Welcome to HVJ! I had my aortic valve replaced May 20th and found this site, and everyone here, to be incredibly helpful and reassuring.
Don't worry too much about the breathing tube. It was one of the things I was most concerned about but it really wasn't bad. I didn't feel it when it was in (I was in and out of consciousness at that point) and when they took it out, it was a little uncomfortable but it didn't last long. All in all, NOT a big deal.
One thing I learned through this experience is that the doctors (and to a lesser degree, the nurses) don't really know what to tell you about what you'll experience because they haven't been through it. Their perspective is on the medical side and they have great knowledge about what will be done to you. But they don't have that knowledge about how you will perceive what has been done to you.
That's where we come in. Though experiences vary widely, we have the best knowledge about what you can expect before and after your surgery. Read our journals and feel free to ask questions.
I think it's fair to say that most of us will tell you it's not the horrible experience we feared it would be. I was afraid of searing pain . . . I had very little. Recovery has been easier than I expected although not without some bumps in the road. I've tried to be a patient patient . . . to push myself when appropriate but to baby myself when needed.
I tried to go into surgery as calmly as possible. I think that helped. There are relaxation tapes available that have helped some people stay calm. (I was at the Cleveland Clinic and they gave them to us; others have gotten them on-line.)
Best of luck as you prepare for surgery.
Hi Sharon. The book is so helpful, isn't it? I read it before going to my surgeon & when he explained things to me, it just made so much more sense because I'd recently read much of it. There might be some similarity between you & I - I did not have symptoms before my surgery either. I had my aortic valve replaced on 7/21/10, plus a bypass of my narrowed aorta. Both were congenital conditions. So, welcome to HVJ. Reading the journals of others was very helpful for me too. Take care & best of luck with your surgery. Joy Vera
Being a 3 time open heart and last being mitral valve replacement 8-2-2010 and a nursing background that was always my fear. Let the staff, anesthesiologist, nurses know you concerns, they will reassure you. Many times they will keep you sedated until they are ready to remove you from the ventilator, you will remember very little. I never wanted to hear the machinery breathing for me. Voicing your fears is half the battle. I loved the book as well
Welcome!!! Adam's book is fantastic, isn't it? I had my surgery on 7/20/10 - mitral valve replacement. Like you, I was in a panic over the thought of waking up with the breathing tube... I only remember being told to cough when they were going to remove it and not actually having it or being conscious of it being removed. Matter of fact I really don't remember any of my time in ICU! Alot of it is scarier in your mind than it will be in reality. I hope this relieves your fears just a little.