Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cherie & Scott go to Mayo

My husband, Scott, and I, recently traveled to Rochester, Minnesota, to the Mayo Clinic, for me to have heart surgery. It was a very interesting trip, so I DID take some notes while we were there, (at least, up until the time I was unconscious.) I just had a feeling that our trip might make for a good blog entry.

First of all, it was COLD, which is a big DUH, considering it was the dead of winter. Our flight was delayed, and we arrived at about 3:30 a.m. the morning that I needed to be at the clinic by 7:30 a.m., so we were pretty much zombies, that whole first day.

For those of you who don't know, Scott is very much a "chatter". He'll talk to anyone and everyone, and he ALWAYS seems to know people wherever we go, and he talks FOREVER. It shouldn't have been surprising, then, that he ran into a guy at the Sacramento airport, and had a nice long talk. That would've been fine, but the guy was on our flight, too, and ended up at the airport in Minneapolis/St.Paul, so he had to talk to him again, then. I was okay with that.....didn't really bother me. However, the next day, when we were at the Mayo Clinic, out of the corner of my eye, I swore I thought I saw him waving at somebody, and I seriously, almost knocked him down. Lucky for him, he was just scratching his head.

So, we made it to Mayo, and I spent the next several days being tortured with tests, but aside from that, we did have some fun, people watching, and walking around in the subways and skyways (you would never have to go outside, if you didn't want to). We ate in a couple of restaurants, and overall, the waiters/waitresses were very nice, but the first afternoon, not so much. This waitress seemed annoyed that we actually came to eat something, then REALLY annoyed that we drank the water in the juice-size glass she had given us. Um, I'm sorry. Is this NOT the land of 10,000 lakes?

Now, the fun really began. Got to have surgery. I will never forget the "angel" R.N. who took care of me that first night in ICU. She was right by my side, the whole night, and seemed to anticipate every (multiple) need. She also happened to look just like one of my friends from Placerville (shout out to Becky Bowman), and that made me feel even better :).

Funny thing.......evidently, most people wouldn't normally choose to have surgery during the Christmas holiday, so the place was kinda empty. It was just me, and about 14 other patients, on my floor, and they were all OLD. Okay, I take that back.....there were maybe two other patients who were under the age of 70, and I felt this weird obligation to acknowledge them, as we passed in the hallways. (You know, like Harley riders do that little subtle hand wave, as they pass another rider?)

The first day that I was moved out of Intensive Care, two doctors (the electrophysiologists),came into my room, to talk about the next procedure I would be having. Now, granted, I was heavily medicated, but the one guy sounded just like Elmer Fudd. No lie. This was confirmed by Scott. The Dr was very nice, and came to see me EVERY day, but it was painful. I kept praying he wouldn't have to use any words with the letter "R" in them. Fortunately, he was just a "fellow", and ended his rotation on the day I actually had my EP study and ablation, which was a relief, cuz I really couldn't get past the voice, and would not have been surprised AT ALL, if he had shown up in a red hunter's cap.

For you "30 Rock" fans, there was also a Dr who came in my room, and got on the computer at my bedside, and started peppering the nurse with all kinds of questions about "me". He looked and sounded JUST LIKE Dr. Spaceman. And to top it off, the questions he was asking didn't make any sense, and the nurse finally told him "You have the wrong patient up on the screen". He mumbled something, and quickly exited the room. Luckily, I never saw him again.

When you're in the hospital, you hear things that, out of context, sound very odd and inappropriate. I'm going to list some of the things we heard:
What they said:
1. "Do you have a preference where you want it?
2. "Is it flopping around as much?"
3. "Sorry, it slipped out"
4. "You have a nice annulus"
4.b "You have a gorgeous arch"

What they were referring to:
1. Where did I want my new I.V. line.
2. Did the line in my neck feel more stable.
3. Guy doing ultrasound "lost his place", while scanning my heart.
4. Referring to the structure that supports my mitral valve (during my cardiac ultrasound)
4.b Referring to my aortic arch (also, during my cardiac ultrasound)

(It should be noted that the last two comments were made by my Mayo cardiologist, who said them in complete seriousness. Being the immature person that I am, it took everything I had, to stifle my giggling).

Having open heart surgery was both horrifying, and amazing. It's so incredible that they can do what they do!

I have to say, that there's no way that I could've gotten through all of it without my husband. He was amazing. He saw, heard, and smelled things, that no one should, and yet, he never seemed (openly) repulsed and/or disgusted. He was always right there, and acted like there's nowhere else he'd rather be (okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but you get the gist). It's possible that I may have been a little difficult/emotional/impatient/irritable/annoyed, but he, as always, exhibited kindness and patience (yes, I put this in writing), and I hope he knows how much I appreciate it.

The trip home went smoothly, and aside from a few minor complications, I am on the mend. Scott DOES claim that, the first night home, I insisted that he go "get the nurse" to tell her my heart was "beating funny", but I'm not sure that actually happened. I DID dream of a toddler in a red sequin dress who spoke like Thurston Howell III, but pretty sure that was medication induced.

While it's not something I would ever CHOOSE to go through again, Scott and I, were both, overwhelmed with all the love and support we received, from friends and family throughout this whole experience. Now, I'm looking forward to a full recovery, no more shortness of breath, and loads of energy. If you thought I was annoying before......just wait!