Making progress

Mom had a better day today. The physical therapist got her up and walked her about 20 yards on her floor. She has been sitting up in her bed more today and coughing up a lot more "junk". The docs took her off as much pain meds, but she still has a really good dose. There has been some chatter about them removing her chest tube soon, but we haven't had a for sure on that. I just spoke to her and she sounds better. She does keep going in and out of sleep so Randy will periodically say "mom wake up". She responds with "I'm not sleeping. I'm just closing my eyes".
It's actually kind of funny.

It kills Amy and I that we had to leave and come back home. We can't stand not being there, but Amy had patients she had to see, I needed to get back to work, and we had to check on everything here. We will be going back to be with her and help out anyway we can late next week.

I am so thankful that my brother, Randy and his fiancé were able to stay at the hospital with her last night and tonight.

Mimi visited an orthopedic surgeon in Tulsa yesterday. They will operate on her clavicle and hand early Wednesday morning. Her pre op visit is tomorrow and if we hear anything different we will let you all know.

Special thanks to Uncle Mike and Aunt Karla Connor for referring their close friend Dr. Mike Tanner the orthopedic surgeon that will operate on Mimi. She said he and his staff are the best she has ever met. Also, thanks to them for taking Amy and I to lunch on Tuesday afternoon. It was a really nice way to remove our minds from the situation for an hour, even though I kept worrying I was going to miss something at the hospital.

In a room!

That's right, she's in a room and out of ICU. She still has her chest tube, central line, and her foley catheter, but she doesn't require the type of care the ICU would provide. We did have great nurses in the ICU and are very thankful for them.

Thanks again everyone!

Post op update!

Mother had a rough night dealing with discomfort, pain, and coughing, but she is making great strides on her road to recovery. They told us that she may be moved into a room and out of ICU today or tomorrow. This is great news as it means she doesn't require as much immediate care, but she will need more assistance from family as she can't do much of anything on her own. Such as drinking water, scratching her forehead and adjusting herself in bed. I gave her her first drink of water since about 11 am on Sunday this morning and it was glorious! She looked up at me through her swollen eyes, tried to smile and said "we take these things for granted".

She wants to thank everyone for their prayers, thoughts, and concerns. We have had soooo many people here at the hospital it has been incredible. She has by far been the patient with the biggest "fan club".

I'd like to give a special thanks to her dear friend Kathy Real for staying with her a couple of nights and being very flexible and able to come back to stay with her next week while Randy and I return for work.

I would also like to say that Amy and I have been very thankful that our bosses have been so generous to let us "do what we need to do" with this situation.

We will continue to update with her progress!


Mother's surgery update

6:00 pm we got the call from Dr. Archer, the thoracic vascular surgeon that repaired her ribs. Everything went really well and he only had to make one incision and it was under her left breast. They plated the 3,4, & 5th ribs and he said that she didn't have a lot of fluid in the area and on the lung so that's great. He reported that the muscles around the ribs looked much better than he anticipated. The ortho surgeon is now working to get her shoulder relocated and she should be out soon.

Thank the Lord for a great surgery! And thank you all again for your support.

Sent from my iPad

Mother and Mimi's update

We have received tons inquiries regarding the details of the accident and the status of everyone involved. This is the best to way communicate such info for everyone and I will update this blog with updates throughout the process.

The accident: mother, Mimi (my grandmother), a family friends 8 year old daughter, and my moms two small yorkie dogs were traveling west bound on I 40 home to edmond, ok around noon on Sunday March 25th. They had been on the interstate for about one mile and a man attempted to pass them and when he did he clipped the rear side (assuming left but haven't seen police report yet) of their suv. My mother was driving, Mimi was in the passenger seat and the young girl was in the back with the dogs. They were sent off the embankment and apparently went airborne before rolling down the hill 3-4 times. The vehicle came to a stop upside down. The young girl was okay and able to get out of the vehicle. She had minor bruises and a seat belt burn. Thank the Lord! Mimi (keep in mind this woman is 78 and maybe weighs maybe 130 lbs), crawled out of the vehicle with a broken left hand, broken right clavicle, and bleeding pretty badly. She was unable to help my mother out of the vehicle as she was pinned upside down. Mimi managed to walk up the hill and obtain assistance. The paramedics were on location in about 15 minutes after the wreck and use the "jaws of life" to get mother out of the vehicle. They took them to sparks hospital in Ft. Smith Arkansas. After assessing my mother they determined the best option was to fly her to Tulsa's St. Francis hospital as they have a much better trauma center and a great thoracic/vascular surgeon.

