June 2008


Myself

My wife brought me home from the Hospital yesterday. I am very glad to be home.  One set of challenges is behind me.  By all accounts the surgery was a success. I am completely free from any Angina and my heart rhythm is solid and regular (Sinus). Thanks be to God.

Then yesterday afternoon I started reading the stuff that Layhe Clininc gave me about what to expect after surgery and now I feel a bit like one of those people who climb big mountains. When they  reach the summit they’ve reached their goal and finished the hardest part of the climb but they still have to get back down to the world. That’s how I feel now looking at the predictions.

According to the surgeons it should take 4-6 weeks for the extreme pain from the surgery to finally go away. It seems that all the muscles and tendons in my chest and back were strained when the surgeons pulled my chest open to get at my heart.

Next, because my breastbone was split in half I need to be very careful to not put stress on it until it knits back together (after about 4 months). This means I can’t lift, pull or push more than 5 pounds with either hand or arm for the first month; 10 lbs for the second month; 15 lbs for the third month.  If I use both hands I can double it. (ie. a gallon of milk weighs 8 lbs. so that’s a two handed job for me until August) This means I can’t pick up any of the grandkids until next November.

It is amazing how much we use our hands to carry our own weight and don’t even think about it. They gave me a Heart pillow to “hug” with both hands while I do things like getting into and out of bed or a chair; to keep me from using my hands. If I don’t get it right I can split my breastbone at the cut that is in the process of healing. Then I’ll have to go  back in for surgery to fix that. (shiver) I’m going to be very carefull.

Still in all this My Father’s grace is enough. He sent me through this, so I’ve had His grace to help me when I needed it. I only hope I’ve been a good example to someone of what a Christian man looks like when he goes through hard things.

Love to all my friends and enemies

dave

The last two days have been both encouraging and frightening at the same time.  The last hardware, the two pacemaker wires they had implanted during the operation, departed this tired old body yesterday. The cardiologist who is handling my case followup pulled them out just after noontime. He said that they would feel funny coming out. The first one felt very funny and hurt a little. The second one hurt a lot an took three pulls to get it out.

After ward he told me to stay in bed for an hour. Since i was trembling so much from the extraction I had no desire to get up for several hours. Once I got up again I was actually feeling pretty good until I tried to go to sleep, then I felt like I couldn’t breathe when I lay prone. No explainaiton, but it went away with beta blockers and about two hours.

Today the cardiologist told me that I could go home today if I wanted to do that since all of my major milestones were cleared. I felt after the incident last night the my pain management was not under control well enough yet to go home. He agreed with me. I feel that this was the right decision.  

This afternoon I had another incident. I was walking in the hallway with my wife when I suddenly got very weak and started having violent chills. The best explaination is that my body is so weak that it just shut down when more demands were made.

Now all of this finally got me thinking. I have always thought of myself as strong. My doctors have looked at me as young and strong compared to most of thier patients. But this really isn’t the case. In the last months time I have been:

1) hospitalized with Congestive Heart Failure in Mid April wih only 25% function (Apr 14)

2) I nearly died (the doctors words) twice from a previously unknown drug alergy and spent the night in ICU (Apr15) 

3) hospitalized for fairly severe Angina attack (Jun 8th)

4) heart cahtererization on June 9th discovers that I have three blockages in my descending left side cardiac arteries, main descending artery is blocked twice, the worst blockage is 80%. As a result I have had continuous Angina until June 23rd.

5) June 23 I undergo a double bypass operation at Layhe clinic.

Summing this all up, I may be younger than most bypass patients but I have been physically battered by an awful lot of trauma in the last 40 days and I cannot expect my self to bounce back quickly.

Light finally dawns over marble head. I will not rise up in my strength. I have to go slow and let my body rebuild. Maybe in 6 months or a year I may once again regain my strength, but not this summer or even this fall. I have always tried to be strong to carry the load for others;  but as of now I have no more strength. I need to learn how to be weakand let others carry my load.

According to Paul both are positions of Grace. Now i will get to find out how God’s grace is made perfect in my weakness. 

