPS on standby for the nearest hospital along the way in case they got lots worse.

Barb started feeling pressure in her chest along the way, so we went to Baylor Grapevine's emergency room and she was admitted and spent the night. They do not share records yet with Baylor in Dallas???? They (Emergency room people, doctors, nursing staff, admissions, everybody.) were great though and took very good care of Barb. I could go on about having to answer all the same questions over and over, but their timing of when to ask them was fine so I won't. Dr Feingold was the on-call Cardiologist so he came in to see her and went over all the tests and prescribed some Meds. He even apologized for wearing casual clothes when he came in (I could care less if he was wearing a Toga. Barb was admitted to the hospital. Angie was ere till she had to go to work. Robert and John were here. Maybe someone else came too but things are a bit of a blur.

Anyway it was a rough night far Barb, but she is stabilized again. She was nauseated and they gave her a med called Phenergan . She did not respond well at all to it. It made her jumpy to the extreme. Really bad restless legs and she is practically hopping out of bed (No exaggeration). Joy Rob and John are also here.

I ran home to shower and grab some clothes. I spoke with Dr Theleman on the phone (Cardiologist associated with Dr Feingold) & he is arranging to transfer her to Dallas, so I need to head back. Dr Feldman also told me he knows Barry Hamman & that he is a great surgeon.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Update for Sunday afternoon / night

Barb is not happy at all with the Homedics blood pressure monitor. It hurts her arm. I tried it on me first and it does seem to press rater tightly but does not hurt my tough manly arm. We drove back to Wal-Mart to take her blood pressure. Their monitor does not work now. (Tried both of us and either we are both dead or it is broken.) We next went to CVS. It is a different type of monitor that measures using the fore arm rather than the upper arm. I tested it first before having Barb walk all the way to the back of the store. It says my blood pressure is 137 over 85. That seems high for me and the one at home said 117 over something. I had Barb come on back anyway. She has a nasty bruise on her left fore arm so she can not use that one. The CVS unit seems to be only set up for the left arm so I re-arranged their furniture and Barb tried the right. It would not get a reading. She tried twice.

We ate ice cream cones from Dairy Queen on the way home.

Barb slept well up till 3:30 AM and then woke up with lots of coughing. Nothing really seemed to calm it down, but at least her breathing is still good. She's up and about now, and the coughing has subsided for the most part. Joy and Brooke are here and Rob took Austin fishing at the "secret spot".

Angie and Brent on on their way here too.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday May 25th update

We talked to the on-call cardio doctor (Dr Matter) this morning about Barb's breathing issue last night. I filled him on on her status, medications, LVEF etc. He asked if we had a way to check her blood pressure. I indicated we were going to go to Wal-Mart to check it. He said that if she is in distress to go to the nearest emergency room. Dr Matter gave me his cell phone to call him back after checking her blood pressure.

Barb's blood pressure is 89 over 65. Dr Matter says not to increase the Furosemide dosage. (That would further lower her blood pressure and would not be a good idea.)

Clarification: Barb says she was not in distress last night. (She was in distress with the symptoms 10 to 12 days ago)

Choices: 1) Get put on a breathing machine. Dr Matter correctly guessed Barb will not want to do that. 2.) Even though it sounds archaic; If necessary, sleep sitting up.

We are now the proud owners of a Homedics blood pressure monitor. We are at home, Barb is comfortable and not having any issues right now.

Walt and Marsha Mills stopped by for a visit and brought us some food for later this evening.

Update for Saturday May 24th

Barb enjoyed a nice visit from The Pershings and Gilleys.
Bob picked up carry out Pizza, tortellini Michelangelo and salads from the Venice Pizza and Pasta in Newark.

Barb had some difficulty breathing whenever she tried to lie flat last night. So we ended up moving to the living room so she could sleep sitting up. We are thinking the sodium content in the food might be a factor. Bob also looked up normal dosing levels for Furosemide. The dosing ranges from 20mg to 630 mg and some MDs prescribe once a day while others prescribe twice a day. Barb is currently on 40mg once a day. Maybe this needs to be increased. Bob plans to call the doctors office to see if we can get an answer.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Update for Friday from Joy

Mom did awesome today. Stronger, less coughing but a bit nauseous. We spent the day, working, sewing and checking emails. Angie showed up around 2:30 so I went to get the kids. Rob and Bob here now and Brent on his way. It's chicken taco's today. Mom is getting really strong for the surgery.She is really in great shape for the shape she is in:-)

A True Mother's Love A mother's love is consistent and patient, it will never fade.
A mother's love is warm and compassionate, even in the shade.
A mother's love will always help you through the weakest hours.
A mother's love is always like a bouquet of flowers.
A mother's love is strong and will never steer you wrong.
A true mother's love is beautiful in many ways.
A true mother's love is sincere and it takes a mother's love to conquer our fears.
A true mother's love knows the depth of love.
A true mother's love is contentment, just like God's love.
My mother's love is absolutely all of the above.

Patarica D. Nunn

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Update for Thursday May 22nd

Barb was able to stay home today and rest.
She is feeling a bit better again today than yesterday and is coughing less.
Bob left for work around 10AM.
Joy worked from our house till 2:30. Tamara visited for a while and Kim our next door neighbor hung out for a while in the afternoon.

