Feb 25, 2018 Latest post:
Apr 25, 2018
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We all know that dad has the Angell heart, which is one of the most giving and loving around but has a tendency to cause us problems. He has had his share of issues that he has battled back from over the past 40 or more years. The last one is proving to be much more challenging. Dad has decided the warranty on the quadruple bypass (from over 20 years ago) has run out. He likes to tell that to all the nurses and doctors at the VA. With that silly grin of his on his face they all laugh. Dad has been living with me since shortly after Mary passed. He was starting to have a few issues and we made several trips to the VA during which a pacemaker was mentioned but it took multiple incidents and close to three months before they did the procedure. It has been a roller coaster ride since then. Here is the timeline of events;
Thursday Jan 18th - The pacemaker was put in they kept him overnight for observation. Friday Jan 19th - He came home as was feeling pretty good Thursday Jan 25th - We went in for the follow up appt. They turned his pacemaker up based on the data they had received wirelessly over the week and dads comments that he thought he would have a little more energy. I feel I should note that there was a sales rep from Medtronics at the follow up who was training the nurse how to interpret and change the setting on the pacemaker. They informed us that she was also in his surgery the week before. This is obviously a new model. We went home and dad was feeling pretty good. Friday Jan 26th - He felt really good when he got up and had decided maybe this pacemaker was a good decision. By late afternoon he was getting some pressure and pain in his chest. He took a nitro and it resolved it for awhile.... Saturday Jan 27th - He kept getting the pressure and dull ache in his chest, he was winded when he walked. By night the pain was stronger so off to the VA we went. The pain was getting worse as we drove there and in the ER. They determined his pacemaker was malfunctioning. He had a period of Afib which is a longer than normal pause between beats and then a quick double tap. Well the pacemaker was keeping his heart beating at the rate of the double tap which was pacing over 120 beats per minute it should be about 70. This resulted in an extended heart attack that did a lot of damage to his already damaged heart. Found some fluid around the heart and lungs Sunday Jan 28th through Monday Jan 29th - In the hospital monitoring everything. Lots of lassik to help get the fluid out from around the heart and lungs. Tuesday Jan 30th - They decided to do an angiogram / angioplasty. Angiogram showed that one of the replaced arteries was totally blocked and not in good enough shape to try to unblock. They also found 2 arteries below the heart that had severe blockages but they can not get to them to do anything about it. Wednesday Jan 31st - In the hospital resting and doing some rehab. Saturday Feb 3rd - Back to the ER Dad was having very high anxiety and has been unable to get much sleep. They did a chest xray and found there was some fluid build up around the heart. They admitted him to get the fluid out from around his heart and get him some good sleep. The doctor in the ER who was also a cardiologist was the first to actually say he was in end stage heart failure. Monday Feb 5th - Home again about 4pm. He didn't get very good sleep in the hospital the last couple of days. Feb 6th thru 22nd - Struggling with next to no sleep. We tried everything we could think of even as far as reprogramming my CPAP machine; for Dad (thank you Heidi). Things would work willy nilly mostly not. He was becoming more and more agitated and anxious about not sleeping. We had a couple of follow up appts with the heart failure clinic and his reg doctor who referred us to a sleep specialist. Saw him on the 22nd. his suggestion was to do the "only sleep in your bed, no TV, etc. If you lay down and can't go to sleep, get up and do something boring for 10 or 15 minutes then go back to bed and try again". Tried this the night of the 22 with absolutely no luck going to sleep. Feb 23rd - Dad didn't get any sleep over night so we were up and making coffee at 6am. He was in an awful state, needing nothing but sleep and upset that he wasn't in better shape when Bill got here. Bill's flight was due in at 11:20 coming into town to spend time with dad. We no more than got in the door from the airport and dad said we needed to go to the VA. He was having pain in his chest, he had taken 1 nitro, I had him take 2 more nitro about 15 minutes apart. Pain was subsiding a little bit but not enough, so off to the ER we went. They took a chest xray and found fluid around one of the lung . It does not appear that he had another heart attack. Because his respiration drops so much when he actually relaxes and dozes off. They don't want to give him any kind of sleep aid.