Leelou Blogs

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fred's new Heart

My step dad Fred, Mitter Fed as I call him, under went open heart surgery on Tuesday the 5th. For poor Mitter Fed this wasn't his first time having his most important organ worked on. In 1999 he had his leaky mitral valve repaired. 12 years later and 12 years older he has had the same valve repaired. This time he went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, to get the best care he possibly could. Dr. Shaff was his heart surgeon at St Mary's Hospital. On Tuesday April 5th he was due to be at the Hospital at 5:45am for prep for surgery. They estimated that the surgery would be performed sometime between 7-8. Mitter Fed was wheeled up to room Mb 1-753C room 2 where the nurses prepped him for the intense nerve racking 3 hour surgery that he was about to go through. From shaving his chest to prevent infection, to answer a billion questions. Around 7:53am my father figure for the last 20 years was wheeled away from the prep room to the surgery room, which could of possibly been the last time I would see him. I can not even put into the words the feelings that were going through my body at that time. From there the "nurse communicator" brought us up the level 5 (Cardiac ICU) and showed us the waiting rooms. The nurse communicator was our eyes and ears into Fred's surgery. Mom, Jack, and I went to breakfast to ease our minds of the possibly horrific train of events that could be in our futures. After breakfast we returned to the 5 floor of St Mary's hospital and anxiously waited to hear from Mary, the communicator. Around 11:16am Mary approached us in the waiting room with the news of Fred's surgery. " Mr. Gibson's surgery went satisfactory and they will be strolling him up to ICU any minute now. The doctor should be in to speak with you with more details regarding the surgery!" These were the most amazing words of my LIFE! (maybe other than my wedding vows!) Instantaneously my mom broke down in tears. It was SUCH a relief to know that it was over and he had survived. After our minor melt downs we returned to reality and waitied for Mitter Fed to get to his ICU room. By this time it was aprox. 12:30pm. When we got to his room, he was hooked up to one to many tubes in my opinion. All for a good reason but it was very disturbing. Fred was not awake at this time so that made it a little harder. We left the room and went back to the hotel to take a snooze. We stayed at the Ray Mar hotel, $45.00 a night , let's just say it reminded me of the BATES MOTEL. The beds felt like I was sleeping on a huge boulder. Talk about not getting any sleep. We arrived to the hotel around 1pm, luckily dozed off and woke around 3pm. We anxious awaited the call from ICU to let us know Fred has awoke. We decided not to sit around and twiddle our thumbs, so we traveled the 2 blocks back to Fred's 5th floor unit 5G ICU room. The nurses were fiddling with his tubes and adjusting him in bed when we arrived around 3:16pm. Fred was awake, barely but he still had his breathing tube in and could chat with us. He was very groggy and "doped" up on Fetinol. We didn't stay long because in the ICU apparently the nurses need to fiddle with the tubes, monitors, take blood, and who knows what else every ten minutes. Plus there were no chairs for us to sit and it did get a little cramped with Fred's huge hospital bed and the 3 of us standing over him. Back to the waiting room we went. Jack and I decided to do a puzzle. It was an happy puzzle, blue skies with a country farm house ,a lighthouse and beautiful flower beds and a white picket fence. If I remember correctly it was a 300 piece puzzle, not to big! We were just about finished when mom came back from checking on Fred and had informed us the breathing tube had been removed. This was exciting to me. I couldn't wait to just hear his voice again, even though it is usually always nagging at me or asking me for PDQ cookies or to cook him dinner. When we got to the ward 5G room, Fred was falling in and out of "consciousness" but could talk briefly. I went to give him a kiss and say hi, and he dopely asks " Did you just get back from your trip to Ireland?" I giggled under my breathe and replied with " Yes, it was great!". I found it pretty comical! For the next few hours he was in and out of consciousness and pretty groggy from the anesthesia and pain meds. The 3 of us decided to go to dinner and check up on him after wards. By the time we got back it was getting late, 7:45pm. When we returned to dinner Fred was back to his feisty ornery self, arguing with the night nurse (who wasn't as nice as the day nurse). His first words to me upon my return were " Where were you guys, they've been torturing me?" Apparently he wasn't taking deep enough breathes to strengthen his lungs so the had to put a mask machine thing over his face and he DID NOT like it. His throat was dry, he was thirsty and he couldn't have any water. The nurse was unaware if the water would upset his stomach and would stay in is system, if ya know what I mean! At this time we were all just exhausted, mom mentioned to Fred that we were going to go back to the hotel and tuck our selfs into our rock hard beds for the night. His words were" Come back in and hour, WE NEED TO TALK, and BRING WATER!" So back to the waiting room we went. Jack and I finished our puzzle and then Jack hunted down the game of CLUE. My all time favorite board game! We played a round of that,it ended with Prof Plum in the Library with the knife, mom was the successful detective! By the end of our game it had been an hour and a half, around 9:30pm, and we decided to say our goodnights to Fred, water or no water !! When we returned to his room he was a lit more clam and was able to have ice chips. Much more comfortable. We said our goodnights and hiked the 2 blocks back to room 27 at the "Bates Motel".

