Another Night Alone

Steph is the guest of Mount Carmel West for another night… she’s been "in residence" there since Saturday night.  During the day, she saw a pulmonologist (different from the one she saw Sunday), who has ordered a transesophageal echocardiogram.  As you have plowed through the screens and screens of this blog since April, undoubtedly that word has jumped out at you.  Abbreviated TEE, it’s the procedure where they lower a little camera lens down the esophagus to obtain pictures of the heart.  The Staph infection that appeared on the eve of the surgery at the Cleveland Clinic seems to be back (assuming it ever went 100% away), and the doctor is worried about whether or not the infection is affecting the artificial valve and the muscle around it.

A cardiologist and his nurse came by after dinner tonight.  He studied under Dr. Lytle and was completely respectful of Lytle’s judgment and actions during the surgery.  Lytle is one of the top five cardiac surgeons in the U.S. (if not the world), and if he was worried about any aspect of the surgery, any physician should be.  He left without giving us a definite yes or no about whether or not the TEE will happen tomorrow.

This puts me in a logistical quandary.  I received permission from my supervisor to take tomorrow off, thinking that by the time that I saw Steph at the hospital we would know what was going on with the TEE.  No such luck.  So, I’ll go in at 7 a.m. (my usual time) and explain that I may be taking off at very short notice.  Hospitals have never been famous for timing their procedures and appointments around the convenience and comfort of their patients and the patients’ families.  This is one of the times I am glad she’s only a few blocks away from the house.

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