So 2016 was a very exciting year, medically!
- In February, Den had a stent implanted in the Mid-Circumflex Artery of his heart.
- After he was discharged, he had 8 weeks of home healthcare and physical therapy.
- In late February, Den had some bleeding issues the sent us to the ER three times.
- From February to August we searched to find a doctor who would do Den’s needed cataract surgeries.
- In March, Den’s heart was found to be in really bad shape. His EF (ejection fraction) was down to 13.4%. Dr. Raj, got Den an appointment with the Advanced Heart Failure Team at the University of Chicago.
- In April, we met with the Advance Heart Failure doctor and he admitted Den that same day. Within 2 weeks, Den had major surgery to implant his LVAD and repair or replace 3 valves in his heart. He spent 8 days in ICU after the surgery and another 9 days in the Step Down Unit before going to the RIC (Rehab Institute of Chicago).
- In May, Den worked hard at the RIC to build his strength and endurance. He made great strides and worked very hard to finally come home in time for the Memorial Day holiday. He spent a total of 24 days at RIC.
- In June, Den continued his therapy at home. Home healthcare came for another 8 weeks.
- In August, Den and I made the decision to find a doctor at the U of C for his cataract surgeries. (He had had nothing but problems with finding a doctor and hospital both willing to work with an LVAD patient.) Den finally got his first cataract surgery on August 19th. Den also had his first RAMP study to “tune up” his LVAD.
- September was filled with family activities, like baseball and making sauerkraut.
- In October, Den went for his repeat sleep study to check his sleep apnea. He also went to the pain clinic for his herniated disks in his neck.
- In November, Den had his second and final cataract surgery. We all enjoyed Settlers’ Day and Thanksgiving.
- December was fairly quiet. Den only had one issue and that was a bout of high blood potassium. Otherwise, we had a quiet month filled with family time.
So 2016 was scary, to say the least. There were times when I knew if I said anything I would breakdown and cry. Thankfully, I was able to keep it together and hold it all in until I could let it out in private. Trust me, I cried a lot in the first half of the year. Sometimes I didn’t know if I would be able to stop. Luck for me, I have great friends that will always take my calls. These same friends will listen to me whine and complain when things are not going right and let me cry on their shoulder when it all gets to be a little too much to bear.
But 2016 was not all bad. We saw Em’s basketball team go all the way to the Championship game. We did family things…together! Things that seemed so small before are now important to us….even the fights are memories that we cherish. It sounds funny to say we cherish the fights, too, but we know that they are one day going to be the only memories we have together. So we cherish everything….good and bad.