May 28 – 8:30 AM (Jen)
And, just like that, after 10 days in the hospital, I brought Jimi home last night to continue his long recovery here.
He wants everyone to know he’ll post and reach out, as he can, in the next few days. It will be a long recovery and having him home will make it so much easier for him (and me).
I am absolutely positive all the prayers, well wishes and positive messages helped so much to get us to this point.
Jimi 2.0 is a newborn right now, but he will get stronger and be back as the force we all know and love.
I cannot say thank you enough and look forward to thanking each and every one of you in the near future.
May 26 – 8:00 AM (Jen)
Apologies for not posting yesterday. I went in to the hospital early in the day and then time got away from me.
Jimi’s recovery is moving in the right direction physically, thankfully.
He’s struggling emotionally due to lack of sleep and well, probably, just all the trauma his body has gone through. I’m hoping that once he can truly get some good, deep rest, he’ll feel better. The doctors and nurses are aware of his struggles and are doing what they can. Of course, I’ll head in there shortly to be there for him and hopefully that will help him rest a bit today.
We’re so blessed to have such a happy, peaceful life here at home. I think being in the hospital environment, having been under general anesthesia for so many hours and this whole process of recovery in ICU units would be a challenge for anyone.
Please, keep him in your thoughts and prayers today. He can do this, but as he knew it would be, it’s hard.
May 24 – 8:40 AM (Jen)
Jimi’s recovery is moving in the right direction. I think I counted at least 14 tubes, drains, wires, IVs, etc going in and out of him yesterday morning and by last night he was down to two IVs! And, these IVs having nothing attached to them – they just keep them in “in case” they’re needed.
He’s still getting meds, of course, but he either gets shots or pills at this time. He’s also eating much, much better – which is always a good sign. In fact, he was hoarding the crackers and peanut butter they brought him in the afternoon, saving them for a late night snack – which he did eat during the night last night.
He was finally moved back to Leilani’s Telemetry ICU department yesterday evening and had Janelle as his overnight nurse. All positive moves that make him happier and calmer. The room he is in is so much better and definitely much quieter. He finally had a decent night with some much-needed sleep. I’m not sure he’ll ever sleep enough there, but we’re happy with any he can get.
I brought him one of the battery operated candles we use at home. We keep one going all night on his desk here at the house so he can see what he’s doing if he gets up. I was hoping having the candle there would help him stay oriented if he woke up during the night in his hospital room.
I know he’s being well cared for medically, so I try to think of what I can do to help him emotionally and psychically to keep him calm and his spirits up. Having a couple small pillows from home and his candle along with his speaker (thank you Lee!) and his reader seem to go a long way in helping him feel a bit normal.
Here’s to another day with positive momentum in his recovery.
Again, thanks for all the love,
May 23 – 7:30 AM (Jen)
A pretty calm day yesterday, all things considered.
Jimi’s still in cardiac ICU and will possibly be moved today if a room opens up. The upside, if he’s able to move rooms, is there will be fewer IV lines attached to him. I don’t actually think they’re running anything in to him most of the time right now, but in CICU they have lines in his neck and wrists that have to remain as they continually monitor him….which I am grateful for. The neck lines don’t seem to bother him too much (probably freak me out more), but the wrist line is held in place with a type of splint that makes it near impossible for him to use that hand. These two aren’t typical IV lines. He has one of those in his left arm. The neck and right wrist lines are very deep lines that are placed by the doctors. When these are taken out, they will be wrapped tightly for at least a day to help them close up. We all know I’m no doctor, but this is how I understand things. (I’ll check with Leilani later for clarification).
With his right wrist in the aforementioned splint and an oxygen monitor on a finger of his left hand, doing simple things like eating are a bit of a challenge. Again, this challenge will be alleviated once he moves ICU rooms.
One of the cardiac surgery team doctors came by yesterday to check his chest tubes. There doesn’t seem to be much drainage anymore (thankfully), so he told us it’s likely those tubes can be removed today. While he doesn’t seem too bothered by these tubes, our friend Rick, who has had heart surgery also, told us it will be a huge relief when they remove them. Something for Jimi to look forward to happening.
