Saturday, March 26, 2011

Part TWO of how did I get here??

Sorry about my abruptly stopping my last entry... if you are an LVAD caregiver for someone you love dearly then I'm sure you've got a similar story...

So, Kevin made it through the night, still on life support, I was actually only allowed to see him in 3 minute increments...apparently every time he saw me he tried to get out of bed and one time tried ripping out his intubation tube. I remember him opening his eyes & mouthing "help me up".... heart wrenching to see him in & out of consciousness. After that he was in restraints. A cardiologist came in to put in a balloon pump. This was to stabilize Kevin enough for helicopter transport. This entire Thursday morning I was surrounded by friends.... my fellow twin mom friends. They rallied to support me in my time of need and to this day they are all still by my side.

Susie drives me to the hospital where Kevin is being helicoptered to... mind you, my dear friend Kristy had stayed at the ER to wait & make sure that Kevin's helicopter took off when it was supposed to... anyway, we arrive in the wrong parking lot to look up & see his helicopter landing. It was surreal knowing my husband was on that helicopter. Susie by the way is another awesome friend. By this time we go into the waiting room and doctors start talking to me. At that moment I will never forget seeing the elevator doors open and seeing Kevin's parents & his sister. To this day, I will never forget their faces. I found out later that my father inlaw was ready to donate one of his kidneys to Kevin if need be....oh and I found out much later after all of this that my father inlaw loathes hospitals. Within an hour my two mom friends, Gina & Jill, show up with my brother.... had no clue what he looked like but drove to the airport to pick him up. By the way if I hadn't mentioned it before... my family &Kevin's family all live back east. Soon the waiting room filled up with friends, coffee, food. The first time I saw Kevin that night he was in the CICU surrounded by at least 10 doctors and even more nurses. All of them asked me their own set of questions. All of them asked me for consent for a variety of things in case of emergency... consent for blood transfusion, consent for dialysis, .... the situation was extremely critical... he was put on ECMO Thursday evening... most didn't think he'd make it through the night. But he did... :-)

It was a rough couple of days for all parties involved. Doctors were telling me the cause of his heart failure was most likely due to a virus that just attacked his heart. The emotional rollercoaster was up, down, all around, and stopping to hit every single person in our families as well as our friends. Our boys included. My poor little boys... they had no idea that when the paramedics took Daddy away that it would be almost 3 1/2 weeks before they got to see him again.

I hung up pictures in Kevin's CSICU room... talked with him telling him what was going on... played music... played videos (via iphone) of our boys... all the while not knowing what the future would hold.

That Monday the doctors took him into surgery to put in a BIVAD...that's actually connected to both ventricles of the heart. About 3 hours into the surgery I get a phone call telling me that the right side of Kevin's heart actually recovered! He only needed an LVAD. There were some issues during surgery and that night we were only allowed to see Kevin for 2 minutes. In the wee hours of the morning I get a phone call telling me that Kevin is bleeding out of control, they need my consent to take him back into the OR. YES, fix him! A few hours later I get yet another phone call...Kevin had compartment syndrome in his left arm... doctors needed consent to relieve pressure/oxygenate his arm to preserve the function of it...YES, do what you have to do...he's a god damned musician!!!

It took Kevin nearly another week to wake up and when he did .... it was the most magical moment of my entire life. His parents had gone to the hospital originally to sit by his bedside. A nurse calls me to tell me Kevin was awake & they were taking him off the ventilator!!! His parents got sent home because they both had a cold...nurses didn't want him being exposed to their colds so they came home & sent me on my way!!! I was driving on the freeway when my cell phone rang... it was his nurse telling me she had someone that wanted to say hi... it was Kevin and he said "I love you"... then the nurse told him to save his voice for when I got there. I couldn't get there fast tears were falling just as fast as my heart was beating. I park the car & literally RUN through the lobby of the hospital... and would you believe there was a stinking line waiting for visitor passes to go upstairs to the CSICU?!?!??!? I was so impatient that I blurted out "my husband has been on a ventilator for 2 weeks & they just took out the tube today!!!" The lady behind the counter threw a visitor pass at me, up the elevator I go, I press the button to let me inside the CSICU and the doors open. That's when all hearing was gone, I saw doctors &nurses smiling at me, and when I turned the corner to his room...there he that moment I am 150% certain I fell more in love with Kevin than ever before.

His stay in the hospital was 49 days too long. He was discharged two days before Thanksgiving. This was when "living with an LVAD" gave me a new perspective on life, it was when I discovered that not only is Kevin the love of my life but he is also the bravest man I know.


  1. Oh Tracy. I have heard this story told, but reading it in your own words with so much emotion is heartwrenching. I am sobbing, and still amazed to this day what a strong and courageous woman and mother you are. Most would crumble in this situation. It is also truly touching to see how strong yours and Kevins love is - inspiring!

  2. I'm speechless. And breathless. wow. Reading this just dumped a gazillion thoughts in my head. Thoughts I needed to have. I don't know what else to say, but wow, you do have a story to tell.