Joseph Piscopo | CaringBridge

Joseph Piscopo

First post: 8/26/2016 Latest post: 8/29/2016
Joe had open heart surgery today.  His aortic valve needed to be replaced. Joe has been having problems with this for about the last 2 years. It has recently in the last year gotten bad & within the last few months even worse. 


He was experiencing chest pain with even the slightest exertion. At times I thought I would be taking him to ER with a heart attack. The first to primary care physician' s brushed these symptoms off as heartburn. Even with all these symptoms including shortness of breath. It was about 4 weeks ago after a visit with a new doctor that she told him his heart murmur that he's had since birth didn't sound right.


After he was sent for an electrocardiogram & a visit with a cardiologist we were told that he would need surgery.  At that moment we were immediately frightened of what would happen. But yet we we thankful that they caught it in time before anything major happened. 


We were then sent to see Dr Pruitt who is the most awesome cardiovascular surgeon. He took the time with us at the consult & explained all of our options, risks & projected outcome. Yet I was scared for what lies ahead for the man that I love more than anything. After the consult, it answered a lot of our questions as to why did Joe feel the way he was & we now knew the reason.  Joe was more than ready to schedule the surgery. Surgery was scheduled within 7 days.


I have seen the man that I love suffer with more pain prior to this surgery than he probably told me..so I wouldn't worry. My once active husband basically put his life on hold dealing with this pain that was misdiagnosed by 2 doctors as heartburn. Please..I tell you if you experience these symptoms..go have it checked. 


Today was surgery...scheduled for 7 am. We arrive at the hospital at 6 am. The drive from our house in Howell to Ann Arbor seemed like forever.  And I felt bad because I knew the extent of the 7 hour surgery that lies ahead for the man that I love.  You see, they would need to section his sternum to reach that aortic valve. This part of the surgery scared me to no end so I can only imagine how Joe must have been feeling this morning on our drive.  The surgeon was very optimistic the surgery would be a success as Joe had no blockages to worry about, but the surgery still long & intense.


They took Joe immediately back to prep for surgery. I was then taken back where I was able to see him for about 10 minutes then told I could wait in waiting room. The anesthesiologist explained the sedation part to both Joe & I and assured us everything woul be ok..that he would be completely under.


I remember walking out of the pre op area & instantly tears came to my eyes. I was scared  for Joe, yet I knew this would help make him feel better in the long run. As I approached the surgical waiting room, Joe's longtime friend since 5th grade ..Glenn Gatt texted me to say he was there.  When I saw Glenn I immediately cried because I was scared. Glenn stayed for most of the morning as did  Joe's daughter Claire. Aunt Rita sat with me all day. I really want to thank her, Claire & Glenn for making sure I didn't go this alone.


Seven hours later, Dr Pruitt was done with surgery & telling Aunt Rita & I that surgery was a success & Joe did an excellent job. Aunt Rita & I both hugged each other & cried. It had been a long 7 hours. He said everything went as planned with the Ross Procedure.  


Joe would be in surgical ICU for tonight & if everything was good through the night will be moved to his own room Friday. The removed his breathing tube at 9pm & Joe was awake & responding to us talking to him. This is a great sign considering the major surgery he had just endured. He is breathing on his own but the pain in his chest is pretty intense.  Leigh & Miles had the honor of watching them remove his tube..lol. He is still my hero & my trooper. I am so proud of him & I know he will begin to feel better soon. He will have a rough couple of months but should feel better soon. His breathing will improve almost immediately & he will be able to get back an active life that he lost.


Sorry this is long, but it has been an emotional day. I will keep everyone posted on his recovery. Thank you for reading.

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