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.

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.

A Trip in the Emergency Roomby Jim

Mon
3 Feb 2020
6:02 pm
1

Well, using her pacemaker to get her out of arrhythmia didn’t work, so they’re going to do the cardioversion tomorrow. We saw both Dr. Dubin and Dr. Lui and they are concerned about the recent developments. Angie’s heart function has decreased even more since her visit last week, which worries them. They didn’t have a bed available on the cardiovascular floor, but they wanted to observe her for the night, so they asked that we head to the emergency room and “check-in” that way. They have a brand new emergency room in the new building and I guess we came at just the right time because there was practically no wait. Fastest emergency room admission ever.

The plan now is that they will observe her tonight and do the cardioversion tomorrow. There is concern that the amiodarone (her new supposedly more powerful anti-arrhythmia drug) isn’t enough to keep her out of arrhythmia after they cardiovert her. The problem is they have no way to know. She’s gotten stuck in bad rhythms like this before on other medications and had to cardiovert out, so the amiodarone may still be good enough, but the initial signs don’t look promising. If she goes back into arrhythmia after the cardioversion, they’ll need to transition her back to her previous medicine (dofetilide), which means she’ll have to wait for a few days for the amiodarone to clear out of her system before putting her back on dofetilide. Once the dofetilide is in her system (it takes a few days: it has a longer half-life than amiodarone), they’ll do another cardioversion to get her out of arrhythmia and keep her out. So that’s our plan for the week.