Get That LVAD Away From Me!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Three weeks ago today, Bethany drove herself to doctor to see if she was getting the flu. It
seems to me we have been here at Ochsner for 3 years! As sit and type in the early morning
dark, while both Kim and Finn sleep, and try to look back over the past three weeks, I am
completely bewildered. How can this be happening? How did we go from such joy to such
catastrophe? Yet, I am also touched by the outpouring of love, support and prayers from family
and friends, and I thank God for that. Such a comfort. We hear from many we have not seen
for years. Thanks to all for all you have done, written, said, and prayed. We don't feel so alone
when we know you are with us in prayer, thought and spirit.

Yesterday was the hardest day, so far. That is why I didn't type this last night. I wanted to
have some time to think through the day, and pray about it. As you read this, keep in mind
that all the information in this update is from yesterday, and you know, by now, that the plan
around here changes frequently. The surgeons came in and discussed the LVAD (Left ventricular
assist device) in depth with Zac & Bethany. Basically, this is an artificial pump placed within
Bethany's chest to help her heart work. This surgery is long, and some of the details really
upset Zac and Bethany. 

In the midst of that discussion, staff came in wanted to place a foley
catheter in her bladder, so they could begin high doses of Lasix, as fluid was once again building
up in her lungs. Too much at one time. It really upset her, and needless to say, Zac was upset
on her behalf. The staff here is sooo good. They reached a compromise. Bethany got a bedside
commode, and they began the high doses of Lasix, with the understanding if she got tired of
getting up frequently, they would still place the foley. If my memory serves me correctly, she
had already voided 5 liters by bedtime last night! 

It seems the reality and gravity of the situation struck home in a big way with all us. No longer are we hearing, "Give it time; she
will/should/could get better." Now we are hearing, "She needs a heart. The sooner the better."
Time used to be a good thing, a healing thing. Now it feels like the enemy. Bethany did have a
little fever last night...I am not sure why.

Today is the 2nd day for her on the 1A list. At the end of 7 days, her condition and status will
be reevaluated. She can remain on the 1A list, be downgraded to the 1B list, or the third option
would be the LVAD procedure. It wouldn't surprise if there were more options we just don't
know about yet. I have learned way more about heart failure in the past 3 weeks than I would
ever have imagined.

Finn spent most of the day with Bethany and Zac. He coo'd and smiled, slept, ate...and wet his
diaper. He seems to save the big diaper business for me--early in the morning!

The staff here is so good to Bethany. I could not ask for a better group to care for her, not only
her physical needs, but the emotional needs as well. I include special prayers for all of her care
givers while I continuously petition for Bethany's recovery!

God bless!