I am allowed to spend the night with Danny in his current room. However I do have to leave the CCU between 6:00-8:30 am and pm daily for shift change. Currently I'm in a hallway in the hospital waiting for 8:30 pm to get here. Danny requested with tears in his eyes when I left at 6:00 that I return promptly at 8:30.
Earlier today the surgeon came in and said that he needed to be very clear and not sugar coat anything. The surgery is risky. He could have a stroke and he could die. If he sees a clot in Danny's left heart the surgery is over and Danny must wait for a donor heart. Installing a pump on the left heart with a clot would cause fatal bleeding. if at any point after the surgery, weeks, months...the right side of the heart decides to not do its job, Danny dies. The surgeon described it like this. There is a bucket full of water and you want to get the water out without dumping over the bucket. What do you do? You use a pump. Correct. The left heart is the bucket and the LVAD is the pump. What needs to happen before the pump can pump out the water? Water must go in the bucket. Correct. That's the right heart's job. If at any point after surgery the right heart decides it doesn't want to pump blood into the LVAD (get water into the bucket), the LVAD stops working (the pump runs dry). I don't think the risk can be any clearer than that!
The surgeon also said that he gives his word to do his best in the OR, but he is not God. However, God is always in the OR with him and in fact, God does the surgeries using the surgeons hands. That part was wonderful and encouraging!!
Next he discussed the days after the LVAD goes in. As I explained before, Danny's chest will remain open for a couple of days to give the right heart all the time it needs to accept the LVAD and work with the LVAD successfully. During these days his chest will be packed with saline and gauze and then wrapped with something I describe as saran wrap. This keeps infection out. The doctors cannot have Danny on blood thinners during surgery or as long as his chest is open because of bleed risk. The surgeon said Danny is on his own during this time and there is nothing he can do to help. It's all on Danny, his body,and his faith. He likened the situation to going into battle in Afghanistan with a knife--with the tip cut off. (Surgery is the battle field, knife is the LVAD, and no tip on the knife is no blood thinners). Danny must survive those days his chest remains open without blood thinners or he will not survive! Once the right heart is happy and his chest is closed, Danny will be intubated (taken off the ventilator) and expected pretty soon thereafter to start walking. Apparently this is excruciating, but necessary for the quickest and best recovery.
Are you scared? We are!
I'm a realist. I face problems head on and if I'm dealing with it correctly, I pray my way through the issues. The reality here is that Danny may die tomorrow or in the days after. This could be our last night together and when I have to leave the room at 6:00 am, that may be our last kiss. Do I think that? No Way!!! I couldn't function if I didn't choose to believe the best. But Danny and I have talked a lot about the worst case scenario and I have to say...it's awful. Awful discussion, awful reality. So here I am again saying that this is a lesson in faith, second by second. Also, who am I in the worst scenario? Do I still love God? Do I still believe He is good? Do I still believe He is a healer? The answer is yes. No matter what happens tomorrow, I love the Lord. He is good and wants the best for his children. He is a healer even if he doesn't heal. When you go into battle you have to have your mind made up on what you believe beforehand, otherwise you might crack under the pressure. Danny and I are not cracking!! Here's my heart open wide for all to see. Thank you Lord for this horrible trial because my faith in you is deeper and my need for you is stronger. Our prayer for our children is that they learn the same lessons through this. All of our days are numbered...so let's make sure we learn the lessons well along the way and don't waste them!
It's 8:30 and I'm so excited to get back to Danny. I will be posting tomorrow and I know you will be praying! Thank you, thank you, thank you...from both Danny and I.