Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Things changing

Today I noticed for the first time that the color is changing on my arm bruises.  Not only changing colors, but getting noticeably lighter.  And I'm getting scabs all up and down my chest and torso.  It's so nice to see visible change.  Last night I slept almost all the way through the night.  Wahoo!  I'm seeing progress.  My friends say they see noticeable color change in my face.  I'd had no idea that I'd looked so 'ashen' before.  I guess getting more oxygen really helps.  Yes, I got a new valve for my aorta, but I also got an entirely new 'core', which means the surgeon got in and found he had to "core the apple", as he called it.  He had to rebuild an entirely new aortic core down into my heart because it was just too small.  It took 2 extra hours.  It's so amazing that he could give me such a gift.

I talked on the phone with my parents today.  They are each going in for an appointment with a cardiologist themselves, rather than just being proud of lasting so long without their symptoms showing up with any major Major trouble.  Pride certainly can get in the way sometimes.   I'm proud of them.  It truly might add life to their lives.

I realized why I'm not holding Lacy.  I took her in my arms carefully, held her, petted her, and then in the process of giving her back she scratched all across the wound on my chest.  Ouch!  She's just a doggy, after all, and she did what doggies do.  But I learned.  No holding Lacy for me until I'm totally well.  I'll just let her sit on the couch by my side, where if she struggles at all, she won't hurt me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thanks, more than I can say.

As I read the supportive comments I feel lifted - more than I can say.  Thank you, thank you.  It's amazing how much just a kind word means to me right now.

It was a tough day today.  First day of Physical Therapy down at IHC.  Long Halls, long waiting times, and just sitting answering questions (besides the time on the stationary bike) - took lots of energy.  Came home and took a nap.  I know there were a few phone calls that came in during the evening, but I just let them go.  I just didn't have the energy to talk to anybody.  It's interesting to notice how 'being real' takes precedence over 'being nice' when you're hurting and tired.

I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep - they seem to be getting betting each night.  Yes, my body is in need in much healing, but I can already tell that my breathing is better than it was before the surgery on my heart.  There are quite a number of things that are different than they were before.  In ways, I'm learning how to be a new person.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Beautiful Flowers I've Received

Some of the awesome people from the hospital

Visitors, and a Different Experience

Yesterday and today I've had visits from friends and relatives.  Some visits have been an 'energy add' for me, and some have been an 'energy drain".  It's disctictive.  I wonder if it might have something to do with my literally having new heart parts to experience the world with, but I'm noticing people's intentions much more clearly - even when they aren't consciously aware of them themselves.  Funny thing.  There are those who who come to visit me to make themselves feel better, and there are those who visit me to truly 'be' with me in my time of need.   Takers, and givers. The words said may even be the same, but the feeling is different.  I don't say anything about it, because somehow I know that it wouldn't be understood.  It would probably be stressful - for them and for me.  Not good for either.

A neighbor brought a delicious pasta salad for dinner.  I could tell my body needed a little more protein so I added a can of tuna and it did the trick.  Marcia came home during her work today so I could take my first shower since I've been home.  Feels really good.  It tired me out though, and I slept for 3 hours after.  I looked at my arms, chest, and stomach for the first time.  Wow.  It looks like somebody beat me up!  Lots of bruises all over and lots of places that need healing.  Body's are amazing.  And no wonder mine still hurts.

I'm posting some pictures - I hope they come out OK.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I'm Back....Sort of

Hi Everybody,
I thought I'd have a really good post today for you about everything that's been going on.  Ha.  I had no idea how much energy just recuperating takes.  I've had some big milestones today - all the things we usually take for granted as part of our days.  Getting out of bed by myself, and getting a drink of water.  But I need help getting medicine bottles open, and in getting up from the couch.  And I can't hold Lacy yet.  Boo hoo.  I can have her on the couch next to me though, so I'm happy with that.  She was so happy to see me when I came home.  And she likes to stay close to me.  Makes me smile.

I'm so glad I haven't been alone at home.  Today Dorie and Marcia have been mostly with me during the day.  Tomorrow will be different though.  I'm not used to being so 'in need' of care and help.  Usually I can 'buck up' and get through it - whatever 'it' is.  But not now.  I have to be really carefull.  My 2 naps per day are much needed.  And then there are the 'rests' inbetween.  It hurts to breate, and move, and everything is slow.  I can't count on my strength yet.  I've yeard it takes awhile.  Now I believe it.

