Sunday, December 30, 2007

Finally!! Last installment of one year ago this week! we are nearing the end of my little story. Let's see now.....oh yes, I remember! The Mayo, as I lovingly refer to the place, had made contact a number of times over the next couple of weeks, sending me a ton of paperwork to fill out, and return. We were scheduled for a series of tests on Friday the 23rd, for the better part of the day. Then again on Monday the 26th, for most of the morning, at which time they planned to evaluate all of those tests, and determine whether or not I would be in Surgery at the Hospital, St. Mary's Hospital on Tuesday morning, the 27th of March.

The Mayo Clinic is 500 miles away. Fortunately for my family, my husband's parents live about 90 miles from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. We made arrangements to arrive at their place on Thursday the 22nd of March. They had agreed to watch Sass and Fash while we were out living it up in Rochester.

We left Thursday morning from our house at about noon. We arrived in MN, somewhere around 7:00 pm. It is funny how things happen, not as if there is a sense of dread or anything, just that it didn't seem like a joyous visit. Not a celebration, as it usually is when visiting family. We just sort of casually visited, without a lot of discussion with what the next few days would, or could bring.......just painfully casual.

We stayed up too late....way too late. Woo-hoo! Here comes about three hours, of super restful sleep....I'm sure. Mister and I needed to wake up around 4:00 in the morning in order to arrive in time for our tests on Friday morning. Now, I know I refer to a lot of this is "our" rather than "my" isn't a typo......and I don't do it intentionally. It is just, it seemed much more like "ours" than "mine." Certainly, more than "my" life was turned upside down.....therefore, it was......and is.....ours.

We checked in a little bit before 7:00 am. What an outstanding facility. First of all, it is absolutely enormous. Exceptionally clean, amazingly designed, and artistically decorated. I don't hope for any of you to need to see it. I hope you never do.......but if you have to, you will immediately see why it is as renowned as it is.

We easily navigated through the facility. Mister and I played a game of "worker-patient" wherever we walked. We would try to identify whether a person was at the clinic as a patient, or a worker. Some of course were easy to identify......for instance, if they had a name badge......worker.......if they were carrying the identifying paperwork, similar to mine....looking for signs.......patient. Others, were not so easy to decide. I don't know who won the game, (I am sure I probably did) or if we were even right........but by our scientific was "pert-near" an even worker, patient ratio.

I had a pamphlet of paperwork, outlining where I needed to be, at what time, and what test would be performed. I know this will come as quite a shock to some of you, especially those who have waited countless hours with crying baby's in clinics, waiting to see the Doctor.......knowing your child has an ear infection......then waiting once your child's name has been sit in the small room for another period of time, waiting to see the that, yes.....they can say, "your child has an ear infection." We barely had time to take a seat after checking in at each desk, for each test....before they called my name. Mister would find an article to read, just start it, and I would come out........test complete. It was so crazy organized, and efficient. We just continued on to each appointment, Mister never completed a magazine article or newspaper. The final appointment was to get another Holter Monitor for the weekend, and have it turned in on early Monday morning. As luck would have it.......or wouldn't.....however one determines that......when the woman was attaching the device, before she was totally finished, or machine on.......I started to get light headed, and nearly passed out. She told me she saw it coming by my face, and my eyes had dilated......she pressed some "instant read button" and got the tail end of it.

We left the Mayo, and heading back to Mister's parents house for the weekend, to return for further tests on Monday the 26th. Still not certain we would be having surgery on Tuesday the 27th or not. It was sure nice to be able to see my babies boys are known to be quite spirited, and lively. Interesting how when something like this is involved in your life, no matter how you mask it, it brings everyone to a slower, more relaxed state. My children were more subdued, mellow.......then I have ever seen them. Sass was trying to read books to Fash, both snuggled up in the same blanket. Nobody talked about the next week......not that it was being avoided in conversation.......just more that it wasn't necessary to discuss it, we had given the burden over, and we were just waiting for our next task.

We, Mister and I got up early again on Monday morning......and headed on over to Rochester. We turned in the monitor, I had not had another light-headedness, or passing out feeling since the monitor had been put on, through the whole weekend.

