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Surgery is over…. and home is a wonderful place!

August 31, 2010 Leave a comment

What a long ass day!

We got to Bayshore Hospital at 8:30 AM like we were told. The nurses were quite good in the Same Day Surgery Unit. They took vitals (blood pressure, temperature, pulse oxygen, pulse, and blood sugar). Nurse Betty came to get blood, and she actually got it on the first attempt! That is always a good thing because Mark has sucky veins, and he gets irritated when he has to get stuck more than once.

Then then Nurse Tracy told us that she was going to put in an IV. That automatically raised flags for Mark because he knows the story of his veins, and how IVs just collapse. But Tracy was very good and she got the needle in with NO problems.

Then came the bad news. Dr. Ciervo was going to be late…. by over an hour. I was not thrilled but definitely not as irritated as I could have been. I am learning to accept these things. The whole medical field runs on the “hurry up and wait” routine.

So Mark napped while we waited. I had a plethora of technology with me. I had my Blackberry which connected me to the world outside the hospital. I had my iPod which gave me music to soothe the inner beast. And I had my Kindle to read “Twilight” and escape into another world.

Needless to say, the time went fast! When Dr. Ciervo did arrive, I was lip syncing, “I think I love you” by the Partridge Family!!! Go figure! Dr. Ciervo examined Mark, and told us basically what he was going to do. And they carted Mark off to the Operating room.

I was told that the surgery was going to be about 2 hours, so I went home to have some lunch, and to let Belle out and give her some lunch. I was home for about an hour, and then I headed back to the hospital. I stopped at the cafeteria to get some thing to drink, an I saw that they had Cream of Spinach Soup!! I could not pass that up! When Mark was in the hospital, we had it a few times, and it was soooo very good!

About 2:15 Dr. Ciervo came out to see me. He said that the surgery went well although it was more difficult that he had thought due to Mark’s body shape and the fact that he still had part of the original graft and an open wound in his arm. But he felt confident with his work. And I felt confident that he was confident. Mark tends to think Dr. C is arrogant. I personally do not feel that way. I found him to be confident, but also approachable. He has always been patient with my questions, and I never felt like I was being rushed. I like that in a doctor.

The main points that Dr. Ciervo mentioned were:

  • follow up in 7-10 days
  • start taking 5mg of Coudamin a day (again…)
  • make sure to get the graft checked every three months
  • Mark can go back to work on Tuesday as long as he feels up to it
  • the graft can be used in 2-3 weeks

Nurse Betty came out to get me about 3:20. She brought me back to the Same Day Surgery Unit. And Mark was there, drinking his juice. He was still under the effects of the anesthesia. And honestly he was sort of funny. But also a bit embarrassing!! He was babbling about wanting vodka instead of the apple juice. Then he said, VERY loudly, “you are not my wife! My wife is Halle Berry!” Then he was asking for steak because he was hungry.

The funniest thing was when he called Nurse Betty by saying, “Excuse me! Excuse me.” When she looked up, he waved and yelled, “Hi!” He did this a couple of times. Luckily the nurse were very sociable and friendly!! And tolerant!

He talked about flashing the nurses! He wanted to know if he could get his compression stocking in black because white was not his color!

I think part of it was the anesthesia and part was just his normal humor!!

We were out of the hospital by 4:15…. with out discharge instructions….

Mark wanted Wendys. Nothing like a bacon burger and fries after surgery, but who am I to judge. He ate his food in the car while I went into A & P to get some prescriptions filled. We were home before 5:30, and I finally coerced Mark into a nap. I was wiped out.

Mark has some minimal pain, but nothing horrible. He can’t drive tomorrow, so I will take him to dialysis, and then pick him up when he is done. Hopefully the pain will remain minimal, but since we have been through this before, I expect him to have some nasty bruising, swelling, and some pain. But he is a trooper. Much better than me!

I give him a lot of credit. I don’t think I would be so brave.

I am glad he is home. Our home is a wonderful place!

Graft Surgery is Tomorrow…

August 30, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s been three weeks since we saw the Vascular Surgeon. And it is now the night before surgery for a new dialysis graft.

We have to be at Bayshore Hospital at 8:30AM. And then we will do the “hurry up and wait” thing that the medical industry is so famous for!