Dorie just brought me pictures from the hospital that she took.  I'll post them tomorrow.  I'm too tired now.  See you then!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dorie Here-Gwyn is Home Now

   Gwyn is home now!  The hospital asked her if she wanted 'Home Care', but she assured them she had help available at home.  Since both Marcia and I had volunteered, I'm sure she meant us.
   Gwyn's discharge was quite a process yesterday, and we didn't leave until around 6:00pm.  Finally, by 7:00pm Gwyn was able to be back in her own bed resting. During the night she was up twice- once with Marcia's help, and once all by herself- so she didn't sleep all that well.  Marcia took care of her this morning, got Gwyn breakfast before Marcia had to go to work.  I came over a little later, fixing Gwyn an egg and helping her with her pills. (They put her pills into bottles she can't open yet!)  Gwyn then was back in bed for a good nap.  She has been a little worried about being home without the hospital facilities and staff but she is doing OK. Today she has gone to bed, gotten up gone into the bathroom and been able to take care of her own self by herself pretty much. I was here, available if needed, but she didn't need my help.  Slowly but surely she took care of herself. This is all helping her to be more relaxed, letting go of that worry.
   Gwyn in now dressed, on the couch, eating chicken soup & asking me to post on the blog for her.  A neighbor came by this morning leaving some good chicken soup, so Gwyn is now having lunch.- chicken noodle soup, a piece of toast, some small garden tomatoes and a nice lemon cucumber. She is going slow and tires easily, but I can see an improvement from yesterday. She has asked me to say hello to everyone from her. I'm sure she will be posting one of these first days.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dorie here-Gwyn Is Coming Home Today

    Yesterday as Gwyn was preparing for sleep she said 'This has been a great day' - and it was. She was able to have her catheter removed, she sat up in her chair from 2:30 pm until 9:30 pm. getting up to go to the bathroom, and going for a walk- and even then she didn't need to go right back to bed. She had a good visit from our hypnotist friend Jamie, and she ate well. Things are going well.
    There are flowers on the windowsill from her daughter Ranna, her niece Becky, our garden friend Rosie, and her friends Ralph and Kathy Bradley.  She has received cards and letters.  What's amazing is that each has surprised her.  She didn't expect to be so well-thought of by others.  She's a humble lady.
    She asked me to bring in my camera and I have taken pictures of some of the staff. They are also signing her pillow. One of the nurses Steve asked to be scheduled with Gwyn again on her last day. She has made a difference in his life I can tell. She has made a personal heart connection with several of the staff just by being herself.  This may be my last post, but that is depending on how Gwyn feels and how soon she gets back on the computer.
          Thanks for all the prayers, Reiki and good wishes.  I know that you have made a difference for her.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dorie Here- Gwyn is getting her spunk back

Thursday was a very good day. I came in to Gwyn's room around 11:00am. She was resting in bed. She had been working hard that morning.  At lunch she had asian stir fry which was pork and vegetables over rice.  and she said, 'This actually looks good, even though it takes 4 times as much energy and it is still hard to swallow." She almost finished the whole thing including 1/2 of a large yellow tomato and some small yellow cherry tomatoes I'd brought from the garden. 
As she finished lunch, her nurse Steve, a student nurse Racine and the CNA Torg came in to remove her chest tubes.  She offerered them part of her tomato, as I was slicing it up she said "Hey make sure you save some for me. "  The student nurse said that it tasted like it already came with the dressing, it was so good.

On the wall across from the bed where the patients can see it is, there is a small whiteboard. On this board are written the date and the names of the nurse, CNA and respiratory therapist. Torg changed the names and put a smiley face in the RT's name and put a frowny face in the O of his name. When Gwyn noticed this she made him to make his O a smiley face. When Torg and I joked about it she said," Hey I have to look at it all day, I don't want to see a frowny face!"  I asked Torg about it later and he said it was a little joke that he did on with the other staff. A smiley face means day shift, a frowny face means night shift. Torg is a tall blond Swedish man. Gwyn's heritage is also part Swedish. Earlier that morning they had had a good chat about Swedish food, especially pickled pigs feet and the fish.  As part of Gwyn's healing process the Medical center gives each patient a very firm heart shaped pillow with a marker pen. The pillow is to be hold on the chest to hold the incision for support while coughing. Torg wrorte on her pillow in Swedish, Gwyn really liked that. Lots of other staff have written on her pillow too.

They staff removed Gwyn's chest tubes.  There were twin tubes on both sides of her chest cavity to drain the fluid out. They practised wirh Gwyn in counting and holding her breath, then they pulled them out.  They also took off the steri strip which was covering her incision (it looks good) and removed the four pacer wires from her heart. The surgeon attached the wires to her heart in surgery. They wanted them in place in case they were needed. Gwyn said it felt very weird as they were pulled out one by one.  Exhausted, she then zonked into a deep sleep for several hours. Later another nurse took off another IV tubing and bag. She still has 2 IV's in her arm but they are not attached to anything. So all she has now is her oxygen and her catheter. It is getting much easier to help her move around without all the lines.  The chest tubes trained into a white square box. On one side the fluid entered and was measured. on the other side was a column of blue liquid that bubbled like as fish tank. That fluid kept the suction up to draw the fluid off the chest. I noticed yesterday, after the chest tube was out I was missing that bubbling sound.  It has been very soothing.