Mother's injuries/condition: She sustained the worst injuries to her chest/ribs. She has multiple fractures in multiple ribs on her left side. Two ribs on her upper right side have fractures, but they will just let them heal. The left side needs to have 3 maybe 4 ribs plated due to multiple fracture on each rib some of which are limiting her lung space. The doctor said her left side is "crushed". We were able to see the cat scan and a 3D image of her chest and it looks pretty bad. The broken ribs have caused her left lung to collapse but they have a tube so her oxygen levels are great! The broken ribs have cause her to have what's called a "flail chest". From what I understand is that the ribs are pushing down on her lungs and causing the lungs to shift downward into the rest of her organs. There is no need for concern as the operation will alleviate most of this issue. It causes more discomfort for her. She is scheduled for surgery at 2:45 pm tomorrow to plate the ribs. She has a fracture on her humerus and her left shoulder is dislocated. As of right now they won't operate on the shoulder, but the orthopedic surgeon will be will be in the OR to pop her shoulder back in place. He came by earlier to do it, but could not get it so he wanted to do it while she is under anesthesia. Left side of her face is very badly bruised and cut up. Her left eye is swollen shut and black. They had to stitch up her eye lid in a couple of places. She has a few minor fractures in her face. I spoke to the plastic surgeon earlier and he explained that it is very unlikely that she would need and procedures on her face. The rest of the injuries on her or lots of cuts and bruises all over her arms and legs.

She is very with it for being in this state. Everyone has been impressed with her status given the horrible accident. She has been insanely tough today. They gave her a PCA pain pump and she hasn't used it much, but we have encouraged her to use it more as it will only help her.

Mimi is being brought up here to consult with an ortho surgeon about her clavicle. She is very sore and bruised up.

Hannah, her 15 year old yorkie dog was killed in the accident and her other dog is MIA.

We are very thankful that everyone is stable and will be okay. This has been a very surreal experience for us and without prayer, friends, and family it would have been much harder. These types of accidents happen all the time but we always think "that wouldn't happen to me". Very eye opening for us.

We thank you all for your support (3 weeks after my heart operation) we are truly blessed with amazing people in our lives and can't imagine not having you all.

Thanks again and we will keep you posted via this blog.

Anthony J. Hilbers

Post-Op visit!

Hello all!

Anthony here. I went for my post-op check up today and they had nothing but rave reviews! Everything looks great and they even called me the "rock star" patient. I guess bc I was able to be released from the hospital so soon. And they think I look the same as I did when I went in last Thursday for my pre-op testing. I informed them that I certainly did not feel the same. I had veteran cardiothorasic surgeons, nurse practitioners, and nurses coming by bc they wanted to meet me. They are just really stoked to see a patient with "tet" doing so well. They are seeing their research and hard work really paying off and they were nothing but proud. They were very thankful for me being very fit and healthy as well. They also said this (being healthy and fit) has played a tremendous roll in my recovery. I sure as hell don't feel like an "athlete" right now though. When I get my lungs working I feel like I have an extra 75 lbs attached to me and I feel as if I may stop breathing at times to bend down and tie my shoes, but they say this is very normal and too keep my lungs working. I should get it back in a few weeks or so....I sure as hell hope so!!!

I am completely off my norcoe (pain med w/oxy) as of yesterday at about 630 am. I feel more pain, but don't feel all loopy and my nausea has gone away almost completely. I am on a dose of Advil a couple times a day and that seems to help. They gave me a muscle relaxer to help with my back. Guys, my upper back is SOOOO incredibly sore. I never could have imagined this type of soreness in my life. As for the INTENSE pain in what I thought was my lower right lung, turns out it's air or fluid rubbing b/t my lung and rib. It could possibly be from one of my tubes that I had in my lungs, but not really sure. They said there is nothing to worry about and that's just going to be very painful for the next few days and should subside with time. That pain is so intense!!!

Something else pretty cool is that they have asked me to be a mentor/camp counselor at the pediatric heart camp in Meridian Texas. It's a week where kiddos with heart disease/defects (age 8-16) can go and feel "normal." They do fishing, canoeing, zip-lines, archery, etc. When they asked me I jumped all over it. I have really felt led to be a sort of "big brother" to kids with heart issues. I am sure it will be very hard at times, bc there are many kids who will be struggling more than we could ever dream, but it will be amazing to help them do things that they have never imagined doing. Plus, they will for sure give me a ton of inspiration in my life, I'm sure.

It looks like Amy and I will be making our way back to Houston on Saturday morning and I will be at home all next week. They anticipate releasing me back to work on the 19th. This all depends on my energy levels and overall fitness. Right now I get really tired pretty easily. This morning we left for the hospital at 8:30 and didn't return until about noon. I was whipped out! Another 10 days of healing should do me just right though!