Love to all my friends and enemies

dave

I am movin ahead toward recovery today. I got most of my “Lines” removed today. My central line is gone and they pulled out my chest lines this after noon. That hurt but it feels a lot beter now that the three drain lines are out of my chest. I’m feeling more human now.

I came through the bypass operation sussessfully.  I am living on powerful painkillers and I can’t move without help but they tell me that I’m in good shape considering. 

They just moved me out of the surgical ICU. I thank the Lord for his goodness to me.  More later once I get my laptop. I’m trying to type ths on the computer TV in the room. Strange device not all the funcitons work.

Love to all my friends and enemies

dave

Myself

S-Day (Surgery Day) next Monday the 23rd.

We just got home from my appointment with the Cardiac and Thoracic surgeon Dr. Richard Lee at Layhe Clinic. I took copies of the latest Catheritization and cardiac ultrasound films to him. Dr. Lee was very upbeat, but he put me on the fast track for surgery. Apparently what he saw in the films, heard from my doctors and the angina I experienced walking up to his office decided him to move forward as quickly.

Soooo….

He squeezed me into the schedule and I am preregistered, tested and semi-processed for bypass surgery on the 23rd.

The surgeon told me that there was a very low likelihood of serious complications. His estimation was I was relatively young and in good physical shape compared to the average patients that they see.

I don’t get all these doctors calling my 60 year old self young but his nurse finally decoded this “young” thing for me. She told me that 60 is the new 40. Well any advantage is only welcome.

After hearing a description of the procedure and signing the consent forms it gets scarier as it gets closer. My other surgeries have been junior varsity compared to this. Once again if you think of me mention my name to our Savior. I know I don’t walk the valley alone, but please pray.

Well I hope for the best. The Lord has gotten me into the queue with one of the best cardiac surgeons at Layhe clinic (according to the reports I’ve had from his colleagues and nurses). According to my electrophysiologist Layhe does more of the garden variety bypass operations than about any other hospital. They are experts in fixing my kind of problem. So I praise Him for his matchless Grace and providential care.

I deserve nothing good but Jesus has been giving me good, despite my deserts, for the last 37 years. Given my health history ‘when I pull through this’ I’ll be in my seventh overtime inning. As I wrote to a friend in New Zealand, without the miracles of modern medicine and a healthy dose of the Divine kind of miracles I would have gone home back in 1987, 1990, several times in 2004, 2005 and now in 2008. Through His grace though I may be faint, like Gideon, I’m still pursuing.

My hope is in the Lord who made the heavens and the earth.

(And besides, He keeps giving me more and more pieces of the eight novel series that I’m trying to write so I guess He’s not done with me yet.)

Love to all my friends and enemies

dave

My Electrophysiologist, Greg Michaud, (ablation specialist) read my test films and told me my heart is now back up to the low end of normal function. Even with the blockages on the right side of my heart apparently the left side has bounced back nicely.

Myself

Well I finally got to meet Joanna. Josh and Crystal came down to church Sunday for Fathers Day. Joanna is a little doll (of course I might be prejudiced a little). She Looks like Abby did at the same age.

It’s amazing how small newborns are, but that’s how we all started out. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Crystal told me she inherited Josh’s work schedule (sleeps during the day and is wide awake at night). They are trying to get her off of the night shift so mamma can get some sleep (good luck kids).

Here are a few pictures with her eyes open.

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Joanna commenting

Hey it’s a tough job being a baby, takes a lot of work you know!

OK I\'m in this stupid car seat, but I don\'t have to like it.

OK, I’m in this stupid car seat, but I don’t have to like it.

daddy with his hands full

Daddy’s got his hands full.

Mama and the sisters

Mamma and the sisters.

Gramma and Joanna, heat to heart

Gramma and the princess; heart to heart talk.It\'s nice to have a sister

It’s really nice to finally have a sister.the Little engine that could, according to Gramma

The Little Engine that could, the world according to Gramma.

What do you mean dinner won\'t be for a while?

What do you mean dinner isn’t for a while?

That’s all for now, the rest of the pics are going to be on snapfish.

I’ve got to get ready to visit the my Electrophysioligist this afternoon.

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