Sharron "Walt" Smith

First post: May 2, 2017 Latest post: Oct 15, 2018
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

I kept avoiding starting a page thinking Walt would be back home any day and be able to tell his own story. Unfortunately, that has not happened and it has become exhausting to remember all the details and keep everyone updated. So here we are.

Walt was admitted with angina on April 18th and underwent heart catheterizations on the 19th and 20th.

His cardiologist was unable to place a stent due to the location of the blockage and was also able to observe the deterioration of the heart muscle itself. He also felt it may be difficult to find a surgeon willing to take on such a case.  The options were:

      DO NOTHING - he could/would have a massive coronary at any time

      HEART TRANSPLANT - not a viable option due to Walt's age, diabetes, cancer(s), and the fact he may not survive the procedure.

     MODIFY MEDICATION - would not be a significant enough treatment to deal with the deteriorated condition of the heart, and would not address the blockage.

     CABG SURGERY - two bypasses and repair of two leaky valves. 

     LVAD - If he was unable to come off the surgical heart/lung bypass he would be transferred to  UW Hospital for a permanent external heart/lung assist device.

Dr. Alfred Nicolosi  of St. Mary's Hospital agreed to perform the surgery on April 25th.

Walt's children from Georgia arrived on Friday April 21 for a bitter sweet visit and returned shortly before the surgery. Conversations were held, paperwork signed, and there was a steady stream of visitors and well wishers - which Walt thoroughly enjoyed. He did not look sick at all and got winded only on the trip to the restroom.

Walt was taken to the ICU after the 6-hour surgery successfully repair two leaky valves and created two bypass graphs.  Staff said he was making slow but steady progress and the decision was made to remove the ventilator he had since the surgery. He was then able to talk and have liquids. 

Saturday his breathing was assisted by a cpap machine that he could remove for very short periods of time. His breathing was labored and the amount of energy it took for him to breathe was taking a toll on his heart.

SUNDAY April 30, 2017

Walt's had a rough day today- the breathing continued to be difficult and a routine position change sent him into cardiac distress.

Jordan and I arrived to see  them place him in a medically induced coma and then put him back on a ventilator.  Now he is expending zero energy on breathing.

Further concerns involve the fact his kidneys are not putting out nearly what they should and they've begun kidney dialysis. 4 liters were removed over 3 hours, and they will repeat that procedure tomorrow. They estimate about 11 liters of extra fluid are contributing to the breathing difficulty.

He's also been throwing arterial fibrillations (which his pacemaker/defibrillator does not address). Multiple attempts to shock his heart back into a normal rhythm have so far been unsuccessful. He's being giving pain medication because they can only assume he's in pain. He seems to be resting.

I will try to keep you posted but may not have new info - or the energy to respond to anyone.

Jordan and I escaped to a movie for a few hours before heading home to a very confused dog.

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