Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 48 - So how much does heart surgery cost?

March 28, 2012

Covering a couple days news here. Food pictures are being held for the next post.

As the subject line says, So how much does heart surgery cost? We'll get to that in a minute. First, rehab news. And no cheating by skipping down a few paragraphs. lol

So yesterday I had rehab. It went okay from my perspective. The Airdyne bike gives me the best work out. Megan, one of my rehab techs, says that an airdyne bike gives a better workout than any other piece of equipment. And I believe it. The airdyne can either be used for your arms or your legs. I'm currently doing 3 minutes with my arms and am at level 0.6. With my legs I'm doing 7 minutes and reaching level 1.5. I don't know exactly how the level is determined but it reflects the amount of "work" or "energy" you are expending.

I also lifted some weights. A whole 3 pounds in each hand. Haha. Sadly, by the time I'm done with my 3 minute weightlifting, they feel more than 3 pounds. O_O I only get through about three-fourths of the exercises on the board but the techs have said they will be increasing the amount of time I'm allowed to do weights so I'll get to do the entire board eventually.

I also walk around the track and use a NuStep recumbent cross trainer. I get a decent workout from the cross trainer. Walking is at my pace so I can't say that's too hard or too easy.

But enough of my rehab info. Let's get to the stuff you really wanted to see. So, how much does open heart surgery cost these days?

Well, my situation is a little unique although maybe not as much as I think. If I hadn't had as much blockage as I did, I would have had a couple stents put in and been out of the hospital probably a week sooner than I was. Unfortunately, my left coronary artery had blockage on a couple of the "branches", one had 100% blockage and another had 90% at the top and 70% further down. It was the 100% and 90% blockage that was the problem, if I remember all of it correctly. So open heart surgery was the only other option. And from the reports I've got from my insurance company, that isn't cheap.

As of March 26, 2012, the total cost of my "visit" to the hospital has bee $182,450.30. Yes, you read that correctly, One hundred eighty-two thousand four-hundred fifty dollars and thirty cents. I'm glad I had insurance.

The Heart Institute visit cost $4,821.00. Surgery and related costs were $175,128.28. Post-op visits, etc. - $1,769.00. Drugs have cost $2,501.02 so far. I hope to be getting off of some of the drugs I'm taking in a few months. But I'll still be on the full batch until at least 3 months from now when I get my heart checked to see how the arteries and capillaries are doing.

And there will be more costs still. I have the rehab that I'm sure isn't free. Plus follow-up doctor appointments, blood work for cholesterol, an ultrasound to check my heart, drugs, etc.

Well, there it is. The cost of heart surgery here in northeast Indiana. Obviously that cost can be more or less depending on where you live. And that cost is without any discounts negotiated by your insurance company. Mine insurance company had discounts. The cost was still well over $100,000 but not the full $182k.

Next time we'll get back to pictures of food, more rehab news, and an update from my post-op visit with Dr. Sowden, my heart surgeon.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Day 41-45 - Six week check-up and Food Gallery!

March 21-25, 2012

I've fallen behind. I don't know how I got this far behind but I did. It doesn't really matter, I'm here to fix that :)

I've only got 5 days of "Stuff" to cover so that should take long. Anyway, let's get on to the "Stuff".

Last week I went to see my cardiologist on Thursday. I was also supposed to see my surgeon but he was not in the office on Thursday so we had to reschedule that appointment. However, the cardiologist visit went well. Dr. Robertson said I looked a lot better than I did when he visited me in the hospital. He listened to my lungs and my heartbeat. Those are both sounding real good.

Then he answered some questions about things that I've been experiencing. For one, my back has been hurting at least since I've been home, maybe longer. It's hard to tell when you've been on pain medication how long something has been hurting. Dr. Robertson said the back pain is normal from the surgery I had. And it will go away in time.

