This all started about 3 weeks ago when my father began to experience a bad cough and chest tightness. He had been out of the gym for awhile due to a bad back injury so of course he chalked it off as being out of shape. As the days went on he began to develop fevers and the shortness of breath became worse. Last Wednesday (9/13) he went to the emergency department at St Johns. Upon admission, they were concerned about his symptoms that he had been experiencing and started him on a blood thinning medication. They were concerned for clots in his lungs, however, it was soon realized that he did not have clots in his lungs and he was given some blood due to his low blood counts. Long story short a few tests were done and some other diagnoses such as cancer were ruled out. They concluded that my father was experiencing sepsis due to a blood stream infection around his heart lining and his lungs. He was diagnosed with a term called endocarditis.
The team at St johns started IV antibiotics and monitored him for a few days and ran other diagnostic tests to figure out where the infection in his blood was coming from. On Saturday morning (9/16) the doctors had concluded from seeing a picture of his heart that he had a very large vegetation or in other words, giant ball of bacteria, attached to his pulmonary valve. One of the major 4 valves in the heart that directly impacts the lungs. Not only did he have a house full of bacteria on his valve but that valve was also leaking into the lungs. St. johns at that moment felt it was best to transfer him to the U of M hospital in Minneapolis where a cardio-thoracic surgeon was on call.
My father transferred to the U where they continued antibiotics for a few days in hopes that it would kick the infection . As the days passed though there were no signs of my fathger getting better. He continued to have temperatures and his breathing became harder to manage without oxygen. The doctors did a chest xray & repeat echo too look at the heart to see if anything was changing. Unfortunately, it was and my dads vegetation not only grew larger with more bacteria but his lungs were also filling up with fluid now. They completed a quick procedure to try to drain the fluids and they took a quick look at his hearts arteries. On Wednesday (9/20) it was decided by family, the cardio-thoracic surgeons and his medical team that an open heart surgery to replace the valve was his only chance at beating this horrible infection.
He went into surgery (9/22) and into the icu that night. The surgeon said the valve was destroyed and that he actually had 2 masses of bacteria on his heart, one they couldn't even see with imaging. For now its just a waiting game. if everything goes as planned, he will be in the ICU for a few days and then in the hospital for about a week to ten days. He will either transfer home from there with in home health or go to a rehab facility where he can get even stronger. My dad has a long road ahead of him but we are confident that his never quit mentality and positive attitude will be what gets him through all of this.
Please all we ask is that you send positive vibes our way and keep my father in your thoughts and prayers! He is a tough guy and we are confident he will make it out ofthis but out of respect to his healing process, we are only letting close family and friends visit him at this time. Thank you for taking the time to read Kevin's story & we sincerely appreciate all those who have reached out to us and sent their positive thoughts our way. For now, we will keep you up to date on this page and as often as we can about my dads road to recovery :)
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