Update From the Heart of Hess 9

7/1/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Now, I’ve never cut anyone open from throat to tummy with a sharp instrument before – so I’m not saying it’s easy – but I grew up watching my grandparents clean fish out at my granddaddy’s pond, and in his 70’s, Papa could gut bream like they came with factory perforations. His handwriting looked like a drunk practicing penmanship with his non-dominant hand during a ride in a rusty pick-up with worn-out shocks on a dirt road after heavy rains. But, goddamned if he didn’t slit a straight line in a fish that might even still be squirming to get away. So, you can see why I’m baffled by the veering wound down Hess’s chest after his heart surgery.

Hess's chest wound

As if I needed another reason to hate on Dr. Toothy, a.k.a. Doodie Chowser, M.D. But, come on. Even the Jehovah’s Witness who stopped in earlier this week commented that she’d “never seen a heart surgery wound so crooked,” which leads me to believe A) she might really be a home healthcare worker after all, and B) Doodie had pot brownies for breakfast the day he operated on my husband, or Katharine Hepburn did NOT, in fact, die in 2003 and has been immersed in researching her role as an asshole cardiac surgeon for the upcoming re-imagining of Adam’s Rib. And come to think of it, Doodie DOES have a horsey face. I’m liking this theory.

Anyway: the jiggly hypotenuse of a scar on my husband’s chest. Was Hess trying to dodge Doodie in the OR? Was he placed by mistake on one of those vibrating beds instead of a proper operating table? Was there perhaps a loud cover band playing “Wipeout” on the floor below? Who can say? All I know is that Hess looks like he might’ve had a drug deal go sour with a kindergartner.

If you want to get down to it, the meandering river of an arm wound where Doodie harvested Hess’s radial artery looks ever worse:

Hess's arm wound

And now, NOW, we’ve got a serious problem. As we wash and swab with Betadine the gradually drying, hardening protective wound cover his body has produced, I see the desire sparking in Hess’s eyes because, Reader: My darling is a picker. Loose skin, errant mustache hairs, nostril dwellers, scabs – These beauties are a plate of pastries and pie wedges in front of a woozy diabetic.

Because I’m deaf, God has gifted me with the heightening of other senses in compensation; I’m not sure how this makes up for my inability to hear music, conversation, laughter, and evidence of achievement during sex, but I’m blessed with the olfactory skills of a bloodhound. I can detect urine at 2 parts per million and the remnant of a cigarette smoked by a pizza delivery guy fourteen years ago at 200 yards. Thank you, Jesus!

Also, I have a “picking” radar with the accuracy of Mormon sperm. Bulls eye, every time! If I’m driving, and Hess’s pointing finger gets within one-inch of his nose hole, I’m on it like Bill Cosby on a roofied blonde.

Early in our relationship, I’d say something like, “Can I get you a shovel?” and we’d both die laughing. Now, if I notice and mention any of Hess’s picking, he looks at me all slitty-eyed with his lips in a constricted little O not unlike the rectum of a drug mule who’s just spotted a road block.

I admit that when I’m filled with anxiety, I gnaw at my fingernails, which drives Hess mad. And, at least once a day, I put the household through the agony of Elane’s Clearing of the Bronchial Tubes, and I’m SORRY I have to hack up small chunks of lung with such wet auditory detail. But, you have to understand, Reader, that Hess can take a teeny scar from a scraped knee and pick at it until it looks like we’re cultivating a good-sized cauliflower crop on his leg. I can’t tell you how many times he’s created Niagaras of blood down a limb where a scratch was almost healed.

So, now do you grasp our dilemma, Reader, do you? Tonight, when we saw for the first time that the arm scab has just started to lift off at one end, we shared twin looks of horror that said, “Trump is the Republican nominee for fucking president!” But, we were really just aghast because we recognized the allure of all that luscious scabbing to a man helpless to resist its siren call. God! There’s going to be blood everywhere, just everywhere, and he’s going to pick that arm wound until it’s the width of the Mississippi. Do you all think a straight-jacket would help? Not for Hess. For me, people. For me.

Update From the Heart of Hess 8

6/29/16 & 6/30/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

All righty. Let’s see. Covering two days here, so get comfy on that toilet, Reader.