Gwyn had visitors yesterday - Her Mom, dad and a niece who brought them, came to visit. They were very happy to see her, as she was them. She also was able to make a few short phone calls, She has also had folks from the neighborhood come by. Even though it tired her out, she is obviously feeling better. 
The doctor said she can come home today or tomorrow -we will find out today. I'm glad for all the technology and staff that has been there for Gwyn but it will be good to have her home.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dorie Here-One Day at a time

I'm sitting at the computer at home, holding a puppy in my arms. Lacey is still missing Gwyn, but she is getting through good enough.
Monday evening Marcia and I were sitting with Gwyn in the hospital, and Gwyn she was in her chair. Gwyn started teasing Marcia and I, but mostly Marcia because she was closer. If this is an indication of things to come!  Marcia and I better watch out! I was very encouraged by Gwyn's energy and good spirits.

Tuesday is Marcia's day off. She came in early to be with Gwyn, I didn't come in until the afternoon. As I walked in her room I could feel a tension. Gwyn had had a rough morning. She was having trouble with her IV line, the staff was attempting ( multiple times) to put in a new line. I'm not sure of the medical terminology but the vein would have a hard time and wouldn't hold the line. They finally sent in an expert. The nurse said  "she'll be able to do it- she's the best."  The line finally got in, though in an uncomfotable, awkward place for Gwyn. But it was good enough for the moment to get Gwyn's drip going with the medication she needed. Gwyn's arms and hand were bruised and sore. Later a pikline team came in and re-did the IV. A pikline is a line where the tubing goes all the way up where it is needed, not just a few inches. It seemed to be a much smoother process. I did some Reiki to kept her bruising heal.  Gwyn was worn out and slept for awhile.

Her doctor said the chest tube comes out tomorrow, and in another 2-3 days she can go home. The chest tube drain has been a concern. The nurses have been watching the amount of drain, It had to be in a certain perameter to be removed and they kept watching bu the amount of drain has been to high.   Dinner time Gwyn was up in her chair, eating fairly well. I could tell she was still a little tired from her day. She was discouraged, the nurse reminded her, "you are going to have good days and you are gouing to have bad days - it is all part of the healing process. You are still progressing."  This made Gwyn feel better. She asked me if she could put her head on my shoulder, and I put my arm around her and gently stroked her back.  She said it felt good.
At 6:45pm Marcia called, 'I'm on my way, the NCIS premiere is tonight- get the TV ready.' In the evenings at home, the three of us would watch the weather channel and then turn on NCIS. It is rerun on the USA channel so we can pretty much watch it every night. Gwyn's energy was coming back up and she was feeling better. We enjoyed three very exciting episodes. Marcia and I saw Gwyn settled for the night and left her to sleep.
       Please keep the prayers and Reiki coming - it is all making a difference!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dorie Here- Gwyn is Progressing Well

Yesterday Marcia was with Gwyn in the morning and I came in the afternoon. When I came in Gwyn had had a rough morning. She has been upgraded to taking her pain medication in tablet form by mouth rather than through her IV. She hadn't had much to eat and it upset her stomach and that upset Gwyn. She didn't think she was doing well enough.  Hopefully we have put that fear to rest. She is actually doing great. Saturday and Sunday have been harder for Gwyn because she is feeling good enough to realize how crappy she feels.

Before I came I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a few things for Gwyn and Marcia and I.  Finding good food to tempt Gwyn was one focus, but also getting some lunch for Marcia and I.  As I was heading to the checkstand I walked by the cold beverage aisle and impulsively grabbed a V-8 for me. As I was in the checkstand I realized I had made a mistake and grabbed the wrong kind of V8. It was the spicy hot variety and I wouldn't be able to drink it. I didn't want to take the time to exchange it, and thought that maybe Gwyn would drink it later. In her room Gwyn was asleep, but woke up shortly.  I told Marcia what had happened. She said she needed the walk and went downstairs to find me a regular V-8. (It's great - Marcia and I are taking care of each other.)  After awhile Gwyn was ready for her lunch, she spied the V-8 on the tray table and her face lit up. I didn't think she'd be able to drink it with her sore throat but down it went with a smile on her face and a cute V-8 mustache, which made Marcia and I laugh. So the mistake I thought I'd had made ended up being perfect.

In the evening when they brought her dinner she looked at it and said "for the first time this actually looks good to me."  She ate most of her entree.  Marcia rounded up a soy milk and the nurse made her a piece of toast. There are two kitchenettes on this floor, and Marcia and I checked them out, seeing what was available. The meals are pretty bland with low salt, so we found some Mrs Dash seasoning and some mustard to spice things up for Gwyn. She also had a tomato, lemon cucumber and a few fresh green beans from the garden. She loved them.  Later we walked down the hall and back and then saw Gwyn settled for the night before leaving.