He ate much better yesterday. I will call this a win and a move in the right direction. I wouldn’t say he ate a lot, but considering he didn’t really want to eat more than a bite or two the days before, yesterday was much better. He also asked for a snack last night about midnight and was given cheerios. He’s already asked when it will be okay for me to bring him food from home. Leilani told me the doctors will let us know when he’s in her department. Of course, there will be guidelines like low to no salt. That’s okay because I don’t cook with much, if any, anyways. Jimi’s a big fan of Mrs. Dash which he was given with his lentil stew last night.
Jimi told me his mantra is “surrender”. He says the more he surrenders, the less he suffers. It’s hard at times of course, but it’s a great reminder to me also about knowing what we control (ourselves) and what we don’t (everything else).
I keep reminding him that his progress is happening in baby steps. We knew this would be a long process, and the key is to hopefully keep moving forward little by little. Again, there are things we control in this process and things we don’t. The nurse told us that what we were calling a setback the other day was not really considered that, but just something that can happen in the process of recovery.
One of the terms I heard for part of what Jimi went through the other day is Vasovagal Syncope. Leilani told me it’s something that can happen to heart patients after surgery and is why they watch them so closely. It can be brought on by standing too quickly and their blood pressure dropping fast. Of course, he had other complications with the fluid around his heart. All these issues are potential occurrences after open-heart surgery. Another reason I’m glad they keep him in the hospital for so long to monitor him so closely.
Again, I share all the messages, emails and texts I receive with him. He’s not quite up to talking on the phone very much right now, so please don’t think anything beyond that if you don’t get any response. He’s (well I should say we) still pretty emotional at times. I know as he recovers more, and rests more, it will be easier.
I received a message from our friend Greg’s wife, Dianna, the other day which I keep repeating to Jimi. Greg is a doctor and after procedures, he would tell his patients there is “healing pain” which is so much better than untreated “sick pain”. While Jimi is in hardly any physical pain right now (thankfully), his pain is more psychic, but by “surrendering” this too shall pass.
May 22 – 9:30 AM (Jen)
So happy to report he’s doing much better this morning. He was able to rest last night and it looks like later today he will be moved out of Cardiac ICU to the next ICU again. This time it will be more successful, I’m sure of it.
The drugs for the fluid around his heart have helped along with the drainage tubes. The latest echocardiogram showed no more fluid. What a relief.
I was able to watch them suction his chest drains yesterday – and while that may sound a bit gross, it was actually one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I wish I could’ve filmed it, as I know later, Jimi would love to watch it. It was a very short process, but just to imagine these tubes are going pretty far up into his chest to his heart to drain any fluid is mind-blowing. To me, this seemed like a major event, but the PA and RN were just as calm as could be. I’m hoping the calmness all the nurses, doctors and P.A.s exhibit can rub off a little bit on Jimi to help him through this healing process. I’m such a worrier by nature, that I’m trying to absorb their calming behavior to use for myself.
We were able to speak with the cardiac surgeon, Dr. Harris, who was there the night before getting Jimi through those hard hours. He was very relieved and happy to see him take such a positive turn yesterday and not need to go back in to surgery. He was on-duty again last night and said he would be sure to keep an eye on Jimi and was pretty positive he would be able to just let him rest and sleep.
I’m absolutely positive that all the prayers, messages and emails we’ve been getting are truly helping with this phase of our lives. I honestly have no doubt Jimi feels the love and positivity coming his way.
So many of you have also checked in on me and asked how I’m doing and if I’m taking care of myself, etc. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am humbled by the outpouring of love. I have been doing fine. Obviously, better when he’s doing better. I have been getting in the time to meditate and walk and get sunshine when I can. There is truly nothing I need right now but for him to do his part in getting the rest he needs to heal, so I can spend the next 25 years with Jimi 2.0.
