Surgery and Walking

Hi y’all!  Today we did 45 minutes which was 1.62 miles.  We did this early before the sun was really coming up.  It was very nice and very cool out this morning.  I also got the carb thing back together today.  This is a good thing.  I was starting to wonder if  I was ever going to be able to get it under control but I did.  Not because I willingly fell off the wagon but due to circumstances I have had to adjust.  I will just keep hammering away at it until I make good progress and stuff.  Not that I haven’t been making progress but I don’t want to fall so far off the wagon that I won’t be able to recover.  I just wish there was an easier way to eat when you are out and about.  I think there has to be but I am not sure what it is.  If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.  Tomorrow we will be going to our rescheduled Reds game so I will get plenty of walking in there.  And this time, I bet you I won’t be huffing and puffing!  The last times we were out there I was huffing and puffing something awful but this time I won’t.

Remember last month when I was talking about a relative that was having surgery?  Well that was my brother.  He had gone in for a heart cath.  About a year or so ago he had some trouble with some congestive heart failure and he had gone in for a check up for that.  They decided to do a stress test which led them to believe he needed a heart cath done. At some point in all this they decided that he had parts of his heart not working and that could have been due to a heart attack in the past.  I am not sure where we learned about that at, but it was discussed in there at some point. We all went up there for that.  It was an all day affair since the guy who did it was also the guy who took care of the heart issues that came in the ER.  But he got it done and it was done successfully.  Said that if he needed stents or anything they would do them then.  Well, I just knew.  Don’t ask me how I knew, but I knew that it was going to require more than that.  Sure enough, once the Dr had looked at it he came out and told us that he was going to require some sort of open heart surgery.  That wasn’t what any of us wanted to hear.  We had briefly discussed this before he had gone in for surgery.  I don’t think anyone came to any solid conclusion about the “what if…” of that situation but here it was upon us, requiring some sort of action.  The Dr who did the cath said that the heart Dr who was going to do the other surgery would come in and talk to us before he was released.

So let me stop right there.  This was not a normal situation.  Usually it is us, on the other side, with one of our elderly relatives that has something going on .  This was a very strange situation to be in.  He even said that this was just bizarre.  I agree.  I do know I sat in the room with him the majority of the day before the cath, because I just didn’t want to leave him up there. I really hadn’t entertained that idea either, so I just stayed there.  I just couldn’t hardly stand it really. There is just some pitiful aspect about when a relative, that again, has always been a Superman and completely invincible, is the one who has gone down for whatever reason.  If anyone knows me, y’all know how I consistently act silly all the time.  No one would ever suspect how I really feel about stuff and that is a good thing.  I think that staying consistently silly is a positive thing especially when someone is facing something unpleasant.  I just hated that he had to do this and would have gladly traded places with him.  Without a doubt.  In a blink of an eye.  This is random but if he called me now and said he needed a kidney (no worries there, all is ok but I’m just saying), I would sign up to give him one of mine without even thinking. That is how much I think of him, how much I love him.  Anyway, I guess we expect parents and older relatives to become sick and have to deal with these things.  But when it is a brother, that is a different situation.  I really couldn’t even briefly entertain the idea of anything but positive things coming out of this.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if something did go haywire, but I just couldn’t let anything happen to him and have him taken away. And I consider my brother to be the best in the world.  He has not just been a brother but also a Dad at times because my Dad was just not around nor alcohol-free enough to be Dad.  And, they did.