The home healthcare people did not come by on Wednesday as the rep said they would, so we were kind of in limbo, waiting to ask questions and whatnot. Then, a woman came this morning (Thursday) when I was fast asleep, so I have no idea what went down. She could’ve been a Jehovah’s Witness for all I know or someone selling magazine subscriptions to fund her “senior trip,” and I guess the upside is all the money I’ll save by not having to buy Christmas gifts anymore, or we might have some rockin’ new periodicals on the way.

(My sincere apologies to any Jehovah’s Witnesses I’ve offended, but what are you doing on FaceBook, anyway, since it’s the Devil! Run! Oh, my Gahhhhhddddd, Runnnnnnn!) But, the problem here is that I was asleep. Dead to the world. Visiting the Land of La-squared.

If I didn’t need to sleep, I could get almost everything accomplished especially Hess’s and my grades, which are so, so behind. It looks like we’ve worked out with our dean to have someone else cover Hess’s SNHU courses starting next week. And, let me tell you, that will be a BLESSinnnnnnnng. And a half.

It’s not JUST because there are two assignments per week times over 60 students (in three classes) times the two weeks I’m behind for a grand total of over 240 assignments glaring at me from the gradebook. 240. Assignments. To. Grade. PLUS the current week’s additional 42 assignments in my class to grade by Sunday. FML.

It’s mainly because there is also an endless supply of discussion board posts to answer every day and student emails that need responses and student problems that need to be corrected. AND, when there is ONE student who sucks up your time like a hooker named Hoover, well. You can imagine. (Not the hooker. Focus here.)

So, there is a student in one of poor Hess’s courses whose life philosophy is this: (super whiny and nasally voice) “It REALLY hurts when I stab myself in the guts with this Ginsu-sharp knife, and even though everyone’s told me that the pain will stop if I just quit stabbing myself, I just feel like if someone would DO something to make this not hurt anymore, everything would be all right.” The student sends a flurry of increasingly agitated emails and matching posts to the General Questions forum at the least hint of distress, so we’re met with a wall of whine every time we go to class or check the email.

I spent nearly two of my very precious hours trying to sort out her issues today. I finally, finally got her to contact Tech Support, and guess what??! Guesssssss! Tech Support lobbed it right back in my court probably because the IT guy couldn’t get her to stop stabbing herself either. I hate him and wish a painful pox on his loins.

But, the damned DAY before the heart cath, this crap started, and Hess was honestly beside himself with stress over the student’s bombardment. It felt almost good to send her a reply that might have possibly kind of suggested that I really appreciate how much STRESS she caused my husband, who was now being scheduled for an emergency quadruple bypass, which may or may not have been exacerbated by recent STRESS.

Yes, some of you may be thinking, “Well, Elane, you could be grading right now instead of writing long, long updates.” If you’re one of those folks, please kiss the fattest part of my ass on your way out. Not only is this the only way I maintain a shred of sanity, but I vomit these things out like whatever that was that Teddy puked allllll over the kitchen floor today.

In fact, it takes me less time to write an update than it took me to clean up allllllll that Teddy vomit, partly because I’ve run out of paper towels cleaning up various fluids over the last couple of days and can’t go to the store because “The patient must be attended 24/7 for the first 2 weeks.”

Speaking of fluids, besides the copious amounts of pee I’ve swabbed this week, today, as I mentioned on FB, the skies opened up and rained on us like a cow peeing on a flat rock, and I totally forgot that there is a leak in our bedroom ceiling, which I didn’t recall until I picked up from the dresser top some slipper socks to shove on my freezing feet, and water poured out of them and onto the floor the same way a showerhead does when it’s on full blast and someone neglects to close the shower curtain all the way. Hess.

But that’s okay because I had one clean towel left that absorbed an astonishing amount of water from the bathroom floor, and I had to wash linens anyway since Teddy woke me up this morning by dragging his freshly diarrhea-y butt across my arm and the bed sheets. Really. It’s okay. Racing stripes are cool.
And, see? We’re back to where I started: Teddy had to wake me up because I was asleep.

