Sunday, December 09, 2007


Well, it's been about a week or so without any word here from me - but I have my reasons.

Last Monday I had quadruple bypass and a cryo maze procedure. I'm a big, yes big guy with a big chest. The bypasses only took about two and a half hours to complete - the cryo maze took the rest of the six hours. I was informed by the surgeon that they really had to spread me open in order to get deep in the chest cavity. I have suffered some nerve damage. My two little fingers on each hand are totally without feeling, and my left arm is basically useless. This is an improved situation - I can raise my left arm without assistance from my right, but it has taken all this time. I tried to trim my fingernails today - the right hand can barely trim the left, but forget the left doing anything productive for a while.

So, typing much very well is right out, too. I owe many of you a fairly lengthy note, but I am pretty much incapable of that at the moment. So, if you got an email from me with just a link to this post, I hope you will understand - I'm trying to kill several birds with one stone here.

It was originally thought I might get released as early as Friday the 7th, but there were a few complications. Early Friday morning about 4:30 a nurse woke me up. Their telemetry people had noticed my heart rate had dropped to twenty beats/sec. They hooked up a temporary pacemaker, have me prewired for such an occasion. However, one of the wires was missing. It was the prevailing opinion to install a temp in my heart via my thigh a la heart catheterization. They finally decided to hold off and try drugs to regulate it better. Turns out I have a slow thyroid.

I also was sodium deficient, so I've been on 1500ccs of liquid for several days. My white blood cell count was high, so intravenous antibiotics have been administered. My heart has resumed atrial fibrillation, so they are going to shock it to get it into normal sinus rhythm. To be successful, this may take several tries. They were going to schedule this for Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning. But since I haven't been on coumadin for quite a while, my protimes aren't where they should be. They're giving me blood thinners intravenously for a few days to fix that. Then, they'll start me up.

Honestly, while I'd like to get out of here, I'm not ready. I just don't have the arm strength yet. Yeah, the cable sucks compared to my home entertainment center, and I'm still on dialup, but if I need help it's a buzzer away. A few more days here aren't gonna hurt me.

Probably the scariest thing about all this was when I was waking up after surgery. They had some trouble keeping me oxygenated because of the mucous from my smoking habit. It also doesn't help that their equipment was designed for smaller people. I woke up unable to suck enough air and with no arms to do anything about it. Of course I couldn't talk. It's probably just as well - I'd have ripped the breathing tube out if I could have. They kept telling me that the O2 levels had to be dropped gradually to see if I could get off the tube, and it seemed to me to be pretty counterproductive to give me less air when it was obvious (to me at the time, anyways) that I needed more.

Thank you all for your positive thoughts and prayers. Y'all have no idea how much that meant to me a during this time. May I be able to return the favor some day. Thanks so much.


Sezme said...

I've prayed for you and will continue to do so.

Welcome to the hypothyroid club. However, that is the least of things right now.


Mo K said...

Goodness, Jeffro! You sure have been through a bit of hell and back.
Thanks for your update. We've been waiting patiently and positively.
Continue to rest, chill out, get better, and look UP. :o)

Unknown said...

Hey, Jeff - How are you doing this morning? I hope things are getting better by the minute w/ your left arm. Sorry you can't be home yet, but sounds like you're in the right place for the moment. Maybe this is all just a big cosmic lesson meant to sensitize you to the plight of the forever dial-upped (like me!). Maybe as a result you'll start a charitable organization or political movement to come to the aid of these unfortunate, wild-eyed, highly-blood-pressurized folk (possible film title: "An Inconvenient Speed"?). However slow it may be, hope the laptop is providing some comfort & amusement while you're laid up. I know it won't be long before you're back on your feet at home and feeling better than ever. 'Til then I'll be thinking of you and checking in to the blog for updates. Take it easy, take it slow and get lots of rest, cousin Jeff. Love, Amy

Anonymous said...

Chris Byrne posted a note telling us what happened. Hey guy, what are you doing scaring us like this? :-)

I'm glad you didn't suffer a heart attack or something to cause permanent damage to your heart. Hopefully, your left arm will go back to normal. Can you work your left fingers on the keyboard if you place it there?

If you weren't so far away, I'd drop by for a visit, but San Diego isn't right around the corner.

Since we're the same age, now you're scaring me, but I'd like to think your procedure gave you the gift of an extended life. BTW, there ARE some good vegetarian dishes out there. I dated a veg-head for a while and some of the things she fixed were simply amazing, the taste was such that I didn't miss the meat at all.

I'm glad to hear you're doing okay, could be much better, but okay - even if you're going crazy with boredom. :-)


Anonymous said...

We'll pray for ya.

ptg said...

I'm glad you are still kicking.

Kathy B. said...

Jeff - glad I found an old email with your blog address so I could get an update. I figured the dial-up had gotten so frustrating that you quit email cold turkey. Small jokes aside - sounds like you have some recovery ahead of you. Continued thoughts and prayers that recovery is speedy.

Dad Bones said...

Jeffro...Whenever I get a health scare it seems to prod me into changing whatever I was doing or not doing that made me sick. Not always so easy to see what it was but what else have we got to do?

Good luck on your recovery.

IHeartQuilting said...

So good to hear from you, Jeffro. I've been keeping an eye out hoping you'd post soon. Continued good luck, and take care of yourself!

Bob's Blog said...

Thank you for giving us an update. I am so sorry you have had to undergo such suffering. I certainly hope they get it right soon, and you can be out of there and get on with your very productive life. You are a man with a lot of wisdom and character, and you are a good friend to many. We need you!

threecollie said...

I echo the thanks for the update. I sure hope they get it all straightened around and that your recovery is swift and uneventful.

John said...

Prayers . . . ON!

Anonymous said...

Man< I hope you get better! My wife just had surgery today. I was scared to death. She is fine now and resting. she should come home friday. Get better my friend!

Anonymous said...

I don't know which is worse getting a cute nurse and being too out of it to take advantage or getting Nurse Ratchet trying to remove your Foley catheter before getting the bulb totaly deflated, "Heave, Heave."

CGHill said...

Damn, Jeffro, this isn't supposed to happen to you.

Get outta that bed and go kick some behind. You'll feel a whole lot better.

(Actually, I need this up somewhere so I can cut and paste it when my time comes to go under the knife, as everyone tells me it will.)

Anonymous said...

Hey Jeffro - I left a message on here the other day but must have screwed up since I don't see it posted. Oops-sorry. Heard you might be going home this week. Hope that's so -- so much easier to get better in comfortable surroundings. I'll try to call you out there in the wild west this weekend to see if they've finally sprung you. Thinking of you and sending healing thoughts your way! Love, Cousin Amy