Tuesday, October 21, 2008

THE HEART OF THE MATTER - Family and Friends

This picture of Mickey was taken just as we were leaving our home in Coweta to go to Oklahoma City for his Double Bi-pass Heart Surgery the next day.


October 8, Wednesday - We headed for Oklahoma City and checked into our motel room. Shortly after our daughters, Suzette & Jacque arrived. Next came our son, Marc, and granddaughter, Oksana, and grandson, Aric. We had gotten 2 rooms, Mickey, Marc, Aric & I shared one room, and Suzette, Jacque, & Oksana shared a room.

Last came our dear wonderful friends, Don & Barbara. You know what good friends they truly are when they travel over 100 miles, and pay for a motel room, so that they can be there to support Mickey & me!!

After getting all settled in we went to Ch*ilis to eat. The following were taken as we were deciding on what we wanted to eat.

Barbara & Don
Aric with Aunt Jacque
Marc, Mickey & I
Oksana with Aunt Suzette

We had a wonderful, fun time, delicious food and a great waiter.

Mickey slept really well!!!! Marc & I hardly slept. We were so glad Mickey could, and did sleep. I think he was just so relieved that the surgery had been moved up and was going to get done and over with.

October 9, Thursday - We arose really early because Mickey had to be at the VA Hospital by 6 a.m. It was decided that only Marc & I would accompany him at that hour and the others would come over later because only 2 of us could go into the check-in portion of the procedure with Mickey. After Mickey had gotten into the famous hospital gown and his clothing was placed in bags for us to take with us, the assisting Physician, Dr. Sand*erw*ich, came in and talked to the 3 of us. He described in detail the upcoming procedure and the time frame that we could expect (4 to 6 hours) . About 6:30 they came to take Mickey to the surgical prep area and Marc & I had to kiss him good-bye and retreat to the general 7th floor waiting room.

Our wonderful Pastor Gary and his wife, Paula, came all the way from Coweta!! Because of being a Pastor they were allowed to go in and spend some time with Mickey, visit and pray for him. These were the last people that Mickey saw. How blessed we are to have a Pastor of a large church who would do that!!!!

One of the nurses was wonderful to call out to the waiting room several times during the procedure. They called right after 8:15 to tell me the cut of the breast bone had been made and the surgery was beginning. Then they called once to tell me everything was going well and no problems. Then they called to tell me the surgery had been completed by Dr. Trot*ter and the Dr. Sand-er-wich was closing him up. This was around noon. They also said to wait about 25-30 minutes and 2 of us could go to the SICU waiting room and the Dr. would come out and talk to us personally.
Here are Marc, Barbara & Don as they waited in the general waiting area. I wish I'd had the presence of mind to take a picture of all the others, Pastor Gary & Paula, Suzette, Jacque, Oksana & Aric but I didn't. I'm thankful to at least have this picture.

Marc & I waited until 12:30 and moved to that area. This was the longest time of waiting. After what seemed a long time another Dr., who we had not seen, or meet, came out and spoke with us telling us everything had gone well and that Dr. Trot*ter would be out shortly to talk to us. After what seemed like forever Dr. Trot*ter did come out and explained exactly what they had done and that it had been a very routine, easy & successful surgery. He told us to continue to wait in the SICU area and they would call us when we could go in and see him.

We waited.....and waited. Everyone, even the booklet I had been given, tried to tell me to be prepared for how awful he would look, very pale, etc. Finally, and I can't even remember the time for sure, the phone call came and Marc & I walked into the first room on the right in SICU of the 7th floor of the VA hospital. He was totally out but he looked WONDERFUL. Marc & I looked at each other and mouthed "he looks great!".

Next Pastor Gary then went in and Paula visited with Marc & I. Pastor Gary came out saying how wonderful he looked!! Then Don went in to see him, again saying how great he looked. He was still totally sedated as the 4 of us saw him.

Suzette, Jacque & Oksana decided they wanted to wait until the following day, when he was awake to see him. Aric was too young to go into the SICU room.

At one point another nurse came into the room and asked if I was his wife. When I said, "Yes", she said I had a long distance call from South Africa. WHAT!!!! It was Retha, one of the bloggers on Hearts In "1" Accord Prayer Blog. What an unexpected blessing and what a sweet, gentle voice Retha has. This call was both exciting and very soothing to me. Thank you again Retha.

Marc & I continued to wait in the SICU waiting room and then saw him after he was gaining conciousness. The nurse suggested the best thing for us to do was go back to the motel and get some rest and return the next morning. We decided to go ahead & leave.

All of us, Don, Barbara, Marc, Oksana, Aric, Suzette, Jacque & I went to Red Rob*in for dinner. We all ate WAY too much and Aric & I even shared a malt. We were just all so relieved the surgery was over and that he is doing well.

After dinner Don & Barbara headed back to Tulsa, as so did Suzette & Jacque as Jacque had to work Friday. They had all checked out of the motel earlier and had moved Oksana to our room.

