Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm a THANKFUL girl!

Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday!!  I love that we have a whole day to reflect on what we are thankful for and tell people thank you!  More and more Thanksgiving lost in the pre-Christmas rush and I hope that I can instill the "attitude of gratitude" (stole that from a church sign) in Kaitlyn.   In that spirit I wanted to take a moment and tell all of the reasons I have to be thankful this year...... not just the obvious ones (rob, kaitlyn, family, friends) but all the reasons that I have THIS year.
  • Dr Ralph Damanio.  Thanks for your" surgeons are God like" attitude and convincing Rob to proceed.  You saved his life and I will forever be endebted.  As a special thank you to him, I have stopped going to every appt with Rob with  my notebook!
  • The Green team (and many of my other coworkers).  Overall, you are all saints for having to put up with me and a special shout out to Julie, Kim and Rhonda for having to deal with my ever changing needs.
  • Robs amazing coworkers who have had to change their schedules for us!!!
  •  The makers of the Keurig....thanks for making my caffeine habit so much easier!!!
  • To the phamaceutical geniuses at Bayer and Pfizer.  Bayer, Rob thanks you too!
  • My mom.  My matter how old I am, she still takes care of me....example today, dropped Kaitlyn off there today and she had a plate of mini muffins for me that served as my breakfast and lunch. 
  • my CONcordia peeps.  Could not have survived the last year without you and because of all of you, my faith has been strengthened!!
  • All of the other moms with kiddos K's age who have helped either K or I!
  • Susan who I have discovered is my SISTA from anotha MOTHA!!!!
  • watching my daughter play with Mary's daughter, PRICELESS!
  • U2, Def Leppard and Foo Fighters for coming to thema Lou. 
  • David Freese.
  • Jeggings
  • Pandora and Tom Bickel for introducing me. 
  • The creators of The Borgia's and the Tudors, or as Rob calls it, historical porn.  Thanks Danielle C and Nna P for talking about it so much that I HAD to watch for myself!
  • my new sister in law Lauren and realizing how her LOVE for animals can benefit me at the Zoo. 
  • Mary Ann Saitta, the greatest hair/skin/makeup/LISTENER and fellow police wife, a girl could ask for!
  • For my dad being able to retire (not just so he can watch Kaitlyn when I need) and not have to work at a job that he did not love.  Thanks for all of the years that you worked for us!
  • Area agency on aging for sponsoring a conference I attended.  If I hadn't had those two days away from work to renewing myself as I social worker, I may have quit that week!
  • To all the crazy, mean, dysfunctional families I dealt with this year, (2 in particular).  Thanks for making my family look  normal and for helping me realize that I REALLY do have an issue with SOME men telling me what to do
  • Thanks to three wonderful pts/families that I dealt with who restored my belief in the ability to help!
  • To one special patient I met this year, UNFORGETABLE!.
  • Dr ELan Simkus who kept me laughing through the tears....AGAIN!!!!
  • Amy Z for getting my struggles and for capturing my girl with beautiful pics
  •  Missy S, Mandy R, Tracy H, Jenny P, Lisa M, Shari M, Carrie R, Maria C, Lisa B, Kenda M and Alison D. for all that you did for Kaitlyn and Rob and I.  When I die instead of my money going to Wash U or another school I attended, I want it to go to KECC. (unfortunately, I will likely only leave debt so it probably won't help much!)
  • K C-P, you have no idea how your patience and understanding  has helped all of us.  Sometimes at work (see above) I have felt that I was the swer for a reason.  You were MEANT to be K's teacher. 
  • Derek Jetter for his 3000
  • The current crop of Republican presidential nominees, I have to be thankful for you or else I would cry!
  • My sister, for getting me!!  And for naming her baby to be Caroline! 
  • for all of my nieces, there has never been a prouder aunt!  You are all beautiful and so special to me!
  • Rob, for not listening to my medical advice, for working so hard, and for sticking with me NO.MATTER.WHAT and being an amazing father.
  • and to my Kaitlyn....for conquering your fears, scoring two goals, being an AMAZING individual that keeps me guessing, not being afraid to show your quirky sense of style and always being excited to be with me..........YOU make my life!!!!
Now that I have started this, I know that I am going to think of many more and add on.  Hopefully I didn't forget any major thank you's, if I did, Thanks anyway!  Yep, I'm one thankful girl!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Are you still with me??

I have been neglecting my blogging duties and have not written on here in a really, really long time. Summer flew by, mostly because we could do SO much this summer together.  Rob and K had an extended time at home together before kindergarten started and they had a blast.  I would get calls like this, “we are at the top of the Arch” or “we went out in a canoe on Creve Coeur Lake today.” “Rob, have you ever been in a canoe before and why did you decide to do that?”  “No and because I  can!”  Not sure when/if the thrill of Robs health will ever just become normal.  I had another “I can’t believe that all of that happened” moment just today.  I hugged him and told him how once again, I was so glad that in this one instance, he didn’t listen to me in my “lets get a 2nd opinion” mind and went with his gut!

We are full swing into kindergarten now.  After the initial nervousness and upset stomach, I think that we have conquered most aspects of the school day.  Just working through the last one…..getting out of the car in the morning, which is essential to the school day.  At least, we are no longer vomiting in the morning, just gagging now!