Wednesday morning I was awake bright and early at 6:30am and ready to see my Mitter Fed. I couldn't sleep any longer knowing he was a lone in that horrible ICU room with no loved ones surrounding him. Jack was awoken by me getting ready to leave the hotel, I planned on going up to the hospital by myself and having the others meet me there later, but Jack couldn't go back to sleep. My amazing husband and I traveled the 2 blocks back up to Fred's ICU room to say our goodmornings and get the 4-1-1 on his recovery. Kelsey, his ICU day Nurse, was there fiddling with his tubes and machines, nothing new for the last 24 hours. He also had a breakfast tray. For his first meal he got yellow lemon Jello, grape juice, and hot tea. Sounds appetizing, doesn't it? Mom arrived around 10am, just in time for us 3 to do our Star Tribune quiz, in the variety section. This is a family tradition we have developed over the last few years. Mitter Fed is so smart that he always gets the highest score. After the quiz, Kelsey informed us they were going to remove some of his tubes. We decided not to stick around for that. Breakfast time for us. We hiked back over to our hotel restaurant, The Bondell, and ordered our breakfast. My ham and cheese omelet was actually very good, compared to the nasty charbroiled over cooked cheeseburger I had there the night prior. After breakfast we took our time getting back to the room, I'm sure we didn't miss much. For the next few hours, we walked back and forth from Fred's ICU room to the waiting room, just checking in here and there. Lunch time came around 12:30pm, which included beef broth, cranberry juice, and raspberry jello! After he ate they were ready to move him to his own room out of the ICU. He had an amazing room, HUGE, Room 5F- 650. It wasn't to far from the ICU room he had. Mom, Jack and I went to the room ahead of time and brought our belongings and I decorated the room with pictures of his loved ones, a.k.a Mitter Fed and I! Well what can I say- I am the one with the camera all the time and I only really have pictures of Fred and I. After Fred got settled in to his new room, Jack and I unfortunately had to head home , Jack had to head to work in the morning and I had overwhelming housework to do. I would be back Saturday with my girls though!

On Saturday I gathered some of my closest friends and headed to Rochester at 9:30am. Fred didn't know we were coming! We arrived at St Mary's around 11:30am and headed straight to Fred's room. He was surprised to me and the girls. He still had his breakfast on his table, but him being a stubborn old cranky man, he wasn't eating it. He lost a bit of his appetite due to the pain meds and the "stress" of the surgery and the hospital stay. The nurses weren't to concerned, they said it was normal for this to happen to patients. For the next hour we sat and conversed about everyday normal stuff. Around 1:00pm we went out to lunch and let Fred nap, he was so overly tired and needed some shut eye. Plus once again the nurses wanted to fiddle with his tubes and have him get up and take a walk. They try to get you to walk 3 times a day and sit up in the chair 3 times a day. Sounds like such a simple task, but after heart surgery it is very painful because you are so weak. Mom, Rachael, Lynn and I went across the street from the hospital to the Canadian Honker, they had some great food. We all enjoyed an adult beverage and made remarks regarding Fred's silly behaviors! After lunch it was time for me to get the girls back to the cities. We hiked the 4-5 blocks back up the Fred's 5th floor room and said our goodbyes.

Fred got home on Monday around 3 and let's just say he was Happy to be there. I stopped by after work to say Hi, and see how he is recovering. He looked great but once again was being a stubborn man. He had coughed ridiculously hard and didn't have his heart pillow with him. He needs to use his heart pillow when he coughs to make sure he doesn't tear his incision, and to decrease the pain. That made him crabby because he was in pain. THEN, mom went to plug in the vacuum and blew a circuit. Mom and I went down in the basement and tried to figure it out, well let's just say we are not electricians. So back up stairs we went and tried to have Fred explain it to us. If you know Fred at all, that is not the way he works, he has to SHOW YOU! He grabs his shoes, puts them on and heads for the stairs. Heart surgery patients are not to use stairs , DOCTOR'S ORDERS! Well Fred could care less what the doctor has to say, so down he went. He made it down there, with me yelling at him and snickering how stupid this idea he had was. I walked over to the circuit breaker and I wiggled the fuses (or whatever they are called) and the #7 one was jiggling, I turned it off and on and the outlet up stairs worked! Now I had to get Fred UP the stairs in one piece. I knew up was going to be a lot worse than down. I made sure he took one step at a time stopping with both feet on the step and taking breathes. Needless to say we got up the stairs, 10 minutes later. Oh Mitter Fed, what we ever do with out your stubborn ass!

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