Here’s the post from my cousin who guest blogs for me every week. She had heart surgery last week after having a stroke. This has been extensively documented (with quite a bit of humor and positivity, to be honest!) so if you need a recap, click on “Confessions from my Cousin” under “Stuff I Write about.” This happened right after her sister gave birth, and Jamie’s post about that is here. The actual birth posts from her sister KE are here and here. My notes are (always) in green. Three cheers for Jamie making it through heart surgery at almost 32. Tell her happy birthday month, too! –jell jell
Hi y’all - I know I’m usually the morning post for Thursdays, but I forgot it was Thursday…again. So mulligan then? Want the heart surgery update? (YES. So curious.)
I went in on December 1st at 9:00am to Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth, which is the hospital my cardio-thoracic surgeon is affiliated with, I didn’t get to pick (sorry hospitals, but I heart Denton Presby, it’s always gonna be my first choice). It was like walking into a hotel – you go to a concierge lady, and then a registration lady appears as if from nowhere all dressed in fancy black to get you admitted to the hospital. This made me feel VERY strange. From there we went through pre-admit testing (blood work, EKG, medical history) then up to the cath lab waiting room. The cath lab was where they were going to do my procedure. By this time it wasn’t just me and Benjamin; my momma, daddy, and my aunt and a couple of the Ya-Ya’s (ya-ya’s = mom besties) were there for emotional support. Oh by the way!! I totally saw Benjamin line the ladies up in the hallway while I sat in the waiting room and tell them they had to behave themselves!! It was amazing!! I’ve never seen anyone tell the ya-ya’s to behave themselves!! And they usually don’t (which isn’t a bad thing at all – I love them completely)!! But they did, cuz this was serious business, and I know they did it for Benjamin and me, and that’s because of love <3 (What the heck were the ya-ya’s up to that they got scolded?! That is a big task.)
I went back for prep alone after prep-dude refused to let me bring my Benjamin, which caused me to make my snarky face (I was feeling a bit nervous and clingy guys). (OF COURSE.) So I get all changed and they get me onto my prep bed and then give me Valium cuz I started crying all over the nurse when she couldn’t get a vein to cooperate for the IV (which isn’t unusual, my veins are rinky-dinky, I was just a little stressed so I was crying and apologizing and telling the nurse that it wasn’t her fault really, that it was my stress, then she looked like she was going to cry and gave me a shoulder squeeze and turned me over to another nurse….it was kind of a scene, which I am appropriately embarrassed about now…ugh). (Shut it – no apologizing for reacting emotionally to any of this.)
Somewhere in there my Valium kicked in and I vaguely remember everyone taking turns to come and say hi, and Benjamin staying with me the whole time, and sort of falling asleep from the Valium off and on, then the cath-folks saying it was time for surgery (what is cath?), and my mom and Benjamin giving me hugs and kisses just before they rolled me down the hallway into the cath lab (Daddy was really sweet and let Mommy be with me when they rolled me back because only two people were allowed with me at a time, another thing done that day because of love <3)
Cath labs are INTENSE y’all. There’s tracks all over the ceiling for relocating big machinery, and 2001 Space Odyssey monitors and tubes everywhere, and lights…lots and lots of lights. The cath lab crew was AWESOME and talked to me about everything, and everyone introduced themselves, which turned out to be a formality and intended comfort to me, because I was completely covered during the entire operation – Except. For. My. Vagina. HOLY CRIPES. (Why in god’s name was your cooter uncovered for heart surgery?!) So I guess modern etiquette dictates that if you’re gonna be hanging out with someone’s va-jay-jay for a couple hours for the sake of life-saving science, the owner should at least know your name. This was not discussed in my doctor’s office, I was told they’d be going through veins in my side, not in the side of my crotch. But yeah, for future reference ladies, we have two honkin’ veins just above our pubic bone, one on each side right where you shave your bikini line – and these veins are where they made two incisions and inserted tubes so they could run the cameras and such to my heart to fix the hole. (I feel like I knew this tidbit about those veins because of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. But holy craps, that’s not what I pictured you were going through for heart surgery. AT. ALL.)
I never went to sleep during my surgery, although I was pretty groggy and they dosed me once in the middle for talking during class (this is an ongoing problem for me, I like to ask questions about things I don’t understand, and I interrupt sometimes a lot though I don’t mean to, and when Benjamin works on the car he sets aside 15 minutes at the end when I’m allowed to ask any questions I want non-stop including pointing at things – so far his plan is the most effective at managing my question urgency, Go Benjamin!!). I did get to watch my whole (hole) surgery on the monitor though, and I cried with relief when they found the hole. This was because not finding the whole = being on blood thinners forever = no babies for Jamie and Benjamin. So. Intense. But my surgeon is BRILLIANT and found the hole, which turned out to be a tunnel (That’s what I heard! A tunnel! Mind bottling), which took some extra parts to fix, some of which were metal, which equaled mondo pain for Jamie – so they gave me another shot of chilly-juice, finished closing the heart-hole, pulled the cameras, stitched everything up, and wheeled me to recovery. I am happy to say I was coherent enough before they wheeled me out to say thank you to them for fixing my heart, and I did cry a bit when I said it, and I am not ashamed, because they deserved a BIG thank you and some dorky tears, they really did. (Agreed.)
Here’s what happened in the next 6 hours: I was not allowed to sit up, I had a hematoma from one of my tubes so they had to squish on me to get all the fluids out when they pulled my tubes, my heart was angry about it’s new metal parts and I was in crazy pain and my heart rate shot from 80ish to 139 in about 12 seconds and they gave me a crazy dose of pain medicine which made everyone look like bigfoot and all my fingers feel melty, then my blood sugar dropped way low cuz I couldn’t eat, and I barfed 7 times before the sun came up. After than they gave me Phenergan for the barfing, and that’s when the world got pretty again, so I’m sorta rushing ahead to that part. (I heard this part from my MIL/your aunt and they thought you were having a heart attack. Ferk, lady. Ferk.)
I got breakfast, and an echocardiogram (sonogram for your heart) and my physician’s assistant MizR came to say I’d be going home that day!! I kept falling asleep everywhere (including on the potty when I had to pee) from the Phenergan, but somewhere in there I got up and walked around my hospital floor and my attendant said under no circumstances was I to walk unsupervised, and they gave me crazy heavy antibiotics through my IV, and I got lunch and discovered that I love Manhattan-style Clam Chowder, and the next thing I knew Benjamin had loaded the car and he was helping me get dressed and we were going home (and stopping for Taco Bueno because I NEEDED it)!! (Double agreed.)
Fast forward to today, a mere SIX days later, and I’m able to walk for 15 minutes outside and as of today I can even jog to cross the street. Walmart/Kroger proved to be a little to nutso for me yesterday, but I bet I’ll be up for it by next week, and I’m doing my Christmas baking today. WHEW!! I’m actually on the other side of it all, to the part where all I have to do is get a little better each day. I freakin’ made it. And one tiny year from now…we get to start trying for a baby. EEEEEE!!! Happy! Happy! Happy!!
Jame, I’m so glad you’re better. This was quite an ordeal for the whole family, readers, and for it to be all mixed up with KE’s baby-birthing, that side of the family had quite the week. And my MIL was up there for all of it. I love how close this family is, and if we didn’t have to work and didn’t have a child, I would’ve liked to have been there too. So know that I was thinking about you constantly, Jamie. And there will be babies in your future because you are on the other side. Hallelujah and Thank the universe.