Update for Wednesday May 21

We are making progress. Barb had her tooth pulled on Wednesday afternoon. Joy took her to the Dentists and I only called for status maybe three times. All went well. The Dentist checked her blood pressure before and after. She used a local without epinephrine pulled the tooth and sutured things up. By the way, I could tell the Cardiac surgeon was not concerned about issues with getting the tooth pulled from a heart stand point. But the Dentist was very careful and concerned and we appreciated the caution..

Barb's cough was much better on Wednesday. A bit more coughing in the evening, but still better. She seems to be feeling a bit more energetic too.

She's still taking the same meds.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday update.

Progress today:

Had the consult with the Cardio surgeon Dr Baron Hamman at Baylor Medical University in Dallas. He reviewed the test reports and CD of the Catherization from Missouri. discussed the options and will be going with a tissue valve.

Barb's surgery is scheduled for Thursday May 29th @ 7:30 AM
Doubled up on the Furosemide from 20MG to 40MG per day since her breathing has been getting a bit labored again. The Doc syas 20MG is a pretty low dose.
Went through tons of pre-admission paper work, another round of tests (Chest Xray, EKG and of course taking more blood for tests.

Tomorrow: Abscess tooth gets pulled at 2:30PM (Only time we could get after ranting that this Thursday is not soon enough)

I plan to drop Barb off in the morning at our daughter Joy's house and will be in the office shortly after that. Joy will take her to the Dentist.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Progress

Progress today but not in chronological order: We identified a Cardio surgeon and made an appointment for tomorrow morning at 8:45 AM.Dr Baron Hamman at Baylor University in Dallas. Got Xrays of her teeth and identified the need to pull the abscess tooth. Got a prescription written by the dentists and filled for Amoxicillin. Got a letter from the dentists for the Cardiologist asking for any necessary precautions on anesthetics etc when pulling the tooth. Went to the GP and had Barb checked out a bit to make sure she is still stable. Barb has a temp of 100.1. Need to get that cleared up quickly or no surgery. Doc thinks Amoxicillin will take care of it and OKs use of Mucinex for Barb's cough. Also traded test reports. One of which is the echo cardiogram from October which says things were normal. This report said the estimated Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction was 65%. The current report says the LVEF is now 25%. Huge drop from October to May. Perhaps people need monthly tests?

Barb is back in Texas

Barb's condition improved enough for the doctors to release her to go back to Texas.
Brent flew Angie & Joy up and they helped me drive her back on Sunday. Since she is on Lacicks we had to stop a lot.
She is still pretty weak.
She's coughing up some yellow discharge.
We need to get her absess tooth taken care of hopefully today, but probably need top get her into the doctor to check her out a bit 1st.

I'm leaning toward Baylor University Medical Center for the valve replacement.

Friday, May 16, 2008

So, now we are waiting to see how Barb's symptoms are in the morning to get the Docs advice on where to go next. As in go to Texas, or?

We also need to look at what hospital near home does lots of successful valve replacements.

Oh yes, I managed to lock the keys in the van at the hotel tonight.
The catherization procedure is complete. This allowed the doctors to determine the aortic valve is severely narrowed. Barb is going to need a new valve. Also, they measured the pressure inside the heart. It is much higher than normal. The heart can not pump the blood out due to the narrowing of the valve. (The aortic valve is the last valve on the way out of the heart.). So, Barb's heart is weakened by trying so hard to pump the blood through too small an opening.

The doctors are ordering some additional meds to help stabilize her heart and need to see how it goes before we decide to go back to Texas, or if the valve replacement has to be done in Columbia. They tell me the procedure required 5 or 6 days recovery in the hospital plus at least a week at home, so it would be better to do the valve replacement near home if possible.

The docs also said this narrowing would have been a gradual thing over the last 20 or 30 years.

I find it VERY ODD that her proactive Echo cardiogram, Xrays and blood tests would turn up nothing from last November.
Barb is feeling a little better as far as breathing goes. The echo cardiogram indicate either medium or severe narrowing of the aortic valve (stenosis). The doctors tell us that a catherization to inspect the heart directly is needed. They need to look at the valve to be sure how bad it is.

Brian brought his graduatio to Barb. He put his cap and gown back on and came for a visit. I think Barb liked that.
The doctors give Barb 'Lasix'to reduce the fluids on her lungs. They also order an echo cardiogram. (Ultrasound of the heart.)
Barb's EKG looks normal, but the blood test shows a 'marker' that indicates problems with the heart. Also, the X-ray shows some enlargement of the heart and fluid on the lungs. The doctors ordered an echo cardiagram.
A few weeks ago Barb noticed climbing stairs left her out of breath. She thought she was just out of shape.

Tuesday May 13TH: Barb and I had a nice shrimp diner at the Circle S near Newark.
This evening she had difficulty getting her breath while laying down. She took a Clariton and it seemed to help right away.

Wednesday May 14th: We set out for Columbia, Mo. to attend Brian's graduation. Once again, Wednesday night she had trouble with breathing while laying down. She also started coughing quite a bit. This time, the Clariton did not seem to help. We hit the drug store and bought some inhalers and Mucinex.

Thursday night and still can't get any sleep. When she lies down, she can not get her breath and the coughing is just as bad or worse.

Friday May 16th 3:30AM: Off we go to the emergency room at University Hospital in Columbia, Mo.