I’m sorry I have been lacking in the post department this week. I had all these grandiose plans of frequent, almost daily, fulfilling posts and then *poof*… I have no excuse. I only hope that Dwight was enough to satiate you.
There are big changes coming to this blog – I can tell you that. Part of the reason I have been distracted this week is the big changes. I’m not telling you more just in case I chicken out or something…but just to let you know – keep checking here for big changes.
So about last weekend…
I went up to Spokane with my mother-in-law for my one week post-op check up. My cardiologist was a bit concerned because I was in more pain on Wednesday than I had been the day after my surgery. He was worried there might be an infection. We didn’t pack our overnight things since we thought if there was an infection, I’d just get some anti-biotics prescribed to me and we’d drive on home.
Unfortunately, this is not what happened. After checking my pacemaker (working great!) they did some blood work and an echocardiogram. My blood work came back with some of my proteins high – indicating infection. My cardiologist was very very concerned. He decided to admit me to the hospital for further observation and possible intravenous antibiotics.
Here’s why he was so concerned. He’s a very careful guy, which I greatly appreciate about him. If there was an infection involved with my pacer site, they needed to find out where it was, how bad it was, and then decide what to do. If it was in the battery pocket, they would need to remove the battery surgically, then wait for the infection to clear up totally, and re-insert another battery pack. If the infection was in my heart, it would be much more serious. The battery pack and the leads would both need to be removed (a more involved procedure than putting them in), I would stay in the hospital on IV antibiotics until the infection was completely gone – and then get the entire pacemaker put back in. If the infection was anywhere else, they would re-evaluate and probably just keep me four or five days for IV etc and observation.
I was not a happy camper. My mother-in-law was not a happy camper. No one was a happy camper. At least until they gave me my first pain pill, then I was pretty happy. I was on the same floor, with many of the same nurses, most of whom remembered me from the week previous. My favorite nurse was also working – yay for Leon! Jason and his father came up that night, and he got to revisit his old friend, hospital cot – while his parents got a hotel room.
The director of the Infectious Diseases department came to examine me (pacemaker site infections are that rare!) and said he wasn’t sure I even had an infection, unless it was in my arm around a botched IV site from the previous week. He also brought up the idea of a blood clot. He decided not to start IV antibiotics, so that they could more clearly see an infection if it presented itself. And we were a bit mollified. We waited until 1 am for an ultrasound on my arm where…ta-da! I actually picked the blood clot out on the ultrasound screen, impressing the ultrasound tech – and shifting the chances of going home to highly possible.
The next morning, my cardiologist and the Infectious Diseases doctor were back, and they agreed to start me on Heparin – something that helps thin the blood – to try and get rid of my clot. My cardiologist said that I might be able to get out of the hospital by Monday. But as the day progressed, the every 8 hours blood tests continued, and the episodes of TLC/Food Network shows came and went, it became more obvious I had no infection at all, just a pesky blood clot.
After 24 hours on the Heparin, my levels were good enough to warrant me going home. So Saturday, we waited for my blood to thicken back up and then we were out and off!
I think that covers most of it. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me via comment, email, or face-to-face. The pain is mostly gone in my arm, only when I extend it fully does it hurt. I won’t be able to lift my left arm above my head for another four or so weeks, but other than that I am healing beautifully. The doctors even commented that my incision site was healing faster than anyone else’s they’d seen. Yep, that’s me. The incredible healing girl. Not like Claire Bennett, but I still got skills.