Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Hi everyone:

Well, they just took Patty away, and I have to admit that, in spite of all assurances from doctors, nurses and Patty herself, I'm terrified. I couldn't admit this to Patty in words, but my expression betrayed me, and I feel a little ashamed that I can't always succeed in being my wife's "rock". If there's one thing we've learned along the way (and I think we can in fairness say we've learned more than we had ever hoped), it's that Patty is anything but a "typical" patient. The whole medical crew has been very good this morning about making sure we have a clear picture of what to expect. As much as knowledge is always valued, each new piece of information forces speculation about any little thing that could go wrong.

Kathleen and Kelly are with me. We have been given a pager, through which we will receive updates about Patty's condition. I asked the surgeon if I'd receive any updates if complications arose (because if the sky isn't falling I have to pull it down upon myself), and he said, "Well, I'll tell you this. If you receive a message that says, 'It's over,' you can presume the surgery is finished, and not your wife." Nothing breaks the tension better than a little macabre humor, especially from the guy who's punching a hole in your wife's torso. Were that not enough, Patty's wristband has the letters "RIP" on it, which also gave us a second of pause.

Patty is in good spirits and looks pretty even without a speck of makeup. Last night, she was feeling somewhat anxious, mostly about post-surgery pain, but also because she couldn't recall what color of hospital gowns Edward Hospital provides. Without this information, she wouldn't have a clue what earrings to pack to accessorize her hospital ensemble. I'm not lying. Overwhelmed by this fashion uncertainty, she barfed.

I think some of this anxiety returned this morning when Patty was told she wouldn't be receiving an epidural for pain, as had been suggested, because her Plavix had been discontinued too close to the date of her surgery. Instead, she'll receive an IV that will allow her to self-administer pain relief as needed. Aside from unease at this change in plans, she seemed ready --and perhaps even a tad impatient--for things to move along.

I will try to provide an update as soon as possible after Patty comes out of surgery. From what I understand, it could be up to three hours before she'll leave the O.R., in large part because she'll be wired every which way. And so the wait begins...

Stay tuned...and thanks for caring.


P.S. Since Patty's heart attack, every morning during the school year I kiss Patty goodbye and say, "Be careful." Sometimes, she'll respond, "You don't have to worry every day; I'll be fine." This morning, the last thing I said before she headed for the O.R. was "Be careful," and she again responded as in the past. Sure, I don't have to worry, but I will. And while there's always risks with these procedures, Patty's always been honest with me, so I'm trusting her to be fine.

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