Marcia needed help with giving Lacey her pills (usually Gwyn does this), so I stopped over before going home. We gave Lacey her pills, and Marcia gave Lacey 'hugs and loves', and Lacey gave Marcia licks all over her face. She got loves and hugs from me and gave licks on my face too.  Then Lacey got restless. She jumped down and began to look in every room.  She was looking for Gwyn,   It made me sad for Lacey, but I know it won't be long.  Gwyn will be home soon, and Lacey will get her 'loves and hugs' from Gwyn again. The doctor said Gwyn won't be going home yet though, because her chest tubes are still draining (A good thing) and they can't be removed yet.

Today-Monday I was with Gwyn this morning, she had breakfast and sat in her chair for awhile, but before she could rest she needed to take a walk. The physical therapist helped her get ready- it is quite a process with all the lines she has. We walked down the hall a short ways and back.  Then she was able to get back into bed. She talked with her mom and dad on the phone for a minute, then was able to go to sleep. Before I left I put a garden tomato, some fresh green beans from the garden and some cut up red pepper for her to have when she awakes up. She really enjoys the fresh produce.
Her mom and dad have not been able to be with her in the medical center. Her mom is in her late 80's and her dad is in his 90's. Her mom had a fall. I think it was Saturday I can't remember now. Her mother sprained her ankle and her knee. She also had cold or flu symptoms and didn't think she should be around Gwyn. Since Wednesday, I have been keeping them posted.
    Thanks for the prayers and the Reiki,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dorie Here- Pretty Amazing

     Yesterday afternoon (Saturday) Gwyn was moved from ICU to CVU (cardiovascular Unit). The nurse told me Friday that she could have been moved by Friday morning except for 1 drip line. That was only 14 hours after surgery, Pretty Amazing  He said all her numbers were really good. Gwyn would have been moved sooner but the CVU is very busy right now and there was just no room available.
     Saturday I came to Gwyn's room around 10:00am. She had just gotten back to bed after taking a short walk and then sitting up in a chair for two hours. She only had two words for me before she zonked out- 'hard work' Because of Gwyn's health challenges, when she is concise in her speech I know she is having a struggle. She slept for about two hours before the nurse came in to get her up in her chair again and have lunch. Because of their experience with this condition the staff have a strict protocal to get the patients moving after surgery. 
     Lunch was brought in. Gwyn lifted the lid and immediately put it down again. I wanted to see what they had servd so I lifted the lid and she made me immmediately put it down again. Gwyn started on a piece of blueberry muffin cake and her applesauce that were outside the lid.  Gwyn hadn't had that much to eat, mostly liquids and juice. I wondered if she was feeling nauseus or if her appetite was just down. I was sitting across from her with the lunch I had brought for me. I asked her if my garden tomato looked good, She nodded her head 'yes'. After finding the nurse for her ok, Gwyn took the tomato and took a bite. There was a look of heaven on her face, quickly followed by a grimace. The tomato had burned her throat, which was sore from the breathing tube.  She then took another bite happy to have a garden tomato.  Even with the soreness she finished the whole thing.  Good news I had brought 2 tomatoes, so she could also have one later for dinner.
    After sitting in the chair for a while, another short walk, a room was available ansd she was finally moved upstairs to the CVU. There, back in bed she again was able to zonk into a deep sleep. She woke up around 6:30pm, feeling and looking much better, more rested. She again got up into the chair, and dinner was brought in.  It was fish this time, she was feeling better, and it looked and tasted better to her
    Marcia came in around 7:00pm bearing gifts. She had brought clean clothes for Gwyn to go home in. She also brought a special treat; a package of goat cheese. We spread it on hospital crackers and had a little cheese party. It was delicious, Gwyn was able to eat two crackers. We had a good evening, I saw Gwyn settled down for the night before leaving. Gwyn is doing well with her progress I know your prayers and the Reiki are continuing to work
Thanks so much,

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dorie Here-My Amazing day With Gwyn

