DB did amazing!!! Yesterday's aortic valve replacement is over! Now comes the recovery... not fun, but do-able :)
The surgery went really well! We arrived at the hospital at 5:15am (after 5 hours of pre-op the day before), and by 6:30 they were wheeling him back, already on some versed so his nerves were calmed. The night before and that morning were a different story, so I was glad to see him getting into a better place... too bad they didn't have any extra lying around for me. (Hanging with our friends Sarah and Bo the night before the surgery was a wonderful distraction, and even though we probably weren't very good company, they never let on :) ) Surgery started at 7ish and the surgeon came to give me the good news a little after 10 - I was elated! So much so that I actually hugged him... oops. He handled it very well :)
Part of the good news was the reassurance about the urgency and importance of replacing DB's aortic valve! The surgeon said is looked absolutely terrible. I mentioned this before... even though the numbers all showed he needed to have the replacement NOW, it's hard to go into surgery not feeling "sick." So hearing that the valve was really, really bad was actually a good thing :)
It was nearly noon by the time I got to see DB, after they sewed him back together and got the post-op accessories situated, and the sight of him brought me to tears! An added bonus was that he actually looked really good, not all puffed up like I was expecting. Lots of tubes and wires coming out everywhere, but luckily Samuel prepared me for most of that :) The post-op goal for yesterday was to get extubated (get the breathing tube out), and DB accomplished it around 1pm, which is incredible! The remainder of the day was spent trying to get comfortable, which has still proved to be nearly impossible, and managing meds, vitals, and lots of other heart stuff.
Today has been a lot more painful than yesterday. DB has accomplished more post-op goals as well, so there is a bright side, but the pain has been pretty bad. The surgeon has explained that while being young and healthy will make DB's recovery quicker, it actually makes the surgery much more painful. Being young means your muscles and nerves are still very dense and strong, so when they get pulled apart to access the heart, the damage is much more painful. We started a new med and a new med routine mid-morning which seems to be helping a lot!
Also this morning came a few other post-op goals... he started coumadin, the pacemaker wires came out of his chest, the central line came out, and the massive neck iv's came out. The neck lines were crazy! They were in place to measure the pressures in DB's heart... one was literally 12 inches long (inside his chest), and the other was about six inches and the circumference of a small pencil. Ugh! Almost crazier is that DB had no idea they were even in, and it didn't hurt to take them out! Getting rid of all this stuff decreases risk for infection, which is awesome. He still has one small iv and of course the chest drainage tube.
DB also came out of ICU!!! This is great! I suppose reasons are obvious :)
From DB: "Ouch."
I can tell he is starting to feel better as his sense of humor has begun to return :) Thank you for your thoughts and prayers! Infection control and pain management are two goals right now, leading up to the goal of going home (we're shooting for Monday). Go DB!