Wiggling Toes

Jun 13 11:20PM – Just walked into the house with Zak.  That’s nice.  Was able to be with R today four or five times.  She, of course, is out like a light but nurses encouraged us to talk to her.  They said she probably doesn’t dream due to the type of meds that she is on and the depth of sedation that she is in.  Perhaps the talking is more therapeutic for family and less so for the patient?  Don’t know.  But, anyway, I told her what all has happened in the last few days.  Not sure if she is impressed.  We have now decided that from here on out, Jun 12 will be R’s Heartday.  We will celebrate Heartday every year from here on out.  Nurses will get me the exact time that “the clamps were removed from her new heart” and we will mark that as the beginning of her new life.  Very exciting, I think.  Celebrate with us each year, ok?  She now has a clean head, eyes, nose, ears, and mouth.  She had a good cleaning today and probably feels much better.  The tender and kind nurse spent about an hour on her cleaning her face and neck up – she looks much better.  (Funny – each time the nurse put a sponge toothbrush in her mouth to clean her mouth out, R’s toes would wiggle.  Go figure.  I don’t think R liked someone putting stuff in her mouth!)  She had looked like she had been in a bloody battle.  She still has a very enlarged head and chest (it is still open) and is seemingly somewhat disfigured but she is clean and pretty now considering what she has been through the last few days.  Above her is a big sign – OPEN CHEST.  Her chest remains packed and ‘saran wrapped’ in yellow-looking wrapping.   Last time we did this, her chest was kept open for four days.  We are now – this time – on Day Two.  Right now, there is really nothing much else to do but wait for some healing to take place.  She had a relatively good day today.  Doctors see a slight decrease in bleeding now – but she still is “very sick”.  We met with Dr. Bond – the surgeon who has now been in her chest three times in the past few days.  He said to me, “Your wife is wearing me out.”  (Now he knows how I feel sometimes!)  But what a great conversation.  He said the heart was and is beautiful.  He said the transplant was – his words – a “tour de force” for him and his team.  All went just as he had hoped and planned.  It was after the new heart was installed that coagulopathy – bleeding  and clotting disorder – began to raise its head.  This, he said, is an area of science that is not fully understood.  Why, because of trauma, does blood stop clotting?  He and his staff are convinced that this is the source of blood that continues to drain at a not-acceptable rate from R.  She has gone through a considerable amount of blood so far.  But, he said, each day things seem to get slightly better and the belief is that the clotting will begin picking up and the blood ‘weeping’ will begin to slow down from her organs.  The good news is that her kidneys, liver, lung, and brain functions seem to be ok so far – but this is preliminary.  The hope is that – if progress continues – she might be mostly taken off of the heart and lung bypass machines on Fri and let her heart start picking up the load, as designed.  No guarantees, he said, but this is the tactical plan right now.  Dr, Bond seemed tired but mostly confident.  He is gentle and sure likes Bean.  (Who wouldn’t?)  Again, thanks for all of the prayers, messages, email, etc.  These are uplifting and very special.  I would love to talk to all of you but we want to stay focused on what needs to get done – the CVRR likes family members to watch and participate in the healing.  But also, the OR waiting area is in a cellphone black hole.  (Coincidence or on purpose?  We will never know.)  We are tired again tonight but things seem up just a bit over last night.  UPDATE: Call from CVRR (they are awesome!) just now.  R continues to bleed at unacceptable rates from her chest area but it is slightly reduced from last night and “blood products” continue to be administered to help in the clotting process.  Also, her blood pressure meds have been slightly reduced this evening – her blood pressure seems to be normalizing ever so slowly.

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