We had a visit back to the hospital yesterday, for another echo cardiogram, as it is now a month since Liz had her operation.
It is routine to apparently check on these things, and although there was some confusion over whether the check would be a normal ultrasound or the more unpleasant trans-oesophageal echo (TOE), fortunately only the former was required.
The appointment was for 11am and luckily we were a little early as they were running to schedule. I accompanied Liz into the room for the scan, although the doctor was not keen and throughout the procedure consigned me to a chair in the corner, and warned me of the pain and suffering I would experience, for all eternity, in the event I moved from this position. Her caring NHS attitude clearly didn’t extend to mere husbands, and she quite obviously felt she could do a better job of supporting my wife than I could!
The procedure itself involves the injection of an agitated saline mixture into the bloodstream while monitoring the heart with an ultrasound probe from just underneath the left ribs. The view of the pumping heart, with the valves in perfect detail is remarkable. This was also the first view we had had of the Amplatzer device that had been fitted and the view, thankfully, was that it looked secure and perfectly positioned.
After another couple of injections with the saline and a manoeuvre Liz had to perform to tense up to put additional pressure on the heart for a second or two, it was all over.
The doctor then proceeded to inform us that she had seen 20 bubbles pass from one chamber to the other, indicating a ‘leak’ around the device. Given she had earlier explained that the sealing process for the device would probably be complete but in rare cases there was a problem (and in even rarer cases open heart surgery is required to correct the issue), this came as a bit of a shock.
She further explained that David Ward does not normally see people before 6 weeks and 3 months is the normal case for review, so we were at least comforted by the fact that we are still at an early stage.
So, we are back to the stage where we are waiting, anxiously again, to see what the future holds.
Life seems to be throwing everything it can at us at the moment, what with Liz’s stroke, then the Operation and now our house chain is looking decidedly shaky and my foot problem is refusing to show any signs of reacting positively to my regime of rest and icing for the past few weeks.
I wonder what is going to happen next to throw us off our charted course!