My Mother at 82 Just Had Her Aortic Valve Replaced.

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PairoDocs

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Mar 7, 2008
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380
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rural area outside Buhl, Idaho, United States
Hello all,

I'm writing in the Significant Others category because I really have a SO with OHS. My mother, Jeannette, started having difficulty with aerobic activity about six months ago, and decided to have things looked at. It turns out that after over 70 years since she had rheumatic fever as a girl, the heart damage finally made itself manifest. She developed aortic valve stenosis, and it was progressive. I advised her to get her surgery done as soon as possible rather than wait for serious symptoms to develop. Thanks to the insights I've gathered here over the years, I knew that a heart in heart failure would not recover completely as a heart operated on *before* heart failure started. I convinced my mother in a 'heart-to-heart'--so to speak--discussion to proceed sooner than later. Her cardiologist agreed, too, as did her cardiothoracic surgeon. So the originally scheduled surgery had been for January 2015, but instead they rescheduled her for December 8th. I'm glad she did as her symptoms had started to rapidly progress in the past few weeks. Her heart is very fit and so should heal very nicely.

She went in this morning about 5 am Pacific time--she lives in California near San Francisco, so her surgery was there, and first incision was at about 7 am. They did a medial sternotomy like they had on me, so we'll have matching scars. The procedure went really well. My sister stayed for the duration of the surgery, but had to return to Petaluma this afternoon. At her request, due to frequent and sometimes serious nosebleeds, she didn't get a mechanical valve, but a bovine valve instead, so she won't have to have nearly the anticoagulant load that a mechanical valve recipient would have had to have. Mom is intubated as I type this, but they'll see if she's ready for extubation tomorrow. Please keep Jeannette in your prayers for speedy recovery. I'm driving down the weekend of December 13-14th so I can be there to watch her for a week or two as she takes her first steps toward recovery. She came up to Idaho and did it for me seven years ago, so I guess it's my turn to help her out in the same manner. I guess we'll have a deeper relationship as we shared this 'counting coup on the Pearly Gates' experience of OHS. I will try to keep everyone apprised of the situation and her progress. She told me she doesn't think she is up to joining the community here, but maybe in time she'll change her mind.

Chris
 

ottagal

VR.org Supporter
Joined
Aug 8, 2008
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PairofDocs,

Thank you for sharing. I, too am praying for your mom and that she has a speedy and bump free recovery. I am sure you have been of tremendous support having 'first hand' experience with OHS. My father had bypass surgery many years ago and before and after my AVR, we spend much time comparing notes.
Take good care,
Happy upcoming 7th valiversary to you. :)
 

PairoDocs

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Joined
Mar 7, 2008
Messages
380
Location
rural area outside Buhl, Idaho, United States
Sorry Hensylee about your wrist. Sounds like somebody needs to read the Hippocratic Oath again and DO NO HARM (read: fix your wrist regardless of age)!! Of course there could be heart-related issues that the doc's worried about, and age was merely a convenient extra excuse.

As for my mother. I called the hospital--she's at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco late this afternoon--the same hospital I was born in almost 53 years ago. She was awake and alert and, while she sounded a bit run down (battle-axe to the chest and a very precise stab in the heart--the body doesn't know better--it *thinks* that's what's happened even if our brains know better) she was quite lucid and was making plans about her arrival home. She was apparently extubated less than a day after surgery. She's up and walking around, though because of new balance problems she's having to use a walker. She understands the need to find one she doesn't have to lift off the floor, so we're looking into wheeled ones. She's doing so well they're considering releasing her a day early on Sunday December 14th rather than the 15th as planned. There's supposed to be a storm coming through California, Nevada, and Idaho (especially the latter two) on Saturday, so I don't want to drive that day--unless the storm is delayed and Sunday is the day that looks bad. So I still plan on arriving on Sunday night; my sister and brother-in-law will take care of her Sunday. Both have to work on Monday so it will be my turn for the next week to 2 weeks.

The production of 'cackleberries' has resumed to the tune of 4-6 eggs a day, so I'll be able to bring my free-range chicken eggs (heart-healthy high omega-3 fatty acids, etc.) to Petaluma for everyone's enjoyment.

Chris
 

djacq

Premium Level User
Joined
Oct 26, 2002
Messages
188
Location
Rhode Island
Your mother's progress sounds so encouraging. She must have baseline good health given her quick recovery. This is also so encouraging to hear her progress as I am facing possible replacement of my 12 year old mechanical valve at age 71 or older. Looking forward to hearing of her recovery and my thoughts are with you and your mother.

Donna
 

PairoDocs

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2008
Messages
380
Location
rural area outside Buhl, Idaho, United States
Since it's my eighth valversary, I decided to stop by. My mother is still with us. She's going through some post OHS depression, so she doesn't want to see me and the kids this year for Christmas. She had suffered from some atrial fibrillation for a few months and despite getting a tissue valve she had to be on coumadin, resulting in her getting frequent nosebleeds. She was also not permitted to take her usual arthritis medications due to their anticoagulant properties. She lost a lot of ground physically due to this, and still isn't permitted adequate pain medication to allow her to keep up what used to be very impressive mobility. She used to up to summer of 2014, when she was 81, take 5 mile hikes with my sister and do fine. Now it's a challenge to go half a mile because of the pain. My father is barely hanging in there--both are now 83, but his heart is okay at the moment. Keep my Mom, Jeannette, in your prayers for her healing from both depression and the painful problems from inadequate pain control.

Chris
 

Superbob

Steely Resolve!
Joined
Apr 21, 2005
Messages
8,223
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Coastal Carolina
Congrats on your valversary, Chris, and thank you for the update on your Mom. I can relate to her challenges with mobility. I would love to take 3 or even 5-mile hikes, but back pain makes it hard to complete even a mile. Nevertheless, we need to hang in there and find our outlets (I'm thinking about getting a recumbent exercise bike) and try to meet the challenges. I am praying for healing for your Mom from depression and for pain control that will help her recover some of that lost mobility.
 

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