    I want to share my day with Gwyn on Wednesday. It amazing!  First thing:  As long as I've know Gwyn, one of her desires is to have personal, real, heartfelt connections with people. During this entire day. and I expect her entire stay, she was making personal connections with each of the staff as they were interacting with her. She would ask their name, questions about their life, and just get to know them. Whenever she would introduce them to me, she would say their name and share interesting information about them, helping us to connect in a real way.  It helped me to see them not as a title or function, but as a real person having a life.  It seemed to make it more comfortable- easier to relax for them as well as for Gwyn and I- and for them to do what was needed better. I know when I see them again, I will remember their name and feel comfortable with them.
    This whole day was filled with medical proceedures - some minor, some major, with periods of waiting in between. One proceedure was an angiogram. The doctor examined the results and reported to Gwyn. He was amazed at how high the pressure was in her heart and could see why she had such shortness of breath. He also found no need to do a bypass because all her arteries were fine.  He said she just needed the aortic valve replacement.
      Later in the day an IV line needed to be inserted and blood drawn. The nurse came in with a student nurse who would do this proceedure.  When the student nurse showed sign of having nervous problem, Gwyn began to coach her a bit, instructing her to take a deep breath, allow herself to relax and to trust herself.  She did it.  Right as the blood was being drawn, the nurse said they may have to do it again to get all the blood needed. I asked "how much do you need" and began quietly sending Reiki to get just the right amount. At that same moment Gwyn said quietly, aside, to me to "send Reiki." And suddenly there was just the amount of blood needed.  The nurse and student nurse knew 'something' had happened, but didn't really know what to do with this. They really couldn't acknowledge what had just happened, so they both just ignored it and went unconsciousness about it.
     I've found that it takes around ten exposures (depending on the person) when experiencing or learning something 'new' like that to be able to learn or 'own' it as real. Perhaps this exposure will help them another time to be able to  be aware that something else is going on around them.
     I found that I was definitely able to exercise my 'Reiki muscles' pretty much the whole day. I know it smoothed the way, and made some  very disagreable experiences easier for Gwyn.
     Yesterday Marcia and I went in early to help Gwyn prepare for the surgery. An anesthesiologidst tech came in to put in an arterial line (Gwyn has lines all over!) . He said that it could take 1 1/2 to 2 hours to place, because it was a hard one.  There was a student nurse present, and a tech who was going into nursing, who both wanted to watch, so the nurse walked us all through the process, patiently sharing his past experience.  I did Reiki again, quietly, and wasn't surprised when it was all done in about 3 minutes! Pretty amazing. 
     Gwyn was picked up at 11:55am and taken down to surgery. Marcia  and I went to the waiting area and within a few minutes we could feel Reiki was being drawn strongly, before it finally settle (about 20 minutes).  Marcia left shortly afterward to take of Lacey and to do a batch of canning (Gwyn left us a Loooong list of things she wanted us to do if we could). I stayed in the waiting room for a while and then went and got myself some lunch. 
      Back in the waiting room a call came in for 'a member of Gwyn's Family', so I took it. As an update, the caller said that Gwyn's heart was now stopped.  I suddenly felt my own heart stop,!  I thought,  'this wasn't supposed to happen!'.  But as I continued to listen I realized that this was a good thing, and they were letting me know that she was on a heart and lung machine now, and that it was keeping her going so they could work on her heart. As I hung up I could hear Gwyn say  "Breathe Dorie, Breathe".  As I sat down I took several slow deep breaths while Reikiing my own heart. I don't think it took years off of my life, but for a moment it felt like it. WHEW!
Later a call came through saying she was off of the machine, fuctioning fine but that it would be another cou;le of hours before they would be through.
     While I was waiting I was in the presence of family members of other patients who were having a much harder time than Gwyn. One patient had gone into surgery at 7:30am (4 before Gwyn) and the family was told it would be yet another 3 hours.  Another patient  (a young 20's female) had been in the women's center for a simple biopsy of a mass in her chest. During her proceedure the pericardium and her pulmonary artery both had been nicked accidentally. She was rushed into emergency surgery. Since they were having to open her up anyway they chose to also remove the mass on her chest.  The situation was being called "'A biopsy gone wrong".  I wonder how many times we look at situations happening and label them as 'bad', or 'this shouldn't be happening' when maybe there is a higher good being served.  I don't know, but maybe there is no need to resist or be upset about it, really. I sent Reiki to both situations and all the people involved.  I'm sure it helped.
      Even though this whole this intense and certaimly no fun for Gwyn, I am very grateful that Gwyn gets to have her heart repaired.  I know it will give her a new lease on life. She has a work to do.and she is needed.
      I am grateful that I can have this life walk with Gwyn. I am grateful for the awareness of the Higher Source in my life. I know He tenderly has each of us in the holding of His hands.
Out of surgery, Gwyn was moved to the ICU.  She was hooked to the wall behind her with many, many tubes.  She couldn't speak, so she just squeezed hands with both Marcia and I.  Her son Kevin came and visited her for a few minutes, before she got too tired.
          Thanks for your prayers, Reiki and support. We couldn't do without it!



Dorie Here- Whew! its over

Gwyn had surgery yesterday, and it went well. She went in to surgery at noon and it was completed around 6:30-7:00pm. There were complications, because Gwyn has had this condition for so long the aortic area around the valve was deteriorated and needed to be removed. The surgeon took care of it, but it took 2 hours longer that expected. Gwyn is now in the ICU getting excellent care. Knowing that changes will be made as needed, she will be there for 2-3 days counting today as day number one.  She will then be moved to the telementary unit room (telementary is the computer equipment that tracks all her cardiac vitals. She has 5 electrodes that are continually tracking different areas of her heart.) on the 3rd or 4th floor depending on room availability. She will be on the medical center for 4-6 days.
         Marcia and I were able to see her briefly for a few moments last night around 8:15pm. She had a tube in her throat and couldn't talk. I asked if we could hold her hand and the nurse said yes. After we found  it under the carefully tucked in blankets, Gwyn gently squeezed Marcia's hand and briefly opened her eyes.
       During the instructions and briefing of the nurse, Marcia and I gave Gwyn Reiki until the energy settled and then went home. Later I received a call from the nurse saying that they removed the breathing tube and Gwyn wanted her CPAP machione. Marcia went back to the medical center, she called me and said that Gwyn;s color was better and she could see the difference the Reiki was making.
          Please continue your prayers and Reiki, it is making a difference. Please include Marcia, myself and our little dog Lacey. She is struggling with Gwyn being gone, and being alone for such along period of time. 
    Marcia and are also struggling this morning. We sometimes forget the impact these kinds of events have on our energy and thinking processes.
           Thanks so much for your support.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dorie Here- Gwyn's First Day