Mark says he is not anxious or nervous or worried. I guess I make up for that. I have a very distinct feeling that it will be a Xanax night for me!!

I am guessing I will read until my eyes don’t focus any more, pop a pill, and wait for the morning. It’s gonna be a long day.

Of course I have no details. Mark never really thought to ask. So I don’t know how long the surgery will take. I only know it is Same Day Surgery because he brought home some literature when he had his pre-admission testing done.

I know that there will be some serious pain. And very extensive bruising. We have done this graft thing before.

The surgeon wanted to be sure that the site where the infected graft was removed has healed. There is still an open wound about the size of a dime. Mark DID talk to the surgeon about it, but he said that they would cover it up real tight, and that would keep the risk of infection down to the bare minimum.

I would have preferred to wait until it was completely healed until I had another surgery, but Mark wants to be able to go back to school next week. I give him a lot of credit. I am not sure that I would be so brave. I think I would curl up into the fetal position and feel sorry for myself. That is SOOO not him though. He has told me that he gets down and depressed sometimes (who wouldn’t???) but not very long, and he says he has faith that he will be fine and get a kidney. And he says he has to take care of me and Belle and give us the things that he promised us!

Tomorrow is not gonna be fun. But hopefully it will go smoothly. All I can do is hope and pray for the best outcome. And keep my head up!

Ok… so…

Time for snack!!! The ice cream is calling my name…. 🙂

Categories: kidney disease

A gorgeous summer day….

August 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Today was one of those beautiful summer days. It was not too hot. It was not too humid. The sun was bright with no clouds. It was the perfect convertible day!

So we went out today. Mostly it was for errands, but Mark managed to make it into a nice… and fun day! We went to the post office to pick up a letter that had postage due. Just a postcard notification from the RWJ Transplant Center letting us know of their new location. Mark actually knew that they had moved.

Then we went to the Mailbox to pick up the business mail. Nothing too exciting. I did get a check from a client, but it is certainly nothing to write home about! The rest of the mail was just the usual junk advertising!

After that, we went to Dunkin’ Donuts for iced coffee…. and brunch. I had a veggie egg white flat bread sandwich. Mark had a sausage, egg, and cheese on a Croissant. Both of us had a glazed donut!! Yum!! Then Mark got a surge of energy which is rare for him. He wanted to take a walk along the waterfront and then out to the jetty. It was so pretty and relaxing. We just stood out there and we talked for a while. It was good to do something different. It may not have been a day at the beach or a cruise to Bermuda, but I am happy to take the little gifts in my life.

After we left the waterfront, we went to finish up our errands. We went to BJs and stopped at KFC for tonight’s dinner. We just got home a little while ago…. i am a bit sleepy, so if he should suggest a nap, I would not complain!!

It’s nice when Mark feels “pretty good”. It means that he will be funny. It means that he will be in a good mood! And it means that we can enjoy our life together… with whatever it is that we decide to do. The good days have been rare lately.

It does make me sad that our plans are on hold. Now that Mark is at the “good end of the salary guide”, we had such great plans.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

John Lennon – “Beautiful Boy”

And how true that quote is, huh? The plans are on hold right now. No boat. No vacations. All of it. Pretty much we take things one day at a time….. in the hopes of a successful kidney transplant…..

Surgeon…Shopping… and (lots of sushi)

August 16, 2010 Leave a comment

So  last Thursday, August 12th we went to see the Vascular Surgeon, Dr. Ciervo in Eatontown, NJ. We went for Mark’s follow up appointment after his graft removal.

We got to the office with no major problems. There was a bit of construction, but nothing too annoying. The weather was not very cooperative though. I had hoped for a nice, sunny day since we took my car, and I wanted to ride with the top down. Unfortunately, it rained most of the way day, and ALL of the way back home!

We had  a “squeeze in appointment”, so I was prepared for a long wait. I brought my Kindle with me, figuring that we would have a long wait. However, this was not the case! We had to fill out the usual “new patient” paperwork with the usual questions and history.

We didn’t sit too long after that because I never got to read more than a page or two in my Kindle. I was all prepared for the long haul! I had my iTouch and Kindle, and I had promised Mark that I would not whine or complain about the wait. I was actually looking forward to reading!