With much Love,
May 21 – 1:15 PM (Jen)
He’s doing better now.
I spoke with his surgeon this morning. He was called around 2 AM to review the fluid around Jimi’s heart on the ultrasound. This was not something unheard of, but something to watch.
I’ve also spoken with 2 other cardiologists that are watching him. There was concern that they may have to put in another drainage tube. He has 2 chest tubes right now. They are actually coming in soon to suction them. They’ve also given him meds to help deal with the fluid.
At 12:45 they brought him some food and he was able to eat some. Feeding him means he will not be brought back in to surgery, phew!
He seems much better right now. His numbers are all good and holding steady.
Nights are rough for him, poor guy. He gets disoriented and stressed.
Just a quick update to say all is calm right now.
May 21 – 8:00 AM (Jen)
Just found out he had a rough night. He’s back in the Cardiac ICU after 2 procedures last night. There’s fluid and blood clots around his heart, so they will likely be going back in. We will know more soon. He’s right where he needs to be getting great care.
I’ll update when I know more, Jen
May 20th – 9:30 PM (Jen)
Another day recovering. Progress is being made, but I’m sure it’s not nearly as fast as Jimi would like.
We saw his surgeon, Dr. Ha, today and he told us that he removed 3 grams of muscle from the wall of Jimi’s heart. He also said that is quite a bit. He said the pressure measurements he takes while he works went from 50 at the start of the procedure to 2.5 – again, quite a bit. All of this is a great reminder to Jimi that he will feel so much better after he recovers.
He did actually move to my friend Leilani’s department at the hospital this evening. He was greeted with such a warm welcome that I know it helped him as he’s feeling a bit down today. He typically gets down for about a week post surgery. Even knowing this, it’s still hard to see him in this state.
Nights are the worst time for him. Though last night was a bit better, I hope tonight is even easier. He does fall asleep off and on throughout the day – which he stresses about. I told him I think he should sleep and rest anytime he can right now.
He did well with his walking today – though, he was told to slow down a bit. Obviously, they need to get to know him better to understand “slow down” isn’t in his vocabulary.
Tomorrow, I’m supposed to bring him some loose clothing so he can learn how to put them on during recovery. Apparently, he’s not supposed to lift his arms over his head, pull or push anything or lift more than the weight of a gallon of milk for at least 8 weeks. All I could think is, “this is going to be fun”!
He was able to read through everyone’s emails and messages today. I’m sure he’ll get back to each and every one of them when he can. I know he feels the love. Again, thank you!
More tomorrow, Jen
May 19th – 10 PM (Jen)
Day 1 post surgery went pretty much as expected. After a rough night last night (also expected), today Jimi was basically in and out of it all day. Dozing often as it was much needed after being intubated and uncomfortable for so long last night. He was also a bit anxious about the night ahead – triggered with anxiety from last night as he was tied down for a bit to keep from pulling out his tubes.
On the upside, he was given the Trazadone and melatonin he takes at home tonight around 9 PM and was already falling asleep as I left. I know his breathing so well by now, that I feel he was entering his “good nights sleep” state as I kissed him goodbye. Fingers crossed he gets the deep rest he so needs.
Today, we dealt with keeping ahead of the pain and also with nausea from so many meds. He ate some of his mushroom risotto and vanilla pudding tonight at dinner and thinks that helped a lot with his nausea. Of course, he’s getting medication for both whenever he needs it. He hadn’t eaten much earlier in the day as he just didn’t feel very hungry.
We watched a movie on my iPad this afternoon – though, honestly, he may have easily dozed off for more than half of it. I think it was just a good distraction for him.
I did notice many fewer IV lines connected to him by the end of the day. The night nurse mentioned she thought he would be moving to the next level of ICU tomorrow. I’m happy about this because my dear friend Leilani and her cousin (also my friend) Janelle work there. Leilani visited with us today before her shift and I could sense a relief in Jimi knowing someone he knows was there to help take care of him.
