Friday, March 31, 2006


My very best friend Sandi Schneider called today with super good news.. she has a new job with the Association of Grantmakers in Baltimore. The office is in Westminster, MD where she and her husband Rick reside.


Today Wendell looks better and is feeling some better. His blood sugar is down for the moment at least. The visiting nurse was here and we decided his legs weren't as swollen as yesterday. His weight went down 4# too. He'd had a sudden gain of 4# yesterday. They have a monitor set up in the bedroom that goes off at 9am every morning. It checks his weight, blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen levels in his blood. He was a little low on the O2 at 89%, so I had him lay down a while and put his O2 back on at 2L. By the time the nurse came, he was reading 93% in room air.
The dietitian came today. I've learned that I actually have done a pretty good job of preparing "low everything" meals. She was really good and now I think we'll be okay with that.
When the dietitian left, we took a walk outside for about 8 minutes, and then Mandy gave Wendell an overdue haircut.
She's also making supper for us tonite. She was here with the dietitian and listened and we ALL asked our questions. Wendell's was "Where can we get Ranch dressing that is low sodium and less than 5Gm of carb per serving?".. good question.. it's his favorite. Walden Farms makes one that is suitable in the refrigerated salad section at Giant Eagle. We'll try it first outing any of us make to a grocery.
For tonite, the menu is lemon baked chicken..mmmmm
Yes, we are having a much better day today.


After waiting 5 hours for the last doctor to discharge Wendell, we finally were able to leave the hospital for home. It was too late to stop for his prescriptions for his new meds.
Arriving home was supposed to be relaxing and easy- but just the opposite occurred. It was a nightmare for me.. I think because I was feeling so responsible for everything, and I was already exhausted and hadn't eaten but a bowl of cereal and 3 strawberries that day. It was about 6pm.
Wendell still was feeling short of breath, we had NO oxygen other than the portable tank on wheels they'd given us at the hospital, and though Wendell had dinner at the hospital while we waited for the doctors to finish with him, I had not, and I felt so starved.
The answering machine had about 8 messages from the visiting nurses, the delivery driver with his oxygen, and then family too. Before I could call any of them back, the Visiting nurse called here and made arrangements for 8am Tuesday morning. The delivery driver wanted to deliver the oxygen within 20 minutes......but the most stressful thing was that his nurse called from the hospital and asked me to go back or send someone to pick up his script for the O2 that was arriving in about 20 minutes. I told her to fax it to Klingensmiths, but she said he HAD to have the script... so I arranged to meet her at the Penn Township Fire Hall..about 5 minutes away. As I got into the car, the delivery man arrived and I explained the situation to him. He said I didn't need the script- someone could get it later, but I'd already made the arrangements and didn't know how to get ahold of the nurse.
I was still about starved, feeling stressed to the limit, and wanted to cry. I arrived home about when the delivery man was ready to leave. Ok... so far, so good.
The next day, Wendell got his nebulizer for his breathing treatments which he does every 6 hours. The VNA nurse came and did her assessment and offered to do her paperwork in our living room while I ran to the Medicine Shoppe to get his meds that we couldn't get the night before.
Wendell and I decided even before he got discharged that we'd need some quiet time during the day. I'm still recuperating from a stroke last December and require more rest than ever. Wendell just gets breathless trying to talk to everyone he possibly can.. He loves the chats, but it does tire him out. So, everyone was "put on notice".. for the time being, 2pm to 4pm is rest time at our house.. no phone calls, and no visitors. We lay down and sleep for the 2 hour stretch. It's amazing what that little nap can do to make the day move a little better.
The next thing was the visit from the respiratory therapist.. Debbie. I know her well. She set up my CPAP. She brought the little portable O2 cannisters so Wendell can be up and walking.
And she brought more equipment so we can fill our cannisters here with the O2 concentrator.
Thursday I worked in the office for Dr Mitra. I got home at 2pm. Keith stayed with Wendell for that time that I was gone. What a gem. He's also volunteered for next Thursday.
Our children have been so supportive and helpful. I don't know what we would do without them all. Each one has a 'gift' they have offered to help out. And the grandchildren have been a real boost to his well being. Gaylie likes to talk on the phone and sings to him - every day since he was out of the SICU.
Thursday wasn't a good day for him.. more shortness of breath- not bad, but annoying. And his left leg was more swollen and the incisions looked angry. He just didn't feel good.
He became very short of breath with his first shower since arriving home.. so much that I gave him a bolus of oxygen at 5 L for 5 minutes till he felt more in control. He used the small tank the rest of the evening at 3 liters.. and then at bedtime too.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

MARILYN & WENDELL summer 2005

Here we are in August of 2005.. at the annual Imm family
reunion. It was a blistering hot day


Though Wendell had some nasty shortness of breath since last October, he finally saw his PCP and had some testing done. That was just in the past few weeks. He failed an 'ambulatory pulse ox, and his EKG showed some 'slowing' of one side of his heart. Dr Sargent ordered him more testing at that point.
He had a 2 night sleep study that showed he had SOSA- severe obstructive sleep apnea, and it's treated with a CPAP - continuous positive airway pressure.
He also did very poorly on his Cardiolite Stress Test. His pulmonary function tests were really inconclusive, and that left him with having a cardiac catheterization. That was exactly 2 weeks ago. The results were devastating to us at that moment. He had 4 major coronary arteries that were blocked- one 100%, one at 90% and 2 at 80%. The treatment was to be scheduled the following Monday with open heart surgery- and a quadruple bypass grafting.
March 20 came..and Mandy and I took him at 4:30am to the Butler Hospital for his surgery.
JJ and I had discussed an OR team we hand picked, and each was very happy and agreeable to do so. The surgeon, Dr ElKhatib, was one of the best.
JJ, Keith, Mandy, Paul and Rev Scavo and I waited in the small waiting area for about 5-6 hours till we finally got word that all was done and he was headed to the Surgical ICU to recover.
His first nurse was Kathy. What a wonderful nurse she was.
Wendell was on a ventilator for less than 8 hours. We had anticipated 24 hours. By that evening, he was awake, alert and talking. His vital signs were stable. He had tubes coming from every visable orifice. Tuesday , they had him out of bed and in a chair for meals.
He spent till Wednesday in the ICU and then was transferred out to the Main unit on telemetry.
Friends and family were continually upholding him (all of us) in prayer.
Wendell had a few rough days with shortness of breath. Not fun. They kept him on oxygen for a long while. Each day was a little bit better than the last.
The pulmonologist said his lungs were clear and that the surgery was what caused the shortness of breath. He'd be coming home on oxygen , however.. but just at night and when he was up walking.
His legs were swollen and he had 5 incisions on his legs. These remain swollen and sore looking. The drain holes tend to leak a bit, so the dressings on them remain.
He was discharged to home on March 27 to begin his recuperation.
I couldn't imagine all the teaching they do before he went home. We watched a video, and the nurses showed me how to care for his wounds. Diet is an important part of his recovery and maintenance.. 1800 cal ADA, low fat, low cholesterol, 2Gm sodium, Healthy Heart.
He'd be starting a walking program too.
I asked for VNA to come for visits, as I'm a Maternity nurse, not a cardiac nurse, and so much of this was new to me.


Well, what do you know? Here I am.. blogging. Amazing technology.