Well, It has been a good week overall for Joseph. His new heart seems to be very healthy and strong. The first few days after surgery, even though he can answer questions and interact with us, are mostly a blur. Today he was feeling well enough to sit up and work on a puzzle book that a friend gave him, and watch a movie. The last couple of days he has wanted to do those things, but has dropped off to sleep pretty fast. Its amazing to me that less than a week after this kind of procedure that Joseph can be up, walking, sitting, and eating whatever he likes.
No stay at the hospital would be complete for Joseph with out a set back or two. He has never been the textbook 'easy' recovery patient. When his pacemaker was first installed, the surgeon put in an extra lead wire just in case one of the other two didn't work properly for some reason. This turned out to be a good thing because a year or two later one of the leads did indeed stop functioning. So plugging the spare wire into the battery was a relatively simple procedure that only required a small incision to get access to the pacemaker. Implanting new leads requires major surgery through the ribcage to gain access to the heart and that wasn't needed in order to use the extra lead wire. Well, the point of this little story is that the surgeon doing the transplant was unaware that the faulty wire was still inside of Joseph, so when he removed the pacemaker, he only removed the two wires he could see, not the other one. When this extra wire was noticed on his x-rays after surgery, it was in the chest cavity and didn't seem to be causing any problem so the decision was made to let it be. It been in there for six years or so now without problems. As long as it stayed put it wasn't likely to be an issue. However, on today's x-ray, they noticed that the wire seemed to be shifting around. Not a bad problem this minute, but potentially, it could perforate the bowel or cause other problems in the future. So Joseph went back into the operating room for about two or three hours today to have that wire removed. It is a blessing that taking out the wire is not nearly as big a deal as putting it in would have been. The doctor was able to remove it using the laparoscope tool that just needs two or three small holes. The is the same thing they use to do gall bladder and appendix operations that are common out-patient procedures. So no real big deal at all, just a small molehill in Joseph's recovery. It shouldn't add any extra time to his overall stay.
When I talked to Wendy at 4:30, she said Joseph was up fine with minor tenderness in his abdomen. Compared to the setbacks Joe has had with other operations and stays in the hospital this one is pretty minor.
I want to thank all of you for the prayers, kind words, gifts, etc. that you have been sending our way. I am confident that the reason things are going so smoothly is because of the combined faith of all of you in Josephs behalf. If you want to send a card or package for Joseph, it would be best to just send it to our house and we'll take it up to him. One of us is with him every day. Our address: 701 North 900 West, Orem, UT, 84057
Brad & Wendy