Saturday, March 10, 2012

We have a Healthy New Heart!!!!

Now that things have finally calmed down and I can focus on other things I can give a recap of the last week.

MONDAY March 5th
Monday morning my biggest stresser was they were going to admit Tin Man for a week on March 12th.  I was so stressed out about this.  Looking back, I have no idea. 

Tin Man called me at 11:45 to tell me that he had talked to the nurse and finalizing the plans for his week vacation.  We talked about how things were going to work the morning of the 12th and about the kids and I coming up to visit with him on that Friday.  Since it was just a meds adjustment and tests on his kidneys, we didn't figure I needed to be there all the time.

We hung up the phone just before 12.  I had just got up to get ready to head to an appointment and Tin Man called me back.  He told me there was a change of plans and that they wanted him up there today.  I asked him why today (not even thinking about The Call) and he said that the nurse had called and said that they wanted him up there today.  I asked why because I had a lot of appointments this week.  He then told me that he didn't know, they just wanted him up there and wanted to know if I could cancel my plans.  I told him some but not all.  Then he told me to see what I could do.  Finally his co worker called him back and he had to tell her why he needed her to come in.

Once he finally told me that they called and said they had a possible heart I started sobbing and shaking.  Poor Sugar Pea was at home and looked at me like I had grown a 2nd head.  Finally when I could talk about I told her that daddy had received the call and that we had to go to the hospital.  She told me "That's good because I thought you were having a nervous breakdown."  Then she got excited and went to pack some of her clothes.

I had a list of people I had to call, things I needed to pack, and take a shower.  So many things to do and I couldn't get my brain to focus enough.  I can remember packing socks, but other than that I don't remember much.  I packed 1 1/2 packs of socks for Tin Man, dish towels (no idea why) flip flops, but they didn't match.  I didn't pack a single pair of my pants.  Nice huh?

Friends of ours showed up at our house at 1PM to pick us up, take us to the kids' school so we could tell Warrior what was going on.  He was annoyed because I called him out of class in front of all his friends, but then so excited when we told him what was going on.

Then we headed to drop off Sugar Pea off with friends since she was home sick, and headed up to the hospital.  We got here about 2:30 and went straight to the clinic.  One of Tin Man's favorite nurses (the one who actually the privilage of calling him about the heart) came out to meet us and explained that they were still waiting for a bed to put him in since they wanted to do a kidney ultrasound too.

We waited there for about an hour and half before Tin Man's doctor came out and told us to follow him down to the unit so he could see what was going on about the bed.  On the way down there we ran into one of the surgeons in the hallway.  He walked with us to the waiting room and explained to us how the rest of  the day/night was going to go.  He told us the plan was to take him back to the OR about 3 AM, but that could be pushed back.

So we waited some more.  Then the surgeon came back with the consent forms.  This made is seem a little more real, but both of us kept thinking it was going to be a dry run and that we were going to be sent home.  We even talked about how we were going to deal with how upset the kids were going to be when we came back home.

About 4:30 they came to get Tin Man and take him to do the ultrasound on his kidneys.  That's when I ran to get something to eat.  I felt bad going to get something while he was around because he wasn't able to eat anything.

About 9 PM they finally got him a bed.  It wasn't in the unit they originally wanted, but they settled for it.  Go him the bed and the parade started.  Xray, EKG, and blood draws were standing in line to get in to do their thing with him.  Once that was done there was more waiting. 

TUESDAY March 6th
Tin Man's mom and brother got to the hospital (from Southern California) about 1 AM.  Then it was more hanging out until they took him back to the OR at 3:15.  I was still convinced that it wasn't going to happen.  They were going to find something wrong and we were going to go home empty handed.

Tin Man was somewhere behind the doors at the end.

At 5 AM we were given the update that they had got the go ahead and had made the incision.

The waiting during this time was horrible.  Every thought went through my mind at least a 100 times each.  Finally at 10 AM we got the update that they were sewing in the new heart.  That was the longest 5 hours of my life.  This was also when it became real for me.  It was actually happening.  This is when the sobbing and shaking started all over again.

