Thursday, July 24, 2008

AAA

We are still here.

This has been a crazy month or so. Da and I have logged many hours on the road back and forth to the hospital/clinic. About 25 hours anyway, I guess. That is the only thing we don't like about Kaiser, it takes over an hour to get there.

You see, Da has an abdominal aortic aneurysm or AAA. It is big. The normal aorta is about 2 cm. Da's is 6.8 cm. Not good. He found it himself when he lay down in bed and felt his tummy throbbing. He thought, "Have I always had this? Has this always been like this?" He didn't know but he thought not. It was strange anyway so he made an appointment with his doc and then we went to Hawaii. (Or he might have made the appointment after we got back, I don't remember.)

Anyway, he saw his doc on June 10. Just a regular check-up. He mentioned the throbbing and some other minor problems. He got scheduled to see an ear-nose-throat specialist (6/18) for one, and had a barium esophagus scan (6/20)for another. Then he had an abdominal ultrasound (6/26). We go on living like normal. No big deal.

Then at 9 pm on a Sunday night (6/29), his doctor called us at home. Now, our medical plan, Kaiser Permanente, is a huge corporation. They normally don't call us on Sunday night after gospel meeting. That in itself gave us a clue as to the seriousness of the situation.

Dr. Tan confirmed that the throbbing was indeed an aneurysm just as they both had thought. He wanted Da to see another specialist right away. And have more tests, right away. So we meet Dr. Kim (7/1). He looks at the collected test results and orders even more tests and schedules surgery for 25 days. TWENTY-FIVE DAYS! Wait a minute, this is my husband we are talking about. Why 25 days? Why not today?

Dr. Kim is the vascular surgeon. He cancels Dr. Tan's tests and orders his own. He doesn't like Da's blood count. It is way too low, he is bleeding somewhere. I'm thinking that the aneurysm is leaking or something. Somebody, DO SOMETHING!

Good old internet. I do some surfing and end up worse. What if... what about... Did they think of this?... This is no good. Call the doctor. It is Saturday evening, after hours. We can leave a voice mail. ARGhh. Oh, wait, we have Dr. Tan's e-mail, let's send a message. Maybe he'll read his mail before Monday. Shoot the message off and talk some more. Call Chuggy and Bill, they are not home from Lassen yet. Leave a message. Talk some more. Bill calls, they got home an hour after I called. Yay, finally some consolation in this thing. Go to bed and cry. This stress is getting to me. I can't sleep, I get up and play spider on the computer. Oh, check my neglected mail. Hey, whadya know? Dr. Tan answered our questions 5 minutes after we sent them. Our fears are not warranted. Why didn't I check my mail 'til 7 hours later? Nothing like borrowing trouble.

Now, why isn't Kaiser doing anything? Okay, they are. Five different stress tests and a CT scan on 7/7. That takes, oh, only eight hours or so. I am having my own stress test of my own making. Where's the bleeding? Colonoscopy (7/15). Nothing much, but more tests are indicated to rule out something or other. After we take our first bites at Black Angus we realize that we should have gone to the lab first and gotten blood drawn for that fasting test. Da had been fasting for the colonoscopy. Doh! Oh well, we will be back soon anyway. Complete history and physical. Isn't this rather redundant? Not really. Get that fasting test done and a chest x-ray(7/17) . Upper GI exam. Nothing at all. Maybe a small hernia. No bleeding(7/21). Pre-op appointment with Dr. Kim. Meet the anesthesiologist, Dr. Tedla (he's from Russia). Even more blood tests. (No wonder Da is anemic.) Rush to get a baseline EKG. That section is closed. No, the tech is still here. Whew. Done.

We try a new restaurant on the way home. It is our new favorite (7/23). I Check the blood test results when we get home. I love it that the results get posted immediately on the Kaiser web site. Da's blood count is up! Some good news finally. The anesthesiologist had wanted to give a blood transfusion before the operation, now he won't have to, I think.

Da called Kaiser this morning as directed to see what time he is to check-in tomorrow for surgery. It is at 5:30 am. We will stay at a nearby hotel tonight. I will probably stay there the whole week.

Your prayers are felt and much appreciated.

3 Comments:

At 7/24/2008 6:06 PM, Anonymous n-onymous said...

Argh, you should have called me more often when you were feeling bad :(

Hope that everything goes well tomorrow. Love you guys.

(New favorite restaurant? What is it?)

 
At 7/24/2008 6:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please know that we are praying for both of you! What a comfort to know that you are in the hands of the GREAT PHYSICIAN! and "underneath are the everlasting arms" Deut. 33:27 Love in Him, Jim and Joyce Cary

 
At 7/28/2008 3:21 PM, Blogger knitterykate said...

Glad to hear D came through okay. Now for that long road to recovery. Hope it's short. Call me any time.

 

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