Dr. Ciervo looked at Mark’s surgical site, and said it looked good. He removed the bandage, said that the ace wrap was no longer necessary, and he slapped a large bandage on it. He also took out the stitches in Mark’s neck, which immediately made him feel better since he always thought that they felt they were pulling.

He did an ultrasound of Mark’s arm, and suggested that  a graft could be put into the left arm again up near the armpit.  He was not happy about the clotting around the area of Mark’s catheter, and that was the reason for the Coumadin. He was hoping that clot would clear up but so far, it had not. His concern was that with each clot, Mark loses an area for access. Definitely not a good thing.

He answered a lot of our questions. Mark can exercise when he feels up to it. He said that the Coumadin may or may not be a long term thing depending on how things go. The optimal level for Coumadin monitoring (aka PT/INR) is 2.0. He said that Dr. Hozayen should monitor it because that was not something he should be doing. He did suggest a home monitoring test for Mark’s Coumadin levels which would be similar to a blood prick for his diabetes. Mark thought that was a good idea.

The scheduled date for surgery is August 31, at 10AM. Mark needed to get his pre-operation testing done. The surgeon did say that Mark would be “Hurting” and I believe he admired Mark’s desire to get back to work on September 8th when school starts!!

So on Friday morning, Mark went for his dialysis, and I went out with the girls. I had a good time. We went to the Unique Thrift stores. Two of them. I believe there are others, but we only had time for two. It would be a GREAT place to buy school clothes since they had a lot of nice kids stuff. Mark would have liked it too. He likes to pick out his own clothes, and I am sure that he would have found some great stuff. The store had housewares, clothing, books, and a whole selection of other stuff.  I could have bought tons of stuff, but that is always the problem. I buy the stuff, and I never wear it or use it, and eventually we donate it to the Salvation Army!!! I did buy a peach colored sweatshirt with the softest fleece on the inside for $5.99. At the second store, I bought some brand new round place mats for our kitchen table. I bought a set of four red ones that will be perfect for the holidays!!!

Then on to the Sushi!! We went to Sushi Palace. I believe that the town is Edison. The food was absolutely delicious!! We started with appetizers. Tons of them. Tempura veggies… soup… teriyaki chicken on a skewer…. Edamame…Gioza… Shumi (like I can spell these!! LOL)… and then came the Sushi Rolls… they came out on a huge platter… all different kinds. We took pictures and put them on Facebook. Then another round of appetizers and more rolls!! And if that was not enough, we had ice cream for dessert. I had the green tea ice cream which was delicious!!!!

We rolled out of there… all of us soooo full that we could barely move. It was a good time for all… and I am very glad that I went!!!

Mark’s good day, “Girls’ Day Out”, and a Reunion! Oh my!

August 11, 2010 Leave a comment

So it has been a little over a week since Mark got home from the hospital. I personally think this was his best day yet.

When I got home, he had made dinner. Okay, so it was not one of his restaurant quality meals, but he felt good enough to make something. He also brewed two gallons of iced tea, and he had to wash one of the pitchers!! I was happy and grateful!

He said he slept until almost 11 AM but that is okay because his body needs rest to heal. But the fact that he was able to stay awake until 11:30 tonight showed he is getting some of his stamina back.

I am still worried that this infection could come back, but I am trying to be positive.

Mark did irritate me a bit though. I reminded him that I was going out shopping and having sushi lunch with my girl friends on Friday.

He said, “I think you should cancel.”

“Why would I want to do that”, I asked.

“So you can go grocery shopping”, he answered.

For a split second I wanted to scream at him (and show him what a “whack job” I really can be)! I wanted to ask him if he had any idea what I have been through in the past three weeks!

I wanted to scream that many of our friends don’t call us any more because they are tired of us always turning down invitations because he is too sick or too tired to go out!

I wanted to yell that our fun factor has been at zero for quite some time now!

I thought he needed to know that I was looking forward to shopping and lunch since it was suggested a few weeks ago. I was not even sure I was going to be able to go. I didn’t know what was going to happen to him or if he would still be in the hospital (or even DEAD!!). I didn’t know what kind of shape he would be in.

Part of me wanted to throw up things in his face or get all sarcastic by saying something like, “fine, I will cancel but you can drive yourself to your doctor on Thursday.”