I stayed up into the wee hours trying to finish grades – hahaha! And, at around 5 AM, Hess jolted me awake because he was distraught over the CPAP machine doing something or not doing something, and because I was going on about 2 hours of sleep, I handled the situation much like a crack whore on a bender. I fell back asleep, and at 10 AM, Hess jolted me awake because he needed his blood pressure assessed before morning meds. And although nearly five plus nearly two seems like it would add up to nearly seven hours of quality sleep, no. When that shit ain’t consecutive, forget it. I feel like I’m in a secret sleep deprivation study.

Meanwhile, Hess took the wrong damned meds, sent a few email responses to students that were either gibberish or maybe Farsi, and then let some woman in who probably thought I was a total bitch for sleeping while my frail, recovering husband was toddling around unattended. Man, I can’t wait until the reinforcements get here. Those are coming, aren’t they?

Update from the Heart of Hess 6

6/27/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Thank you to all my sweet, loving and faithful FB friends for all the well-wishes, prayers, incantations, and just plain kind thoughts that not only gave me strength and comfort over the past two weeks but also eased Hess’s recovery. He got to come home yesterday afternoon — after I forgot to bring CLOTHES for him to wear out of the hospital and had to go back home to get some…duh. Yay! He’s adjusting to living in our chaos, and he’s already back to work because he’s amazing like that.

Update from the Heart of Hess 5

6/24/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

And NOW, there is a fever. You know what? Just NO. Not having it. A doctor came this morning and said, “We might get you out of here this weekend!” He just didn’t say aloud that part about the extra-special parting gift of an infection. But that’s okay because Hess didn’t feel bad enough already, and sharing is so important.

***And them some crap happened when this person posted some negative shit and hurt my tender feelings, and then my brother launched an attack of rival-prison-gang-in-the-shower proportions, and a handful of my crew jumped in to assist. It took me a few days to recover.

Update from the Heart of Hess 4

6/23/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:
You all KNOW that I hate to admit failure or even a hint of defeat, right??? Hate it. Right up there with how much I despise Doodie Chowser, M.D., who will never, ever, ever get off my shit list for all of eternity. Ever. What a first-class (insert favorite euphemism for male baby maker)!

I stayed overnight on the cardiac unit, waiting up for the ungodly early hour of the surgeon’s rounds because – in a normal situation – I’m hard to wake up since I am deaf, and no amount of noise can rouse me from a slumber; but, going on a handful of hours of sleep over the past three days, I knew if I went home and dared the sleep gods, they’d be rolling around in the ether, laughing their asses off until I snapped out of bed around SEPTEMBER unless someone broke in the house and threw some coffee and light on me.

Sooo. I wrapped up in some 13-thread-count hospital sheets in the walk-in freezer of the cardiac waiting room all night long and worked on grading graduate-level creative writing assignments, some of which baffled me with passages like, “…the author’s syntax flowed freely because it was in the pattern of normal speech (iambic pentameter).” It COULD’VE been just the lack of sleep, the bone-numbing cold, the dearth of coffee, the anxiety over how best to inflict my ninja-like attack on Doodie Chowser, M.D. near sun-up. But you tell me. Does that passage say, “I’m a graduate-level writing student about to earn an ‘A’ for my astute grasp of the English language” to you? I don’t know.

Anyway, Doodie.

The shithead breezed in close to 6 AM and breezed out close to 6:01 AM.

He glanced at me with a contempt-sneer I haven’t seen since Leona Helmsley, and answered Hess’s question, “How much danger am I in that I didn’t have the other two bypasses?” with what can best be approximated by the image of a squatting dog and something steamy and pile-y. His RETREATING reply: “You’ll have to ask the other doctor who diagnosed all the blockages.” Next! Ca-ching!

Mother fuh…

Anyway, all that staying up and not even finishing the stupid grading (<–There’s that defeat I hate admitting. Sigh.) FOR NOTHING.