Mickey has wonderful nurses the entire stay, but the main nurse assigned to him was a male nurse named Arvin. We came to fall in love with Arvin and he was such a help to us.

October 10, Friday - When Marc & I walked in that morning he was sitting up in bed eating breakfast!!! We spent basically the entire day at the hospital. Suzette, Jacque & Oksana all came later to see him. A couple from our church, fairly new friends who live in our neighborhood, Kathy & David came from Coweta to see him. I was totally shocked and blown away when they walked into that SICU waiting room!!! Later that evening, after we had left and gone to the motel, yet another couple from our church, John & Phyllis came to see him. Mickey told me of their visit when I got there Saturday morning. What a wonderful Church the Lord has placed us in and what a wonderful Church family we have.

Mickey asked me to bring the booklet "Going for Heart Surgery...what you need to know" to the hospital so he could have the Dr. actually draw, on the heart picture in the book, where his 2 heart bi-passes had been made.

Marc, the kids & I stayed pretty late at the hospital and on our way back to the motel we stopped at Gr*and*ys to eat Chicken Fried Steak.

October 11, Saturday - When I walk into Mickey's room this morning he ask for the booklet.......I had forgotten it :o( I did get it there the next day!!! Another morning of Marc, Oksana, Aric & I being together and spending time visiting Mickey. Still just 2 of us at a time in his room. Marc had planned to stay until Sunday but since Mickey was doing so extremely well I told him to go on home which he did. He is going to come back, when Mickey is released to go home.

Marc & the grands had barely left when Don and Barbara came again. They visited awhile with Mickey. This is the first time Barbara had seen Mickey post surgery. Barbara had massive heart surgery a few years ago so she knows what it is like. After visiting they took me to dinner at The Ele*phant Bar. It is one of their favorite restaurants and they have closed the one in Tulsa. After lunch, they took me back to the hospital and they returned to Tulsa. WONDERFUL friends!!!!

I stayed with Mickey until almost dark and went back to the motel room by myself that night but slept very well. They have been having Mickey walk and I actually got to walk with him and Arvin as they made their way around the SICU ward and even a little way in the hall. Oh my, walking by the other rooms where there were such desperately ill patients almost broke our hearts.

Arvan let me stay in the room the entire time today. No waiting off and on in the waiting room. Just before I leave Mickey asks me to bring him his shaving kit so he can shave and clean up a bit more.

October 12, Sunday - I arrive at the hospital at 8 a.m. The first thing Mickey says is "Did you bring my shaving kit?" No, I forgot. Oh my, he is going to give up on me about remembering his requests. Really very unlike me but two days in a row I have forgotten!!! The nurse got him a razor, shaving cream, everything he needed to shave.

Suzette & Dave arrived, from Tulsa, about 11 and visited for about an hour. Then they took me out to a wonderful Italian cafe we had seen near our motel. It was soooo nice. We'll have to go back there again on one of these trips we'll be making to OKC. After lunch they dropped me off at the hospital and they went back home to Tulsa. I stayed at the hospital until just before dark and went back to my room alone again. I called Marc that night and said it looks like they may be letting Dad come home Tuesday or Wednesday, but he is doing so well there is no need for you to come over. I have no concern at all about getting him home. One of my main concerns in the beginning was getting him the 130 miles back to Tulsa post surgery.

October 13, Monday - I Arrive at the hospital at 7 a.m. Dr. Trot*ter comes in. Ask's Mickey, "How are you feeling?" Mickey says, "Great!" Dr. T says, "Do you want to go home?" Mickey says, "You better believe I do." Dr. T says, "Get out of here." They proceed with the removal of the final tube and all the preparations for him to leave. I ran back and checked out of the motel. They order all his take home meds, which I pick up at the pharmacy area after I get back, and we are out of there by 10:30 a.m.!!!

Now, for one of the fun blessings that The Lord always seems to give us, no matter what situations we find ourselves in..........

If any of you know anything about Heart Surgery one of the main "recovery" items is a pillow. The patient holds the pillow against their chest incission and especially if there is any pain, or they have to cough. Mickey & I always take our pillows when we travel. We had had them on the trip to Flagstaff, but the day I home I washed the pillow slips and when we left for OKC the next day we forgot our pillows.

When Barbara left the hospital in Tulsa, after her heart surgery, they had given her a heart shaped pillow. I had asked Arvan the day before if they would give us a pillow for him to make the trip home with. You sure didn't want him strapped into a seat belt in the car without a pillow on his chest. Arvin said, "A woman's group use to make those to give the patients but I haven't seen any of them lately." So we are so happy he is going home.......but we have no pillow. It was Columbus day and everything at the VA hospital closes on the week-end and holidays, like the cafeteria, the gift shop. etc.

