After spending time reflecting upon the nightmare yet another learning experience on my journey to a new heart, it struck me that so much has happened to me since my initial hospitalization in Victoria that I needed some kind of way of reflecting upon the of the past 6-weeks. I’m not gonna lie, what follows is an account of what happened over my 6 week
spa hospital stay and is not for the feint of heart (pun intended) but I promise it will blow your mind. My mind is still blown. I am not the same person. Like Khaleesi, I have risen from the ashes (Ha! I wish I was the Mother of Dragons!) and am definitely hard to kill. 🙂
March 5, 2014 Inotrope Vacation begins in Victoria at the Royal Jubilee Hospital to help my heart beat stronger. Unfortunately my heart does not respond to medication.
March 10, 2014 Transplant team meets, decides that in order for me to maintain a relatively good quality of life, and to make sure I actually make it to transplant, Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) surgery is necessary. Heart pump here I come! #PimpinMyLVAD
March 12, 2014 I am transferred, via Air Ambulance with Critical Care EMTs, Chris and Chris, to escort me from the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria to St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. Despite my imminent surgery, the scenery was not that bad.
March 13, 2014 My surgeon, Dr. Cheung, recommends that we wait through the weekend and that my LVAD surgery be scheduled for the following Monday. His rationale for the wait is that when organs become available most often on the weekends. #whoknew #transplantfact No heart comes.
March 17, 2014 LVAD Surgery. Scared? There’s no crying in baseball. Near death experience = 1 #WorldSeriesOfHearts
March 18++, 2014 Narcotics. LOTS of narcotics. Although they helped with the pain in the small sternum incision and from the mini thoracotomy that were a part of my surgery, they were particularly effective on the drainage tubes coming out of my chest (owee!), I should mention here that I suffered severe side effects from the LVAD surgery related to the functioning of my colon. Unbeknownst to me, this would have serious repercussions over the coming days. #ShitMyColonSays The plus side is I’m officially bionic; batteries and all.
March 22, 2014 6:30 PM While visiting with family, I received my first ever shock from my ‘built-in’ defibrillator (Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator; ICD). My heart decided to go into a funky beat and my ICD shocked it before it could stop. Near death experience = 2
March 23, 2014 09:30 AM While quietly starting my day eating a ‘delicious’ hospital breakfast, I received a SECOND shock from my ICD to stop another irregular heartbeat. This is just the beginning. Near death experience = 3
March 26, 2014 10:00 AM. Dr. Cheung is optimistic, as all surgeons are, that I will be able to go home on Friday! Yay! We are all very excited.
March 26, 2014 9:10PM I started FILLING toilet bowls and other hospital receptacles with blood… from my Ass. There is really no nice way to put this. There was a lot of it, it was VERY smelly, and it would not stop. I think I had 9 bags of blood total by the end of the night; 2:30AM I arrive in the Catheterization Lab where a Vascular Surgeon performs an embolization on a blood vessel that is the source of the severe intestinal bleed found in my Cecum. During the embolization the surgeon used two ‘coils’. Near death experience = 4
March 30, 2014 9:00PM While attempting to prepare for my colonoscopy I had to swallow this drink that tasted like Pez. Funny thing is it’s called PEG. Oh, and did I mention I was supposed to aim to drink 4 LITRES of it? I managed to get through 2 cups before my GI bleed began again with a vengeance. I think I had another 4 bags of blood this night too. So…..12:30AM I arrive in the Catheterization Lab where a Vascular Surgeon performs an embolization on a blood vessel that is the source of the severe intestinal bleed found in my Cecum. During the embolization the surgeon used two ‘coils’. Near death experience = 5 #groundhogday
April 2, 2014 12:00PM After finallyColonoscopy reveals a 3cm ulcer in my Cecum with no other abnormalities. Drs takes a biopsy of the ulcer. #goodtimes Drs. are baffled – this type of ulcer so high in the intestine is ‘rare’. Awesome. I love being rare. #iamspecial
April 3, 2014 Released from the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) back to the step-down cardiac ward, 5A, for recovery. Yay! Home soon!
April 4, 2014 10:30PM Apparently some genius nurse gave me a blood thinner (plavix – taken orally) and since I JUST HAD TWO GI BLEEDS AND A BIOPSY … I started to bleed. Again. SO… #groudhogday but this time it was different. I started to slur my speech, couldn’t stand up and got a low flow alarm from my VAD (which is really bad news). I damn near passed out because of low blood volume. More blood! General Surgeons want to remove part of my intestine. Uh…… NO THANKS! Thankfully it stopped on it’s own. Back to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU)! Near death experience = 6 #groundhogday
April 9, 2014 Drs agree I am well enough, again, to be moved back up to 5A from the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU). However, the charge nurse at the CICU disagrees since I have already been up to the ward and had to return after only one day. So, I stay in CICU, recovering in relative peace. #ithinkihaveearnedabreak
April 14, 2014 Released from the hospital directly from the CICU. 3,542,400 seconds; 59,040 minutes; 984 hours; 41 days; Almost 6 weeks! FREEEEEEDOM!
April 17, 2014 First day at Healthy Heart Cardiac Rehab.
May 5, 2014 8 Months on the transplant list. Still waiting but….. #PimpinMyLVAD
Time in hospital: 41 days
Near death experiences: 6
Bags of Blood: >15
New bionic woman not going to let this shit take me down: 1