November 20, 2015
Today is the day of Den’s cardiovert. This is where they shock the heart to restore a normal rhythm. Den has been in AFib since his hospital stay. Now it is safe to get him out of that and back to normal…hopefully. We got up at 5:30AM and Den took his time getting ready. He had strategically placed chairs in the route to the bathroom so he could rest and catch his breath. Being in AFib caused Den to have no stamina and shortness of breath on any kind of exertion. The cardiovert today should make the breathing issues go away. I got Em up at 6AM, my parents were dropping her off at school today. Den & I left for the hospital at 6:15AM. We had to be checked in at the hospital before 7AM, and the staff in CVU (Cardio Vascular Unit) knew we were always early.
When we arrived, Den asked me to get a wheelchair (this was the first time he couldn’t walk to the unit on his own). When we arrived on the unit, Ronnie & Bonnie were there (our usual nurse and CNA). Den started his usual joking with them immediately. They got him all checked in and transport came at 7:45AM. Off we went to the Cath Lab. The entire staff in the Cath Lab are wonderful! Always ready to answer questions and help whenever possible.
Den’s procedure was scheduled for 8AM. They got him prepped and then sent me off to the waiting area…I always hate leaving him….about 8:15AM, saying the doctor should be there soon and they would call me when he was done. Now, the procedure takes less than 30 minutes, so when I didn’t hear anything by 9AM, I really started to get concerned And none of my “busy bag” stuff was helping. The nurse came to the waiting room and told me there was a delay and Dr. Mitchell wouldn’t be there until at least 10AM. So they let me go back to Den in the holding area. Yeah! They even disconnected most of his monitoring lines and let him sit up on the side of the gurney as long as I stood there with him. Dr. Mitchell and the Medtronic Tech arrived at the same time. They decided to try the cardiovert thru his Pacemaker/ICD (I didn’t know they could do that!). Dr. Mitchell asked if it was possible that Den took an extra dose of Tykosin by accident….Den admitted that is was possible. Mystery solved as to the toxic level of Tykosin when he was admitted!
I was once again ushered out to the waiting room. It is such a lonely and painful walk for me. About 30 minutes later, I got the call that they were done. Everything went fine. They did the cardiovert thru the Pacemaker/ICD and everything was fine. Then Den’s heart jumped back into AFib, just when the doctor was leaving the room. So they did a conventional cardiovert and it stuck! I asked Dr. Mitchell if Den needed a Potassium and Magnesium supplement, since every time he was here he got them before he could go home. He said to reduce his Lasix to every other day, that way he should not need the supplements.
The Medtronic Tech was nice enough to give me a print out of Den’s “Report Card” on his Pacemaker/ICD. It shows all the neat stuff like episodes of AFib, VTach, Fluid Retention and other things that the doctors use to help keep him healthy.
Eventually, Den went back to CVU, where he could rest and come out of the sedation comfortably. The nurses let me feed him and gave him his meds. After lunch, I asked when we could go home. That was when we found out Dr. Mitchell had ordered Potassium and Magnesium to be given before discharge. Everyone was thankful when the Potassium came as a pill! Now we just had to wait for the Magnesium IV to finish (4 hours). We made the best of the time, watching TV, talking and playing cards.
We were finally on our way home just after 4PM. We were all glad to be home and have the weekend as a family.
Over the next few days (November 21 to 24) nothing significant happened. Den’s sense of taste started to return. One of the side effects of Ameoderone is loss of taste. His breathing did improve and he has some appetite back, but not much.
That’s it for today…the slow slide to the LVAD begins tomorrow.