I also feel pressure sometimes below my ribcage. Like my bottom ribs are "pushing" other body parts. Turns out that is what is actually going on as my body heals. Everything is settling back into place after having been pulled apart in the middle. Again, it's one of those things that will go away as my body heals. Knowing now that some of these "odd" things are normal makes me feel a lot better. I was beginning to wonder if I had messed something up by trying to do too much since I'd been home. Sounds like that's a no.

Lisa and I ate at the new cafeteria at Parkview Regional. It's bigger than the old one. And more up to date. And there is a bigger selection of food. sadly, the prices also went up a little. Not too much but enough that we noticed. The food bars in the picture are only half of all of them.

Every time we go out to the new hospital I'm amazed at how big the campus is and how much room they still have to grow. There's even a walking trail. If only they were a little closer to home.
Main building complex. Need to find a better place for a picture.

The little red roofed building is the start of the walking trail
 One thing I am enjoying is the chance to get outside. And now the flowers are starting to push through the ground and bloom.
Paperwhites in the backyard
Lisa and I also got in a lot of walking the last 5 days. Not sure which days we walked but we figured last night that we've done about two hours worth of walking. We walked 30 minutes last night alone. For those of you that know where we live, we went from our house almost to State St., turned around and then down past Lake Ave. to the gas station and back home.  We'll walk again today if the weather is good. It's cooled off a little bit here but still decent. Just not 70+ degrees outside.

That's really all the news I've got for the last few days. How about some food pictures?
The potatoes and broccoli was called an entree. That is not my kind of entree.

My kind of sandwich!

I made this!. hehe. I added in some chopped sweet peppers.

This was really good for micro-food. Really good

Chicken Stir Fry made by Kristin

That's it for today. Lenny is grumping about being stuck in the den with me. Poor boy. Cya next time!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 39 & 40 - Birthdays and Rehab

March 19 & 20

March 19
For breakfast I had blueberry waffles with blueberries, juice, and coffee.

For lunch Lisa and I had leftovers; Chow Mein and Cheesy Turkey pasta. I also had Mandarin Oranges, Apple juice, and coffee.

Today was Lisa's birthday. We went out for dinner last night to celebrate with her Mom and Dad and sister Brenda. Her Mom's birthday was this last weekend so it was a double celebration. We went to Applebee's. I had a steak, herb potatoes, and a portabella mushroom cap stuffed with spinach.

Afterwards we came back to our house for dessert. Kristin and Lisa had made a Red Velvet cake. We also had ice cream. I had French Silk. Good food.
Kristin, Lisa, and I  (from right to left)
March 20
Today I went to the new Parkview Regional Hospital to continue my rehab. Wow, this place is big. Bigger than it looks. And very nice. We found my cardiologists office and surgeons office on the way to rehab. Then I did my exercises. I was a little bummed out that I had gained 3 pounds since last Tuesday, the last time I was at rehab. I guess I didn't have enough fruits and veggies last week O_O
New cadio rehab room at Parkview Regional

There's a small sitting area for family members and then the main exercise area. Most of the equipment came over from State Street but I think they lost a treadmill. This room isn't quite as wide as the old one was. I wish I had taken a picture of the old one for comparison.

Breakfast today was cereal. Did you really expect something else? Hehe. For lunch Lisa and I went to the Dairy Queen down the street. They have their hot foods half on on Tuesdays at lunch time. Ha! There's a deal I can't turn down. We had Grilled Iron Country Club sandwiches and shared an order of French Fries.

For dinner I had soup, a hot dog, mandarin oranges, and milk.

I began limited duty work from home this week. I'm limited in the number of hours I'm allowed to work. And I have to balance that with my rehab. The rehab and healing has to come before the work.

That's it for tonight. My back has been bothering me all day. Can't seem to get it to stop hurting no matter what I do. Maybe a little rest will help.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 37 & 38 - Going to the dogs

March 17 & 18

The weather has continued its higher than normal temps. Not complaining one bit about that. It has given me the opportunity to get outside so many times to enjoy the fresh air. I've even managed to sit on the edge of the deck while outside with Lisa and the dogs. I'm feeling a lot better even though I still have several weeks of rehab yet to go.

