And We’re Doneby Jim

Wed
5 Feb 2020
4:02 pm
0

The nurse just finished discharging us. Dr. Lui came by to chat for a few minutes this afternoon. He seemed more optimistic than he was a few days ago and it sounds like while this recent incident was not a good sign, as long as we can keep the arrhythmia under control, we shouldn’t have to advance to the next stage, which at this point is getting on the transplant list. While we know that we’ll need that lifesaving surgery eventually, we want Angie to stay healthy and get as much mileage on her current organs as possible.

Thank you for following along on this visit. Thank you also for your thoughts, prayers, and concern for us. It really means a lot to have such a great support network. The doctors here have mentioned what a difference it makes and I’m grateful we are blessed with such a wonderful one.  Hopefully, if everything goes well for the next couple weeks, we’ll be light on news for a few years.

Sinus Rhythm!by Jim

Wed
5 Feb 2020
12:02 pm
0

They just did a device check and determined that Angie has had no episodes of arrhythmia since the cardioversion. That’s great news! That means we should be going home today. Hooray!

UPDATE: The attending doctor just visited us and used the words “discharge papers,” which means we should be only hours away from going home!

Probably Leaving Todayby Jim

Wed
5 Feb 2020
10:02 am
1

We were just visited by a pair of doctors. They listened to her breathing and checked a few other things. They told us that she’s been in normal (sinus) rhythm as far as they can tell, so unless something changes, we’ll get to go home tonight. I’m sure we’ll get some more information about follow-up appointments before we’re actually discharged, but it’s great that doctors are talking about going home. It usually takes a few hours to get the whole process finished from when “going home” is mentioned and when you’re walking out of the hospital.

Gray Hairsby Jim

Tue
4 Feb 2020
1:02 pm
1

We just heard from the doctors. Dr. Lui and Dr. Khandelwar and a few other younger doctors in training came and spoke to us about what the plan is. Angela was in arrhythmia for so long that they want to watch her overnight to make sure she stays in sinus (normal) rhythm. They want to keep her on the amiodarone unless she flips back into arrhythmia. So, if her heart behaves, we’ll go home tomorrow. If she goes back into arrhythmia, we’ll stay for several days while they transition her back to the dofetilide and do another cardioversion. We’re hoping for option 1. Everyone seems to be pretty hopeful. I could tell they were pleased that the procedure went well this morning. It was a big difference from yesterday when the doctors, especially Dr. Lui, seemed very concerned about where we were. Things are definitely looking better from here.

There was a very tender moment just before the doctors left. Angie pulled off the hair cap they put on her before going into the OR and told Dr. Lui she wanted to show him something. “Look, I have gray hairs because of you. Not because you gave me gray hairs, but because I’ve lived long enough to have gray hairs. That’s because of you. Thank you.” He didn’t really say much after that. I could tell it meant a lot to him and that he was getting emotional. He’s really a wonderful doctor. We’re very fortunate to have him on our team.

Never a Dull Momentby Jim

Tue
4 Feb 2020
12:02 pm
1

Just a few minutes after my last post, the fire alarm went off. The policy at the hospital is to shelter in place unless otherwise directed. Everyone in the waiting area was very relieved when the alarm finally stopped ringing. It’s a digital tone, but it is definitely loud enough to get your attention. A few minutes later, the nurse came to bring me to recovery to see Angela. She’s smiling and in good spirits. The doctor that did the cardioversion wanted to keep her sedated as short as possible because the longer you’re in sedation, the harder it is on your body and the longer it takes to wake up. That’s why they only did one zap. Fortunately, that means that Angie is awake and feeling well, all things considered. I’ll post again when we have word from the doctors about the next few days’ plan.

Cautiously Optimisticby Jim

Tue
4 Feb 2020
11:02 am
1

Well, I have some good news. The cardioversion was successful and she’s back in regular rhythm (and in only one shock). They pumped 360 joules through her (yes, the geeky engineer in me just had to ask) and it was enough to fix things. They only wanted to zap her once, so they didn’t ramp up with little shocks like they usually do. She just got the big one first. She was sedated, so she didn’t feel a thing. She’ll be in recovery soon and I’ll be able to go see her. Now, we’ll see if the amiodarone will be enough to keep her out. I don’t know how long they’ll want to observe her, but when the doctors come and talk to us after Angie wakes up, I’m sure they’ll tell us.

Cardioversionby Jim

Tue
4 Feb 2020
10:02 am
0

They just took her back to the OR where they’ll be doing the procedure. They will do a transesophageal echocardiogram to check for blood clots before doing the cardioversion (that’s standard procedure before shocking you out of arrhythmia). If they don’t find anything, they’ll move forward and see if they can stop the arrhythmias. The whole process shouldn’t take very long, so I should be able to post again soon with any update.

We’re hoping and praying that this cardioversion will be enough to get her out and that the amiodarone will be enough to keep her out of arrhythmias. If that’s the case, we should be able to go home tonight. If they can’t get her out, they plan to transition her back to her previous anti-arrhythmia drug. That transition has to be done under observation over 48-72 hours. I don’t know if they can start that immediately, or if they have to wait for the amiodarone to get out of her system.