Funny K story of the month----  One morning I go into her playroom.
K, why does it smell in here?
I don’t know (with a guilty look on her face)
You have to tell me, b/c if its bad food, there will be bugs.
(Reluctantly, She points to her play kitchen, and I notice a white substance in the play sink.)
What is this?
(after much hesitation) Well, you told me I couldn’t use water in my play kitchen, sooooooooooooooooooooooooo…………………………. It’s milk.

Well, you told me not to use water.
(As I try to compose myself,  she realizes that she may be in a wee bit of trouble.)
Well, Mom, I guess since you are mad, you should go ahead and look in the oven part. 

(open oven door and find several dishes with curdled milk in them.)

Kaitlyn,  I am going to take away your kitchen for awhile until you can prove to me that you know how to play with it…(anticipating screams, protests, etc)

Yeah, you probably should because if not, I will do it again!

Ah the joys of raising Robs child! 

Promise to try to blog more if you are still with me!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Update on the Wetzel's from Rob

Hey guys,

Rob here. The start of summer seems to be going well.  Only a month left at K.E.C.C for Kaitlyn, then it's a month off with mommy, daddy, Nana and Paw-Paw. She's excited and so am I.  K.E.C.C. is great but just under $900.00 per month hits hard.  Full day kindergarten at Westchester will cost too, but not nearly as much as K.E.C.C.  I shouldn't complain as we have had great luck with teachers and staff.  We realize we are lucky in that aspect.

Kaitlyn just completed a week of Vacation Bible School at Concordia.  She had a great week due to the hard work of many people and a bunch of our friends from church.  Great start to summer.

We have made a couple trips to the lake and a good handful of trips to the Kirkwood Pool.  Some of you fellow pool goers have been lucky enough to see me sporting the scar from my heart surgery.  Do girls like scars?   I keep telling myself they do.

I've continued exercising at ClubFitness and can't recommend it enough.  $10.00 a month and more equipment than you will ever need.  I've kind of hit a plateau with weight loss at the 258-260 mark.  I would like to make it to 240 but this may take another six months. Again, I'm very lucky to have good docs and a great family support system, not to mention a wife that doesn't complain about me visiting the gym six times a week.

The street has been consistently steady and pretty entertaining at times.  We've been running into more mentally unstable people than usual and a few who just want to challenge the police.  (Almost always a bad idea)  I work with a good squad who is quick to help each other out when needed.  My only complaint is changing shifts every eighteen days.

Preparing for some the 2011 concert series.  Def Leppard, Foo Fighters and U2.  Not a bad lineup and I'm looking forward to some great people watching.  Give the Wetzel's a shout and we'll set up a little backyard time and maybe a roasted marshmallow  or even a s'more.

Be Cool, Rob

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Froggies are Dead!

For over a year, K has had two frogs living in her room in a Frog-o-sphere (PETA people I know that you think they are cruel!).  They have become a part of our family (in her mind at least).  They have gone to show and share at her school, pictures have been drawn, of them and for them.  I have been amazed that these things have lived this long and was increasingly getting concerned about when they died.  I really didn't change the water like I should of, in fear that would bring about their demise. 

These frogs were named Frog 1 and Frog 2.  They started out about the same size, but Frog 1 always seemed to get the food before Frog 2 and grew bigger (for a dwarf frog, that is.).  Despite this Frog 2 lived on, until a couple of weeks ago.  Frog 2 was floating dead in the water.  In a moment of panic, I decided to tell K that Frog 1 ate 2.  In my panicked state that seemed better than Frog 2 died and Mommy flushed it.  It actually worked and we got through the death with relative ease. We got a replacement frog (TINY, dwarf frog) and they were renamed Big Frog and Little Frog.  For a week, they seemed to be living in Frog-o-sphere bliss, until tragedy struck the tank and I found both floating motionless, white in color, dead on the rocks.  Now, real panic set in.  Rob decided he could handle this and told her.   As expected the news was met with shock, disbelief, denial and ultimately sadness.  In true K fashion,  she made the decision that they should be flushed because if buried, she would "always be sad when she went in the backyard."  Down the toilet they went and then reality set in.

The next 24 hours were filled with the following crys

"why would God do this to me?"
"The only thing that will ever make me happy again, is if my froggies come back (not new ones) and if I can sleep in you bed."
"I will probably need to wake up during the night and cry some more."
"Where are my Froggies about now?"
"This is the worst thing that ever happened to me."
and the dreaded.....  "Does this mean Sammy will die on day?"

She spent about 20 minutes sitting on the tub staring at the toilet and crying that she changed her mind about the flushing and just wanted to keep the dead frog corpses in her room. 

I had to tell her teachers that "she might be sad and need to talk about her froggies."  Things got better and she seemed to have entered into the acceptance stage of the grief process.  Then last night she wanted to write a letter to her Frogs:

"I miss you Froggies.  Are you missing me?  Our Friendship will last forever.  Love Frogs!  K"  If this kid isn't an actress or a politician, it is a waste of her talents.

