Friday, April 27, 2012

Dentist & Pre-Surgery Instructions

Chris had his teeth cleaned this morning.  They also did an X-ray, and found three small cavities.  This was shocking because Chris has only ever had one cavity before and he has been taking the best care of his teeth in his life this last 6 months.   He's guessing it's because he's eating a lot differently and consuming a lot less milk since the gastric bypass.

We had quite a few e-mails and phone calls with the heart surgeon's assistant today.   She had several responses to questions we were hoping to have answered before the surgery.   Here's what she said:
  • Check in at  “check in” desk in front lobby of hospital at 0830-PRE OP appt scheduled for 0900. (They will get Mr. Ross checked in and then send him to Pre-surgical admissions on the third floor.)
  • Meet with anesthesia, get consented for surgery on third floor-(they will have your packet of tests for you, and let you know what time to arrive Wednesday morning at this meeting)
  • Nothing to eat or drink after midnight Tuesday, May 1st.   (I hope she means May 8th -- a whole week without food might not be good!  Guess I have to call and double-check.)
  • Take medications as usual Tuesday, and continue peritoneal dialysis as usual Tuesday. (Dr. Gomez-Abraham will discuss with Nephrology re:placing access catheter and dialysis after surgery.)
Later, she asked about his teeth and I let her know that he had just had his teeth cleaned this morning.  He had been cleared by Dr. McRae back in November, I think it was, for the kidney surgery.  I gave her his number so she could check in with the dentist.

Tonight, Chris decided to go on an 11-hour cycle with the dialysis machine.   He's in there with both cats.   Here they are:

First, we have Dusty napping on the chair in the dialysis room.

And then there's Digit, Daddy's princess, under the covers(!) purring.  *sigh*  This used be my awesome blanket.  I've even ordered a new one, but it just wasn't the same so I sent it back.  She better keep her paws off my husband!

Right now, I hear "Are you warm and comfortable, Digit?   You look warm and comfortable."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

DaVita & The List

Thursday Chris had his monthly DaVita appointment.  There were lots of topics discussed, mostly surrounding his upcoming surgery.  He did get some EPO and the doctor and new PA (also named Chris) checked out his gouty foot.

Jennifer and the PA allayed some of our fears about the hemodialysis.  Chris has been very worried about having the access site in his neck.  However, they told us that it would be a central line in his chest.  This is awesome for a lot of reasons, one of which is that they can also use this access site to give him medications and test his blood.  Yeay for fewer needle-sticks!

During one of the discussions with DaVita staff, Chris got an unexpected call from Heidi, the transplant coordinator at U of Utah.  She had presented Chris to the committee and he has been approved for the transplant.   This means that he's officially on the transplant list, and starts accruing time starting April 26th.   *happy dance*   He won't actually be able to have the transplant until he's 6 months out from his heart surgery, but it's awesome that his clock has started.

Heidi said that Dr. Gomez-Abraham is going to want to see Chris back in SLC for follow-ups about a month or so after the surgery and then again at about six months after.  Heidi wants us to let her know when we schedule the 6-month trip so Chris can have some time to meet with her.

We mentioned that Chris was scheduled for a teeth cleaning tomorrow, and Jen was concerned about the antibiotic that the dentist prescribed.  We called her after stopping at Walgreen's to pick it up.   She told Chris to take 4 pills about an hour before his appointment tomorrow.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Plans & Protein

Yesterday we got the thumbs-up from the insurance folks for travel.  They booked a hotel for us.  It wasn't our usual place, but we checked it out online and it seems just fine.  There's a fridge & microwave in the room, which is something our last hotel didn't have.  Plus they have airport and hospital shuttles.  Necessary things like free Wi-Fi (for me) and coffee maker (for Mom-In-Law) are also included.

Although we're supposed to be getting Whole Foods and Chick-Fil-A in our area within the next 6 months, I'm still looking forward to having some of my favorites while in SLC.  Hey, I know this isn't a vacation but I'm trying to seek out some little positives.  Oh, and Chris' friend K. offered to show MIL and me a new mall and grab some sushi.  I really enjoyed meeting her during one of our previous trips.

Speaking of thumbs-up, we got some good news from the Heidi (the transplant coordinator).   She said that once she gets word that Chris' heart surgery was successful, she can present his case to the transplant committee at their meeting the very next day!   Since his heart was the last hurdle, she said he can get approved and start accruing time on the transplant list right away.  Awesomesauce!

Today we heard from Chris' nutritionist from DaVita.  We normally see her during our monthly appointments, but she's going to be out of the office then.   She said that everything looks good from his recent bloodwork, except that his protein is low.  Looks like I have to hide the Chef Boyardee and invest in lots of boneless skinless chicken breast while it's $1.99 a pound!

Next Week:  Chris has his monthly kidney appointment @ DaVita on Thursday and his teeth cleaning Friday.  Keeping his pearly whites very clean and, most importantly, germ-free, is key... especially since he might need to be on immunosuppressive drugs sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

We Have a Date

We spoke to Dr. G and we have a date for the surgery:  May 9th.   He has asked that we come to SLC on the 7th and have Chris available for testing on the 8th.

He also said that Chris' surgery will NOT include the aorta replacement.   The ascending aorta is not as dialated as he feared, so that procedure will not be necessary.   Once the valve is better, the ascending aorta will not continue to deteriorate.

Speaking of the valve, he is going to try to repair it with Chris' own tissue first.  If he doesn't have enough tissue to work with, or if the repair doesn't work as well as he would like, then he'll replace the valve with bovine tissue.

So two happy things:  a date to shoot for and a surgery with significantly reduced risk.   Yeay!

Lots more work to do before May for me... need to have the surgery and the travel pre-authorized for insurance purposes.   Already working with Dr. G's medical secretary for the information we need to file all that paperwork.

Also, nurse Jennifer called.   They want Chris to come in for an EPO shot on Wednesday afternoon, so we'll head to DaVita for that.