Poor Hess is groggy and listless and just plain wiped out. We were too dazzled by the reports from so many people that this surgery is such a positive thing (not that it won’t turn out to be as I’m sure it will, and, honestly, what alternative was there?? Duh.). But, the laparoscopic bladder-snatching last year really was an easy recovery, and we just thought this would go the same way. Not prepared at ALL. This procedure? NOT minimally invasive. His chest has been gutted like a fish; his ribs and shoulder-blades were separated; his left arm has been sliced open from wrist to elbow to harvest the radial artery; there is some other vein-harvest wound I haven’t even found; and he has really low oxygen, which (along with the chest wounds) makes it hard for him to get a good breath. Plus, the nurse yesterday mentioned that Hess would experience a kind of “male menopause” with this surgery: hot flashes, cold flashes, up-and-down mood swings. All of the things that make for a splendid day. That nurse wasn’t kidding either. You’d think I’d married a middle-aged woman who hasn’t seen estrogen since the first Clinton administration. There are moments when regular Hess pops up, so I know he’s going to be all better. I miss my curmudgeon.

Update from the Heart of Hess 3

6/22/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

(Warning: Contains adult language, adult situations, and full-frontal nudity. And gluten.) 1) Don’t take this wrong: It’s NOT that things are BAD; it’s just that a couple of things are not good. 2) When Dr. Toothy told me that Hess did really well and only had two bypasses, the doctor’s shit-eating grin temporarily scrambled my processing ability, leading to the following misunderstandings: A) Hess only NEEDED two bypasses instead of four; B) Hess was “doing really well;” and C) The doctor was not REALLY a tiny turd, which makes him a cannibal because of that grin.

So, 3) Hess STILL NEEDS THE TWO OTHER @#$! veins fixed, but Doodie Chowser, M.D. failed to mention that tasty tidbit. “Oh, yeah, we got you all opened up there in the chestal area, but we couldn’t find enough suitable veins, so we just fixed the two worst ones, and let’s keep our fingers crossed that those other two hold out until we can get to it. ‘Kay? <<sucks something out of huge teeth>> (probably shit) Freaking kidding me??

And, then, THEN, 4) the night nurse in the cardiac ICU, whose FB profile I’m pretty sure lists “clubbing baby seals, especially the gimpy ones” under “hobbies,” didn’t have enough time to get my husband some food to take with his pain medication even though it clearly says right there on the label TAKE WITH FOOD TO AVOID AGONIZING NAUSEA, YOU HEARTLESS BITCH because she was way too busy being a heartless bitch. Oh, and she was annoyed when he pushed the nurse button after he got agonizing nausea, which makes perfect sense because that thing was only invented to alert nurses when a patient needs something, and how dare they have pain after open heart surgery and agonizing nausea after taking pain meds without food, the whiny, little fuckers. Man UP. Yeah. She should be careful I don’t track her down and pull that swingy ponytail of hers so tight she’ll be able to look both ways at the red light without moving her head. Because I so will.

5) After Hess was moved into a regular room late this afternoon – and BTW, I thought it was TUESDAY, but it’s freaking WEDNESDAY, which means I’ve lost an entire day!! Gaaaaaaaaaah!!! – I noticed that there were no little puff-up thingies on his legs; you know, those medical devices designed to prevent blood clots in patients who’ve had major surgery, especially when there’s a high risk of blood clots? Those things? Yeah, none of those on the potentially clotty legs. WTH? The admittedly nicer nurse said, “Oh, sure. He can have those if you want him to.” What? Was I finger-spelling too fast for you? Did you miss class the day y’all went over post-surgical procedures to prevent deadly blood clots and horrible, horrible lawsuits if anything happens to my husband??

Anyway, after an eternity, two nurses installed the anti-clot things, which look like thigh-high gladiator boots and would be all sexy and on trend if they weren’t Kelly green with Velcro closures. Half an eternity later after Hess noticed that only the right one was on, Nice Nurse plugged in the left one too (!) so both legs can be, you know, protected; and now Hess is hugging his big, red heart-shaped pillow to ease the pain of his incisions and injured ribs while he hacks and coughs to prevent pneumonia, another post-surgical concern. I’m honestly thankful for modern medicine and that Hess is alert and healing. Really, I am. One day, we’re going to look back on this and laugh. I just know it.

Update from the Heart of Hess 2

6/21/16, 8:55 AM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Okay, FB peeps: Hess is going to be wheeled into the OR area shortly. Cardiologist just popped in all preppy in his pink buttondown, saying he’s “hoping for a good result,” and I think that dude might want to bone up on his pre-surgery pep-talk skills.

