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.