But I didn’t say anything. I did NOT want to ruin a nice evening by starting a fight.

I took the high road! I told him that I was looking forward to some time out with friends, and I was not going to cancel.

He said, “ok”.

End of conversation.

I was proud of myself!! Life can’t revolve around him. He may not always be there, and if he is, it is not healthy!

On a different note, I got an email about our ::::gulp:::: 30 year high school reunion. I can’t believe it’s been that long! I can still remember cutting classes, partying with my friends, and driving around listening to music like it was yesterday! I went to my 10 year reunion. It was different from what I expected but also interesting to see what people looked like. I mostly went to see if a friend I had lost touch with going to be there.

After the 10 year reunion, I didn’t see myself wanting to go to another one. I figured that if people wanted to stay in touch with me, they would have. I didn’t need to impress any one or brag about anything.

Yet now I find myself rethinking the whole thing. With the internet and Facebook, I have reconnected with a lot of old friends and acquaintances. I even have some Facebook friends who were classmates that I didn’t really associate with, but it’s all good.

I am thinking about going to this reunion. I already know that Mark will not go with me. He would be miserable because he did not go to EBHS, has never met any of the Class of 1981, and he is not the kind of person to go somewhere out of his element.

If I do decide to go to the reunion, I will need to find a friend to go with me. Would be nice to go with a Hollyrock High classmate.

Any takers?

A little better each day…

August 10, 2010 Leave a comment

This is good, right? Mark seemed pretty good today which was a nice change. He got his own drink and fixed his own plate of food! He actually asked me, “do you want anything while I am up?” I was amazed!

I realize that health care is not the profession for me! I prefer to work alone and be creative! I was not cut out to change bandages or take care of people!

Maybe we are on the road to recovery. I am not jinxing us this time! Never brag about how good things are and NEVER EVER say that things cannot get worse. Good things can quickly turn bad and things can always get worse.

They upped Mark’s Coumadin from 5Mg to 7.5mg. Not sure what levels they are checking but I guess they know best! Dr. Ciervo was the one who upped the dose. I really have some questions for him. I am seriously thinking about going to Mark’s appointment on Thursday morning because I know Mark won’t ask the right questions IF he asks any at all!!

So overall a quiet evening. No family fights! No yelling! And he didn’t tell me I was a whack job. He also didn’t apologize.

Oh well, two out of three ain’t bad.

Thank you Meatloaf! (Ooh meatloaf! I’m hungry…like the wolf! Remember Duran Duran? You know if I had married the lead singer, Simon Labon…my name would have been “Bon Labon”…how cool would that be??? Nope, haven’t been drinking but maybe I should!!!!

He’s just itching for another infection!!

August 9, 2010 1 comment

I love this man dearly, but he can try my patience to no end!

I have to wonder if he is his own worst enemy — or mine!!

Tonight he was constantly scratching at the bandage of his OPEN wound on his arm where he had surgery to remove the infected graft. He succeeded in loosening the bandage and was scratching underneath it. Now it is an open wound with neosporin on a 2×2 guaze pad and then a 4×4 pad on top of it which is held on his arm with 4 pieces of tape around the edges. Then an ace-like bandage is wrapped around his arm.

He was digging around and scratching, and I kept telling him to stop touching it! I happened to look over and what do I see? He’s managed to get under the bandage and I can see the top of the open wound!! Aaaaahhh!!!

The man has his dirty hands scratching around a wound that was where the sepsis originated!! I told him that we needed to clean it up and re-dress it. Wanna know what his response was?

He said it was fine!

I was pissed off beyond belief, and part of me just wanted to say, “fine, let it get infected!” But I cannot do this whole thing again! I am too drained! I think if we did this again any time soon, I would pack up my car, put Belle in the back seat, and head south, never looking back!

So after fighting with me and a lot of screaming, his bandage was removed, the wound cleaned and re-dressed, and hopefully he did no real damage.

He said I am a whack job who worries too much! Nice thing to say, huh? Honestly I believe if I had forced issues more over the years (commonly referred to as “nagging” by men), our lives would be entirely different!

Did I mention he is sulking now?

And me, I am gonna break out the Kindle and read until sleep finds me….many hours from now!