Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The One Where the Locust Arrive

Hello from home.

I arrived back last Wednesday and things have been crazy since.

On Tuesday night, The Nanny (my grandma) went in for a sleep study to see why she fainted last week. She called me at 12:30am and told me I needed to come pick her up because they couldn't finish the tests. Her heart rate was high and the paramedics said it wasn't anything life threatening. WHAT? They said she should follow up with her doctor the next day.

On Wednesday, I got her a doctor's appointment scheduled for 3:30 pm. The Grandma's heart rate had been steady for over 24 hours. I said goodbye to them both and left for the airport. Uncle Mike would take over alone until Auntie LJ arrived on Sunday.

While I was actually in the air, The Grandma's heart rate started going up and down again.

While I was actually in the air, The Nanny's doctor put her in the hospital.


At least they were in the same hospital, so Uncle Mike's life would be a little easier. The Nanny's heart was keeping blood too long and it was too thick, causing her heart rate to rise. Yes, the same thing was going on with her daughter 3 flights up in the hospital. They put her on a blood thinner and monitored her for 4 days. They moved her into a rehab unit attached to the hospital yesterday. She is doing well, but they want to monitor her for 5 to 7 days to make sure the blood thinner is working.

They put a pacemaker in The Grandma on Thursday. I wasn't there. She did great and everything looked like a go for a release from the hospital on Sunday. She did not go home on Sunday. She has fluid around one of her lungs and they had to take her off of the blood thinner yesterday, so they could go in today with a needle and remove the fluid around the lung.


The Grandma has been in the hospital for 3 weeks. Uncle Mike came home yesterday and now Auntie LJ is there.

Of course there was tons of DRAMA! thrown into all of this past week that I haven't told you about....yet.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Battle of the Surgical Stars

I almost made it home.

I said goodbye to the Grandma at the hospital and left for the airport yesterday afternoon. 20 minutes later the phone rang. The Grandma was upset, understandably, as they just told her she would need a pacemaker. I went back to the hospital.

Her heart rate had been dropping to 50 and then jumping up to 160. She was exhausted and said she felt like she was running a race from her hospital bed. Her cardiologist (who looks like Balki from Perfect Strangers) felt that a pacemaker was indicated. He ordered the procedure and instructed the RN to stop food and water until they got the pacemaker in. I haven't had a lot of faith in Balki from the start. It took him 5 months of watching The Grandma sliding downhill after her heart attack to FINALLY get some tests done.

Her cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. V, is an arrogant man who looks like he could have been a hijacker on 9-11. After googling him, I assure you he has a reason to be arrogant and cocky. He is one of the best surgeons in the country it turns out. Dr. V disagreed with Balki and felt it would be rushing things to put a pacemaker in. Dr. V felt that she had post-op stress and they just needed to give it some time and adjust the medication they were giving her. He said she needed to eat, walk and take lots of deep breaths.

Dr. V came into her room yesterday afternoon and asked if she had eaten. The RN told him that Balki had ordered no food or water until the pacemaker procedure. Dr. V simply said, "Give her lunch." in a tone that no one would ever consider doing anything other than what he said.

Now the sign on the hospital door makes sense.

Dr. V won the battle and his opinion turned out to be the right one. The Grandma's heart rate has been steady for over 24 hours now and she looks and feels great. She will move out of ICU tonight and into another room in the hospital.

I am scheduled to fly home tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks again to everyone for their prayers and support.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Leap Of Faith

Heart Surgery is not for wimps. The things The Grandma are going through are just horrible and yet at the same time, I am amazed at how quickly she is bouncing back. She got drainage tubes out yesterday and her color is infinitely better. It looks like she will stay in the ICU at least one more day though. Her heart rate keep fluctuating last night and this morning, although the doctor says this is normal in 80% on the cases he sees.

Being the daughter that normally takes care of everything, it feels strange to tell you that I am flying home tomorrow afternoon. I'm not staying until she gets out of the hospital. I'm not staying to clean her house and shop for healthy food before she gets home. All of these things are going to fall to Uncle Mike, the one who usually runs from anything like this, and he is up for the challenge. I know he will do a great job and that she will be okay. I will try to not cry too much when I say goodbye tomorrow and get on that plane.

