Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Surgery - I like a good blunt surgeon.

I thought I would post the rather graphic description that the surgeon gave us this morning. I understand that they have to prepare us for the worst, and I am truly grateful for that. But I wonder if my husband ever gave thought to any of this 30 years ago when he first got diabetes. Ok, I know he didn't, nor has he given thought to it at all in the last 30 years.

Uncontrolled sugar is what got him here. Remember, this is a guy who last renewed his test strip Rx in 2001. He has not tested since I met him in 1998. He takes all the meds they give him. He eats anything he wants. Whenever he wants. Until a month ago.

So, first, we saw photos from the angiogram and echocardiogram. The surgeon says, "there just are not many spots that are healthy enough for us to go in and graft a good vein to."

Whoa! Hold the fort! I was thinking "multiple blockage in each artery". I was not thinking "we can't find a spot to do a graft - it's that bad in there!!!" I think my own heart missed a beat right there. But as we looked at the photos of where the dye had gone in, you could clearly see blockage.....everywhere. Some more than other places. But a good healty vein? A good solid opening? I saw one spot! The doctor had circled 5 possiblities and said that he honestly couldn't say for sure until he gets inside.

This did NOT happen overnight! This did not happen in the last year. This has been happening over the last several years. And my husband just helped it along. All from high sugar? The surgeon thinks so.

Once we looked at all the photos, he started to explain the process. They will prep him for surgery. Once in the OR, they will of course, put him to sleep. They will cut through his chest bone. I'm thinking power saw? skillsaw? dremel tool? He didn't say and I didn't want to ask. The body gets hooked up to a heart machine during the surgery. The blood will pool in the sac under the heart, get syphoned into another machine, washed, then put back into his body via and IV. When the bypasses are all done, they will shock the heart to restart it. He has a DNR in place, but he has to revoke it or they can't do the surgery. Makes sense. So they then explained the process of what happens if something goes wrong.

Basically, they will keep him alive on life support, make a decision to invoke my medical power of attorney, and I have to reinstate the DNR.

Did I ever think this would be my "job" when I married him? Of course not! Do I want this "job"? I do know what his wishes are, but I wonder if I got to that point, would I be able to do it? I just don't know.

The veins will be taken out of his left leg. I worry that this might have a future impact on his legs? Always a concern for a diabetic, but I guess when you weigh the pros and cons, it'sa risk he has to take.

And then the seemingly endless list of what can go wrong. Stroke. Heart attack. arrythmia. Infection. Problems with blood transfusions. Pneumonia. Fluid in the lungs. Each with an increased risk.

All that was standard. Then the surgeon started looking at the endless list of medications that hubby is on and that brought on a brand new list of risks. And more labs and tests that have to be done before surgery.

And then he brought in the additional problem of his stenosis of the spinal column, inability to participate in cardio physical therapy after surgery and what that might lead to. None of it good. I know by then I was blocking things out - I just didn't want to hear any more. We had been in his office nearly 2 hours at this point. Hubby was blocking it out long before I was.

I think by then my head was throbbing. I wonder if the benefits outweigh the risks. But I just don't think there are any options and the surgeon didn't offer any either.

We are both happy that we felt comfortable with the surgeon and his team. We are grateful that a date has been set and we won't have to wait long. Hubby is making plans for coverage at work. Between labs, tests, and getting ready, we will both keep busy.

Isn't it sad that we had to get to this point before hubby let me participate in his medical program? But I don't think he has an option either. He's not supposed to drive until after the surgery. He's not supposed to lift anything over 5 pounds between now and 3 months after surgery. He's not supposed to do stairs more than once a day until after surgery.

I have my moments when I really want to look at him at tell him what an idiot he has been for the last 30 years. But I won't. I'll just say it here. It wouldn't do a bit of good to say it to him now.

I am pretty grateful that I don't have to get up and go to a job every day. I don't know how I could do anything other than this right now. We have an excellent support network of family and friends here and I am doing plenty to take care of myself - so I can take care of him. For fun, we're going to get mani/pedis tomorrow. He simply can't go to surgery with his feet the way they are. LOL!

Keeping his spirits up will be my full time job the next few day. Keeping him from getting depressed. Cooking healthy meals for him. Yep - a full time job. So, to the diabetics who read my blog - test, test, test. Don't trust a good A1c. Remember - his has always been good until last December.

And if you are married to someone who doesn't test, print out my entire blog and make them read it! This is simply not a journey I would wish on anyone. But we are here and we will journey forward one way or another.


1 comment:

Samantha said...

Hi, I've been reading your blog for a while now and I have to say, you are such a brave woman. I really feel for you. I am a type 1 diabetic, and I went through a stage of not testing my sugars and eating whatever I wanted. My A1C was through the roof. I've sorted myself out now, my A1C has dropped but I have come out of it with issues - I have nueropathy but because of my hard work sorting myself out, it is getting better. I am carb counting and doing the things I should be. It's wierd, I am only 21 yet I have these complications. It's not very nice but at least I have come through it and am sorting myself out.

I just wanted to tell you that I think you are a very brave lady, and that your husband is lucky to have someone like you in his life. Keep up the good work chick, and more importantly keep your chin up

Samantha (TalkingBloodGlucose)xxx