I know that Rob's mom is looking down on us and enjoying every moment of this- so loved K's dramatic side!!!  K is comforted in the fact that Grandma is taking care of them in heaven now.  Until, she freaked because we still have the frog food here and they will need it in heaven..................................................

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The night before Easter...

Well, here we are.  The night before a major holiday and I am lying to the kid telling her that she has to go to bed b/c the E Bunny has already made his way to some peoples houses (How do you know, Mom???  Facebook, K).  Luckily the baskets were stuffed last night so tonight just involves hiding them and installing the new monkey bars on the swingset (not that she will be able to play out there anytime soon, unless she wears waders!).  Rob has to work midnights so he has his list of last minute things, like the Ceramic E Bunny holding the egg that needs candy and money in it because it was mine when I was a little girl and "Rob, it just has to be that way, don't ask anymore."  I am certain my mom never had to run out the night before and she had to pull this off for 4 kids!!  Usually it is these nights that I am in awe of all my parents did for us and I am feeling sorry for parents with more than one child. 

So I am exhausted, not so much physically as mentally.  This is a sampling of the topics we covered today:
-Where rain comes from and how it is not literally God's tears
-Bullies and how to deal with them
-Who our prom dates were and if we each told them about how we wanted a little girl and that they would not     be the person we married
-Who the Devil is
-Skin color
-Why we wear underwear
-Why her cousin Ellie has other relatives who are not related to us but Ellie can love all of us
-What to do if she wakes up during the night and hears someone hopping in our house
-Why we have to go to the dr and get shots
- What happens if someone sprays you with pepper spray
-Will I ever go to jail since I am married to a police man
- how my pager works
-Catholics and Lutherans..............

and this is only the list I remember.  And I loved every minute of this day spent with her and I am thanking God tonight of the miracle that is my family!!!

Happy Easter !!!!

And just when I thought she was asleep, yet another question......Is Wubzy a boy or girl ?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The BIG appointment

Today was the 3 month checkup, the BIG appointment!!!  Rob had a stress ECHO on Friday and we got the results today, and...............  everything looks better than the surgeon had even imagined!!!!  The doc had gradient scores that he was hopeful for pre-surgery and Rob's were better.  So now off most all meds and does not have to see him again for 3 months.

The surgeon said that he expects Rob to continue to feel better, but I am not sure how that is possible.  He built a fire pit, working on a play house for Kaitlyn, continues with cardiac rehab and now a "regular"gym and working.  As I have said before, I can not keep up with him.  I was off on his last day off and had to take a nap midway through the day- he just continued on.  Our backyard (which has always been Rob's area) has never looked better and the projects just continue.

Before the surgery, we had hopes that Rob would be able to walk short distances without stopping to catch  his breath.  Over the weekend he walked to the store up the street and then RAN home. Why run home, I asked him, "because I could!"  I have been continually reminded that with God all things are possible!!

Hope everyone is staying safe in this storm!!!  Get to your basements!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Defending the Yankee thing

So I have again decided to use this for me.  I am going to try to defend my love of the Yankees on here since I have been subjected to so much abuse by family and friends since getting the Yankee Entertainment Station!

Contrary to popular belief, I did NOT start watching the Yankees just because of Derek Jeter.  One year, I watched the World Series when the Yankees were in it.  As I tend to do, I become obsessed with the series, watching every game.  During this time, I learned about the History of the franchise, rivlary with Boston, everyones hatred of them (but I will address that later). I actually first noticed Jorge Poseda (who then appeared in a funny episode of American CHoppers, but that obsession is for another blog).  Soon a shortstop named Derek caught my eye and I was interested enough to watch the next season and the rest is history.  I am now a full fledged fan, not only because of Mr. Jeter (although that is a HUGE bonus). Because my husband spoils me, we have seen them in Spring training and saw them last year in KC.  I can not wait til we can see them at Yankee Field!!!!!!!

I know that everyone hates them, because they have the money to buy the best and I DO think that is unfair.  However, until the baseball commission changes the rules, the Yankees are only doing what any other business person would do.  If I was starting my own social work agency and had all of the money in the world, I would only hire the best social workers out there,  I wouldn't not (double negative, I know) hire some of them so that it was fair for the other agencies-- NO, I would take all of the good ones and pay the best that I could, because I can.  So don't hate the Yankees, hate the baseball commission.  

Finally, will I like the Yankees after DJ????  Those of you who have known me for quite some time, know of my love for Tommy Herr (happy birthday yesterday Mr. Herr) and how devasted I was when he was traded.  However, I eventually forgave the Cardinals and liked them again (read Mark McGwire).  So I do not consider myself just a Jeter-loving-Yankee and while I will be sad to see him go, I will remain a Yankee fan.  As I have said before, I did not get the have-to-only-love-the-hometown-team gene (Red Wings fan also) and I am NO longer afraid to publically admit it!!!!!!! 

Okay, I feel better now and I am really liking this bloggin thing to just spew my rants out  there.  By the way, Rob is awesome- starting back to work the end of this week!!!  He looks AMAZING and I am a lucky girl.  Now, back to the game...............

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2 month follow up

Well, another successful appointment!!!!  The dr is still very pleased with Robs progress.  He is still going to rehab 3 times a week and will be going back to work in a few weeks! 

