June 3, 2016
Today is Den’s first check-up with the LVAD team. This would also be his first check in for the LVAD study. We arrived at 9AM and checked in with the imaging department for his echo cardiogram. When that was completed we went across the way to the device clinic to see the team. Den weighed in at 228.6# today. His MAP (Mean Arterial Pressure) is 82. The team had told me that he should be between 60 and 80. So this is a tiny bit high, but not worrisome.
After the team did their usual checks and asked us how Den had been doing at RIC and since he got home, we got to ask our questions. Den’s big question was how soon he could get his cataract surgery. They said to wait until July to make sure his body had healed enough to tolerate the surgery and by then his meds would be stable. They reminded us to check with the hospital that the eye doctor used to be sure that they would take him (not all hospitals will even look at an LVAD patient). If we ran into any problems, we could call Colleen for a referral at U of C.
We were told that Den could stop taking the antacid pill if he wanted, but if he had any kind of stomach upset or acid indigestion to take it and call the team. Den also needed labs drawn today and would need them repeated weekly to check his INR (blood thinning level). This is to ensure that his blood is neither too thin or too thick for the LVAD to work at it’s full benefit for Den. The team would also sent an order to the outpatient clinic that we wanted to go to for the weekly blood draw.
The next thing the team checked was Den’s drive line site. They said it looked very good and even removed some of the stitches. They checked Den for fluid retention and told us to start 40mg of lasix daily (the order had been sent to our pharmacy before we left the clinic). They told me to send them a list of the prescriptions that we needed refills on when we got to our last refill at the pharmacy. We asked if Den could finish getting his Supartz (for his knees) injections and we were told to go ahead. Den was very happy to hear that. He was even happier when the team cleared him and took off his sternal precautions! He could use his arms again to help him get up and could lift things again!
Before we left the hospital complex, we needed to fill out some Quality of Life forms for the study. We also needed to have some blood drawn, a chest x-ray and Den needed to do a 6 minute walk. His walk was 424 feet. Once everything else was done we headed home.
We had an appointment in 2 weeks back at the same place to be enrolled in a study about physical recovery time with LVAD patients. So any other questions could wait until then or I could just email the team if it was important.
Den surprised me by walking from the car into the house without his walker! He wanted to show off that he was stronger than we all believed. He went slowly, but he did it!
Em had been asking for over a week to go to her school’s graduation mass. One of her best friends was graduating tonight and she really wanted to go. Den surprised both of us by asking if he could come, too. When we used his wheelchair to make it easier for him to get around (he was still working on walking longer distances, but he felt safer using the chair for this event. Almost all the parents came over to see us and congratulate Den on getting home and commented on how much better he looked in general. We had a great night watching the class get their diplomas. We celebrated our first outing as a family by going out to dinner.