"It's like losing a wing at 35,000 feet, landing the airplane, and then calling it a great flight."
That was the analogy given to us this morning by the Director of Cardiac ICU about Eddie's operation yesterday. He was referring specifically to the release of the clot in his right ventricle on the operating table and the resulting pulmonary embolism (PE). We are just now getting the complete story of what happened and it appears the clot definitely did dislodge during the procedure and, with its significant size, should have been fatal. In fact, the same doctor told us he's never seen anything like it . . . the PE should have been "game, set, and match" for Eddie.
As you'd expect, this morning's rounds were about as celebratory as they get with an ICU staff. Eddie had virtually no bleeding overnight, and what little there was, was overwhelmingly serous. His blood pressure, after being elevated yesterday, dropped to normal levels. Lungs are clear, kidneys doing great, no pericardial effusion, no clots in the heart or Berlin pump, no fever, and as of a couple hours ago, no breathing tube. Lest we all get carried away with good news, he continues to have irregular heart rhythms so we are increasing his potassium levels and may need to put him back on amiodarone. No matter which way we slice it, however, we can't deny that we're thrilled with his progress and it's nothing short of remarkable.
Eddie's having a good morning and we're hoping to let him recover a bit from the craziness of the past few days. As I write, he's enjoying Sarah's dramatic interpretation of Horton Hears a Who!
We plan to leave the Heparin off today to limit any bleeding, but will watch his pump very carefully and will ECHO him this afternoon to make sure no clots are forming. If all goes well, we'll probably turn the Heparin back on tomorrow. As the ICU staff told us, this is definitely not a path they would ever follow for another patient (meaning actively turning off anti-coagulation treatment on an external heart pump), but as is clear, Eddie is a different kind of patient.
We are very conscious of the fact that any of these events (or numerous others) could happen again at any time and put Eddie in danger. However, we are celebrating the fact that he is with us today and know that he is being watched over.