Getting our dogs to pose for a picture has to be one of the most difficult things to do. They do not want to look at the camera. They do not want to stand still. Springtime is in the air and all they really want to do is smell the fresh air, the growing grass, and whatever other springtime smells are in the air. And we want them to pose for a picture? Silly people. Hahaha.

We did finally manage to get a few pictures of me with them. Top picture is Spring Hill (left), Lenny (right), and I. Bottom picture is Georgia and I. Spring and Lenny are both retired greyhounds. Georgia is American Bulldog/Jack Russel mix.

I lost track of what I had to eat for breakfast and lunch on the 17th. We had Subway for dinner.

On the 18th I had cereal with blueberries for breakfast, left over Subway for lunch, and dinner was...geez, it was just last night. Am I that forgetful? I rely on pictures way too much. Hehe.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Special Recipe post

I while ago my Dad asked for the recipe for the Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf. I finally had Lisa get me Kristin's recipe book last night. It was in a spot where I wasn't sure I could reach it without messing something up. Better safe than sorry. So anyway, here it is...

Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf

1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 cup barbecue sauce
2 egg whites
1/2 to 3/4 cup of onion, depending on your tastes
pepper to taste

Cooking directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine turkey, bread, 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, egg whites, onions, and pepper mix. Place in loaf pan. Spread 1/2 cup barbecue sauce over loaf. Bake 1 hour.

There are a lot of recipes in this book. And just looking at some of the names is making me hungry. "White Bean Chicken Chili", "BBQ Chicken Pizza", "Pasta Primavera".

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day 36 - Food, Sun, and Fun

March 14, 15, & 16

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!!

The weather has been great the last few days. Lisa and I took the Greyhounds for a walk on Wednesday. The greys are so funny. The further we got from the house, the more tired they acted. And we didn't even go for a long walk. On the way back towards the house they both acted like they were dying. Lenny was so slow it was like he was 90 or 100. Spring Hill kept wanting to walk in the grass instead of the street. And then she'd get in the grass and almost stop in her tracks. Haha. What a laugh I got from them. Lisa wasn't laughing so much but those two greys are so dramatic you have to laugh at them.

We went walking again Thursday and Friday. Friday it got into the 80's. Not our normal March temperatures here in Indiana. Lisa and I went back down to the Dairy Queen after dinner to get a Blizzard (Friday). They are having a buy one get one for 99 cents special. Half of mine is in the freezer this morning waiting for me to finish it. We pass the Dairy Queen on our walks. It is maybe 1/8 of a mile from our house.

On Thursday Lisa and I drove up to Autoline in Butler, IN. I've been cleared by the doctor to work part time from home and I needed to talk to my boss Tony and pick up a few documents. It was great to see some of my co-workers that I've not seen in a couple months. I didn't get to see all of them but I will in time.

To answer Aunt Shirley's question: I've lost around 17 pounds from what I weighed in the hospital. But I think I gained a couple pounds while in the hospital so I'm not sure how much in all that I've lost. At least 12 and probably a little more than that.

I'll be posting a recipe (or two) real soon. Hopefully today but if not at least tomorrow. Have to get Kristin's recipe book so I can post the requested recipe.

The weather is beautiful again this morning. We have most of the windows in the house open, letting in lots of fresh air. The sun is shining and I'm inside typing a blog. ROFL.

Enough of that...on to the menu!

~ The Menu ~
Wednesday, March 14

I decided I wanted something different for breakfast on Wednesday so I fixed a couple eggs. They were supposed to be over-easy but didn't come out quite that way. Guess I'm not completely back to my old cooking abilities. I had a piece of toast, strawberries & blueberries, and juice with my eggs.

Lunch was a simple affair; a roast beef sandwich and tortilla chips.

For dinner Lisa fixed beef stew. I had that over a piece of bread and peas on the side. A glass of milk washed it all down.