Its so weird to have the "old" Rob back.  He still surprises me at times.  This weekend, we were at the lake and he offered to take kaitlyn to the dock to feed the ducks.  This involves a hill that I am usually needing to rest after and Rob has not attempted for quite some time.  At first I giggled at his suggestion and then remembered!!  Off they went, hand in hand to feed the ducks.  (I was having a full blown panic attack from worrying until they came back, but thats ok!).  When they got back, Rob was fine (I hate to admit but better than I am after THE hill.) 

So many people have commented on his weight loss and overall appearance.  It is still astounding to me.  I am fairly certain that we will soon wear the same size pants.  Today he thought the belt on the floor was mine--nope, just his new size!!!!

Again, we can not thank everyone enough.  You have all been so good to us!  Many of you have asked for an update on the rest of us.  Kaitlyn is great-- told us tonight that we make her heart happy.  We had a parent teacher conference and they suggested that we work on her numbers more.  In true Carrie fashion, I drove straight to buy number flash cards, workbooks and games.  SHE WILL KNOW HER NUMBERS BY THIS WEEKEND!!!  Just kidding!  She really enjoyed our time at the Lake.  We even went to Ha Ha Tonka State park (if you haven't been, you should go.  And rent our condo down there!).  We walked around castle ruins and she pretended to be the princess in the ballroom and picked out her bedroom.  We walked other trails and at times I had to remind myself that we really were all doing this together!  I'll even admit that I was the one who tired out first.  Sam, our lovely dog, is fine.  She spent the time we were at the lake at camp, a.k.a. the kennel.  Each time we picked her up she greeted us with a disgusting eye infection which brought us to the vet yet again! Luckily, Rob is the one in charge of her eye drops because I can only imagine if I had to.

I am doing fine.  We have had some added stressors lately but working through them.  Some of you know that my "aunt" Pat died on Saturday.  This was actually a pseudo-aunt who was my mom's dearest friend, my sisters Godmother and a great role model.  Saying goodbye to her today was hard but she was a woman who lived life to the fullest.  Yesterday the saying on my daily calendar was "If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun."  That was so fitting to remember her by.  We are so blessed because of all of the wonderful people who have come into our lives and added so much color and life to it!!!!!!!

AS you can see, this is turning into a Carrie rambling blog and maybe soon there will be no more need for updates and I will use this space for just that.  Stay tuned! 


Monday, February 28, 2011

We went to the zoo!!!!

We all went to the zoo yesterday!!!  Rob has not felt up to going to the zoo in quite some time so this was a big day for us!!!  I even forgot and asked him if he needed to sit and rest a couple of times and he said, "What for?" and jogged ahead of me!!!!   It still amazes us how good he is feeling--last week his doctor told us that he can't wait to hear how Rob is feeling in a couple of months since he is doing this good at 5 weeks post op!!!!!  Starts cardiac rehab tomorrow-soon I won't be able to keep up with him!!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

4 week post op appointment

went to surgeons office today for the 4 week follow up.  Of course, he was impressed with Rob's progress (and his own work!).  He is still in sinus rhythm and healing well.  Rob can now lift a little more (still not Kaitlyn, unfortunately), and can start cardiac rehab next week.     The best part of the appt was walking in--- same way we walked in for the pre op visit but this time Rob did not need to stop once to catch his breath and we parked farther away this time!!!  Amazing what removing a "straight jacket" over your heart will do!!!  Rob will have another follow up in a month and if still going good, medicines will be reduced and the next month, if still good, will be off most medicine!!!!

The doctor looked back at records and he has lost about 70 lbs from appt 8 months ago!!!!  I love when people first see him now and either do a double or stop in their tracks.  We are having so much fun with our family time and getting out more!!!!



Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Just wanted to thank everyone for all of the meals!!  We are doing great right now---and Rob will be back to driving within a few days, so I just wanted to throw out that PLEASE if you feel that the meal that you signed up for is needed elsewhere, we are okay with that!!!  Now that we are out of our Wetzel bubble and entering the world again, we know that there are lots of others that are in need.  Thanks again for all of your support! 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

3 week post op report

I was just thinking how fun it will be when I can type 3 MONTHS post op!  Things are still going great!  Rob had a follow up appt with Cardiologist and he was pleased with Robs progress!!  We have gotten out of the house a few times now but no driving for another week.   Likely will begin cardiac rehab in the next two weeks, but continues to walk at least 30 minutes on the treadmill and has really noticed a difference in what he is able to do.

On the home front things are okay-- hectic as usual!  Kaitlyn is sick with a cold/cough so we are praying that Rob does not catch that!  Not very excited about  "making" her write out 22 Valentines today!        For all of those who asked, Sam is fine.  Meds seem to control her "symptoms" and she is back to all of her old ways- knocking the trash can over in search of food, drinking out of the toilet, etc! 

Hope everyone has a great Valentines day-- squeeze the one you love!!!  Rob is willing to put a picture of his scar on here if he gets enough requests!  Love to you all!!!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

2 Weeks Post Op. Update

Rob here.  Things are going well.  No steri-strips on the incision site and my pain level is quite tolerable.  The scar is not bad at all.  It merely looks like a straight razor cut right down the center of my chest.  It only hurts when I cough hard or when I attempt to use my arms more than I should.  Apparently the muscle in my chest takes a bit of time to heal. 