6/21/16, 11:19 AM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Hmmm. The hospital in FL is VERY different than in Indy where there was a big screen on every wall with surgery patient updates like airport flight boards. Here, there is, like, a 100-year-old town crier who gave me this update on Hess after the first hour in surgery: “She’s doing great.” So. Yeah.

6/21/16, 11:20 AM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

I haven’t chewed off my finger nails in decades, and now. Now, I have ten little bloody stumps.

6/21/16, 11:22 AM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Ohhh. There is a super chatty woman here in the cardiac unit waiting room who just found out that I’m deaf, and she somehow got the idea that I communicate by finger spelling. Which she is now doing. Verrrrrrry slowly. Annnnnnnnd, that’s NOT a “g.” Dear God.

6/21/16, 11:29 AM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

So, since I can only imagine what’s happening in the OR, I’m pretty sure that the vein-harvesting part is over. Hess is going to be so MAULED. Poor baby.

6/21/16, 12:43 PM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Here in the Waiting Room. #lazyplacenames

6/21/16, 8:57 PM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Okay, so at about 1:00 this afternoon when the big-toothed doctor explained that Hess did really well in surgery and that I could go see him soon in recovery, I think, first, that the doctor doesn’t have a clear handle on what “soon” means (which is NOT two hours, Toothy), and that he might have been comparing how much agony Hess would be in if he were thrown into a wood chipper v. the reality that is “after one’s chest has been split open.” He is in the Cardiac ICU where they strongly encourage family/friends “not to feel obligated” to take advantage of the visiting hours (although screw that; I went twice anyway.) And I’m glad that I did because large amounts of morphine are not—not—helping my sweetie. He kept trying to tell me something, but A) he has a tube shoved down his throat; B) I’m deaf and really, really need to be able to read his lips; and C) he has a lisp anyway, so combine that with A & B, and you can see the problem, can’t you?? I couldn’t figure out what the heck word started with “th,” and I thought he might be thirsty.

Finally, FINALLY, I semi-hollered, “Gah, I think he’s saying he’s ‘sick!’ Is that right, Darling? Are you nauseated??” Vigorous-ish head nodding ensued, followed by immediate IV anti-nausea medicine, followed by a much-too smug pat on my own back for my wicked lip-reading skills. But, the baby is SICK, dadgummit, and what if I hadn’t gone back down there?? That nurse with her “Now, we don’t want you to talk with the tube in your throat, Mr….Mr. Yulritch.” would never in a million years have noticed that he was feeling vomity!!! Is he supposed to do charades or something? Pictionary? They don’t even HAVE markers. I’m not allowed back in until 11:00 AM, but you can bet your sweet ass that I’ll have mine jiggling at the door at 10. Maybe 9.

6/21/16, 9:31 PM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Lord, really? Really? It has been a DAY, and I do not think that now is the time for the puppy to hump his much, much larger stuffed animal with such…house-shaking passion. #myeyesmyeyes

Update from the Heart of Hess 1

6/17/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

I have been remiss in my Updates from the Heart of Hess over the last day or so while waiting for some news — ANY news — from the surgeon. (I apologize Morar, Liz, Barb, Dara, Shari, Nadine (Ned), & Jim, Sean, and Lisa for not being on top of the messages.) At last, today, the doc popped in to confirm surgery is on for Monday morning. Let the full-body shave commence!!! (Ouch.)

6/18/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Never, ever announce with conviction the date of surgery because until the patient is in the OR, anesthetized into physical insensibility, and the first scalpel line is drawn, the plan is about as certain as Khloe Kardashian’s paternity.

From the Heart of Hess

6/14/16, 12:46 PM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Okay, peeps! The husband is going in for a heart cath in mere minutes. No stent! No stent! No stent! (Doesn’t it work if I say it three times and click my heels or something?)

6/14/16, 1:46 PM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Mother of God. THAT didn’t go well. Holy crappppp. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

6/14/16, 3:26 PM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Okay. So, the doc said that the heart cath could take between 15-60 minutes, so I was all excited when they came out pretty shortly because I thought it meant Hess didn’t need a stent. Which was true…but only because he will be having open-chest surgery instead. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!! I panicked a little, but gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!! He’s going to another hospital where we’ll get more details, which I’ll then pass on here since it’s the only way for me to communicate en masse. He’s a little groggy, pretty alert though, and a whole lot scared.