Thursday, July 31, 2008

Home again

I can breathe again. Da's surgery went well, the aneurysm has been repaired. And we are back home. Whew!

Da was in the operating room for seven hours, not the 4-6 that we were expecting. Da doesn't do things by half, oh no. Extravagant, excessive, over-the-top, more and better than anyone else, yes, that's him. I betcha didn't know that about him. He didn't break just one eye, it had to be both of them. He didn't have just three cardiac bypass grafts, he had to have six. He didn't marry someone just ten years younger, try twenty-two years.

And he also didn't stay in the hospital the expected 5-10 days. No, he came home after four. He was doing so much better than expected, the surgeon saw no point to him staying any longer. He can rest and recuperate better at home where it is calmer and quieter than a busy hospital. Besides, he knows where things are at home and people don't move things around here and make incessant and alarming noises. Okay, things get moved, but I do (usually) tell him about it and he can shush me if needs be.

Here is a big thank-you for all the cards and flowers and visits and especially the prayers sent up on his behalf. That is why he did so well, I'm sure of it. HE truly is a GREAT physician.

So here we are, trying to get back to our normal routine. He has to live downstairs until his re-check, but meanwhile... who is going to get the mail and take the garbage out?

Isn't it funny how one never realizes just how much someone does until he doesn't do it anymore?

Everybody, go appreciate that one.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


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.