There are so many surgeons, doctors and nurses looking after Jimi at all times of the day, that we feel very confident in the care he’s receiving. It’s such a relief to me to know he is being so well monitored for any possible issue. They ask lots of questions and listen to everything he says to really discuss with him the options they can offer him to keep as comfortable as possible.
We’ve passed the first twenty-four hours now and I’m so relieved that all is going as expected.
Now, I should probably sign off to get some rest too.
Thanks again for all the prayers and well wishes…love, Jen
May 19th (Jim)
“Cracked but not Broken!” ~ Jimi
May 18th – 11 PM
This is Jen….just a quick note that the surgery went well – about 5 1/2 hours long. He’ll be in Cardiac ICU for a bit then onto the next ICU. He was still intubated as of 10:30 PM, but starting to breathe more and more on his own. I imagine by the time I see him tomorrow, he will be doing much better.
I will be sure to pass on everyone’s well-wishes. Thanks for all the love – we feel it!
May 18, 2023
Here we go again. I’m scheduled for surgery at 1 today and soon Jen and I are heading to the hospital.
My biggest worry now is that they will cancel my surgery a second time. However, I don’t think that’s going to happen and so, “watch out what you wish for because it might come true”. The way I look on it, I’m trading this next month or so of my life to create “Jimi 2.0” for my remaining years.
Maybe why I’m not stressing more is that because I’ve already been through worse. Twenty years ago, I had a diverticuli break in my duodenum. After many blood transfusions, nearly dying of sepsis and spending three weeks in the hospital, they patched me up and gave me massive amounts of antibiotics, not even knowing if it would work. Luckily for me, it did.
The surgery I’m having today is much more complex, but it has been done many times before, and, the surgeon knows exactly what he’s doing. It’s no cakewalk, but I’m strong and will survive.
May 9, 2023
It’s Tuesday the 9th and I’m disappointed because Jen is on our normal walk without me. I didn’t join her because my heart is in afib and my right hip hurts – which the doctor has already told me needs to be replaced. In addition, the knee replacement I had 8 months ago hurts like hell and something is going to have to be done about that.
Without mindfulness, this mood I’m in could turn into a pity party. It’s only a whisper right now, but fed the wrong thoughts, could quickly turn into a “roar” resulting in depression or anger. Of course, this would only compound the challenges I’m already facing.
To remedy this, I’m writing about it. This puts me into my witness consciousness where I observe myself feeling sorry for myself. I acknowledge my feelings because if I don’t, they only get bigger. I’m not denying these feelings, I’m seeing them for what they are, transient thoughts and emotions that come and go.
The key is to not follow your mind and the stories it creates. I train my mind to follow more productive and realistic thinking. I break down what seems to be overwhelming challenges into individual blocks that can be faced one at a time i.e., first, heart surgery, then hip surgery, then knee surgery.
Another thing I do is stay in present time. There is no need for me to pre-experience my surgeries before they even happen. We often suffer more in imagination than we do in reality.
In the end, it’s all about surrendering and that’s the hard part for me. I have a very strong persona that wants to control something I cannot. By acceptance, I lessen the suffering.
Paradoxically, by accepting my fate, I’m finding freedom in letting go of my ego expectations. Instead of a walk or a bike ride, I’m working in the garden, doing more yoga, taking a swim or reading. I’m having to let some things go, but I’m finding other creative ways to fill my hours.
Sometimes humility is where love and compassion begin.
April 29, 2023
Yesterday, it’s ironic that I was so looking forward to open heart surgery and, that I fell into despair when I heard it had been postponed until May 18th.
The disappointment I felt, plus the fact that I have to go through more blood, urine, covid tests and more x-rays temporarily overwhelmed me.
However, in a short time and with a “little help from my friends” via emails and phone messages, I was able to reset my negative mind story and create a new more powerful one. After all what good is our practice if we freak out every time something doesn’t go our way?
So, they’ll be no more “whining” from Jimi Hunter. It’s time for acceptance that the surgery wasn’t meant to be yesterday. It is supposed to be on the 18th the same day Jen and I were married and the day Jennifer was born, a much more auspicious day.
