einstein’s dollies & an update

On June 5, Dad sent Einstein’s 11½-month-old photo. I meant to get this up on Tuesday. This one is titled “Einstein loves her doll collection.” Maybe she knows how prettily her gray coat contrasts with the white brides’ dresses. I wonder what she’s inspecting the carpet for? Click the photo to see a bigger version.

Einstein at 11.5 months old

Well, Stanley’s big day this week was Wednesday. He saw Dr. Paul Gagne, the vascular surgeon, in the morning. Dr. Gagne said he might have to go in and actually do the roto-rootering or a bypass, or he might be able to open up the blocked artery with a balloon and use a stent to keep it open. If the latter, it’s maybe a day in the hospital and then home, or maybe a day and overnight and then home. Stanley says his heel is still numb and his leg starts hurting if he walks more than about a half a block. It’s really bugging him that he can’t walk much and he’s worried that it might affect his work if it’s not cleared up.

At any rate, Dr. Gagne wants an MRI done so he knows exactly what’s going on—if Stanley can get one, which we needed to check with Dr. Robinson on Wednesday afternoon. Maybe three weeks until the legwork gets done.

We headed to Dr. Robinson’s office in the afternoon. Dr. Robinson removed the 50 staples, I mean 49 staples (Slink pulled one out—got his nail caught in it I guess. So I clipped the kitties’ claws. Fat lot of good that did—they just spent the past few days sharpening them again—the dresser in the bedroom didn’t start out distressed ... ) Said everything is looking good (it really is this time).

We asked about whether or not Stanley should be on iron supplements because he’s a little pale. So Dr. R sent him downstairs for a blood test. Hemoglobin is a little on the low side, but Dr. R says eat red meat and beans rather than take supplements (Stanley can’t have spinach because of the coumadin.)

Speaking of coumadin, his level on Thursday was 2.2—a good level for Stanley. He gets it checked again on Tuesday afternoon.

Nurses came and went. Everything is going okay. Stanley still hurts a lot from the surgery and gets tired easily—we were going to go to a farewell gig for a colleague at Compo Beach on Friday evening but Stanley had run out of steam by then and just couldn’t get it together to go.

And me? I’m still pretty tired. I haven’t been pushing things too much, but there’s been a lot to do as far as getting Stanley where he needs to go and all the work I should’ve had done by now. And the billing. I’m still worried about Stanley and won’t feel better about him until Dr. R pronounces everything to be good and his calf clot is fixed. We see Dr. R again on the 27th. (I hope—if we see him sooner, it means things are going wrong again.) I plan to sleep as long as I can stand it tomorrow—after which I know I’ll feel much better. I haven’t been able to sleep in since May 20—if I don’t get a weekly catch-up sleep or two, I feel drained.

I’m pretty sleepy right now—it’s very foggy out and the air smells like the Sound at low tide—it’s very strong. There might be thunder showers tonight, but not much else.

I’ve pinpointed why I’m so very angry this time. I was thinking that my anger is irrational—just the shock and turmoil stirring things up. But the more I learned about things, the more I realized that Stanley’s acute phase of endocarditis started in early April when he got the first clot in his calf, which he thought was a bad sprain (he described it as a charley horse that would not go away, though eventually the pain subsided). He went to see his cardiologist around April 27 for a checkup of the valve and the bypass.

Cardiologist David Lomnitz said he was doing great, no problems. Yet Stanley had been exhibiting classic signs of endocarditis for more than a month: persistent cough, fatigue, aching muscles, pallor, petechiae under his nails and in the whites of his eyes—and the continued pain from that “bad sprain.” WE didn’t know these were symptoms of a problem—we were never told to look for stuff like this—but the cardiologist sure should have spotted full-blown endocarditis when he was supposed to be checking Stanley’s heart over. All Lomnitz did was do an EKG and ask a couple of questions, order a cholesterol test and prescribe Lipitor to get Stanley’s bad cholesterol down from 109 to less than 100. No full-panel blood test, which would’ve shown a problem. No standard set of questions that I would think should be protocol for someone with a prosthetic heart valve. No physical exam to look for what was going on or to check the pulse in Stanley’s feet. No echo, which would’ve shown something was not right.

And what’s making it even more piss-worthy is that Lomnitz did not see Stanley while Stanley was in Norwalk Hospital, he has not called to see how Stanley is doing, has not asked him to come in so he could check him over—nothing. So Stanley ends up with a damaged kidney, months of pain he shouldn’t have had to endure, and loss of thousands of dollars due to missed work (his and mine) and deductibles, which we will have to pay twice since our medical “fiscal year” kicks in on July 1 and stuff won’t be finished by then.

Maybe Stanley would’ve still had to have the valve replaced if it was discovered in late April, or maybe they could’ve treated it with antibiotics—but at least Stanley wouldn’t have had to endure the agony of the renal infarction. And it would’ve been done without cutting into a new medical year. So, once things are under control, we will probably look for a different cardiologist not in the Cardiology Associates of Fairfield group. I certainly no longer have confidence in Dr. Lomnitz.

And I’m also not too crazy about most of the docs we encountered at Norwalk Hospital, with the exception of Dr. Gagne (so far) and the internist from Internal Medicine who was filling in for Stanley’s internist Jay Horn. The ER doctor tried to send Stanley home without a diagnosis; the other doctors who told me the cough was not related to anything (it miraculously went away when they started treating the infection) or those who kept ignoring me when I told them about the problem with the calf and numbness in the feet ... leads me to think maybe is wasn’t politics that led to them not getting certified as a cardio center ...

Oh, and about the MRI—Dr. R said “no” to it for at least six months. So Dr. Gagne will order a CAT scan, probably one of those contrast ones, so he can see what’s going on in the calf artery.

Now I’m going to go to bed and sleep for 12 hours if I want to. (I probably won’t—at about 8.5-9 hours, my back starts to bother me and makes sleeping longer counterproductive. Unless I’m really tired, that is, in which case I don’t awaken long enough to notice that my back is hurting!)

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