"Piece of My Heart" - Janis Joplin
(Note for those of you using feed readers, this was posted immediately after surgery, and then it somehow disappeared. I'm re-posting just to keep the story complete...)
Whew. The anticipation, the waiting, the worst of the worries are over. Jay made it through open-heart surgery like the little champion that we all knew he is. He has a nice shiny new valve, which wasn't our ideal outcome, but Dr. S was able to put it in the normal valve space which is very good. (Sometimes they have to put it above the old valve which can cause some additional complications.) Wanna see one in action? That's not exactly like his, but it's pretty similar and you can see how an artificial valve works. It's made of a carbon fiber material that's actually more similar to ceramic than to metal. And he won't set of any alarms when going through airport security.
He's currently in ICU and spent most of the afternoon/evening drifting in and out of lala land. He would wake up just long enough to beg for juice and then drift off by the time said juice was delivered to his bedside. He's had 3 requests - juice, watch Yo Gabba Gabba, and to go swimming. Anything you want, sweetie. Except it will be a while before that trip to the pool... Oh, and he did request that I hold his hand. Makes this mama's heart very, very happy.
Medically, he's doing very well but still has a long way to go. He's been dealing with "heart block" which means that his heart rhythm isn't quite right. The top chambers of his heart aren't pumping in time with the bottom chambers, which means he's got a lot of skipped beats. Like, almost every other beat. This abnormal rhythm (along with the fact the pressure inside his heart is vastly different than it was yesterday!) is also causing his blood pressure to be very low. They spent most of the day trying to address the rhythm and the blood pressure, and we're hoping that both improve with time. He has external "pacing wires" which are literally tiny wires that go directly to his heart. Those wires are just taped to his chest at the moment, but if his heart rhythm doesn't settle out soon, they can be connected to an external pacemaker to help his heart figure out how to clap along with the music. It was starting to settle into a better pattern when I left this evening.
Otherwise, he's doing amazingly well. He looked great when we finally saw him - a little pale, but generally pretty good for someone who'd had his ribcage cracked open. Truly, I can't thank you enough for your kind words, your positive thoughts in our direction, and your prayers. God is good - all the time.