I got next to no sleep Wednesday night, so when I officially ' woke up' at 4 a.m. I was already exhausted. We got Mom to the hospital by 6:30 and wheeled her up to admissions. The nurses were fabulous. Ernest, who checked all her vitals and started her IV, was particularly wonderful. Very energetic, warm, and quite funny. More important, he got Mom's IV started in one.
Her anesthesiologist was next - a very cute strawberry-blonde woman, tall and lanky and pale. Again, warm and funny and sweet. Mom was not looking forward to the intubation (honestly, who does?). The woman put her at her ease. Moments later, Mom was wheeled away for prep.
We grabbed some breakfast in the cafeteria. I mention this because it was 1. pretty yummy and 2. reasonably priced, especially considering we were in a big NYC hospital.
Four hours in the waiting room. Lots of comics and Sara Vowell's new book. Annoying opinionated guy (not my husband!) who kept interrupting my reading. Phones ringing, babies whinging, cartoons on one TV and CNN on another. Then, someone called out "Curran?" A tall handsome man in pale blue scrubs stood by the door: the almighty powerful Oz. "Everything went well." He gave us the quick details of the surgery, told us Mom should be in CTICU in about two hours, shook our hands, and was off to work more cardiothoracic magic.
More like three hours, as it turned out, but that was all right. Mom wasn't awake when we saw her, but her nurse encouraged us to talk to her. "I'm sure she can hear you." So I chattered away, describing the lines on the monitors (and how it looked like some strange travelogue, between the waves and the crenellations and the southwestern mesas) and the striking view of the Hudson and the Palisades. Mom's face was a little swollen and pale and looked very strange with the tubes coming from her mouth. Her nurse, however, thought she looked great. "I see a lot of these surgeries," she said. "Your mom is in good shape."
As of today, she's still intubated. They had some trouble getting the tube in in the first place, and so made the decision to keep it in a bit longer, just to be on the safe side. Better that than taking it out and having to reinsert it later. She's sedated, so she'll sleep through most of it. They'll likely extubate tonight or tomorrow morning.
I have to say once more how wonderful this hospital is. The building is clean and beautiful and bright. Everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - from the folks at the main information desk to the nurses to people just passing you in the hallway was incredibly nice. My sister, on her way down to get a snack from the cafeteria, had a brief conversation with a woman in the elevator. "You look like you're waiting for someone," the woman said. "My mom," Kerry replied. "She's having an aortic valve replacement." The woman asked who the surgeon was, and on being told it was Dr. Oz, smiled. "You're lucky. He's very special."
That is just cool.
Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who sent well wishes, good thoughts and prayers!