Hello to everyone following us on this avm journey! I have so much to write, so grab a snack and get comfortable! Before we even left on our trip, I had an arterial bleed here @ home @ about 3:00 a.m. Tuesday morning! I had been reading off and on, felt something wet on my neck, and by now you even know the drill! "Mark! Get up! I'm bleeding"! It was going so fast, I barely had time to make it to the bathroom and the blood was wanting to come out the top of the dressing up to my eye! I peeled off the Tegaderm and sure enough - out shoots the blood! Once we can determine where it's bleeding, we just wet a paper towel and put pressure on the area until it stops! Then Mark redresses it and we try and go back to sleep! So, as always, we were needing sleep before one of our trips!
To boot, @ the last minute, we had to change the place that would be taking care of our baby Hanz! We didn't know that my sister Celia would be able to take care of him, then @ the last minute, her mother-in-law had gotten to feeling worse in the hospital, and she knew they would have to be taking off to get back to Houston! So we called Marks brother Jim and his wife Shelley, to please take our Hanz in while we were gone! So, instead of spending the evening packing, we headed out to Rockport to leave Hanz w/Uncle Jim and Aunt Shelley! They really did us a huge favor and took such great care of Hanz - they have 4 dogs of their own! Hanz loves running out on their property, as they live in the country! I only sobbed a little when we were dropping Hanz off - not as bad as I did last time we left him behind!
We didn't get off to the best start either. We didn't pack until the morning of our trip! Rushed to get to the airport and if we heard correctly - the pilots had a late night flight or something, so instead of our flight leaving @ 6:00 a.m., it didn't take off until 6:40 a.m. because they arrived late! So you know what that meant, right? Yup - didn't make our connecting flight - but we were moved to the next flight out.
Luckily, my appt. w/Dr. Reed isn't until 4pm, so we have plenty of time! Actually, Dr. Reeds office called on my cell and asked whether it was possible for me to come in early - @ 2:30 p.m. No problem! Dr. Reed has a new office location in a great part of town that has lots of restaurants and a big mall I like! So we had lunch @ Mimi's Cafe and then took a quick look around the Park Meadows Mall! That is the mall Celia and I had gone to on one trip and we enjoyed going to Borders bookstore! So Mark and I walked in there and I asked the clerk if there was anything "Twilightish" available. She took me to where they had a display set up of different things from the Twilight movie, plus she recommended another book that everyone's talking about called MARKED! Couldn't decide, so I walked out w/out anything. Saw Dr. Reed - got to meet one of his P.A.'s that my bud Shalon calls her twin, because they share the same birthday! Don't ask me what his name was, I just called him Shalons twin! Unfortunately, Dr. Reed is concerned that the avm might grow toward the middle part of my ear, and if that happens, that may require an ear surgeon to replace some of the bones in the inner ear! YIKES! Let's hope that will NOT be the case!
We finally headed to the hotel to check in - I had lots of salad left, so that was going to be my dinner. Mark had brought back some bread and stuff and he wasn't all that hungry, so we were in for the night!
Next morning, we were expected @ Swedish by 7 a.m. to pre-register! So, here is a photo of me w/Melody! She is one of the two receptionist we see every time we go to Swedish! Very nice - she has pets, so we always talk about our furry kids!
Head over to get started w/the IV's and stuff - and of course the first nurse doesn't get it in right away! I told her she was fired (kidding of course), but she got another nurse to give it a go and she got it! Soon after, as usual, it's time to go to the bathroom. On the way back, we saw a basket of magazines on the nurses station counter and were looking through them, when Dr.Yakes came up behind us and put his arm around us! I barely had time to ask him about my ear and didn't get a clear enough answer, but I will get it and share that with you!
I was surprised to see Rick Smith, my favorite post op nurse too! I was under the impression he wasn't going to be working that day! That was a nice surprise!
Back to the hospital bed, where I got comfortable and dozed off, so Mark had to wake me up to talk to the anesthesiologist! We know when they show up, that pretty soon it's showtime! I answered one question and fell right back to sleep! Mark told me to sit up so I could stay awake! A few minutes later, transport comes to get me to take me to the surgical room! Here is a photo of James (transport) and Lori (nurse?) right before I get the happy juice!
Next thing I know, I'm waking up in recovery and all I remember is seeing Rick come by to check on me! I was so sleepy, that I didn't have time to worry too much about pain or getting ice chips! Next thing I knew, my room was ready! I asked where Mark was and was told he was back @ the hotel! He says the nurse said she would call him before they moved me to a room and they never did! Meanwhile, he has my purse and everything I need to get a hold of him - so one of the nurses was nice enough to put in her long distance code so I could call Mark on his cell! We never know how long I'll be, so Mark gets time to either go back to the hotel to nap, or check things out! In the parking lot of the Park Meadows Mall is a traveling Titanic Museum that Mark took a tour of! I was really happy to find I had a private room - brand new! It was large and had a nice shower, so after I was able to get up (had to be in bed a few hours due to angiogram - groin stick) It was so great taking a shower to get all the blood out of my hair! Before all that happened though, Dr. Yakes P.A. Eric showed up to see how I was doing! He asked for Mark, but Mark hadn't made it to my room yet. Eric asked if Rhonda had a chance to talk to me and I said no. He just goes, "oh". I looked @ him and said, "Is she leaving"? Eric admitted that yes, Rhonda would be leaving Swedish @ the end of the month! I had a feeling I knew what part of the reason was, but we won't mention the office politics here. Unfortunately for Eric - he'll have his hands full for a while! He has to be part of the interviewing process, plus by the time the new P.A. is trained, then it takes another while before all the paperwork for the P.A. is processed - so Eric will be on his own for a good while! Poor guy is already stressing because he and his wife are about to have a baby any day now! They already have a 3 year old, plus Eric has a 10 year old stepson!
