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Connie has known since as long as she can remember that she has had Mitral Valve Prolapse. Mitral Valve Prolapse is a condition in the valve flaps of the Mitral Valve do not close smoothly or evenly. For the most part it has not impacted anything she has chosen to do in life and she has lived life to the fullest. However in 2016 during a regular visit with her cardiologist it was noticed that this valve had begun to leak. As I have learned over this journey all heart valves leak a little bit but in this case hers was leaking a little more and needed to be watched more closely.
In the Spring and into the early Summer of 2017 several tests were run and her cardiologist thought that she needed to start considering having it repaired in the next 12 to 18 months. He also recommended that if at all possible she should go to the Cleveland Clinic to have it repaired. We traveled to Cleveland in August for them to run their tests and get their opinion. It was pretty much the same. "Come back in 9 to 12 months and we will see how you are doing then." In our exiting conversation with the cardiologist we were told one of the things to watch for would be Atrial Fibrillation (AFIB). We left feeling pretty good. No surgery on the near horizon! Woohoo! (Insert foreshadowing here.)
October rolls around and what did it bring with it? You guessed it two episodes of AFIB. The first one we really didn't know what it was and in retrospect she should have gone to the ER just because. The second one, less than 10 days later, brought her a visit from EMS and a ride in an ambulance to the ER. By the end of October we had a surgery date at the Cleveland Clinic for January 9th.
We arrive in Cleveland on the January 3rd. The 4th and 5th were filled with pre-surgical conversations, lots of tests, lab work, echos, etc etc. Saturday was a easy day just relaxing and hanging out. By the end of the day Connie saying how great she felt and asked "why are we having the surgery when I feel so good?". (Insert more foreshadowing here.) Sunday was just as easy going as Saturday. As were getting ready for bed Connie didn't feel well. Long story short we spent the night in the ER as she had another AFIB attack. She was admitted to the hospital early Monday morning for observation.
The surgery went well on the 9th. She spent 5 days in the ICU and 6 days in the Cardiac Step Down Unit. In the ICU she had an excellent staff of ICU doctors and nurses caring for her 24/7. While in the Step Down she continued to receive excellent care from the nursing staff. A couple of the doctors from the ICU came over several times during her stay in the step down unit to check on her status and to just talk about stuff. I also would like to thank the 2 Nurse Practitioners that cared for her while in the step down as they were awesome in their knowledge, understanding and compassion.
We arrived home from Cleveland on the 22nd of January. Over the 3 weeks that followed Connie was making wonderful progress. She saw her primary care physician and her cardiologist like she were supposed to. In the week to 10 days prior to her Cardiac Episode she was walking for 15 minutes downstairs in the house 4 to 5 times per day. On the 15th it was 70 degrees outside when I got home from work so we walked a mile thru the neighborhood just to get out of the house. We didn't set any land speed records but all was good. It was now 5 weeks post surgery.