Saturday, July 6, 2013
mending a broken heart
It's been six weeks and two days since the love of my life was wheeled into surgery to repair his broken heart. It was the longest, scariest day of my life.
He had - and still has - a lot of support. People all over the world have been praying for him. I was praying.
I spent hours at a time by his bedside while he was in intensive care. Sitting quietly, holding his hand. He was in an induced coma for eight days. They ended up putting him on temporary dialysis so they could wake him up. One of the nurses told me that he was under "industrial strength" sedation, and that was the only way to get it out of his system.
I always had a feeling that he was going to be okay. About a week after the surgery, we passed M's surgeon in the corridor and he looked at us with a smug little smirk on his face, and I knew he was going to make it.
The day I walked into intensive care and saw M looking back at me, I almost lost it. When the nurse asked him if he knew who I was, and M nodded, I was so happy. Then the nurse said "is she the love of your life?", and when he nodded again, I started crying. I couldn't help it. I'll always remember that as one of the best moments of my life.
His story is one that is going to be spoken about for years to come. Even the surgeon wasn't expecting him to survive. The amount of damage his body, and particularly his heart, had copped was ridiculous. His blood was septic. Lesions on every organ. Hole in his heart. Partially collapsed lungs full of emboli. Pneumonia as well, I found out later. Enlarged liver and spleen. Damaged kidneys. The inner strength he has is incredible. Not only did he beat the odds, he left the medical profession slack-jawed and bug-eyed in his wake.
M has been home for three weeks. Now we have to come to terms with what our lives have become. At 32, he has two new heart valves. One mechanical, one pig tissue. He has a large graft to seal the hole where the infection was eating away. He also has a pacemaker for life, because he lost a lot of the conductive heart tissue that keeps his heart beating regularly. He calls himself some sort of human/machine/pig concoction. It makes me cringe. I refer to him as my bionic man. It has a nice ring to it.
He's getting stronger every day - walking around the house, finding things to keep himself amused. It will be another 2-3 months before he can go back to work, and I doubt that he'll be able to go back to his storeman role. Too much heavy lifting, labour and stress. Two days ago he got clearance to drive again, and he's stoked. No more being housebound when he isn't going to doctors appointments and blood tests.
A couple of weeks ago M asked me what I would have done if he hadn't survived. I told him I honestly didn't know - because I don't. I didn't even want to entertain the thought when he was at his worst. I couldn't bear to think about it.
He promised me, mere moments before they wheeled him into surgery, that he wouldn't leave me. And he didn't.
That's all that matters.