Again, Carrie is a champ and has been taking exceptional care of me, which I probably don't deserve, well yeah I guess I do.  I've been using the treadmill for periods up to 30 minutes at a time a couple of times a day.  What a change from my pre-operative condition when I could only go for a few minutes without having to stop and breathe.  Looking back, I knew something was very wrong but just got used to feeling like crap.

I'm getting a bit of cabin fever and I am anxious to get out of the house and eventually return to work.  I think I will be going to a Superbowl party at the Giljum's.  I have a lot to be thankful for including God, family, friends, church, co-workers, doctors and nurses.  Another special thank you to those who have provided meals for us.  That has really made things easy.

I think the hard part or painful part is coming to an end.  Now it will just take time for my chest to heal the rest of the way.  My advice to friends and family is to please listen to your body when it is telling you something is wrong.  Procrastination could definitely be costly.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Carrie's day!

 I know that this is a blog about Rob but I have to vent about the day I had and I have this blog thing, so…….
  People have said before that the daily Wetzel life could be a sitcom and today I believe it!!! 
Yesterday was a great day—snow day for Kaitlyn- lots of baking and crafts and overall fun.  When I was making dinner (well not REALLY making dinner-just heating up a delicious meal that was delivered), I smell something odd.  Sam (our dog) had gone #2 all over the kitchen floor and down the hall into the living room.  Not just formed #2, but explosive.  This continued all night long.  ALL.NIGHT.LONG. She would then want to go outside and would not come back in, so several times during the night, I had to get dressed and trek the yard for her.  She is going blind and hard of hearing so you can’t just yell for her or hope that she sees you at the back door…..Nope, have to go all the way up to her to get her attention.  Mind you, during these trips outside, she doesn’t have her “accidents” she only preferred to do those inside.  So you can imagine the sleep I got.
So this am I then have to defrost Rob’s car (not in a garage).  The automatic starter wouldn’t work, of course, so I had to go out the start the car.  Doors are frozen, so that takes some effort, but alas the doors open and defrosting begins.  20 minutes later I realize that this is doing nothing for the windshield and I will need the ice scraper which is in my car (also not in the garage—what do we keep in the garage you ask????  The golf cart!).  Out I go to my car----doors frozen.  I know the scraper is in the back but there was no getting that open, nor could I get the back door open- so in the driver’s side I go and climb through the car, losing my boot out the door along the way. I climb to the back seat.  The trunk is full of Kaitlyns old baby stuff (exersaucer, bouncy seats, etc) that Rob wants to get rid of but in an emotional not-ready-to-give-it-up phase I decide to just put it all in my trunk so it is out of the house until I am ready to get rid of it.  SO after some moving around I am able to pull out the scraper, climb back through the car, retrieve my boot (after having to put my foot in the snow to get it), walk to Robs car and notice THEN that I only have the stick part of the scraper- the actual scraper/brush part broke off the top!!!!  Oh yeah, I have to repeat the climbing through my car fiasco and retrieve the scraper part.  After rigging the scraper back up because it was actually broken off the top, I go about trying to de-ice the car.   (To add to the fun, the scraper came apart a couple of times while scraping.)   When I am almost done, Kaitlyn starts yelling to me------Yep; Sam had another “accident.”   Eventually I do make it to work and manage thru the day.
So tonight I take Sam to the vet, Sarah Hormuth (aka, one of the sweetest human beings ever).  She went to high school with Rob so she has known us for a long time.   I decide to get the embarrassment over at the start and tell her that she should probably report me to the Dept of Animals bad parent hotline because I know we are behind on shots, blood work, etc., etc.  She assures me that all parents with small children feel this way about their pets.  I tell her what is going on while she is snuggling on Sam telling me how good she looks (yes, Amy Zlatic, this is the same dog that you had to ask what breed she was because of her size- she is a Cocker Spaniel but lovingly nicknamed Sausage.)  So she checks her out and the diagnosis---Acute, Stress Related, Large Intestine Colitis (aka- an Irritable Bowel Episode from stress!).  So she needs Imodium and Flagyl (yep, same as human Flagyl).  SO me and my dog now have the same stomach issues and I find it amazing that she is stressed—she never has seemed very smart so I can’t believe she knows what is going on around her!   Now when I first got her, I would not have said that.  This is the dog that went with me to the nursing home I worked at, the dog that I searched every kennel for and cried at a few the first time I had to leave her, and the same dog that one of the first times she was sick, I famously stated “She has to be okay, she’s all I’ve got” in front of Rob (uncomfortable ride home!).  This is that dog that apparently is smart enough to know what is going on with the 3 senses she has left!  So hopefully once the meds kick in, we can both get a good night’s sleep!!!!

Now that I have vented about my day……Rob is doing good this week!  A little bit more tired, still in some pain, but overall good!  We are hoping to get out of the house, even just for a drive this weekend, so hoping for higher temps!  Thanks for all the ongoing support, prayers, meals, etc!!!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Doing good!

