Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and expressions of sympathy. It really means so much to me. Gary did want to start a thread for me, but I asked him not to, but I thank you, LLT, for being so thoughtful.
Ken had been ill and in the hospital a lot during August, September and early October and was in surgery at the time of his death on Friday morning. He had been on a medication for 2 years called Amiodarone which is the only drug out there that controlled his arrythmias. One of the rare side effects of Amiodarone is that it can cause hyperthyroidism which it was found to have caused in Ken. When the cardiologists discovered that Ken had severe hyperthyroidism from that drug while he was hospitalized in early August, they took him off of the drug immediately and tried every other drug out there to try to control it. Ken had a defibrillator/pacer implanted in 2007 during his surgery to replace his aortic valve which was stenotic and the severe hyperthyroidism caused him to go into ventricular tachycardia which in turn, caused his defibrillator to fire 14 times in a period of 6 weeks which was agonizingly painful as I'm sure you can imagine.
I was holding his hand during one of the times it fired and was sitting in a chair next to his bed in the Emergency Room and when it went off, it threw me backwards chair and all into the wall behind me and I hit my head off the wall, so you can only imagine how hard it hit him on the inside.
Ken was transferred from West Penn Hospital to Allegheny General Hospital on September 25th, as the docs at WPH came to the conclusion that Ken needed a new heart (and possibly a new liver because of the severe cholesterol problem he had which he took several medications for). He was evaluated by the transplant team who were all absolutely wonderful to both of us and the docs decided that in order for him to be eligible for the transplant list, the thyroid had to be removed as it was causing all of these dangerous arrythmias. Ken was getting himself very worked up in fear of the defibrillator going off again - so much so that the Sunday before he died, they put him on a ventilator so that they could keep him sedated and lessen the risk of the defibrillator firing.
Ken went to surgery on Friday morning to have his thyroid removed and the plan was to move him to the transplant floor for a complete evaluation workup several days post-op. I was with him an hour before surgery and he knew I was there, as he squeezed my hand several times and halfway opened his eyes. I told him I would see him after the surgery. They took him down to surgery and upon the surgeon making the initial incision, Ken went into cardiac arrest. The docs defibrillated him numerous times and performed CPR and they got him back. They decided to abort the surgery and as they were transferring him from the OR table to a gurney to take him to the recovery room, he arrested again. Numerous doctors rushed into the room and worked on him for 40 minutes, but they couldn't save him. We buried him yesterday afternoon.
I am devastated beyond words, but I am putting my trust in God to bring me through this, and I've had such a tremendous amount of support from my family, my friends and all of you wonderful people here at SF which I am so very grateful for.
Though I had nothing to regret and have peace in my heart that Ken is in a better place in heaven with the Lord with no more suffering, fear or pain, one of the lessons I've taken from his death is that I am going to make it a point to tell everyone I love in my life that I love them every single day and NEVER say anything that I can't take back. Life is really so very short and we're only here for a limited amount of time.
Again, thank you all for being the great friends and warm, caring people that you are.