Kim Scott posted a note for Mary-Jo that says:
Hi Mary Jo. We were talking about you and Mark after looking through some vacation videos. There you and I were at the Biltmore sitting on a bench laughing and talking. What a wonderful day that was. I can't think of hot air balloons and cross stitch without thinking of you. Thanks to the Internet I have found you. Sending prayers and good thoughts your way.
Hi Back Mary-Jo
Cotton bras were recommended to me because they would absorb any tiny bit of blood leftover from the incision and because they are cotton, they would also absorb any of your body sweat. This would help keep the incision area clean. I found some under the Warner brand. I bought and used them for about 3 weeks (not in the hospital) and had to pitch them. They definitely picked up a wee spot of blood here and there but they offered absolutely no support whatsoever and the muscle area around the breasts was so sore I had to resort back to my more supportive bras. I believe somewhere in Adams question area, check out what some ladies said about wearing bras. Like me some had muscle problems and needed some support so I personally wouldn't recommend the t-shirt thing at all. When I'm walking on the treadmill or just walking, I really need the support to help stop the pain. It's not perfect but I soon found out a solution to one of my problems. It is recommended you buy bras at least one size larger than you normally wear - ie, 34 to 36 etc. The pain from the incision is gone so fast I could have worn my regular bras at the getgo but I didn't because of the sweat thing and also they were a little smaller. I gained 13.5 pounds of fluid immediately. By the time I came home most was gone and once home the rest left immediately.
I bought hygenic flushable wipes to use after going to the washroom because I wasn't able to have a shower the entire time I was at the hospital because of attachments etc. At least the wipes made me feel half decent and the fact they were flushable was convenient too.
Lip gloss or lipsal for your lips particularly in the ICU because your lips get so dry. I had my husband put it on every time he came in whether or not I requested it as most of the time I was out of it.
I bought pj's to take with me and they were a godsend. In the beginning you are in the hospital gown and you have a fair amount of wires and leads etc. and the odd time, a wee bit of blood so I didn't mind the gown in the beginning but as soon as I was in my room, I put my pj bottoms on and at least felt covered for getting in and out of bed or getting to the washroom. I wasn't exposed! As soon as conveniently possible, I started wearing the full set and I actually felt nicer. PJ's were also apprecaited by my guests, especially as I was getting in or out of bed. Think about it. I bought mostly button down fronts but after a couple of days it really didn't matter whether I buttoned them up or pulled them over my head.
I made sure I took an inexpensive I-pod and used that more than anything else. There were many times I had to go out for tests etc. and it was nice to have my I-pod and my book.
I had purchased some jogging pants and large t-shirts for home and only wore them the one day. I went out a great deal once I got home and I didn't like going out in jogging pants. The fluid had left so I was able to wear my jeans etc. and felt quite comfortable.
My hospital didn't give out those cute little heart pillows so I just used a small firm decorator bed cushion from one of the guest rooms. I keep one in a shopping type bag for the car and every time I ride in the car (back seat still) I put that cushion over my chest and then put the seatbelt on. Absolutely no pain.
I went to the hairdresser the second day after I got home. I took a small receiving type blanket leftover from the grandchildren and we put that behind my shoulders and back to help lay me down for washing. One girl stood on either side of me and helped lower me away. We put my feet up on another chair and I held onto my pillow and it worked perfectly and the girls didn't have to pull too hard. When I was ready to get up I put my feet on the ground, wrapped my feet around the legs of the chair I was on to help use my stomach muscles to pull and then the girls pulled. I did that for 3 weeks and haven't needed to do it since. The pain goes amazingly fast.
I had my husband bring my packed bag into the hospital once I had a room and the bag contained, slippers, lightweight housecoat, two pair of PJ's and some underwear and socks in case my feet got cold and all the little odds and ends. All the rest of my pj's and underwear were in Ziploc baggies and each day he just brought in a new baggie and I sent him home with what I had worn. When I was ready to leave we really only had to take home the things I was wearing.
I had my going home clothes packaged the same way so he wouldn't forget anything. Again, because I wasn't given a little heart pillow, I had him leave a bed pillow in the car for the trip home.
I had packed a little moisturizer and some skin cream for my legs and feet. I didn't end up putting anything on my feet because I was too sore to bend that far! My husband did my legs for me. You really can't use any creams on the rest of your body.
I took my own sanitizer because I find some of the hospital stuff not very nice but honestly, the hospitals seem to have that all over the place so I was using it too.
Gee, this must be quite an apistle. Must run. It's almost 5 and I want to quit work and get dinner going. If I think of anything else I'll be sure to drop in. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.
Some of my friends thought I was a little nuts but the shopping and planning really did help me keep busy. I always have a book on hand too. I read a lot and it helps with the waiting.
We have friends in Hilton Head, SC, is that anywhere near you?
MJ-my dear friend! You are one amazing person & I know you will be back to your old self in a flash once your replacement is complete! My prayers are with you & your family & remember, I'm only a phone call away! You are loved, my friend.
Hi M.J. I don't have a clue about heart valves, but I do know about hearts. There are many of us here in Asheville who love your very much. Our prayers will be with you on Sunday as you travel and again as the doctor makes his diagnosis. May God fill you and Mark with peace as you face another difficult period in your life.David
I'm 60 yrs old and am 5 weeks mitral valve regurgitation post-op. You have had some health issues in the past and here you are again, but at least you have something that can be fixed, one way or the other. I had to keep telling myself my diagnosis/prognosis "could be much worse" and I think that helped me an awful lot. I can't imagine anyone facing his type of surgery does so completely fearless. I handled the fear by looking at everything in a clinical manner as if it were someone else going through it. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and did as much research as possibe. Adams book and web-sites helped keep me informed and meeting other patients helped also. I found it very encouraging talking to others enduring the same things. I read like crazy, especially at night when I went to bed or woke up in the middle of the night. Some nights I read an entire book - cover to cover. I spent a great deal of time figuring out the best type of clothing and miscellaneous items to take with me to the hospital which in the end became a godsend. I just read, researched, shopped and planned. Good luck to you Mary-Jo. I'll be watching your journey. Take care. Cheryl, Ontario