MONDAY — onward slowly

Today was a no-go on the pacemaker implantation.  Instead they substituted a CT brain scan.  Both decisions were based on caution.  A TEE was also done.

Nancy’s blood’s coagulation characteristic did not reach the level appropriate for the small incision and threading of the lead to the heart.  The anticoagulant mentioned yesterday is cleared quickly by the body so the problem seems to have been that the blood platelet decline had not resolved from the previously used harapin.

There is the fact that she could be losing blood somewhere, and there was none in the urine or otherwise noted, so the possibility of bleeding in the brain triggered the CT scan.  That was negative.

She was more mentally playful today than yesterday – this, I think, because the adjustments in meds to prepare for the pacemaker allowed her blood pressure to come up some and so she felt better.  They started fussing about her at 4 AM so by 2 PM she needed a nap.  Interestingly, because she is getting supplemental oxygen her blood is oxygen-saturated and short of carbon dioxide.  Sleeping in this case allows her to relax and because it is the carbon dioxide in one’s system that triggers the breathing mechanism she will stop breathing for many seconds.  It sounds scary but we are told not to worry.  Easy for them to say!

Above I mentioned the TEE or Trans-Esophageal Echocardiogram done today.  For this exam an ultrasound transducer (sound source) is guided down the patient’s throat into the stomach and rests just below the heart.

The TEE provides a close look at the heart’s valves and chambers without interference from the body, ribs, or lungs.  Prior “echo” exams for Nancy where all done in a conventional way – the transducer was outside the body.  Today’s pictures were sharp enough that the doctor believes the bacteria infection last May/June was established on her tricuspid valve.  We’ve know since August that both the mitral and tricuspid valves are damaged.  This is one of the tests –because of its sharpness—that the surgeon wants to see before planning on what will be done during an operation.  [That is not currently scheduled so I look for this TEE exam to be done again – when the time comes.]

And speaking of time, today was the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere at 9:47 AM in the Pacific Time Zone.  Here’s to longer days and a brighter future.