As odd as it might sound to all of you, I am relieved that I have finally gotten the surgery scheduled. I am anxious to say the least, but am looking forward to getting back on the mend.

I will be admitted on Tuesday, Aug 4, 2009 into Good Samaritan (Kearney, NE) for my surgery.  I do have some pre-operative work (labs, chest X-rays, medical history) scheduled for Monday, Aug 3.

Tuesday, Tracie and I met with Dr. Michael Bibler about my condition.  Dr. Bibler was very professional, candid, and explained everything to both of us.  The surgical procedure was detailed, without being graphic.  All of the possible risks and side effects were spelled out one by one.

Dr. Bibler layed it all out like this.  On Tuesday, I have to check in at 5:00 am.  I will be prepped for surgery including a special disinfecting shower, and shave my chest.  Sometime around 6:00 I should be rolled into the OR.  I will have two procedures to “fix” my broken heart.  A mechanical valve will replace my stenotic (stiff) aortic valve, and a my aortic stem will be repaired to make it smaller.  Aortic stenosis causes the stem to become enlarged, or “pouch out”.  Dr. Bibler may also decide to remove the aortic stem and replace it with a valve and stem assembly. Both procedures require that my chest be opened, my sternum be split, exposing my heart.

The surgery could take approximately 3-4 hours.  After surgery I will remain on the breathing machine for 4-6 hours while I’m being monitored.  During this time I will remain in the cardiac intensive care unit.  Dr. Bibler said that Tracie will be able to see me in the CICU.  As soon as I am taken of the breathing equipment, I will be moved into my own room, and will remain in the hospital for about a week.

My recovery will take about 4 weeks.  Dr. Bibler has told me that he will not let me drive for at least 4 weeks.  I will also make numerous visits for cardiac therapy during my recovery.

Thank you to all of you for your warm thoughts and prayers.  These will be so helpful as me and my family go through this together.