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July 7, 2010 Back in Hospital


Yesterday was a pretty crazy day for Greg. We arrived at the hospital around 9am for his bi-weekly heart transplant clinic appointment. Every time Greg goes they draw blood to check a lot of numbers (such as electrolytes, liver function, etc.) so see how he's really doing (just looking at him or examining him from the outside doesn't give very clear information).

Greg also needed to have two samples of blood taken for various medical trials that he's agreed to participate in- they will hopefully help future heart failure patients to experience less organ-rejection and to diagnose ARVD easier. Because of hospital protocols, it took a few extra hours to get all the blood drawn and we finished barely in time to grab something to eat at the Healthy Heart cafe upstairs before going to the transplant support group.

The support group was very informative but overwhelming. The topic was medications and doctors visits post-transplant, and included a lot of information on living with immuno-suppression. We have lots to remember and process from that time.

As we got home and were unlocking the door to our apartment, we received a phone call from the heart clinic. They had the numbers back from Greg's blood test and his potassium level was dangerously low. Because low potassium can contribute to dangerous arrhythmias (and Greg's ventricular tachycardia has been more frequent lately) they wanted to admit him to the hospital overnight so that he could have IV potassium. The doctors also decided it was best to have a heart catheterization performed on Wednesday (today). Greg was due to have one some time this month, and they decided that while he was in the hospital they should go ahead with it. The heart cath. is the best way to measure his heart function (how much blood is going out and in, how much pressure is building up in his lungs, etc.) and to determine how his heart failure has progressed since April (which is when he had his last heart cath.).

It's now Wednesday morning and Greg has had 4 IV bags of Potassium so far and will receive 2 more this morning. Greg won't be allowed to go home until the potassium level in his blood is safe, and we're really hoping that these 6 doses will be enough. The heart catheterization is scheduled for noon.

Please pray for Greg. Because he's had the procedure so many times, he has become less sensitive to some of the anesthesia they use during the cath. and is therefore fully awake during the procedure. While it isn't very painful, it is scary and extremely uncomfortable for him. Please pray that they'll be able to play the Christian music station for him (he says that's always calming when they can find it on the radio- he just focuses on the songs during the procedure and it helps him relax) and that the surgeon would do a good, quick, and safe job. Please also pray for Greg to get some good rest while we're here. He feels stir-crazy and really wishes that we were home where he could walk his laps, swim in the pool to cool off, etc. but if he can sleep he might be able to catch up on some much needed rest!

Another thing that happened over the past few days is that we were rear-ended while driving on I-70E (a major road that connects to the DC beltway). Our car has a bunch of scrapes on the bumper but no other visible problems. However this happened before (our first week after moving to Northern Virginia!) and there was substantial damage that wasn't visible from the outside. I haven't had a chance to call insurance yet but we did get a police report on the accident so we know that we'll be covered in case things are worse than they look. Please pray that I (Elise) would be able to balance the things I need to do and prioritize them well. It's easy to run myself into the ground when Greg's in the hospital and I'm trying to figure out a way to balance being with and taking care of him, checking on our cat, etc. Also please pray for "Christy" (not her real name) who rear ended us. She's going through a difficult time right now and is a single mother who is having a hard time making ends meet. Our hearts really broke for her and I've been thinking and praying for her a lot since the accident.

Thanks for your continued prayers on our behalf. We'll let you know what we find out from the heart catheterization as soon as we're able.

With love and gratitude, Greg and Elise

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