        Yesterday I went with Gwyn to the hospital. She had a full day of procedures and preparations for todays surgery. We went through the registration process and we were taken to her room.  As she was  dressed in her hospital gown, lying in bed she shared with me. " I am having a feeling of lightness and joy. I am feeling the prayers of so many people."
 I am grateful to you for your prayers on her behalf.
      I spent an amazing day with Gwyn getting home late last night. I hope to be able to share more about my experiece with her later.
Her surgery is scheduled for around 11:00 am. We don't have an exact time and will take about 4-5 hours. She will then be in ICU for a number of days.
   Thanks for the prayers, I know prayers make a difference, and that she is in the holding of a higher hand, being carefully watched over.

         In gratitude

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"My bags are packed, I'm ready to go...."

Wait a minute!  Aren't those the words to a Peter, Paul and Mary song?
 And I've only packed one bag, not 'bags'.

I'll write this one last entry on the blog and then I'll brush my teeth and climb into bed.  I wonder how the night will go?  I've set it up to have a good night's sleep, so hopefully it will go well.

All of the the 'I'm really scared' feelings hit tonight.  Yes I am secure in the knowing that all will be well.  And, I'm scared.  Mostly, I think, I've been 'scared of being scared'.  I didn't know how I'd handle that.  But I'm finding that it's just like anything else.  I just have to take what comes, as it comes, and go with the flow, even if that means being scared for awhile.  I'll just be scared for as long as I am - Until I'm not.  It's probably just part of the process.

I love the words in the book of Eclesiastes in the Bible, talking about how (probably not exactly quoted), "To everything there is a season, and a purpose for everything under Heaven".  Well, I'd like to think that the purpose for Lacy showing up in my life was to save my life.  And, following the same train of thought, tonight must be the time to be scared for awhile.  How do I know?  Because I'm human, and it's happening. 

I wish I could share step by step more of the next 5-6 days, but the doctors and hospital will be keeping me busy.  Besides, I don't think they would think kindly of me saying something like, "Just a minute - I can't let you put me out for the surgery yet  I want to post to my blog first."  I don't think it works that way.

So, I'll 'see you' when I get back.  And Dorie and Marcia will be posting to keep you up on what's going on in the process.

The French have a wonderful word that has the meaning of something like "See you later."  There is not a word in English with a similar meaning.  So I'll borrow from the French.  Adieu, my dear ones, Adieu.

Da Da Da Dum... (Where's Beethoven when you need him?)

The hospital just called, and I'm now registered for tomorrow's - and Thursday's - procedures.  I'm to report in with my overnight bag, my CPAP machine, and all my prescription medicines to the Heart Lung Building at the IHC hospital on State Street in SLC at 8:00 AM tomorrow morning.  Bright and early.

The angiogram and other texts tomorrow only take a few hours, but I'll be there all day.  When I heard that, my first thought was, "I hope I don't get bored." 

Hmmm.  Should I can bring some tomatoes to cut up to put on drying trays?  Well... Maybe not.  Probably not a very good idea.  It would get tomato juice all over the place. 

Maybe I'll bring a nice Self Hypnosis tape instead to help me get ready for surgery and speedy healing.  Having been a Hypnotist since 1989, I know that hypnosis really does work, and I'm looking forward to using it for myself for this.

Oooo - only ONE DAY left!

Heart Surgery day coming up fast.  With so little time left, the temptation to do what I usually do when a deadline looms is strong.  My lifelong pattern has been to cram as much 'doing' in as I could beforehand.  This time is different though.  Although my brain continues to race with all the 'things to do', the energy and breath to do them is not available.  As a Stress Management Consultant, I'm having to use every tool in my toolbox right now - for myself.  I'm my own client right now.  I'm reaching deep to stay on track with a quality of relaxation, both body AND mind.  To my racing thoughts, I say, "Sit, STAY!".  And I say it often.

I was able to get a Facebook Group up this morning.  "Gwyn's Story - A Very Personal Account".  It cross-connects with this blog.  Here's the description of it (the same goes for the purpose of this blog, as well):

"I am offering to share my very personal journey of the process of my Open Heart Surgery, and the story and experiences connected with it.
My purpose? We're each very human, and most (if not all) of us has experience of physical crisis at some point in our life. Besides the physical, there is also emotional and spiritual experience that often happens.

