Amen and well done, my brother! We're glad to have you patched up and looking as swarthy as ever - and while I would argue that my scar is much more impressive I will give you credit for the more fashionable incision and a pretty impressive recovery, despite your advanced years. Here's to a whole lot more of them - happy and healthy!
(Jim's younger and more attractive brother)
Congratulations on how well you're doing, James. I wish you all the best. My surgery (a very difficult one with lots of complications) was a little more than a year and a half ago and, in spite of heart damage and a very leaky valve, I am doing great - but it took a long time. A looooooong time. I too get the sternotomy pain from time to time, but I hardly think about it anymore.
Best to you. Ruth Howell Maine
I still get some tighness and pain the my chest area but less and less over time. I find a significant difference between weeks 12 and now 18. You're doing great and thanks for your recent post to my page.
Hey Jim, I am glad to here thing are going so well for you. Wow 4 miles!!! Im doing good good you get a little more than one. Haha. Well I just wanted to drop you a line and say hello and once again I glad to hear you are doing so well.
So good to hear that you're doing so well. Keep up the good work. I'm following your progress as my surgery date of April 21 gets closer. About the phlebitis: That happened to me once after surgery. The IV became dislodged and caused the problem. They moved the IV, but the vein had become damaged. Once I got home the swelling in the vein got worse and eventually became so painful I had to have it surgically removed - which was no big deal. I watched the surgery (very minor) under local anesthesia. The doctor snipped out the phlebitis and sewed the vein back together and put it back in my arm and I was left with a tiny 1/2" incision. I've never had a problem with it since. As far as I know it's been working well for some 35 years. Keep up the great work, Jim. You're an inspiration and thank you so much for your detailed posts. Much appreciated.
Hey Jim, I am glad to hear you are doing so well. I wish my stay was a breif as yours. I keep having headaches and dizzy spells that put me on the edge of vomiting now and Im almost three weeks out. I go see my Doc this Friday and hopefully they can fix that. I still have a bit of soreness but then again I cant just set around and my girlfriend fusses at me for doing so much, she keep me in line. haha.
the removing of the chest tubes was an earie feeling I do agree but a releif once they were gone. I hated those daily walks and the hour I had to spend setting up to help my lungs to be able to breathe agian. after setting up and then laying back down I would always cough causing great pain even with hugging the heart pillow. Im sure glad to be home. I bet you are too.
Hey james, Ive been catching up on your posting. Im glad to here you are doing so well. I was wondering if you have ha any problems with nightmares from the Percasets or heavyheavy sweating? I had to change meds because of that and am now taking demerol which helps. when I woke up after the surgery, the first thing I did was try to pull my breathing tub out so they strapped my hands until I promised to stop. All I wanted was a drink of water. I had some issues during and after my surgery but all is well Now I am still in the hospital and will be for atleast 3 more days they say. I am so ready to go home! This site has been a god send for me.
I've always thought that you had nice kidneys. I think that it is your regimen of red wine and gin martinis that keep them flushed out and healthy. It's clear that your hard work over all of these years has paid off!
It is amazing how something so simple as an ice chip can be such a sensory experience!
Hey, Jim.... Your writing is only equaled by Homer describing a similar Odyssey! I was having flashbacks as I read your journal. It's hard to believe that I am coming up on my 25th anniversary of my surgery. My journey has certainly colored my perspective over these years and made me so appreciative of God, a loving family and certainly the skilled hands of a great surgeon. I would imagine that you have had some pretty deep thoughts as you are now appreciating what you went through and how you have this incredible opportunity to live your life fully from here out. Enough existentialism for one evening brother. Can't tell you how happy we are that you are getting back on your feet and to your cantankerous old self! Love, Marty
I find your in-depth descriptions so very helpful and informative. Thank you for taking the time to go into this in such detail. It's really helpful (for me) to know what to expect along the way. Thanks again and I hope you're doing really really well.
Each week you will notice improvement and while it may be slight it will also be significant. I'm now at 8 weeks post-op and if it wern't for the swelling and numbness in my groin area I wouldn't even know I underwent the surgery.
So glad to hear you're doing so well and thanks for the update. Jim, did you have a sternotomy or other minimally invasive surgery? My surgery is scheduled for April 21 at the Cleveland Clinic and I will need a sternotomy (although probably not a full one) and I'm wondering what I need to know about the sternum healing. Do you think one of those full body pillows would help with sleeping?
Any info. and advice would be appreciated. Once I received my packet of information in the mail my anxiety took over again and I am not coping well - and people telling me "you will be alright" does no good whatsoever. Any advice that worked for you? Thanks
I'm so glad to read about your progress. It's wonderful to see that you were walking 1.25 miles on your road during the lull between storms. After the nuisance snow of today, we are looking at seven days of dry weather.
Hi, Jim--I have been amazed, impressed, and most pleased to hear--through your journal--how quickly and steadily you seem to be healing. I wish you well in this process--don't push too fast, of course--and I know you will have a full recovery and be out in the trout streams by they time they are thawed (probably late August in this apocalyptic New England winter.)