At 12 PM they came out to tell us that they were double checking things and getting ready to close him.

At  2 PM they came out and said that he was out of surgery and in ICU.  It was over and he had a healthy new heart for the first time in his life.  I jumped up and gave the surgeon a huge hug and thanked him over and over.

We didn't get to see Tin Man until almost 6 because they were having problems with his blood pressure dropping really low.  They finally got him stable enough for us to go in and see him for a few minutes.  I couldn't rest until I seen him and told the surgeon that much.
 Ivs anyone?

Wednesday wasn't bad.  They were still having blood pressure issues, but nothing they said wasn't uncommon.  So the 3 of us went back to my house to sleep since we hadn't been able to get a hotel in the area. 

Thursday morning I had some things I needed to do around town, one being temporary guardian ship for the kids, and other things that I had to cancel.  I was at the school getting emergency contact and everything set up for them when I got a phone call from the surgeon.

Tin Man's heart rate was all over the place, it would go really high and then really low.  It did this 3 times and they ended up having to shock him twice.  They called to get consent over the phone to put in temporary pacemaker wires.

We dropped everything and came up to the hospital.  I went back in to see him as soon as we got here.  I wasn't even back there 5 minutes when his blood pressure dropped to 60/40 and everyone come running in.  Watching 15 people come running into your husband's room is some scary stuff.  I was pushed back and unable to get out.  Listening to them, they thought he had a blood clot and were going to do a probe down his throat to look.

Finally they let me out of the room.  Tin Man's brother and I went down to get some coffee and while I was down there I looked at my phone and had a voice message.  So I listened to it and it was the ICU telling me I had to come back right away.  So of course this scared me and I came running back up here.  They wanted me to explain to me that they thought there was a blood clot pressing on his heart and they needed me to sign the consent form to take him back right away.

That surgery was 2 hours long.  When the surgeon came out he said that they hadn't found a blood clot but that the heart was very swollen and being compressed because it didn't have enough room.  The had to leave his chest open to give the heart room to pump.   They said they had to remove the excess fluid he had build up between all the fluids from the surgery and all the fluids he was getting in IVs.

Around 8 or so the nepherologist came to talk to me about his kidneys and that they were working as hard as they could, but it just wasn't enough and they wanted to start him on dialysis to help pull the fluid out of him.

So we ended up camped out in the ICU waiting room after that because we didn't want to go back to the house because it was to far away.

FRIDAY March 9th
The night nurse that night was awesome!  She promised me that if anything went wrong through out the night that she would come out to the waiting room and get me.  Gave me a hug and told me that he was young, strong, and already proved he was a fighter.

I didn't get that much sleep that night.  The chairs were so uncomfortable, and the 3 semi comfortable chairs, one couple claimed for themselves.

I watched the clock until 6AM so I could go back and see him.  Before I even got all the way through the door to his room the nurse was telling me that he had had a great night.  She told me that she wanted to come out to tell me several times during the night that he was doing great, but she was afraid that if I saw her come out that it would scare me so she didn't.

He still had some fluid on him, so they decided to let him rest and planned to close the chest on Saturday (today).

SATURDAY March 10th
Saturday morning I spent time with my kids.  I miss them so much and just needed some kid time.  We got to the hospital about 1:30 and they already had his chest closed and had put in a feeding tube.  Poor guy hadn't got anything to eat since 8 AM Monday morning.

I talked to the resident when I was back there and she told me that he was doing good, everything looking great, and blood pressure was awesome.  She said that if he was good today and tonight that they would lower the dosage on some of his drips and if his heart tolerated that well they would begin waking him up on Monday.

I am hoping we are over the worst of it and we can focus on recovery and then being able to do things most fathers take for granted, like playing with the kids.

Its been one very long, very stressful, but very exciting week.

Please say a prayer for the donor family.  Even in their time of loss, they thought about helping other people.  Tin Man's donor is now and always be our hero.


  1. Wow! What a week! I'm so glad that he got a heart and things are looking better now.

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