Still doing great.  He has increased his activity time!!  Life is resuming a normalcy.  I actually went back to work today for a 1/2 day--it was pretty hard to leave him and I think that I called home 4 times, but it was good to be back at work with friends!!  I am working 1/2 day tomorrow too and just got the call that Kaitlyn's school is cancelled-- nothing like returning to normalcy in a BIG way!  I'm happy though!!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

One Week Post Op. Update

Hey everyone, Rob here.

I came home six days after surgery and just took my first real shower since the operation.  It felt good.  Percocet makes me high but is necessary as I have some pain when I cough or sneeze un-expectantly.  It was also nice to sleep in my own bed with the whole family home.

It is clear that I have had an awesome support system available, and apparently didn't recognize this until it was greatly needed. Family, church, friends, police, hockey community and so on.  Very much appreciated.  Tom Bickel for President! A special thank you to those who have supported us with food as well, I don't feel we are worthy, but it has been so helpful to be able to heat and eat.

Exercise has started and the treadmill arrives today. I really don't feel all that bad.  I'm just lucky I guess.  I have been warned several times over not to push things and to take my time during recovery.  I feel a difference in breathing and have noticed a distinct change as I am no longer light headed.  Everything makes sense now, as far as past symptoms and stamina, that a complete diagnosis was made.  Maybe everyone should have a Myectomy, a Cox-Maze IV procedure, a Pericardiectomy and a Patent Foramen Ovale Repair.  Just a walk in the park.

Thanks for everything,


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We are home!!

He is finally home.  Its been a long, tiring, emotional day and Kaitlyn isn't even home yet!!!  Looking forward to a quiet night at home!!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SHout out to the Bickels!

Also, need to say a big THANKS to the Bickels for organizing the Care Calendar!!!!  You guys ROCK!!!!  Glad to have you as friends.

Still looking good for tomorrow!

Plan is still for home tomorrow!!  Everything still looks great and I know Rob will heal better at home with his girls.  So excited to think that this time tomorrow we will all be home!!! 

The meals started-- I feel so spoiled!!!

My brother in law, Lee fixed some things in the kitchen for me and my dad and sister, Missy, painted it for me!!  Thanks to their help and my moms babysitting, Rob is coming home to a clean house with a lot of ongoing projects already finished for him.  We are so blessed with an amazing family that will do anything for us---including paint my kitchen because as a coping mechanism, I remodel!!!

Uncle Robbie got to talk to our nieces on the phone the other night so hopefully they are not as worried about him and can see him soon!!  I can not tell you how excited Kaitlyn is to see her Daddy!  She has been a trooper through all of this but misses Rob so much.  We have tried to gently explain that Daddy's heart had to be fixed (and that she needs to take it easy on him for awhile).  She has talked to him every day but has not seen him yet!!!  Again thanks to my family for assisting in keeping her occupied and entertained.  Also thanks to the Zlatics, especially Mike who gave up part of his birthday so Kaitlyn could have a play date with her BFF.  And thanks to my cousin Val who took her to the Magic House today, when she REALLY needed the break and distraction.  Those of you who know my mom and dad know how lucky I am!!!!  I could never thank them enough for all they have done.  One night Kaitlyn announced out of nowhere " I really love my Nana."  I couldn't agree more!!  I don't think that I totally grasped all that she has done/still does for me until I became a mom and I could not do my life without her.   

Once again, we can never thank everyone enough for all of your ongoing support of the Wetzel's-- we have decided that in the spring we are going to have a party to celebrate Robs health and try to thank everyone!!   A lot of you have been asking about visiting--  once we get a routine established at home, we will let you know and I know Rob would love to see everyone!   

Hopeful to update tomorrow from home..........the three of us!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Discharge to home is in sight!

Surgeon in today and things continue to look great!!!  They are talking discharge on Wednesday!!!  Nurse Carrie can take over at that point!  We still have a long rehab road to go but it would be wonderful to get this stage over!!!!!!  Rob's recovery has been nothing short of amazing-- I think that his poor heart must be rejoicing to be free of the straight jacket!!!!

Another good day!

He was moved last night to the step down -  He is in room 7236.  Physical therapy saw him today for the last time b/c they have nothing more to so for him- has done stairs, etc.  Pacer wires are now out and seems like all is positive.  Everyone that comes in tells us how lucky we are that this was caught and taken care of!!!  Surgeon should be in this afternoon and I am hoping can tell us what else needs to happen before HOME!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sorry about the delay......

Sorry about not updating yesterday, the Wi-Fi in the hospital took a day off!!  He is doing great!  Likely moving out of ICU today.  Central line, chest tubes, arterial line and foley are out!!!  I am absolutely amazed by Rob-- he is asking to walk further in PT than they are wanting to go, doing better than anyone expected at this point.  His spirits are up, making the medical staff laugh!!  Continues to be amazed by all that are praying for his recovery.   I am sure that we are here til next weekend, but will have a better idea tomorrow!   

Friday, January 21, 2011

He was up and walking!

He was out of bed all day and walked 640 feet with the Physical Therapist.  Once he is on his feet, he is great but getting out of bed or a chair is pretty difficult.  After his walk, he was pretty wiped out so hopefully he will sleep the rest of the night.  All seems to be as it should at this stage-- doctors and nurses keep telling me that at least!! 

