Superman is Home

HOME HOME HOME…is there any better word in the English language? Steve has been such a superstar with his rehab that he was discharged from the hospital a day or two earlier than usual. It is now Tuesday morning, just three and a half days after surgery, and he’s HOME.

This brings us to the end of our blogging adventures for now, kiddies. Thanks for reading along with us, and thanks to everyone who has helped out with this particular adventure – the aunts and uncles who took on three traumatized kids for a week, the neighbours who shoveled the driveway this morning (I am not even going to get started on the heavy snowstorm we are experiencing today), the friends who have brought food or restaurant gift cards or have agreed to give children rides, the family who helped out with so many things…thank you so much to all of you, we are deeply grateful.

And now if you will excuse me, I have to arrange a ticker-tape parade for my husband, Superman, to celebrate his triumphant return to family life. How convenient that the weather co-operated to turn the place into an ice castle, although it is definitely no Fortress of Solitude.

Day Two Post Surgery – Onward and Upward

Steve’s recovery is going well. When I first went to see him in the Intensive Care Unit immediately after surgery, he was more tube than man. I counted no fewer than 5 IV bags going into him, plus morphine and oxygen, and an assortment of tubes coming out. He had so many tubes at that time that there were special connectors hooking multiple tubes together to a single port of entry. I have a brother with a major heart-lung issue, so I’m no stranger to the hospitals and the tubes, but this was the first time I’d seen the nifty tube connector device. I was kind of sorry Steve wasn’t in a condition to fully appreciate the engineering that went into keeping him alive after someone had opened up his chest and manhandled his heart.

Yesterday, the first day post-surgery, some of the tubes came out, and the physiotherapist came along to shuffle-walk him 30 m across the ICU. Then he was moved out of ICU and into a semi-private room in the main part of the hospital. I spent most of the day with him yesterday, and I’m afraid I wasn’t very cheerful company. With the long-anticipated surgery over, I was free to focus on how very, very much I was missing my children. At one point I couldn’t even text the word “kids” without getting weepy. It didn’t help that Steve’s big accomplishment of the day – walking 30 m and transferring out of ICU – happened before noon, and the rest of the day was not much of anything.

Time slows to a reptilian crawl when you’re in the hospital for long periods of time, have you ever noticed? You sit, you make idle chitchat about the most trivial of topics, you flick through a magazine or play a game on your phone, the patient dozes…nothing much happens. Nothing changes. It’s big news if the patient burps or farts. Hours go by in this way, and you start to feel that until the end of time you’ll be sitting in this same little room with this same person doing the same things, and nothing will ever change. When you leave the hospital after spending the day there, you marvel at the feel of fresh air on your face. You’d forgotten what fresh air felt like. You’d forgotten fresh air even exists. You turn on the car stereo and you are amazed that there is news. Events in the outside world carried on as usual. Other people’s lives did not stop because your partner had heart surgery. People went to work and came home, they had dinner with their families and went to the movies, they signed treaties and contracts and read their children stories and walked their dogs, all while you were sitting in a little room doing nothing and nothing and nothing. It seems impossible and somehow magical.

Today has been a better day. When I went to the hospital this morning, Steve was sitting in a chair and eating solid food – both post-surgical firsts for him. He had had some tubes removed, and more came out this afternoon. He walked again, this time reaching 90 m, making him a superstar athlete on the cardiac-surgery ward. If you ever want to feel young and strong, no matter how out of shape you are, go to the cardiac-surgery ward, let me tell you. Steve is getting a swelled head from all the nurses’ comments. They are more used to hauling around diabetic, confused octogenarians than assisting 40-somethings who still have all their marbles and a little bit of muscle tone. The kids came home, Steve’s brother and sister-in-law went to visit him, and all is good in my world. Not perfect, not until Steve is home and recuperated enough to be an equal partner in parenting and driving again…but good. Better than it was. Hopefully the upward trend continues.

Done

Steve is out of surgery, it went well, and the doctor says he was in worse condition than they thought at first, so it’s good that we got it done without any further delays.
That is all.

Really for Real This Time

Steve and I have been waiting for the phone to ring all day. The phone did ring this morning, but it was just my darling youngest child, saying, “Listen to this!” I listened as hard as I could but all I heard was a vague popping noise. My guess was that he was wriggling a loose tooth for me over the phone, but no, he was calling to tell me he’d gotten the care package I’d sent, and he was phoning me to share the Pop Rocks love over the phone line. I get creeped out by the sound of Pop Rocks in real life (probably one of the reasons my children love those things so much) – but over the phone they just sound like static. So I got to be Mom of the Year for mailing my children candy, PLUS I didn’t have to deal with the unpleasant consequences of listening to the disgusting sounds my children make with said candy, nor did I have to deal with their behaviour after ingesting all that sugar and food colouring. Awesome.

As the day dragged on without a phone call to cancel, Steve and I started to get more and more keyed up. My concentration span dwindled to about the length of a Facebook game – one minute. I actually went on the treadmill in an attempt to kill time. That’s a sign of something seriously wrong in my world, people, when the treadmill starts to look like a viable way to spend some time.

Finally, at 3:30 pm, we got the call. Be at the hospital at 6 am tomorrow, scrubbed and ready to go. This time it’s really happening. No, for real. The doctor’s assistant told Steve “You won’t be cancelled this time for anything short of the building falling down.” So…finally we get to go ahead.

I will attempt to update this space tomorrow afternoon with the news. As always, updates depend on my energy level and internet availability, but I’ll do my best to get the news up here as quickly as I can.

I Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Hey, guess what would be sort of funny in that can’t-possibly-be-true kind of way? How about  if I posted that Steve’s surgery was going ahead tomorrow, after being cancelled last time, and then it was cancelled again.

Hey, guess what just happened? Yup, cancelled again.

New surgery day: Friday, March 15th. Be at the hospital at 6 am freshly scrubbed, mouth washed out for the past 24 hours, stomach empty. Sure. We’ll totally be there. <nods knowingly>

See you in a few days, everyone. Totes for realz this time.

Here We Go Again…

Well, it’s starting to feel uncomfortably familiar…arrangements have been made for the children, I have booked time off work, the freezer is stocked with quick meals and sugary snacks…tomorrow Steve goes in for surgery. This time we hope he actually has it.

Thank you to my sister and her family, and Steve’s brother and family, for stepping up to keep the kids for a few days each. This week is March Break in Ontario, which means no school, which means no free daycare between 9 am and 3 pm. Instead of hanging about the house here, getting underfoot and distracting me, the kids are having a fun vacation visiting their cousins in exotic Toronto. I know they’ll have fun, and I also know that my kids when stressed are not always fun to have around, so I am very grateful to my sister and sister-in-law for taking on the hard work of shepherding my children through some tough emotional waters. Having three extra kids in the house all the time is hard enough; harder still when they are stressed out of their minds because Daddy’s having heart surgery.

I’ll be posting here when I can. Steve is scheduled for early-morning surgery, so hopefully I’ll have news here by late afternoon. The main variables at this point are whether he gets postponed again for more urgent cases (not likely, we’ve been told, but still a slight possibility) – and internet access. The Heart Institute has frustratingly bad cellphone coverage, and it seems wrong to complain about it somehow. “Hey, can you people stop saving lives and get me more than half a bar, please?” Yeah, not cool.

So…see you on the other side, everyone. And this time we mean it. No, really.

Rescheduled

Surgery was cancelled for today, and rescheduled for March 12th. This is what happens when your doctor is chief of cardiac surgery; the doctor gets called upon to do emergency surgeries and that bumps their regular patients out of line.

Thanks for your support, everyone. Watch this space for further updates.