Monday, July 09, 2007
My Sister's Garden
Jan had been having some fainting spells and finally decided to go to emergency on Sunday evening. The doctors determined that she had a large number of blood clots in her lungs and one in her heart. At 4:00 A.M. Jan had emergency open-heart surgery to remove the clots from her lungs and heart. Turns out she had about a dozen in her heart. And one of them was about six inches long and as thick as my little finger. She came out of surgery doing as well as could be expected. They ventilated her and kept her asleep. Jim, Tim and I went home for some sleep ourselves. Anita stayed at the hospital.
About 3:00 I got a call from Anita saying that Jan’s blood pressure had dropped way down and they needed to do an emergency procedure, but couldn’t get a hold of Jim for consent, so they were asking her to give consent. Anita said that the doctor told her Jan could die without this procedure, but in her unstable condition, it was risky to move her to the angio room. I drove to Saline and woke Jim up (he had been awake the entire previous night) and took him to the hospital. On the way there, Anita kept calling from outside the hospital, asking when we were going to get there. At one point she called and said, “Julie, they said she is unresponsive!” and that really frightened me. A minute later she called back and said, “They didn’t say Mom was unresponsive, they were talking about me. The nurse said I wasn’t responding to my phone.” Whew!
We got to the hospital and the nurse explained that they needed to put a “green screen” in Jan’s vena cava, to artery going through the trunk of the body, leading from the legs to the heart and lungs. The screen would filter any large clots and keep them form reaching a place where they would do damage. They proceeded with the angio, in which they inserted a catheter in Jan’s leg artery and sent the screen to unfold in her artery.
Back n the hospital room, Jan was doing okay. They needed to keep her asleep, but the anesthetic was keeping her so asleep, her blood pressure would have been almost non-existent, so they also had to give her medicine to keep her pressure up. Now they are slowly backing off of the blood pressure medicine, and she is doing okay. So she is not “stable”, being dependant on the meds to stay alive, but going in the right direction.