Thanks again for all your support, prayers, good vibes, and kind words. This would have been a tremendous race for me without your support, the love of my EXTRAORDINARY wife, my mother, grandmother, brother, amazing in-laws and the best pediatric cardiologist I could ask for D. Kent-O Ward. With all of you wonderful people in my life it made it a walk in the park...well kind of!

Much love and respect for all of you!

Anthony J. Hilbers


Anthony was discharged from this hospital this afternoon. He had an echo and chest x-ray this morning and everything looked good. They sent him home on a few meds and had nothing but rave reviews for his progress. We are in Coppell at my parents house and will stay here for the rest of the week. He has a follow up appointment with the surgeon on Thursday and after that we should be cleared to go back to Houston. We went on a long walk around the neighborhood which wore Anthony out but it is good for him. We're hoping to be able to walk more and more everyday increasing his endurance. I guess this is when it pays off to have a physical therapist as a wife :)

Chest tubes gone!

Anthony had a pretty good night and slept well. He was having some pressure in his chest which was probably from the chest tubes. They took another chest x-ray this morning and everything looked great. The surgeon and cardiologists said he was ready to have ALL the chest tubes removed! YAY! They gave him some extra pain medications and the nurse practitioner literally pulled (really fast) the test tubes out. He felt much better after and could finally take deep breaths again. They are going to do another echo and chest x- ray today and if everything looks good he will be able to go home tomorrow!!

Moving right along

A big team of doctors has been through today and they are very pleased with Anthony's progress. They removed his foley cathether, central line and a couple IVs. Right now he is still on the pain pump but they are about to take him off of it. He is getting ready to sit up and go for a short walk. The surgeon told him to move around until he starts to feel out of breath to make his lungs work harder. He just finished a smoothie and a bowl of fruit and is looking forward to lunch. He will be transferd to the cardiac floor this afternoon. He still has 3 chest tubes that will hopefully be removed tomorrow.

Day 2

It is Saturday morning and things are going good. I spent the night in Anthony's room right next to him. He had a pretty good night but was pretty nauseous from the morphine so they switched his PCA pump to Dilaudid which really helped. He started drinking water and Gadorade once the nausea subsided. He was on 2L of O2 overnight but now they have taken it off and his oxygen levels are staying up around 98%. This morning he asked for his glasses so he can watch his vital signs and sports center. Hopefully he will be able to eat some yogurt for breakfast soon. I am also hoping to get him up and in a chair this morning. The surgeon and doctors will be rounding soon so we will know more after they see him.


Anthony is in the cardiac ICU. He is extubated and starting to wake up. I am having to repeat things like "the surgery went great" and " I know you are hurting, they gave you morphine". His temp was 94 degrees because they cooled him down for surgery so now they are warming him up. He was shaking a lot when we first got here. His heart rate was a bit high 120 bpm and blood pressure was 150/60 but they have gotten both of them down to normal ranges now. He has 3 chest tubes that are draining but there is not too much blood. Everything is going good and it is so nice to see him waking up! Hopefully we will move to the cardiac floor tomorrow evening and get a lot of the tubes and lines disconnected. The patient next door to Anthony is a tiny baby in a crib with a mobile over it. I can't even begin to imagine what their parents are going through. At least I can ask Anthony how he is feeling and what he needs. Thanks for all the support!

Anthony sighting!

We just got to watching them roll into ICU. He is still intubated but breathing on his own. I will be allowed to go sit with him in his room in about an hour. It was kinda crazy to see him laying on the stretcher with the tube in his mouth but they said everything went great.

Surgeon update

Dr. Forbess the cardio thoracic surgeon just met with me and said that everything went according to plan and he is doing great. He heart is beating great and the valve is working perfect. He should be rolling down the hall in 30 min. He will still be intubated (has breathing tube in mouth) and totally sedated. They are hoping to extubate (take the tube out) him in 4-8 hours.

Off bypass

yay!! He is off bypass and everything looks great!!! They should be rolling him down the hall in about an hour. The surgeon should be by to talk to me soon. Praise the lord!

On bypass

The OR nurse called again and said that he is now on bypass which is the heart/lung machine. They are starting to work on his heart now. Everything is going good and they will tell us once he is off bypass.

So far so good...

We woke up early this am and checked in at 6am then went to pre-op and got to meet the cardiac anesthesiologist and Anthony got prepped for surgery. He was in good spirits but a little anxious. He said he felt like he does on triahlon mornings but this time he won't be working hard. Now we are sitting in the cardiac ICU waiting room waiting for phone call updates. The OR nurse just called and said that everything is going good and they began surgery about 15 minutes ago. She will call with updates every hour. We have a pretty big group up here: my mom, Anthony's mom, her friend, Delta, Anthony's brother, his fiancé and me.