This was territory that none of us have ever ventured into.  Our Mom had some stents a few years ago, but no one other than some cousins, and my in-laws, have had anything like this.  We really didn’t know what to expect I guess.  But we knew enough about heart issues to know what the major idea was and how it would be done.  The Dr who would do the surgery came in and explained to us the procedure of taking veins from the legs and using them to put in the heart.  And he was going to need a triple by-pass.  This is where a machine does the breathing and blood pumping for you while the Dr does the work on your heart, and he was going to need to replace 3 veins in his heart to reestablish blood flow.  They also said somewhere along the way said that this would possibly cause the part that appeared to be damaged, to be good again.  And I believe that that was accomplished.  The Dr explained that the percentage of failure or bad things happening (they used a more technical term than bad things now) during the surgery was 1% or less.  Hmm.  Everyone’s first impression of a by-pass is a disaster.  Your brain immediately goes to bad things or people not doing well.  Our first instinct is to call down the bad stuff or think it when in reality, times have changed.  This is a VERY serious operation, don’t get me wrong.  But it wasn’t like it was in the old days, with someone on a ventilator for a week, with the prospect that they may or may not be the same again.  In fact, these are very routine surgeries now they say.  Ok then.  The odds of bad things happening if the surgery wasn’t done was pretty bad.  So the Dr left us with that and to discuss it.  My brother, of course, was by no means gung-ho to get started on this one.  But he agreed he better do it, after minor discussion.  He had a follow-up in 2 days with the Dr who would do it and they would set a date and stuff then.  He set a date of two weeks ago today, in July, so he could get some stuff done before the surgery since he would be out of work and not able to drive for 4-8 weeks.  After seeing the surgeon this time, his thinking on this whole situation changed a bit and was more willing to get it done.  I can see where he thought like that.  I had my gallbladder out a few years ago.  I kept putting it off and putting it off. Gallbladder surgery isn’t anything like open heart surgery but no one is looking forward to surgery.  But once you get it done, you question why you waited.  I don’t think he is at that point, because he didn’t fiddle with rescheduling it several times like I did the gallbladder one.

My brother came down for the 4th.  We had pizza and some <gasp> cake and had a good time.  He had to go in the following Monday for all sorts of follow-up and pre-op stuff.  His veins were checked and were deemed ok in June for the surgery.  He had to do several things the day before.  And he had to be there at 530 for the surgery!  Ugh.  We both hate early mornings.  I can’t do them because if I get up that early, for whatever reason, I get an infernal migraine that lasts about a week.  Had one the day of his cath that lasted for 6 days or so.  And well, he just don’t do early.  So we show up at the appropriate time and he gets checked in and stuff.  They come in and start prepping him and we figure out where to go.  We came prepared this time with a laptop and some other stuff.  They came and gave us updates and things about when he went on the by-pass machine and off of it, and a few other updates.  I went out and got lunch and on my way out I just started singing the hymn “Praise Him!  Praise Him!” for no reason.  In fact I copied it onto my Facebook page that day!  I found out why when I got back.  The Dr came on shortly after I came back with lunch and was explaining how the surgery went well, everything went as it should and he was very happy with the results.  Praise God!  I knew he would be ok!  I just knew it.  I turned it over to God and let Him take the reins.  I instilled my faith where it needed to be and all was well.  I would have never made it without God being there with us.  He really is with us in all aspects of our life if we invite Him in and allow Him to be there.  I thank Him so much for being with the surgeon, with my brother, for keeping my Mom together, for safe travels, and for a whole lot of other things that may seem insignificant to most people, but God cares about it all.

Another odd thing there that happened too was at breakfast I picked up a Coke Zero with my name on it.  Stacey is a hard name to find spelled right.  Well I sat it down and lost it and went back and grabbed another.  My brother’s name is Jeffrey, and I named my son after him.  Everyone but me calls him Jeff, but I went back and put my hand right on a bottle with Jeff on it.  Then I located the other one.  How odd was that?

After he was back in his room, they told us he would probably be swollen and look odd with the breathing tubes and stuff in.  We got to go see him and he was awake and very aware of what was going on.  The breathing tube was irritating him but that was to be expected.  He was conscious enough to nod and stuff when we talked to him. Not sure how much of that he remembers but he was doing very well.  I called in the mornings and evenings until he could take his cell phone back over.  We went back up the next day to see him and he was up sitting and had been walking!  Wow!  His recovery has gone very well.  And like I said above, today is 2 weeks exactly from the surgery and he told me today he has felt better today than all the other days since this thing has started.  Dr said he would feel better in general after all this and he told us the day after surgery he could tell a difference.  I know he will run circles around me someday!  But he is getting there.  I want to thank his friends for all their help and all the people who prayed for us.  It makes a difference knowing there are people out there who care enough to help you and who are willing to say a prayer for you.

I better sign this off for today.  I have a long day tomorrow but it will be an awesome one, especially if the players come out to sign autographs and stuff.  Have a great night, y’all!

–S

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