Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tick... Tick... Tick...

Most everybody knows I had open heart surgery at age 39 (5 years ago) to replace my mitral valve with a mechanical one. The official diagnosis was "mitral valve stenosis" and "mitral valve regurgitation".

The short and sweet explanation of that is this:
Mitral Valve Stenosis - arthritic and deformed valve.
Mitral Valve Regurgitation - leaky valve.

Living with a mechanical valve can be, err.. interesting. I tick. I tick loudly. I tick so loudly, that if it is quiet people can hear it. Which really is hilarious when you see people checking their watches because they think they are hearing that, when it is really me. I just sit there all innocent like, and smile.

Sometimes the ticking can be so loud inside my own head that I can't sleep. When you lay down and curl up on your side, with your ear pressed into the pillow... tick... tick... tick... After 5 years I should be used to it. It should, and most of the time does, comfort me. As long as I am ticking, I am still alive. But, some nights it actually keeps me awake. If I have a headache, the pounding in my head is made worse because of the ticking. There is not much you can do about it, but get up for awhile until you are tired enough you can sleep through the ticking.

Scott actually has been kept awake by the ticking. We now have a fan, that we keep on just for some background noise, to drown out the ticking. He is comforted by the ticking, as well. As long as I am ticking, he knows I am breathing! He no longer has to put his hand on my chest to check for a pulse!

We laugh hysterically when if I get excited over something, the ticking speeds up, just like a regular heart would. If I get scared, same thing... ticktickticktick...

So the next time you hear a ticking clock, imagine that in your chest. Imagine that ticking is your heartbeat. That is what it is like with a mechanical valve.

There are times we wish we would have gone with a pig valve. It would be quiet and I wouldn't have to take the Coumadin, so I could eat and drink what I want with no concern for "the levels". But, we went with the mechanical option so I hopefully won't have to have another replacement until I am much older, or this one fails. Pig valves only last about 10-15 years. Mechanical valves are supposed to last up to 25 years. We chose the best option, even if I do get on my own nerves sometimes.

All I can do is keep on ticking! Tick... tick... tick...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ahhhh... Memories!

The end of this month is my son's 16th birthday. GAH!! His SIXTEENTH birthday! We have been doing a lot of remembering of various things since he has been home recovering from his surgery. Yesterday, he wanted to know about when he was born. As I retold the story, I thought to myself, this really should be shared. It is a pretty good story, so here goes!

Anybody who knows me, knows I never do anything halfway. Ever. It was no different being pregnant. I had morning sickness for 6 months, a kidney stone, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and went into labor at 30 weeks. Ahhhh.. so much fun! Now, onto the labor and delivery story.

To preface this story, anybody who knows my husband, knows it takes an act of God, to wake that man up. I am seriously not kidding. On May 23rd at about 1am, I woke up and realized my water had broke. I tried to wake up Scott (knowing this would take awhile) and get the phone calls to the parents made to tell them to get to the hospital in a couple of hours. I made him the strongest cup of coffee I could possibly make, and low and behold, he got up! I still think either his Momma or my Momma threatened him with some sort of bodily harm... Anyway, he shook the cobwebs out, and after about an hour or so we were on the way to the hospital which is about an hour away.

Everybody had told us that the first baby you have takes forever to get here. Ummm.. have you met me yet? My contractions were immediate after my water broke, and getting faster and faster on the drive down to the hospital. Scott drives for UPS for a living. That means he really can't get a ticket... so that meant he went 55 the whole damn way to the hospital. OMG... that was the longest ride ever. I kept saying "Go faster!!" he kept saying "I can't." I swear there were finger marks in the dashboard of my SUV after that night. We finally get to the hospital and since Scott was unfamiliar with the area turned down the wrong street. I was totally hollering at the man by this time, and so he decided to quick do a U-turn over a median... I thought I was going to drop that baby right then and there, but we ended up making it to the hospital in time.

We walk in the door, and they want to bring me a wheelchair. I was in such a hurry, I was like forget the damn chair people, get me to the delivery room!! They insisted and when we got to the L & D floor the nurse (who was very lucky to survive that night) asks me if I am sure my water broke or did I pee myself. Ummm.. WHAT??? Yes, I am sure my damn water broke! She checks and say's "Oh my, let's get you into a room right now". Duh...

As they were getting things ready in the room, my Mother in Law walks down the hall. They had been sitting in the waiting room! They made it to the hospital before we did! I loved that!! They get me into a room, and I am starting to pant, and think maybe having a baby wasn't such a smart idea, when they come in with The Magic Drugs! I am not one to turn down drugs at all, so they hook me up to the spinal. I waited and waited, while everybody is rushing around because I am starting to push... no magic drugs start working. I am completely sidetracked and just keep wanting to push!

Poor Scott is standing at the bottom of the bed, with he most beautiful look of horror on his face as I am pushing with everything I have in me. Then he turns the most glorious shade of green and has to leave the room for awhile. He is also lucky he lived to see another day, but that is another story for another day.
I keep pushing, and all of a sudden everybody is like get the doc. I started to worry at that point because everything had been going along so smoothly - except for the magic drugs didn't work. In comes the doc and he say's the baby is stuck, he won't fit through

and he is in distress, so we need to do an emergency C-section. Boo Yah!! Get this over with already!!!

They get me into the OR like almost instantly, only to have the anesthesiologist say, that the spinal is in the wrong place, and they can't move it until the baby is out. WHAT? No, wait... WHAT?? Ok, let's just get this over with, I need my baby out and healthy. So, they start cutting... I start screaming... I felt every second of that C-section. It was the most horrible experience of my entire life. They are moving my organs around and getting the baby out, and I am feeling every single thing. Scott is freaking out at everybody, wanting me to stop screaming.. they say we have to get the baby out, then we can sedate her.

Finally, they got the baby out, and the most spectacular drug induced haze came upon me! I will never forget that. They gave the baby to Scott, who said he was all in one piece, ten fingers and toes, although he had a droppy lip from the forceps, he was a perfectly healthy baby boy.

Two days after that, we brought home the most perfect baby boy. Brandon Leland Boland, 6lbs, 15oz. of perfection.

I would never trade that experience for anything. Ever. I love that kid with every fiber of my being and more.

5 months pregnant!!