I wish to share my process now, with you, that hopefully you may take something away from my story that helps you with your own experience - whenever it may be. Consider this my gift to you, my valued friend.

Because of my limited energy right now, all of this will be posted only on the special Blog I've set up for this purpose. (Link below)
So, for some amazing stories and More, go to:

I found an appropriate music video to go with it:
"Everybody Hurts"  - by R.E.M.
One really great version:

Wellness Formula, garlic, lemon, onion - and lots of water!

All my favorite cold remedies.  I woke up this morning with the symptoms of having a fresh cold.  Really bad timing.  Wellness Formula (by Source Naturals) usually kicks any bugs that have come knocking at my door, so I'm counting on it to do it's job now.  I've also got a pitcher of fresh lemon water, fresh garlic, Vit. C, and a few other things.  I'm even considering peeling and eating a raw onion.  That was my Dad's favorite cold remedy and prevention tactic.

I can remember when I was a little girl, ssometimes my Dad would take me to his office at California Casualty Insurance where he was an insurance agent.  Whenever he felt like he might be coming down with a cold, he would sit at his desk and eat raw onions and whole lemons.  As I recall, he mentioned to me that he didn't have any clients come in personally to see him in his office during those times.  He'd just talk to people on the phone to spare them the bad breath.  His poor office-mates didn't benefit from the same favor though!

Monday, September 13, 2010

As I promised: Here's a pic of scruffy little Lacy the day she came home - rescued, so she could rescue me.

Do the Survey!

I put a fun survey on the blog, down on the right side.  It doesn't ask for your name or anything like that.  Just click the boxes that fit for You!

Two days left before I go into the hospital.

I still don't know any of the details of what time, where to go, etc. for going to the hospital.  I expect to receive a call tomorrow with that info.

I'm crossing things off my 'To do before I go' list really fast - Not because I'm getting them done, but because my energy is going downhill fast. Each day I can do less and less. Dorie came over last night and helped me make dinner, and then she cleaned up afterwards. I really appreciated that.

I noticed something last night.  While I was eating dinner, I realized that there were some major things I had totally spaced doing as part of the meal I'd planned. This kind of stuff is usually a 'no-brainer' for me.  Not right now though.  Last night I had lots of 'lag' time in the kitchen during the making-dinner process because I couldn't remember what I was doing.  It's normal to forget somethings, sometimes, but this was rediculous. It was hard to figure out even the most simple task and follow it through through to the end.  My poor brain just isn't getting the oxygen it needs from my heart to really function well.  I'm so glad Dorie was there to help.

I am having to rest more and more often.  Last night I got up from the couch, walked into the kitchen and got myself a glass of water. It felt like the kitchen was a mile away.  By the time I got back to the couch, I was drenched with sweat and having a hard time breathing. I'm also noticing that I need to keep myself away from things that upset me. Here's an example.  On September 11th I was watching a documentary about the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers.  I felt the pain of those people who were telling their stories.  All of a sudden, my heart started racing, beating very heavily, and I could hardly breath.  I turned off the TV, but it took hours for things to settle down again, and my heart was still hurting the next morning.  Also, yesterday I received a cold and rejecting email from an in-law, and as I read it, my heart began hurting and the symptoms started again.  I quickly did an internal 'honesty check' to see if I'd done anything I needed to take responsibility for, and found nothing, So I closed the email and quickly sought calming and healing in the company of accepting, loving people. It worked.  I felt better within minutes.

This evening, if I'm able, I'm going to try to make one last trip to the Garden - just to look at it, and enjoy it - not to do any work at all (of course). Dorie and Marcia told me they would do the rest of the gardening for the year. I'm grateful - and I'll miss it. They want me to give them what instructions I'm able to about saving seeds for next year. We have really yummy tomatoes (heirloom varieties), glorious zinnias, beautiful okra and such lovely squash - in so many varieties. This is something I usually do..... But not this year.

Another thing I usually do is the canning. Thank goodness I put up extra tomatoes and dilly beans last year. This year I haven't been able to do much.

I've added some pictures of me and the Community Garden in the slideshow at the top of the blog.

Oh.  There's a really funny thing I've noticed.  My shortness of breath makes it so that I have to pause between the words and phrases in a sentence when I'm speaking.  I notice that some of my friends and family seem to have a hard time with that.  Apparently they're used to talking (and being 'talked to') more quickly and more smoothly.  They get impatient, think I'm finished, and start talking themselves.  It's a bit frustrating for me, but it's funny too.  Maybe when I've said 5 words and I'm not finished with my sentence yet but I have to pause to catch my breath, I'll put up my finger or hand and let them know I'm not complete with  my speaking yet.

Or maybe I'll just let it be.  I'm sure that if there is something really important that needs saying, I'll find a way to say it in 1-5 words, like "Fire!", or, "Red Light!", or "I've fallen and I can't get up!" (Oops - that's seven words. I guess I'm out of luck there.) I'm looking forward to being able to breathe, and talk normally, again.

