tests today, and the details re: Friday

Stanley went to get his tests done this afternoon. He had an EKG and a chest x-ray, blood was taken, piss collected. Dr. Clive Robinson’s physician’s assistant, Bill, spoke with us, getting a case history and details and letting us know a bit of what to expect. Then, a nurse from anesthesiology took another history (same questions, different sequence, with dental history included). She filled us in on the sequence of events on Friday.

We’re supposed to get there at 6:30 am. That’s as in am in the morning, as in a time of day we rarely see unless we work an all-nighter, before the sun even rises. Which also means we probably won’t sleep much the night before. Stanley, especially, doesn’t sleep well if there is someplace he MUST be very early. Anyway, we’re supposed to report to the third floor where they’ll take him in and prep him for surgery, and I will get to be with him for most of this time (he gets a nice shave from his neck to his ankles—they shave the legs just in case they need to get one of his leg veins for the bypass).  His surgery is scheduled to begin at 7:30 am sharp, and will last from four to six hours. I get to wile away the hours in the third floor waiting room. The nurse said I could even leave and go home during surgery if I wanted to. As if! The farthest I will go is the coffee shop on the first floor. I wonder if I can get a coffee IV ...

The PA said his tissue valve will likely be a bovine or porcine valve, rather than a human valve. Stanley was kind of leaning toward a human valve, but those are only used in 82% of these procedures, PA Bill said. S decided it doesn’t matter—he trusts Dr. Robinson. As long as it’s not a mechanical valve.

After the valve job/bypass, the surgeon will come out and tell me that everything went perfectly. About an hour after that, I get to go see S for a little while in his cardiac intensive care room on the 7th Floor. He will have all kinds of tubes, particularly a breathing tube and a chest tube. He should be able to have the breathing tube removed with a few hours post surgery and the chest tube gets yanked the next day if all is well (which it will be). He’ll then get moved to a “regular” room on the 7th floor. A private room, which is nice.

The nurse said he’d be spending at least five days post-op in the hospital, maybe four days if he’s cartwheeling down the hall on Day Four. (Stanley said he wants to be going home in four days. That would be nice, but I want him to come home when he SHOULD be coming home).

Visiting hours, once he’s out of intensive care (by Saturday morning, when all goes well) are from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm. It’s pretty easy to get to Bridgeport Hospital as it’s right off I-95 (exit 29, the follow the big H signs to Grant Street). I know he will want visitors, and I know he won’t have any trouble asking visitors to leave if he gets too tired (or I will!) The hospital also delivers CheerGrams that can be sent via the website (his full name is Stanley Thompson).

The cat and the dog will miss him, I already know, because they both moped last year when he was gone for a week rescuing a friend’s dogs trapped in Bumblefart, Kansas. Ginger will be berserk spending so many hours without either one of us—maybe I can pretend she’s one of those care dogs that make trips to the hospital—she is a Golden, after all. Only she’s so terrified of elevators she would make the lie pretty damned obvious real fast. S won’t be able to pick up Twitch for a month, which will be hard not to do since the cat is very insistent when he wants to get picked up. Stanley is also bummed out that he won’t be able to drive until mid-March—he has to be very careful not to re-fracture his chest and it will take about a month to heal enough so it won’t be so much of a worry.

Stanley and his buddy Twitch upsetting Ginger by sitting in HER seat:
Stanley and Twitch share the couch

S said, “Hey, I won’t be able to check my email for a while. I don’t know if I can handle the withdrawal.” I told him I would check it for him if he really cares that much.

We saw the bill from Norwalk Hospital for his MRA (MRI heart scan): $2047. Don’t know yet if we have to pay for this as part of our hospital deductible or if it’s outpatient and part of lab testing or if it wasn’t approved so we’re stuck paying for it. I’m not gonna worry about it yet. So far, not counting the consultation with Dr. Robinson or today’s pre-op testing and consultations (which we haven’t yet seen the bills for), this journey has cost $9,950. That’s for two consultations, two tests, and one cardiac catheterization. Which reinforces my determination to lose weight and stay healthy.

Stanley’s heart stuff is purely genetics—a congenital heart valve problem, an inherited tendency toward a blockage as his father had to have a bypass when he was about Stanley’s age. Otherwise, he’s ridiculously healthy. ‘Tain’t hardly fair ... live right, eat right, don’t smoke, don’t drink and whammo, aortic valve stenosis and a blocked coronary artery. PA Bill said that it’s 90% probable that Stanley’s older brother, Scott, also has cardio problems; less so his younger sister Holly because she’s protected by estrogen.

So I guess the lesson is live right, eat right, don’t smoke, don’t drink, and get those damned physicals every year or two. ‘Cause you never know.

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