Thursday, March 15

Cereal for breakfast. I forget which kind. We have four boxes of cereal open on the kitchen. Cereal is yummy.

For lunch Lisa and I went to this little Chinese/Italian place near our house called Orange Garden. We both ordered from the Chinese part of the menu. Egg drop soup and Rice noodles for me. Lisa ordered the Chicken and Vegetable platter. The servings were really big for lunch orders. We ended up with enough left to have Chinese for dinner (Kristin was at lab at dinner time).
Egg Drop soup

Rice Noodles with pork

Chicken and Vegetable platter with Fried Rice

Friday, March 16

Breakfast cereal again. Chocolate mini wheats. With milk of course. And some grapes on the side. No picture. I was hungry.

Lunch was simple again. A Rosemary Chicken entree. I had a chocolate cupcake for dessert. Kristin made these cupcakes and she says they are healthy. Taste too good to be healthy but I'll believe her.


Dinner was cheesy turkey with pasta, corn, milk, and bread & butter. I had a tangelo after dinner because I thought I was still hungry.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 33 - Critters, food, and my missing...

March 14, 2012

A few posts back I mentioned I was going to post a picture of my roommies. I am unable to sleep in the waterbed like Lisa so we had to rent me one of those electric reclining chairs. The kind that will also lift you out if you need the help. We had this chair put in the family room so we could close the door and keep the dogs from trying to jump on my lap. That isn't so much an issue now since I've healed quite a bit but in the early days of being back home it was definitely a concern.

Soooo, I've got these three little fellas I share the family room sleeping space with; Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. Yes, those are indeed rats in that picture. These are not the kind you would find roaming the streets though. They were bred in Ohio by Raffinhouse Rattery and their litter is registered with the North American Rat Registry. I plan on getting them individually registered with the American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association this Spring.

They are all Russian Blue Seal Point colored. Alvin and Simon are black eyed Dwarves (they are about half the size of Theo). Theodore is a ruby eyed Dumbo (standard size but with really large ears). They are super friendly and very funny. They like to climb around like monkeys. LOL
Alvin and Theodore are on the bottom, Theo is the one on the left. Simon is on the top.

Yesterdays menu was fairly simple. Blueberry shredded wheat for breakfast. Tilapia, rice, and pasta for lunch. Fish sticks, green beans, pineapple, and milk for supper.

The temperature here has been great for outdoor stuff. It got into the 70's today. Made it so nice. I was able to go outside with Lisa and the dogs to get some fresh air. Lisa and I went for a walk in the afternoon as well. Again it was just around the neighborhood but it is so refreshing. And I know the fresh outdoor air does me a lot of good as I continue to heal.

Last but not least, sometime during the first couple weeks of being home I commented to Lisa about freezing my butt off in the hospital and I still seemed to be cold very often at home. Basically still freezing my butt off. She said that yes, I seemed to have lost my butt. Well, it's been several weeks since then and my butt has not returned so I guess we are going to have to head over to the hospital one of these days and visit every place I was where I may have lost my butt.

There's only a few places it can be: Cath lab, surgery, telemetry unit 3. Hmm, I wonder if it might be at the lost & found???

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day 32 - Recovery & Food! & other Stuff!

March 13, 2012

Well it looks like I missed a few days posting. Nothing real exciting has happened since the last post.

Saturday night we had pizza. Yes, PIZZA!!! Yay!!! I was excited until I realized I only got two pieces. Yes. Two. Pieces. Sad panda.

It was a healthy pizza. Not sure of the brand or anything. Lisa and Kristin picked it up at the store. That's how I know it's healthy. I do know it was chicken something or other. And it was good. All two pieces. hehe.
Look how empty my plate looks. There really needs to be at least a third piece on there. Hahaha.

We had company for dinner. They didn't get much. In fact, I'm not sure they got anything. I guess that might explain the sad faces. Those aren't sad panda faces though. They are sad puppy-dog faces.