Kaitlyn and I are enjoying a much needed night in our own home- PJ's are already on and going to eat and watch movies in bed!!! 

Thank you so much to whoever shoveled the driveway and sidewalk-- what a surprise that was!!!  So wonderful to be so taken care of!!!

The day after...

Much better today!   Vent is out, so he is awake and talking!!!!!!  In pain, obviously, when coughs or hiccups, which he strangely has a lot of.   He is in a fib right now, and while he is disappointed, I keep reminding him that they said to expect that the first month.  He was hoping that he would wake up and immediately feel better-- thats Rob, not much patience!!!!  We both seem to be understanding more of exactly what they had to do and why.  The nurses in this ICU are amazing!!!!!!  The plan for today is to discontinue one of the pacing medications, get out of bed, removing the part if the central line that was into his heart (thats done) and continue to use the insta- spirometer (sp?), which we are doing 10 times every hour and he has already increased the ml wanted today!!  Hopefully the surgeon will be around soon because I have another page of questions for him!!! 

For all of you who are asking-- I am holding up okay!  Got a good night sleep last nite (thanks to some meds) and feeling okay today!  Coffee shops are back open so that helps!  I love that he is so alert so that we can talk about things and make decisions togeher (i.e., where Kaitlyn is going, etc). 

Overall, my main thought today is that  God is an amazing GOD---  He led us right where we needed to be to save Robs life, even though I had doubts and questions along the way.  I know that God is thinking, "Girl, when will you ever learn who is in charge here?"  Lesson learned!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Finally was able to go in and see my man!  They are trying to wake him up more now and will attempt weaning off the vent again.  If that goes well, the next step would be to decrease the blood pressure meds and see if he can manage on his own, then temporary pacemaker and pacer drugs.  This will take place over the next couple of days.  Thanks Jim for the info re:the complications- it seems like they are think his risk is low just a worrisome complication, b/c it happens fast.  My game plan is if they can wean him and he is "stable" I will go be with Kaitlyn tonight and come back in the am--I realize that Rob probably won't realize that I am here anyway and I am most likely in the very competent nurses way.........This is a big step for me!  Keep up the prayers please, he still needs them!

Surgery done

Not quite what we expected.  WHen they got into his heart, they found restrictive pericarditis.  During the ablation procedure in 2006 they nicked his Left pulmonary vein causing the blood into his lungs and pericardium.  The blood there then calcified causing "a straight jacket over his heart."  They had to work at removing that and did a pericardiotomy.  Then did the septal myectomy which they said was not as bad since this pericardium issue was likely causing most of his problems.  They did the MAZE procedure but said that his atrium has a lot of scar tissue and was not the way they usually do the procedure so they are not sure how that will go. 

The pericard. was a bigger deal than anything else and because of that he is slightly more at risk for complications.  I asked the surgeon when I could start to feel better from what he said and he said after the next 24 hours.  He will likely be on vent/in ICU longer than thought.  I should be able to see him in an hour or so.  The surgeon thought that Rob is very lucky that he had this surgery now as this can be a fatal condition. I will update when I can


So this is the current update-- the pericardium (area around the heart) was surprisingly thick.  Possibly because of the other surgeries and pneumonia/infections that he has had. They said cleaning that out alone will greatly help me.  They had just started the MAZE procedure and still have the myectomy to go so they said likely several more hours to go. 

They've started!!

Well, they took him and so they begin.  They should be calling me in 30 min or so to let me know that they have made the incision and started.  Will try to keep updated on here-- again no cell phone reception but if you have to get a hold of me I think that you can call the 56 ICU waiting room and get me! 

I am doing okay!!  Main problem at the moment is that the coffee shop is not open due to weather and those of you who know me know what a crisis that is!!!!!

Keep up the prayers!!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Things went good today!

After a day of much sitting and waiting, all pre op tests are complete and GOOD results.  TEE this am showed that the mitral valve was not leaking so no repair/replacement needs to be done.  Cardiac cath done (many hours later) and no blockages or other abnormalities.  So no other heart issues to be concerned about.  Surgeon likely to be back by tonight but should be pleased with all of this. It’s nice to have some good news before going into the surgery tomorrow. 

He's back in the same semi private room tonight and I am actually going to stay at the Parkview Hotel at Barnes so that I can be there at 5:30 am for pre op, just in case of snow.  Also I want to interrogate the surgical team in the morning to make sure that they are feeling good and got a good night’s sleep. 

I did not get internet/cell phone connection in the waiting room so I couldn't update earlier. Every time I had a chance I would go to the bridge where I could get reception—once I would get into range, my phone would be beeping like crazy from all of the text messages/voicemails--- IT was great!!  WE feel very loved and supported!!! 

SO I think that we are as ready as we can be for tomorrow—I have my prayer shawl ready (thanks Angie R).  I know the Wetzel’s will be lifted up in many prayers tomorrow and it means so much to us.  Will update as I can tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We are in!

