John Apperson (the author of CadStd) undergoes aortic valve replacement surgery.
(As seen through the eyes of his wife, Sherrie Apperson)

Sunday, July 23, 2000

Dear Family & Friends,

I am writing to all of you (many of you for the first time in a long
time) to let you know about John's upcoming surgery.  Nearly all
of our family and friends are "e-mailers", and I thought this would
be the easiest way for me to keep you all informed.  Don't worry,
it won't be the minute-by-minute version, but I will send two or
three updates as he recovers so you will know how he is doing.

John will be receiving a new aortic valve to replace his worn-out
valve on August 2nd.  We are very happy with the surgeon, and are
expecting John to feel better than he has for years after his recovery.
He will be in the hospital for 5-7 days, and then will have a
recuperation time of 6-8 weeks.  He will not be checking his e-mail
for two to three weeks, so if you would like to send him a message,
please use this address and I will be sure that he gets it.

We believe most sincerely in the power of prayer - it has already
given us much comfort and peace, and we know God is watching
over us.  We also know that there is strength in numbers, so we
invite you to join your faith with ours in praying for John, our family,
the surgeon and surgical team on August 1st & 2nd.

We love you all and appreciate you in our lives.


Sherrie Apperson


Wednesday, August 2, 2000

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for all your prayers!  We have felt the strength
of them on our behalf, and have been blessed with a calmness,
comfort and spiritual peace that I KNOW it was only possible
because of your prayers (especially with my active worry gene!).
We also appreciate everyone's confidence that things would go
well, and the love support you've shown us.

John was in surgery from about 8 to 11:30 a.m. today.  All
went well, and the surgeon was pleased.  John got just about
everything he wanted (he didn't get his early morning wish to go
fishing instead!), but his aorta was good and did not need to be
replaced, he got the "freestyle tissue valve" (a specially treated
pig valve) he wanted, and he will not have to go on coumadin
for the rest of his life (a blood thinning drug he wanted to avoid).

After a couple of hours in recovery, he was quite alert but still
on a respirator and unable to talk.  After communicating
several messages through left-handed fingerspelling (not too bad,
too hot, take off blankets...), I told him he had gotten the valve
he wanted.  He fingerspelled "o-i-n-k" and smiled around the
respirator tube.  That was when we knew he was OK!

After they removed the respirator (a painful process John described
as, "it felt like giving birth to lungs"), he said that the pounding
he has heard in his ears for 20 years is already gone - his heart
is already very happy.  He hasn't had any chest pain so far, and,
more important to him, his brain hasn't felt muddled by drugs.  We
are VERY happy.

John's nurse gave him a "reality check" talk, telling him that he has
only crossed the first hurdle and there are many left to go including
a long recovery, but we are still VERY happy.  He will probably be
in intensive care for one more day (they like to keep the "valve
jobs" a little longer than the bypasses), and then a couple of days
in rehab.  Right now, we can only see him for five minutes out of
an hour, but that is good because what he needs most right now
is to rest and let his medical team do their job.

I'm sure I have given too much information for some of you, and
not enough for others, but I appreciate your indulgence in my
effort to find a happy median.  I will probably send the next
update on Sunday evening.

Again, thank you so much for all your caring support,

(and John and Melissa and Christie)

There are two types of valves available, tissue (human or animal
donor) and mechanical, with several different styles of each.
John gave his surgeon his list of preferences, but they couldn't
know which one's he was a candidate for until they were actually
inside his heart - that's why we had to tell him what type of valve
he got.  If you would like to know more about his valve, click here:
Learn more about the Medtronic Freestyle


Sunday, August 6, 2000

Dear Family & Friends,

John was originally scheduled to be released from the hospital on
Monday, but on Saturday they said he could probably go home
on Sunday.  However, due to lack of good (heart) behavior, his
parole has been suspended and he has to wait until Monday
anyway - and now it is almost torture because he has been
"delayed" a day (one more day of beep, BEEP, poke, stick,
blip/blip/blip, BEEP, slam, talk/talk/talk, BEEP, ring/ring/ring...).

Actually, it's all my fault - I just asked them on Saturday to assure
me that it was OK to take him home with those occasional funny
looking heart-beats on his monitor - so after readjusting some of
his medication a little, his heart is now beating in time with the
right drummer.  We are both really glad that he will be READY
to come home now, even though he has to spend one more night
there (beep/beep/beep).  I'm really amazed that bodies can heal
well enough after a surgery like that to go home in less than a
week, but I guess they know they have to if they want any rest!

John really is doing GREAT!!!  We are SO happy with his
progress, and are sure that he will continue to regain his strength
and energy, and will heal well.  He started sitting up in a chair
and walking the day after surgery, and now is in and out of bed
and walking laps with no problems (except pain and the energy
to do more ;-).  So far, the only down side is that his recovery
will take 6-8 weeks, and we just can't hurry that along.  We still
feel the strength of all your prayers and appreciate how much
you all care.  John has really enjoyed the e-notes and cards that
have been sent.

I will probably send my last update next Sunday.  Once he is at
home and settled, it will just be a matter of waiting for time to
pass - no need to share THOSE home movies :-)

Thanks again for all your support,



P.S.  What John needs most now is rest, so if you want to,
please only call between 6:30 & 7:30 p.m.


Sunday, August 21, 2000

Dear Family & Friends,

We were hoping that John could write this last update, but he's
not quite up to it yet and we didn't want to wait any longer.

Last time I wrote we had only good news, so I guess we should
have known to expect something to go wrong.  John felt a little
less energetic and short of breath on his walks last Tuesday, but
we had a check-up scheduled on Wednesday so we waited until
then to mention it.  Well, it landed John back in the hospital for
three days to have about a quart of fluid removed from the sac
around his heart.  That procedure was uncomfortable, but it
relieved his heartbeat and breathing.  They said they'd keep
him for a little while to continue the drain and to monitor him for
infection.  He was sent home about noon on Friday, and when
we were about half-way home,  I reached over to rub his neck
and knew he had a fever (101.5).  By the time we got the advise
we needed and got him back to the hospital (about 6 hours later),
the fever was almost gone, but they admitted him for the
weekend for IV antibiotics and blood cultures.  We got him
home again today, and this time I think we'll keep him ;-)  He is
so "elated" to be home, he's almost afraid he'll jinx himself by
being so happy.  As of today, he is feeling better than he has
since the surgery and is looking forward to the bit of progress
each day will bring.

We appreciate all the prayers, encouragement and well wishes
John has received.  They have really lifted his spirits and let
him know how much he is cared for.  I like what my cousin
said about it, "Prayers are so powerful, especially when they
are multiplied.  Just like the manna from heaven, our prayers
must be renewed each day.  When someone that normally
doesn't come to mind pops into your head, you should pray
for that person right then..."  We know the Lord has sustained
us through this experience, and because of that, we now
actually have a list on our wall to remind us of who needs our
support through prayer.  We are especially mindful right now
of our friends who so eagerly gave blood for John's surgery,
and found out two days ago that their 3-year-old daughter,
Cricket, has a large malignant tumor on her kidney and will
have surgery tomorrow.  We know that part of our purpose
in life is to support and sustain those who are in need, and we
will all eventually have such a need.  Thank you for filling ours.

Sherrie & John Apperson

More information about John Apperson

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