Sunday we all went out for my Father-in-laws birthday. We went to Flanagan's Pub for dinner. I had the Sicilian Chicken. It was good. I had enough left over for lunch on Monday. Lisa, Kristin, and I shared a quesadilla for an appetizer. That was really good.

After we got home and let the dog out, Lisa and I went to Lakeside Park which is near our house. Since the temperature was in the upper 60's, we decided it was a good idea for me to get in a walk. And the park seemed like a good place for that.

That's all the news I have for today. I've got rehab later today. Only have the one this week. The rehab folks and all of their stuff are moving from the location near us to the new regional hospital that is located further out north. I'm a little bummed out about that. They are only 5 minutes away from where we live now. When they get moved they will be about 20 minutes away. But I'll get over it.

I'm hoping we have some nice weather the rest of the week so I can go walk at the park again. Or even just around the neighborhood.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 27 - Menu and recovery news

March 8, 2012

I'm going to combine both the menu and recovery posts today, mostly because I only have one picture for the menu. Hehe.

Breakfast consisted of a bowl of cereal while watching "Holmes on Homes" on the HGTV channel. Yup, I went real light on the breakfast this morning. It was a rehab day and we needed to get moving a little earlier so we didn't feel rushed like Tuesday. Not only that but we also wanted to eat lunch at Parkview so we really had to get moving earlier than Tuesday.

For lunch I had a Turkey Burger, Macaroni salad, and pickle spear at Parkview. I also got a Spinach Chicken Salad wrap to go.

Dinner was the Spinach Chicken Salad wrap and leftover Chicken and Noodles from the other day. With a glass of CranRaspberry juice. I had a Blueberry muffin for desert.

I had a decent day at rehab. Six minutes each on four different machines. All working the legs. Lisa and Kristin didn't feel like walking the track with me today so I opted to use the treadmill instead. That was the fourth machine.

I was able to increase the wattage output I had on each machine above Tuesdays which is a positive. Wattage is the measurement method they use at rehab. The more wattage, the more you "worked". I worked enough today to get a little sweat going. Not much as they don't want you to work too hard but enough to know that I was working. My blood pressure at the end was also very good. 102 over 65. All in all a good day.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 26 - Recovery news

March 7, 2012

Today was another one of those days where I seemed "Sloooow".

The day didn't start that way. But as the day wore on it seemed as if I moved slower and slower. I know, I'm supposed to have days like this. It just always feels weird when I do.

It was most noticeable when Lisa and I went to the grocery. We decided to take a little walk at the strip mall where the grocery is located. It was a really nice day out with the temperature over 60 degrees so a walk sounded like a good idea. We got to the half way point from the grocery to the other end of the strip where we decided to turn around. Probably a good thing as by the time we got back to the car I was walking as slow "as a snail" according to Lisa. I could tell I was moving slow as I couldn't keep up with Lisa which isn't the norm.

After we got back home, I realized I needed a rest, something I have not been needing on most days. I reclined in my "bed" for an hour or so. I napped some. I snored according to Kristin. Guess I was tired, eh?

One good thing about the day. We found a used cardio treadmill at a store in the mall. After doing a little research online it sounds like this is a pretty good deal for a home treadmill. We're going back down to the store tomorrow or Friday and if it's still there we're going to go ahead and get it. We'll put it in Kristin's old playroom after a little cleaning in there. A home treadmill is probably just the thing to go along with my rehab.

I've got rehab again tomorrow. I'm hoping today's walk doesn't affect me tomorrow. I don't think it will if I get enough sleep. I just hope I don't sleep in late again. That always seems to put me in a funk of some kind. Maybe that is making me feel "Slow" as well. Hmm.

Day 24 - 26 Menu

March 5, 6, & 7, 2012

Trying to catch up on all the good food I've had the last few days in one shot.

March 5
  • Blueberry Shredded wheat. I may have had something else with the cereal but I don't remember what it was.