Uncle Mike will stay another week until Auntie LJ can get here. She will stay a week and then Auntie Lori will take over for a week. If The Grandma still needs help after that, I will return. It all looks good on paper, but feels like crap to me. I feel like I should be here. Although I am full of gratitude for the two friends my mother has. Once again, I am at a point in my life where I must close my eyes, put my hand on my heart, and take that first step into nothingness and know that I will be okay and land on solid ground.

I am looking forward to going home and seeing Robby! He misses me I'm told, but he cannot miss me more than I miss him. He had a nightmare that Santa Claus stole his wahki (pacifier) a few nights ago. I need to go protect his possessions from that jolly old elf.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Re-Grand Opening

She made it through surgery.

They finally got The Grandma in about 1:30 this afternoon. Five hours and four new valves later, we got the word she was out of surgery. Her surgeon said that it was a complicated and hard surgery but her heart looked good and everything should be okay.
Uncle Mike and I spent the first hour she was in surgery eating lunch and drinking a well earned margarita.

That stuff in the background is blue sky.

We spent the rest of the time in the ICU waiting room. I taught Uncle Mike how to play gin, although we were distracted by another lady in the waiting room who was a chatterbox prayer. Her husband had just come out okay through the same surgery and she had a LOT of nervous energy, poor thing.

We are going back to check on her tonight. She should be awake and hopefully will be off the respirator.
I saw this sign at the grocery store tonight.

I thought it a lot like mom's new lease on life and health.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hello From Arizona

The Grandma had her angiogram yesterday and called to say that she was being moved to a different hospital and that a quadruple bypass was on the surgical schedule. Uncle Mike and I flew in last night. It's nice to know I can get a call and be on a plane in less than 4 hours. As busy as my life seems and as important as I think I am; I guess it all comes down to priorities. (I was eating a Double Double with grilled onions at 1am.)

Phoenix is my hometown and usually she treats me well. I think she is on her period or something this trip. The plane hit the runway and the pilot literally locked up the brakes. The flight attendant came on the loudspeaker to welcome us to Phoenix and said she hoped this was our final destination. Everyone found it funny once they realized they were not going to die.

In my 4 hours notice, I booked a shuttle from the airport to The Nanny's house. I don't remember paying extra to get a celebrity driver, but low and behold Buck Henry stepped out of the passenger van to take my bag. I am probably showing my age and hopefully someone who reads this will know who Buck Henry is.) I think Mr. Henry had hemorrhoids. He sat in the driver's seat sideways and could not hold the steering wheel or the accelerator still for more than 2 seconds.

The Nanny sleeps with soap under the sheets at the foot of her bed (for leg cramps) and last night I thought there was a snake in the bed with me.

I got to meet the Bacon Nazi in the hospital cafeteria this morning.

It hasn't even been 24 hours and this trip is already memorable.

Robby thinks that The Grandma lives in an airplane now and that's why I got on a plane to go see her. I miss him so much I ache. You'd think I'd get to sleep in or something to make up for the fact that I can't hold him in my arms.

More updates to come.

Thanks to all for the support while I am here and all the thoughts and prayers for my mom.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ruff Weather

My life is now 38% easier.

Uncle Mike came and installed this on Saturday. It's a little strange having a hole cut in the side of your house (see my FLICKR page for the complete photo set) but it is totally worth it. I know Robby will eventually try to use the door, so I have prepared myself. I just hope I don't get a random opossum in the dining room one night.
Now I just need something to pick up the 14 tons of dog shit.
The Grandma is in the hospital again. She went in Friday evening and they have not let her come home. They are doing an angiogram tomorrow in hopes of finding what is causing her problems. It was not another heart attack this time, so we have that to be thankful for. Uncle Mike is flying to Arizona on Thursday night, as the angiogram was originally going to be done on this Friday.
The Nanny spent a night in the hospital last week as well. She passed out in the kitchen and conked her head and cracked some ribs. She is sore, but doing well.
See why I'm so excited about the dog door? It's the best thing that's happened in a week.