Saturday, May 1, 2010

Stephen came home from the hospital on Thursday afternoon. Wednesday night was sleepless for him. When the open heart surgery was done, he was placed on a blood thinner - they were not able to ween him off of the blood thinner before surgery yesterday, thus the blood wouldn't clot after the surgery. He had 15 pounds of pressure on his hip all night long!

He was pretty exhausted, so I just let him sleep today. The doctor wants Steve to work hard, exercise and get back to work so he can see how much daily life/work and stress affects the success/failure of the heart function. Hopefully this was just a mechanical failure and it has nothing to do with overworking! So, today I am letting him rest. Tomorrow I will put him back to work!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I tried to think of a title for this post, and could not think of anything that expressed my description of the day. Oh, lots of words come to mind, but which words to pick? Discouragement...Exhiliration...Hopeful...Sad...Scared...Relieved... and all of these words described my day. But how do you pick just one word.

Stephen has been having a lot of chest pain for 2 months now. The pain seems to be getting worse. He seems to be almost immobilized by the pain. He is afraid to do new things, or to preach, or to hike, ride bikes, or even watch television, for anything will trigger the pain that radiates from his chest, up into his neck and finally into the neck. The family all say "let's go to the doctor". Stephen says "I must be under some kind of stress and I'm not going to the doctor for him to tell me that I am just fine". Well, yesterday we finally got Steve to go to the doctor (this is where the word Exhiliration comes in). Today, we spent in the hospital with all kinds of tests (of which Stephen failed miserably - - thus the word discouragement.)

So off to surgery with another heart cath, which revealed that the main bypass graft from his open heart surgery (back in October 2008)had failed and Steve's ejection fraction (ie: 30) has not improved in the last year and a half which was not a good thing either. We knew 6 months ago that one of the bypass grafts had failed, now a second graft was causing him problems. We made the decision that the best thing for Dr Ritchie to do was to reconstruct Stephen's main artery by placing 4 large stents in this crucial artery. As the blockage in this artery was very critical, the heart was stopped and restarted with the electrical shock paddles. The surgery took 4 hours. Dr Ritchie had to also place stents in two other places. My heart breaks when I think that Stephen now has 10 stents. We jokingly tell him that he is a total new man, but even as the "jokes" fly around the room, there are tears of great sorrow streaming down the faces of his wife and children. Dr Ritchie doesn't know why the bypass grafts are failing. He suggested that it was just a "mechanical" thing. We talked to Dr Ritchie about Stephen's over working and perhaps he didn't handle stress well, but Dr Ritchie thought that perhaps those factors have a small role in what is going on with Steve, but mostly his body just is not handling the bypass grafts.

What next? Hopefully Stephen can come home tomorrow. We will have a quiet weekend, then Steve is to begin exercising and go back to work! We both have agreed that we have decided to "live" - even when the road is rough and is so much better than deciding to crawl into a hole and hybernate. Yes, we have decided to live...however, I think we are a little more sobered about just how this "life" will look.