Well, we are admitted.  Today is bloodwork, IV heparin, chest x rays and ekgs.  Only took 2 1/2 hours to get a room, so not too bad.  Not a private room but we are working on it. ( I am not above bribery.)  Since Rob and I are germ-a-phobs, we have wiped the room down with bleach wipes.  We are waiting for the cardio-thoracic team to come give us the game plan for tomorrow.  He is scheduled for a TEE (transesophegal echocardiogram) and a cardiac cath, so we will see what the young residents have to say.  I love being at Barnes with all of the "students" (sarcasm here).  The fellow comes in, followed by all of the residents, who all look 12 to me.  I've always said that it looks like a group of penguins.  Luckily this is what Rob is used to so he doesn't mind having 10 people listen to his heart for learning purposes. 

I think that overall, we are both in pretty good spirits.  Yesterday was a hard day, knowing it was our last “home day” for awhile- to steal Kaitlyns phrase.  Obviously, it was hard for him when we dropped Kaitlyn off today, but now that we are here and proceeding, so things are better.  Thanks for all of the encouraging calls, texts, messages, etc.  Sorry that we have not returned them but please know how much we appreciate all of the positive thoughts—it really helps!
            Had a visit from Jerry Hayes, pastor from church today, who helped remind us that we are not in charge.  Time to let go and let God (to borrow the AA phrase).  

Monday, January 17, 2011

Here we go

I'm checking into Barnes tomorrow at 10 AM for pre-medication.  Wednesday will be an exploratory catheter procedure to map out the exact dimensions of my heart, and Thursday is the surgery.  They are estimating a release on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week if everything goes well. I'm sure I will be a bit out of it due to medications begining on Wednesday, so the postings will be coming from Carrie. I will try to check email or text messages from my phone if I can but the ringer will most likely be off. Thanks again for all of the well wishes and prayers.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Care Calendar For The Wetzels

Hi Everyone. This is Tom Bickel, I am long time friend of Rob's. Like you, I am hoping and praying for Rob, his family and the people that will be working on him.

If you are looking for a way to express your care for The Wetzel's during this time, we would appreciate your participation in the Care Calendar that has been established. This is a meal prep calendar for dinners over the next several weeks. You would be surprised how much something as simple as a meal can help during a time like this.

We really welcome your help. Also, if you know someone who also might want to help but may not be aware of this, please copy the link below and send it to them. Here is the link to the calendar.


There will be a cooler on the family's porch for the meals to be left in. All of the specifics are on the Care Calendar, or you can contact me if you have any questions at 314.575.3394.

Thank you!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Last Day of Work for a while

Rob here.  It was my last day of work for a while, probably until early April. Three days off and then I check in at Barnes on the 18th for premedication. I had to finish strong at work so I went ahead and wrote my 5th traffic ticket since 2001.  (The light was red for a long time before she entered the intersection.)

Today, Carrie told Kaitlyn that I had to go see a doctor next week and that I wouldn't be home for about a week as I had to have some tests done on my heart.  This is the hardest part as Kaitlyn associates hospitals with "Grandma" and my mother just passed in August of 2010.  She was upset at first but then was told she will be able to see me after a few days and she seemed to lighten up a bit according to Carrie. It's great to have family.

I'm hoping to have a little family time this weekend prior to checking in.  I have a little "fear of the unknown" or unexperienced I guess. I am anxious for a successful outcome though.  Thanks for the added support, things should go well.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hey everybody

Rob here.  Thank you all for the well wishes and prayers.

I'm a little nervous about the surgery but I am sure things will be okay.  I'm more concerned about Carrie's stress level and not being able to see Kaitlyn for a period of days.

This may seem like an extreme procedure but I feel this is the best option.  In fact, there is a higher risk of a negative occurrence if I don't have the procedure done.  We have been quoted complication rates of less than one percent and the guy doing the procedure is one of the best in the country. My age and lack of other health problems also lowers the complication rates even more.

Prayers for our family are welcomed and I appreciate the words of support I have received thus far. A successful procedure will likely produce a run at the 2012 N.H.L. Draft.


My new blog

So this is my 1st attempt at this blogging thing so if you have experience and have any hints, please let me know!! 

I thought this would be an easier way to keep everyone updated on Rob's progress as opposed to email, Facebook and phone calls.  As some of you know, Rob is scheduled for Heart Surgery on Jan 20 (Next Thursday) at Barnes.  He will be admitted on January 18 for 2 days of PreOp testing. 

Just to give a little history, Rob was diagnosed in High School with Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy (HOCM), which causes a thickened Left Ventricle.  Recently, this has led to increased problems with irregular heart rhythms.  He has had two catheter ablations to try to correct.  Over the past year he has had more symptoms- edema, shortness of breath and so the decision was made to pursue a surgical option.  He will have two procedures at once, including a Septal Myectomy (to decrease the size of the thickened septum so that he will then just have Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, but without obstruction), a MAZE procedure (Cryogenic clamp Ablation in the atrium which ultimately should fix the irregular heart rhythms by blocking errant electrical signals).   He will likely be in the hospital 5-7 days post-op and then recover at home!!!

So that's where we are currently!!!  I will keep everyone updated via this blog and feel free to share this with anyone who may be interested!!  Please pray that this all goes as planned and Rob can get through surgery and on the road to health!!!!