Mark finally came in, loaded w/all the things I need to have to stay overnight! He changed out my dressing, plus I could see that I was getting some drips from the excess alcohol coming out! If I don't keep dabbing it, it will eventually burn my skin! We thought about this before, but finally did it this time - we weren't sure how much it would help to tape a piece of gauze where it was dripping. We were just afraid the fluid would collect there and then burn a "hole" anyway. No, it actually worked really well! Thanks Mark! He is such a great nurse! He was explaining to the evening nurse Judy about changing the dressing! So, after my shower and dressing change, it was time for dinner! Mark brought in pizza from Ricos across the street from the hospital! One of the techs came by to take my vitals and she says, "you smell good"! I had just gotten out of the shower, but I asked her, ... "so what are you saying? That I stunk earlier"!? She just had to laugh and say no, that's not what she meant!
We settled in to watch Survivor, and soon after that, I crashed out! See photo!
Oh! Here is a photo Mark took as he was out and about in Denver! Weird signs, huh?
Back to hospital business ... we hear that the real Saba is having a baby any day! She is one of the techs that is from Eastern Ethiopia that I named by Build a Bear after! The nurses were telling us how they keep checking the computer to see if Saba has checked in yet to have the baby! Plus, I got a visit from Brett - another favorite nurse! She recently took an Alaskan Cruise where she got married and she is now pregnant! We caught up with her, and then Rosie from Puerto Rico stopped by! She used to work in housekeeping, then studied to be a tech, and is back in school studying to be a nurse! She asked whether I had seen Joanna from Portugal and I said no. So Rosie said that Rhonda Sharp (the one who is jumping ship @ the end of the month!) had told her Joanna looked so great! All of Joanna's procedures are done - she had the debulking done w/Dr. Yakes and that made a big difference! Also, somewhere along the line, one doctor had accidentally damaged a nerve near one of Joanna's eyes, so her face drooped in that area. Fixed! Looks like new! From what we hear, she'll have the rest of her reconstructive surgery in Portugal! Isn't that awesome news? Can't wait until that is ME someday!!!
So, soon after I crashed, Mark went back to the hotel to get some rest! I had already been falling asleep while he was changing my dressing! Course I woke up a couple of times during the night. Eric had mentioned that he would swing by my room about 7:30 a.m. to sign my discharge papers and give me any prescriptions I needed! STEROIDS! See photo. He also mentioned that Anesthesia wasn't too happy that I can't open my mouth up very wide. With the damage that has been done to my inner ear and tissue and stuff, it is hard for me to open my mouth up more than an inch. It takes me a while to eat and it's difficult @ times to not get food all over myself! Eric said there is something that a dentist needs to prescribe (let's see, do I know anyone?) something called Therabite and this should help me exercise my mouth to open it further. My ENT here, Dr. Zane had already told me I should be doing some form of exercises to get this in better shape. Eric said if anesthesia isn't happy w/my progress, they'll have to do a trach and we don't want to complicate things if we don't have to! UGH!!
Here I am with Leah, one of my RN's that took care of me! She was super nice and we enjoyed talking to her! Don't remember whether it was her or Judy that told us one of Dr. Yakes patients came for 94 procedures! It is a 23 year old man that had an avm on his shoulder and upper arm and it was huge! All gone! Wow!!!
Mark walks in to my room the morning of my birthday with my favorite White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks and the Twilight umbrella I had been eyeing @ Borders! Neat! That was a cool surprise! Soon as we got discharged, we headed out to Park Meadows Mall! Mark had also given me a Borders gift card and we wanted to look around! It just happened to be drizzling, so I got to try out my new umbrella! I had Saba w/me!
So we walked around the mall and saw a Pet store - I hadn't seen a pet store in a mall in forever! Guess what we found? Some Brussels Griffon puppies! Isn't that something? Brussels are pretty rare around here! People comment on that each time we take Hanz to Petsmart! These puppies were like 8-10 weeks old! We asked if we could hold them - it was a brother and sister and we got the little girl to hold! Do you know how much they want for these puppies? $750! Yowza! We got Hanz @ the bargain basement price of $20 and he's a heck of a lot cuter too!
Dropped off my prescription to be filled, then headed to Whole Foods to find some lunch! Took it back to the hotel, ate and repacked and checked out! Drove to return the car rental and took the shuttle to the airport! We had a really good trip! Dr. Yakes used 18 cc's of achohol and I feel pretty good! It's the steroids! I'll be going to work tomorrow for sure!
Before we forget! Got in about 10pm on Friday, my birthday, stayed up late, but got up early to have breakfast w/Jim, Shelley, Linda, her husband Buddy and her brother John that was visiting from out of state! After breakfast, we picked up our baby Hanz! He had been having such a great time, but we really missed him and were sooo happy to finally take him home! Poor Hanz, got home, rested a bit, got bathed and we headed out to the Island to party! To be continued on next blog entry!
Gotta go! Mark just made dinner - stuffed shells, green beans and garlic bread! Yum! No really ... these steroids increase my appetite!
Thank you every one for all love, prayers and support! Could not do this w/out you!
Lots of love!
Mark & Cyndi
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Posted by Dulce at 6:29 PM