Thursday, September 5, 2013

LVAD Surgery

The LVAD procedure has officially begun... the computer monitor switched to "in procedure" about 9:30.

Last night we were both asleep when two doctors came in with an ultrasound machine and started looking at his heart and balloon pump. They were discussing things between themselves and when they finished one of the guys left. Before the second one left, the nurse spoke up and asked Danny and I if we knew why they were doing an ultrasound. I said no, but Danny really said NO! The doctor was a little surprised and said "Oh, well we needed to do an ultrasound because your augmentation was too low and the nurse called us. We wanted to see if the leaky valve was causing a problem with the balloon pump. It is leaky, but the surgery will happen as change" and then he left. Danny said, "What a bunch of clowns! If they had thought to ask the PATIENT who is lying in the bed how he felt and if he felt like anything had changed, they would have found their answer really quickly. When I woke up I immediately noticed that I didn't feel the balloon pumping anymore." I asked him why he didn't tell the doctors and he said, "you know, they didn't ask!" He is right and this is important for any doctors in training out there who may be reading this. We've been at Ochsner since August 9th and we have seen many, many doctors who are in their fellowship (the two in this situation are fellows). We have had ONE who naturally understood the importance of talking to the  patient and family about symptoms, concerns, thoughts...The rest of the fellows are focused on the textbook and forget to "talk to the patient". Of course they introduce themselves and ask basic questions, but they have not yet developed the skill of learning from the patient. Maybe they don't even know that the patient and family plays a huge role in the diagnostic process, I don't know. I just thought it quite interesting that these two guys came in the room, did an entire ultrasound of Danny's heart and balloon, left, and still didn't know that Danny knew the whole time it wasn't working.

A chest x-ray was also ordered to see if the balloon was working. Well, we know it wasn't/isn't and I'm sure they know by now since the surgery has begun. The surgery can be done with a balloon or without, it's just better to do it with. There's not much sense in worrying about that, so I'll move on.

At another point last night while I was sleeping, Danny called me over to his bed. He told me to listen to the sound and said he remembers that sound while going to sleep as a little boy. I recorded the conversation and sent it to his mom right then (about 1:45 a.m. I think) because it was so sweet. I knew she'd love it! Here it is... 

Well, it will be coming soon. I'm having a compatibility issue between my iPhone and PC. I need Danny!!!! I'll figure it out, don't worry. It's worth checking back because it is a REALLY sweet video. All you moms out there will cry!

Early this morning, the nurse and I gave him a bath and she finished prepping him for surgery...shaving the left side of his chest, last minute blood draws, last minute IV meds,.. When she was done she left us alone before I had to leave for shift change at 6:00 am. Danny was very quiet. I prayed for him and he really just wanted to rest...I think he needed some time alone with the Lord. I took a few pictures, and promised him I'd be there in the ICU with him as soon as I'm allowed. I didn't say much else before I left, because what do you say? "Bye? See you later? See you soon?" I just couldn't find the words, so I just said "I love you" and left.
And here I am, in this freezing cold OR waiting room, with family waiting...
I know many people are praying all day and I will update this as often as I have news.
Thank you! I couldn't do this without the strength that comes from the Lord and the prayers of His people.

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