Stents and Complications

It was a huge relief to find that they would be able to put stents in the graft that hadn’t ‘taken’.   We had to wait a bit for my husband to get his strength back, and so, at a follow-up visit to his cardiologist almost two months later, it was decided that he would be put on the schedule for the procedure.  It just so happened that it could be done the next day, and so we agreed that sooner was better.

The procedure itself was routine.  Afterward, he was brought into a room on the cardiac floor to recover.  I noticed that his coloring wasn’t too good…he still had a grayness to his skin.  As he came out of the anesthesia, he began to complain of chest pains, and told me he was going to be sick.  I noticed how clammy his skin was, and his nail beds had begun to turn blue.  By this time, his cardiologist had been called, and the room suddenly filled with people. 

Thankfully, his cardiologist knew immediately what had happened…part of the artery had collapsed while he was putting in the stents, and when he inflated it, it had stayed open.  The artery must have closed again, and it would be simple to go in and stent that area.  So, they take my husband back to the cath lab, and again I wait, with my cousin by my side. 

It seemed to take forever, and indeed, it took much longer than it should have.   When one of my husband’s doctors came to talk to me, I discovered why.  When his cardiologist went in to stent the collapsed area, my husband developed a clot, which broke loose and went directly into his heart.  It damaged a great deal of his heart muscle, and it would be difficult to tell if he could regain some of his heart function.  He was in critical condition, and would need to stay on the respirator until the next day.

I felt so sick inside, and was struck with a blinding fear like I had never had before.  For the first time ever, I understood that my husband might die.  I sat there, wrapped in a blanket, and listened to life go on around me.  Somewhere in the depths of the hospital the Lullaby Song played, announcing that the world had yet another new member.  While MY world was teetering on collapse, others around me had the NERVE to laugh and be happy, have babies and continue their lives.  I could not think…I was comprehending nothing but the fact that my husband might not come home to me and our sons. 

It was the longest night I had ever lived, yet when I saw my husband the next morning, he did look better.  Once I was told that he would come off the respirator, I called his parents to let them know how he was doing.  I was in the waiting room with some family members not five minutes later when one of my husband’s doctors came in to talk to me.  His doctors felt that his heart was too weak for him to breathe on his own.  They decided that if he spent a few days on life support and let machines breathe for him, his heart would have the best chance to improve.  With my own heart heavy in my chest, I went back in to see him again, before he was given a sedative and sent back into sleep.

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