Lisa and I went to a little Mexican place near out house to try it out. I had the Chicken Burrito special, which came with rice and refried beans. The food was very good and we had left-overs because there was so much. Although I'm certain that before my surgery I could have eaten everything on my plate, I've noticed that I now seem to get full a lot faster than I used to. (No picture. I forgot the phone)

  • Talapia
  • Corn
  • Rice
  • Milk

March 6
Not sure what I had for breakfast. Probably cereal since it's my favorite breakfast food.

We had our left-overs from the Mexican restaurant for lunch today. The food was good even reheated, which isn't always the case.

Chicken and noodles over Mashed Potatoes with Green Beans. 
Juice to wash it down.
Chicken and noodles are one of my favorite foods, I think. It's just a down home type of food. One of those comfort foods you just really like.

March 7
  • Breakfast
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Toast
  • Banana
  • Orange Juice

Leftovers again today for lunch. This time is was that really good Bar-B-Que Turkey meatloaf Kristin made along with mashed sweet potatoes. Had a few peaches and milk to go with eat. Watch for the Bar-B-Que Turkey Meatloaf recipe in an upcoming post. I'm waiting for Kristin to give it to me.

  • Santa Fe Style Salad with Chicken
  • Santa Fe Chicken Soup
  • Grilled Cheese sandwich (half of one)
  • CranRaspberry juice
  • Coffee

Cantaloupe with Raspberries, Blueberries, and Blackberries. Nom, nom, nom

Woot! Posted three days worth of meals. All caught up!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day 24 & 25 - Recovery

March 5 & 6, 2012

Making a double post today for recovery news. Hopefully I get the menu back on track tomorrow. I've forgot to take pictures a couple. Whoopsies!

Monday Lisa and I went to Glenbrook Mall near our house so I could get some walking in. We did a little window shopping while we were at it. Also stopped at the Starbucks and got a Latte'. It was a nice and relaxing time.

Today I had my first "real" day of rehab. I got on three different machines, each working the lower part of my body. That's where my focus will be for the next few weeks until my breastbone is fully healed. That should be at about eight weeks after surgery. I did each machine for six minutes then moved to the next machine. Six minutes is where they started me at but it seemed very easy to go that long. They will move me up over time.

I then walked for six minutes around the track. Lisa and Kristin were able to walk with me. Kristin set the pace so I wouldn't go too slow. LOL. She set a pace that felt good and kept me moving.

Throughout my exercising the technicians would check me blood pressure. It didn't jump too high. I think the highest I heard was 120 over 60 or around there. I wasn't paying real close attention since they have televisions mounted on the wall. Haha. Of course, they have me on a heart monitor the entire time.

Cya until next time!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 23 - Menu

March 4, 2012

Posting a little late in the day today. Later than I normally would.

  • Waffles
  • Strawberries
  • Orange juice

I finished the leftover Subway sub that I had plus some triscuits and goldfish. Washed it down with some milk. Forgot to snag a picture.

  • Bar-B-Que Turkey meatloaf (Kristin's recipe). Healthy and tastes great too!
  • Carrots
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • CranRaspberry juice

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day 23 - Recovery

March 4, 2012

Thought I'd post an update on my incisions just so those of you who are interested and not freaked out by that stuff can see the progress. I'll post the incision pictures at a small setting. Maybe that will help not freak everyone out. Click on the picture to see it closer.

First, as I said a while back, all the dogs seem to be taking turns checking up on me. Here is Spring Hill taking her turn.

Next, I've got a picture of my arm incision. Most of the glue is gone and the incision is healing up nicely. Not sure if all the redness will fade but most of it should. Right now I can still feel a little "tightness" when I turn my arm a certain way thanks to the little bit of glue that is still there.

Last, I've got a picture that I debated not even posting. It's one of my chest incision. There are several scabs from when the incision was seeping blood after I came home. The scabs are stuck to the glue which hasn't all come loose yet. The glue is starting to let loose though so we've got good progress there. It still hurts when I laugh though.