I said to Arvan, "What am I going to do about a pillow? I don't have one and I have to have a pillow for that 110 mile trip to Coweta." Arvan says, "We'll let you have a pillow, in fact I'll get you a box to put it in as you walk out of the hospital." Then he says, "Better yet, go steal one from the motel room!" I said, "I'm not stealing a pillow from anyone!" Now the young Dr. San*der*wich, who was very serious and didn't ever say a lot, was taking the last tube out of Mickey while this conversation was going on. At this point, he turned around, laughing and said, "Oh, you're not going to steal a pillow." So Mickey is the proud owner of a very soft blue pillow, with a white pillow slip that is stamped, "Property of - VA Medical Center - Oklahoma City, OK - March, 2004".

At 10:30 we pulled out of the parking lot of the VA Hospital, and Mickey had his pillow!!! We were HOME by 12:30.

Here he is hugging that infamour pillow!!

Here he is wearing his wounds.

I have to end by saying........we have a wonderful opinion of the hospitals and medical services in this United States. We were in 3 different hospitals, in 3 different states, within 6 days. We had nothing but the most perfessional, kind, wonderful care and service imaginable. Especially the VA hospital. I NEVER had the slightest concern that Mickey would have wonderful, good care and be made whole. The entire staff were wonderful and the care superb.

I am, and will be, eternally grateful to GOD for the FAMILY, FRIENDS and PROFESSIONALS he surrounded us with during this entire 10 days from Flagstaff, to Grants, to Oklahoma City and home.

More tomorrow on how our time at home has gone.

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Dawn said...

What an amazing journey you have been on! The Lord has been really good and close, providing such wonderful care and such wonderful friends and family. God is so Good!

It's All Good! said...

I'm so glad, Susan. Thanks for sharing the details. It's so nice to have wonderful friends.
God bless,
Brenda :)

Karen said...

Oh I am glad I visited today, but took me by surprise too. God bless you Mickey and Susan, may you go from strength to strength Mickey and thank you God for all the love and support and care that you received during this time - may you be showered in God's care and enfolded in his arms. xxx


Your post brought tears to my eyes, for what you all went through for the thankfulness to the Lord for taking such good care of the both of you and for getting you both back home safe and with a pillow. I know about those pillows. They are very needed.

I pray that he continues to recover very well and quickly and that the Lord continues to give you the strengh that you need as you give him the care he will need to recover. God bless you both, connie from Texas

Anonymous said...


I am just so blessed to hear of God's tender mercy for you guys!

Michelle said...

I just praise God that Mickey came thru it all as well as he did.

diana said...

thanks for sharing your journey with us. and i'm so glad you had good experiences, that the surgery went smoothly and was successful, and that mickey's done so well after the surgery. God is good!

Ross' Cottage said...

Hi Susan,
I am thanking Jesus for his hand upon you and Mickey during all of this. He has surrounded you both with His love and the love of many friends and family..near and far away. My dad got the heart pillow after his heart surgery...I am glad they let you have the hospital one. My hubby was once injured and in a hopital that is about 100 miles from our house and the hospital let us take one of their pillows for me to use to take him home with. The pillow said property of the hospital. They said the next time I was in town to bring it back. Sort of funny considering this town is on the other side of the mountains from where we live...I guess it is their way of letting the pillow go and not getting in trouble!
Again I am thanking Jesus for his care of you both!
Blessings to you guys,

groovyoldlady said...

Oh Susan, God has truly blessed you both! Such wonderful family and friends! What a gloriously quick recovery!

My husband is a cardiac nurse and his dad has had 2 by-pass surgeries that didn't go nearly so well.

I am SO happy for you!

The Olson's: said...

God has truly shown Himself to you & Mickey during those difficult days. Thank you for sharing. As I was reading I felt like I was there, experiencing it with you. Tear came to my eyes when you shared about the long-distance phone call. What a sweet friend to do that.

Praise God that Mickey is doing so well!
~ Leanne

Lisa said...

Yours and Mickey's faith will be so strengthened because of this.
The blessing of a pillow, huh?
Mickey is looking good so soon after surgery...goodness!

Barbara said...

So glad to see Mickey back home and recovering.

Momma Roar said...

It is amazing that just a short time ago, he was operated on.

And I am just so happy at how much you were both blessed by friends and family!! You are both so special to me!!!

Alisun said...

I have been keeping up on the reading with you this past week and I have found this very close to my heart. My father has had to deal with heart doctors and surgery and it can be overwhelming for him and all of us who love him and have to watch and pray. I am Glad you have such a great support system in place and with Jesus at your side it is peace that cannot be understood by most medical professionals.

Frazzled Farm Wife said...

How awesome that you had great doctors, nurses and medical facilities through all of this! And friends and family.....you are sooooo blessed to have them!

Lori said...

Sounds like everything went real well with Mickey's hospital stay.
How awesome that you had lots of family and friends there to support you and Mickey.

Jenileigh said...

I've been away for so long but I've been praying. I've been praying for 1 Accord and all we set out to pray for, I've been praying for you and I've been praying for Mickey. Hugs to you Susan! I'm so glad everything went well and Mickey is home with you.

Big hugs my friend.