More shuffling from one location to the next, following our outline of appointments. The second to last appointment was with one of the cardiac surgeons at the Mayo. After meeting him, he said we would indeed be having the ablation performed the following morning. He told us it was fortunate the small amount of information caught at the very beginning of the Holter Monitor, because that showed the arrhythmia was still present, and that it was in combination with Atrial tachycardia, and Ventricular tachycardia. Which is sort of like the top portion of my heart wanted to be the boss of the whole heart beating thing.......and the bottom portion also wanted to be the boss......and they were competing, and well........turns out......neither of them are really supposed to be in charge.......(and here all this time, I thought I was boss). The SA node is in charge of the electrical signal.......and everything was that even a word, hmmmm....must be....spell check accepted it? Our final appointment for the day was our "consultant" the RN who would walk us through the procedure, and answer all our questions. She showed us the camera, and scoping tools, which would be used throughout the procedure. She also told us I could bring CD's and listen to music the whole time..........nice! We also would be having the lead cardiac surgeon at the Mayo, in charge of the surgery, with his "team." It is nice to have the smart people on your team, don't you think? Surgery was scheduled at St. Mary's Hospital, a couple of blocks from the Mayo, the next morning at 6:00 am.

Mister called his family, I called mine........then we checked into a hotel. We walked around town a little bit.....sort of dazed.....then decided we just needed to rest. The hotel we stayed in.....had been an apartment building converted to a hotel.....and it was old......and it was.....ack. We didn't care a lot though.......we were so exhausted, and knew we wouldn't be able to sleep anyhow.....Mister's brother, and sister-in-law called him, the ones who swooped to our children's rescue both previous surgery's, and told him they were at his parent's house, and would be in Rochester in the morning, so he wouldn't be alone during surgery. He didn't say it, but I know he was overwhelmed, and welcomed the idea he would not be by himself. We tried to sleep....of course, didn't. We stopped for an enormous cup of coffee for Mister......who had a long day ahead of him, and set off for the Hospital.

When we arrived, it was more of the same organized.....get it done facility......except it looked more like a hospital, than an art gallery, like the Mayo had. We were both arm banded, and brought up to our floor, by a guide sort of.....who brought a whole collection of patients......we weren't playing the patient worker game anymore......but if we would have been an easy game. We got checked into our room, and were told it would be the same room I would come back to for recovery, following surgery. Moomie and husband showed up shortly after we were checked in, and then off I went.........

I was first wheeled to a room, where there was my own little t.v. mounted above my head.......I could change the channel......but didn't, I did try some "I dream of Jeannie" head nods to do it. They didn't instead, I just stared at whatever was on....I don't remember. Each person who was going to be in the room during surgery, came over and introduced themselves.....I was a bit fuzzy from something they gave me, and wouldn't recognize them on the street......but I met a whole slew of people that morning.

I can't go into all the details.....and won't. However......the jest of what happened for the next 7 hours is this......they did not give me any pain killers, as it slowed my heart down, and prevented the arrhythmia's from happening.......If the arrhythmia's don't happen, they can't ablate (burn) them. I was awake the entire time, and heard all conversations that were not drowned out by some CD I listened to. They "pushed" through the wall between the upper two chambers of my heart to get to the arrhythmia's in the left atria. I prefer not to listen to the CD's I listened to during surgery. They were very happy with how the procedure went. They accomplished all they could, which was nearly everything......and isolated, they think the final arrhythmia, which was dangerously close to the SA node. There was not any damage done to the SA node, which meant no pace maker..........and......I was "all better."

They wheeled me back to my recovery room, where Mister, Moomie, and husband were.....and I was to lay perfectly flat again for 4 hours. Then I got some good ol' pain killers.....and I was out. They kept them coming for most of the night.....and my recollection of the rest of the evening was pretty vague. Moomie and husband went home. I didn't have any crackers and peanut butter......I don't think I ate at all.....I will have to check with Mister on that. They removed the "tool" they used for the surgery, some hours later......and I was on the road to recovery. I was checked out of the Hospital around 1:00 pm the following day. We got to see our babies that afternoon, and returned home to South Dakota on Thursday, the 29th.

I was taken off one medication the day I left the Mayo. I was taken off another medication in early May......I was off all medications by June! I had a June follow up appointment in Sioux Falls, Moomie came with me, and had an echo cardiogram done. They said I was "normal"! Finally someone thinks so!

I have had another Holter Monitor for 24 hours since then, which also came back with just an abnormal beat....which they expected......otherwise.......NORMAL!!

So now, One full year since it all began and there have been some serious changes. My hair has become so much skin is so much softer......the hair on my legs grows energy level has wouldn't believe it.......I have a tough time believing it.....and I am me.......

So......there you have it.............I am finally done with my story. Most of my story's aren't this long, I said have to hear the whole thing to believe it, or you just wouldn't believe it.

Thanks for sticking with me. I hope you have a great New Year! I know I am looking forward to it.