Good morning, brother! Sounds like you are continuing to progress down the recovery road. Not a most pleasant road to travel, but the destination is that much better having traveled it. Keep up the good work and remember to generously tip your lovely caregiver and chauffeur! Love, Marty & Kim
Glad you are feeling well.......I am a recent AVR patient and I had to return to the hospital to have fluid that had built up around my heart drained. The reason I knew this was lack of energy and appetite. It really wiped me out.
Continued success with the walking (a 1/2 mile is CRAZY!!) but I sure wish I was right there next to you. Cold here in Chicago too so I found an indoor track that I sure hope I can get back to as soon as I am released from the hospital. For now I gotta go walk my laps here in the hallways.
Thanks Jim, that is reassuring.
I do have chronic rheumatoid arthritus, which i have had for years now and it is controlled by medication. This is my only real concern as my immune system does not work very well and i don't know if this will impact on my operation at all.
So happy to read yours and Susan's posts, it is great to read how well you are doing.
I am going in for surgery in about 2 1/2 weeks for Mitral Valve replacement and am very nervous- your posts inspired me.
Looking forward to reading more.
I visited with the Optimologist yesterday and had a thorough battery of exams to determine that those are a certain type of harmless migrain (without pain.) could possibly have been brought about by the trauma of the surgery.
If you are uncertain by all means get it checked out.
Good Morning, James! Great to hear of your continued progress and that you are back to the gym - albeit in limited fashion. The hard part now is having the patience to pace yourself during recovery. We are so happy for you and Susan that this is behind you and that you can look forward to a life without regurgitation!
The hoarseness is probably due to the tubes, BUT tell your doctor about it. With all the antibiotics they put us on with this surgery, it's possible to get thrush which is a sort of yeast infection due to the antibiotics. They give you a mouthwash which cures it in about 3 days.
Hope this helps. Best of luck and healing.
Been there done that!!!!
It sounds like you are doing incredibly well for one week post op! It's really amazing! I hope the next few weeks will get to back to relatively normal condition! Hope to see you guys soon!
So glad to hear you are home! It's been great to read your posts (and Susan's too!) regarding your amazing progress. It's hard to believe it was a week ago this morning you were on your way into surgery. My mother-in-law had open heart surgery last June to repair an aneurysm so I'm particularly aware of some of what you went through. In fact, did they give you a big heart shaped pillow to use? My good thoughts are coming your way. Take good care of your self and I hope to see you soon.
Yeah you are home! It must be wonderful at least when you are lucid. Nothing like being in your own bed, even if you are doing the "funky turtle".
It is certainly positive note for all of us to stay as healthy as possible, so when surgery does occur we all have a better chance of a speedy recovery. You and Susan are my heros.
I suspect you know the pillow to the chest routine but just in case, hold a pillow tight to your incision when you have to move or cough or whatever. It should help a little. And of course, stay warm.
Susan and James:
I have been reading with great interest and am glad that things went as well as could be expected and you are on the road to recovery. I have been dealing with psoriatic arthritis that has restricted my mobility somewhat, but nothing like what you have been through. The only reason to mention that is I have been required to sleep on my back, which I hate. I vote for the meds until you are better.
Wishing you a speedy recovery and thanks to Susan for the good care and loving attention you are receiving.
When you see your doctor, ask about a less potent pain killer. I was only on percocet for 3 days. Then I switched to Vicodin which is not as powerful. Two pills soon became one and then one-half. Percocet is extremely powerful. There are other painkillers in the same category that aren't as powerful and help you ease off and they don't knock you out.
Best of luck. We've all been where you are and now are living active normal lives. The tough part only lasts a couple of weeks. Keep your chin up. It gets better every day.
Glad to hear that you are recovering uneventfully.
I am sure it is nice to be home in your own bed and not have someone waking you up all night to be sure you are ok. Isn't modern medicine amazing!!! It helps that you are young and healthy. Take care and speedy recovery. Look forward to seeing you in the spring???
WOW, YOU ARE IN GOOD SHAPE. So glad you are home, now you might get some sleep wihout the 2 hour interventions from nurses.
A very impressive recovery indeed.
Home for Sunday football play-offs! Try not to scream at the TV.
love, Carol and Kevin
Hi Jim! I can't believe you're home! That has to feel really good! Keep moving along like you have been and you'll be better than ever in no time! Maybe you can get some rest now! I'll talk to you soon! Love ya!
Congratulations! Yes, they send you home really quickly once you are stable. I was out in four days as well. Now the real recovery begins, take it slow and let other's help when you need it. You'll be amazed how quickly some things come back and how slow others are
Ahhhh, Home Sweet Home! Pretty impressive, my brother. You made this thing look like a walk in the park. Don't get too stir crazy and go shoveling the driveway or chop firewood just yet.... enjoy every day with your new and improved mitral valve and we look forward to talking with you soon. By the way, Mom is expecting your usual 8:00 a.m. call tomorrow! Cheers! Marty