On the Ropes - Tom Roper

On the Ropes - Tom Roper

Complications of heart surgery a roller coaster

Tom recounts the ordeal of his daughter-in-law’s post-surgery infection; says thanks to well-wishers

I am writing this week from a B and B in Cleveland Ohio. My son’s wife has just gotten out of her fifth surgery. She is now in recovery from a bacterial infection that developed four weeks after her open-heart surgery. It has been a roller coaster ride for the whole family.

The initial surgery was well-planned. The Cleveland Clinic has a worldwide reputation for successful heart surgeries.

Mike had a B and B rented 15 minutes from the hospital. His mother had flown out to look after the kids and all was in place.

The first surgery was successful, the aorta had been grafted and the bicuspid valve rebuilt. After a follow-up five days later they drove the seven hours back to their home just south of Charlottesville in Virginia.

It was my shift now and I flew into Washington D.C., took the metro train to Union Station and caught the Amtrak to Charlottesville.

Mike picked me up and we drove out to the farm. Kristi, his wife was in good spirits and it was the first meeting of my new granddaughter Abigail, born during the pandemic.

I felt lucky, it looked as if my shift was going to be a good one. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case as five days later Kristi developed some back pain issues and went to emergency to get checked.

Something was wrong. She had a serious infection and they needed to operate immediately to flush her chest cavity.

Everything changed in the blink of an eye and before you knew it she was being medivaced by air ambulance to the Cleveland clinic.

It was touch and go and I never felt so distressed in my entire life. I even had to call on my Facebook friends to send their prayers of hope and love.

Kristi is awake now and her Doctors are keeping a close eye on her. The antibiotics are doing their job.

Her surgeon said there was only a .05 per cent ​chance of infection from a reaction to foreign material used in the heart graft. Unfortunately, she was part of that percentage.

The past has passed and now we are looking forward to recovery.

Thanks to all those who sent their love. Every bit has helped tremendously.