Another thing I would 'otherwise be doing' right now besides Garden, is preparing for my Fall Hypnosis Certification Training.  I always look so forward to teaching a group of new Hypnosis students the in's and out's of how to use Hypnosis to help people, help themselves, even have better relationships with their family.  It's so rewarding.  I usually prepare in September and teach in October, November and December. Maybe January?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Yay! I get to have major heart surgery!

I know, "Yay" is not what most people say when they get scheduled for major surgery.  It's not usually celebrated.  In fact, whenever I tell people I'm going in for open heart surgery in a few days, they usually say "Oh no!  That's terrible"  or something like that.  But I really am grateful to be able to have this surgery.  Yes, I'm nervous and no, it's not something I would have planned.  And certainly yes, I'm going to miss spending the glorious days of Fall in the garden, picking tomatoes, squash and beans.  I'll be letting my body heal instead.  But my heart will have a new lease on life.  Happy news.

Here's the story behind why I'm celebrating this event.

Within the last twelve years, two of my younger sisters have suddenly and unexpectedly died from mysterious heart trouble of some sort.  My youngest sister died at the age of 40, leaving four young children motherless.  Two years later, another sister died while she was cooking dinner.  Neither one had been diagnosed with any heart trouble beforehand.  They'd had various health complaints from time to time, which they thought were no different than anyone else.  Me too.  "Everybody Hurts" I've always thought, just like the R.E.M. song.   

However, this last 9 months I've really had a struggle keeping my stamina up. I had a rough Fall and Winter  healthwise last year, so I thought I just needed to exercise more and build my strength. I worked on it all Spring and nothing really helped.  If anything I was getting worse.  Shortness of breath, coughing, waking in a panic at night because I couldn't breath.  Mostly, I just thought my asthma was acting up.  I also had swelling in my feet and legs, but I've had that for years so I just put up with it. But it kept getting worse.  And I noticed my heart has been hurting.  Not like heartburn, but more dull - just a low aching.  I'd never had that symptom before.  I talked to my physician about each of my symptoms separately at different times, and she gave me recommendations for each one individually.  Nothing seemed to help.  Things just got worse.

Here's the really interesting part.

Last January, very unexpectedly, I adopted a little 'rescue dog', Lacy. I hadn't planned to get a dog, but it just felt like the right thing to do.  And not just any dog, but this dog.  It didn't make any sense at the time.  Lacy is old, deaf,.... and she has congestive heart failure.  In fact,right at the first the vet said she wouldn't last long and that she wouldn't be a good candidate for adoption.  But, for some reason, it was important to bring her home anyway. At her medical checkup recently, the vet explained in detail about all of Lacy's symptoms and drew a picture of Lacy's heart and why it wasn't working well.  As the vet talked, all of a sudden a light went on for me.  "Lacy's symptoms are just like the symptoms I'm having!"

I rushed in to see my physician and put all the symptoms together, like the vet did when she explained about Lacy.  "I'm concerned that I might be having heart trouble", I told her.  She listened a long time to my heart, and then got me in for some very fancy tests the next day.  A few days and some more tests later the cardiologist told me, "Cancel your life for awhile.  You have aortic stenosis and you need a valve replacement - and maybe a bypass - Soon."  Apparently there really was a serious problem with my heart.  The valve that takes all the oxygenated blood out to my body was closing down.  With my heart at 30%, no wonder I haven't been getting much oxygen and my heart has been hurting!  He also said that the problem is genetic, and suggested that my sisters may have had similar heart issues -  Undiagnosed and Untreated!  Within a few day I'd met with a great surgeon, and got my surgery scheduled for September 16th - next Thursday.

My physician has been telling the story in her office now, of how a little doggie saved her patient's life.  But even better - because I received a diagnosis in time to have my heart fixed before my valve closed down entirely, my dear 88-year-old mother won't have to bury a THIRD adult daughter prematurely!

So I'm excited. (My mother says she's excited too!)

It's been a mad rush getting ready in such a short short time, and there's been a lot to do.  Mostly trying to find funding for all the costs because I don't have insurance.  It's not possible to tell exactly what the total costs will be until the bills are all in, but I've filled out a ton of applications for financial aid, and it looks like most of the bills will be covered.  'Most' - That's the key word.  So far, there  is $7-8,000 that I haven't found coverage for yet, so I must admit that's still a worry.
As for updates: I'll post on this blog until Sept. 15th when I'm admitted into the hospital for the last run of tests before surgery. Then some friends have told me they will keep updates going in the comments section until I'm home and have recovered enough to post again.  After that, I can expand the conversations into farther reaches of 'matters of the heart'.  Oughta be interesting!

Please post your comments or questions. I'd love to hear from you.

P.S.  I'll try to get a picture of my rescue dog Lacy posted before I go into the hospital.  I guess the word 'rescue' can be used in two ways - She was rescued, and she rescued me back.

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