The way I’m looking at it is I saved somebody’s life by them getting the operating room instead of me.
I’m now back on the attack, proceeding towards the firing on May 18th.
It is what it is,
April 28, 2023 – 12:58 PM
I’m bummed to tell you that my surgery has been postponed until May 18th because they needed my operating room for an emergency.
Jen and I are overwhelmed with prayers and messages. Thank you so much!
April 28, 2023
It’s Friday morning and Jen and I are about to go to the hospital for my surgery at 1 pm. I’m part excited to get this done, but I’m also part afraid.
However, I’ve never let fear stand in front of me and stop me from doing anything, even on hindsight, when what I was about to do was stupid.
I’ve always put fear behind me to push me to do what needed to be done. I did it with the fear motivating me and that’s what I’m about to do today.
“I’ll be back”
April 22, 2023
It’s Saturday, April 22nd, six days before my surgery. Yesterday, I had my pre-op with my surgery team at Kaiser. I’m amped up and ready to get the operation done.
My biggest worry these past few months was they couldn’t do the surgery for some reason. I have gone through so many tests and procedures that I felt at times they were trying to find a reason not to do the operation.
At this point, the surgery is Kaiser’s problem, not mine. All I must do is show up and do whatever they say. The doctors and nurses have to do all the work taking care of me.
This operation isn’t a calamity in my life because it’s going to lead to a new and better life.
Fire ‘em Up!
Approximately ten years ago, I was diagnosed with a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It is a disease (cause unknown, possibly genetic) where the inside of my left ventricle thickens, gradually closing it. Over time, it has worsened, making it difficult for me to breathe and increasing the chances of a heart attack or stroke.
Therefore, I’m having a septal myectomy at Kaiser Hospital. It is major open-heart surgery which can best be described as “frickin’ barbaric” The surgeons will crack open my sternum, then put me on a lung bypass machine and stop my heart. Then, with a scalpel, cut away the overgrown muscle inside the chamber of my heart. If all goes well, I’ll spend a couple of weeks in the hospital and a month recovering at home. Hopefully, I’ll have a “performance-enhanced” heart when done.
My attitude approaching this surgery, is one of gratitude. I remind my self, I don’t have to have this surgery, I get to have it. In most places of the world, this complex surgery, wouldn’t even be possible. I’m thankful my surgeon is without peer on this type of procedure. A graduate of Mayo Clinic and Stanford, he has done this operation successfully nearly 400 times.
In the past four months, I’ve gone through many tests and procedures to make sure I was healthy enough to even survive this surgery. If I wasn’t, they wouldn’t even do the operation. I feel like I’ve dodged a bullet because, for about 3 weeks, they also thought I might have had cardio amyloidosis, which would’ve proved fatal.
With our “we” consciousness, Jennifer and I will go through this together. After 30 years, we are so close that there is no “my” pain, or “her” pain, there is only “our” pain. It gives me enormous strength to face this with her love and support leading the way.
Serious suffering is in the forecast. But, I’ve already given myself a direct order to not let this experience go to waste. I’m planning on using it as fodder for my own personal growth and expansion. We all travel on our own journeys, and I’m hoping what I’ve learned on mine, helps you with yours.
It seems when these big medical events happen, the person involved shuts down, and doesn’t want to communicate about them. That’s not me. For me, opening up, brightens my mood because I’m trying to give it all meaning. By observing myself through my witness consciousness, I step out of myself and view it all symbolically from a higher place.
Except for prayer or positive thoughts, there isn’t anything you can do to help Jennifer and me. We will keep you updated posting on this web page as things unfold. While at the hospital, I will be in a cardiac intensive care unit recovering and will be unable to have visitors.
My mindset moving forward is I’ve got shit to do so let’s get this surgery done ASAP.
“Chin Up, Chest Out”
P.S. To be clear, I stand firmly against aging and still plan on seeing 100 candles on my birthday cake.