Great news, Thalia. 15 hours a week sounds perfect. Bet you have a beautiful voice. Do any of these seniors know about your surgery? It would be quite a story to tell. Let us know about your visit next month. Your winter is ending soon, right?
Thanks for the update. Had to look in my world atlas to see just where Ballarat is, that it gets so cold there. I see it's in the very south of Australia, so I know the nearer to Anartica you are, the colder it will be. Stay warm. Would you like some of our summer, Florida heat?
Thanks for the note from "down under". Assume you're continuing to do well. How's the job search going? We're getting into summer here and it'll be winter for you. Does it get really cold there?
How nice to hear from you. I'm so glad you caught that blood clot and managed to get immediate treatment. I guess your doctor didn't think you needed the Warfarin originally because you weren't on it that long, were you? Being on Warfarin isn't the worst thing that could happen. Wishing you well.
Good Morning, Thalia
Great news. You were fortunate the lung clot was discovered early and treated. Seems like you made a great recovery and yes, good luck with your job search. Were you employed before the surgery and lost your position? Good to have your update.
Wondering how your visit with your surgeon went? You must have the all clear sign. Will you be going to cardiac rehab as so many have done here in the states? When you have time, please bring us up to date.
It was good to see your journal posting this morning. Sorry to hear about your set-back but at least you are once again on the road to recovery. Very few of our HVJ friends can report a recovery without even a minor detour so don't be disheartened. I'm really happy to know you have corrected the clotting issue though. Take care.
So glad to hear from you. Did you have symptoms with the lung clot, I would suspect you did. Glad the CT scan caught it and you started meds. In this country the drug you injected (in the abdomen, right?) is called Lovenox. It's a short acting blood thinner. Glad they were on top of it quickly and now with the coumadin for a few months you'll do well. So many scary things, but thank God for excellent treatment options. Give another update on your rehab as you progress. Have a great week.
Your last post was the day before my surgery and am now trying to catch up with people. Hope rehab is going well and you are stronger every day. You made lots of friends on the HVJ who would love to hear from you, so when you have time, please update us. Am looking forward to getting a little further along in my post op period so I can get back some of the issues I have.
Thalia, it is so good to here that you are doing well. I knew that you would come through with flying colors, we were all praying for you. Melissa is doing much better than I expected with her recuperation. She is quite a trouper.
Keep up with your progress, and be well soon...
Ed Mahoney (Melissa Boardman's dad in Morro Bay, CA)
Nice to hear you are enjoying your rehab sessions. How much weight are you allowed to lift? You must be really feeling good now which is great news. Continued success on your recovery. Cheryl, Ontario, Canada
Great to hear you are on the road to recovery. I also had surgery to repair my mitral valve on March 2. I am coping well with recovery and also have not suffered with any severe post-operative pain.
Glad everything turned out well for you! I didn't like ICU either, but I had some awesome nurses who took very good care of me and really encouraged me. Glad to be home, huh? Here's to continued good luck in your recovery.
Welcome home. I've been checking and watching knowing you'd soon be home and posting. I'm really glad you are okay and look forward to reading more once you are up to it. You were very well prepared. Good to hear your pain is manageable. Way to go. You are in my prayers. Cheryl, Ontario, Canada
I just wanted to let you know that I visited Thalia yesterday. She looked wonderful - I mean really wonderful). She has passed the fuzzy head part, and seemed to be of very good spirits. She was up and about, and appeared very relaxed. My only regret is that I hadn't read the guest book to pass on all of the good wishes. I will see if I can print and fax to her tomorrow.
When I left, her husband and 2 girls had just arrived.
One of her first questions was whether there had been any update on the Journal. So here it is.
I was just reading through some of the other guestbook notes. I apologise if I confused about the nightie. I didn't mean nightie (no idea why I said that), I agree pyjamas (bottom), and shirt. I actually had knee length nighties, but I was in my early 20s when I had the operation and they opened me up down the side of my torso rather than down the chest plate (wanted to keep it free for the next time!). I meant to concentrate on the buttons down the front. Apologies.
Hi Thalia, well as you said, it might not be easy to get to enter in the journal, but my good wishes and prayers are that everything is going very well. I know when Richard got out of surgery for the first few days it was really difficult to take the time away from him (I had no laptop) so my sister-in-law updated a little for me and then I had to go to the visitors area to update so it is understandable that it may take some time. I know we are all anxious to hear of your wonderful progress. Maybe you are even almost ready to go home!
We are thinking of you!
Richard's wife, Susan
Hi, Thalia , it's Monday the 1st in Morro Bay, CA. and I am saying a prayer for you, for tomorrow.
I hope you have the success that Melissa has had, and you will have a speedy recovery. You are in all of our prayers and thoughts. Good Luck to you...
Ed Mahoney,(Melissa Boardman's Dad)
Just wanted to wish you well. It's natural to be a little apprehensive before surgery, but don't worry too much. You're in good hands, and all will go well. We'll all look forward to hearing from you soon!
Just wishing you good luck and may God be there with you every step of the way guiding the surgeon. You are in my prayers. Try and keep strong - you will return and I will be looking forward to reading your first journal when you do! God bless. Cheryl, Ontario
Hi Thalia - my mum (Penny McIntosh) is in post op and we're keeping the journal up to date for her. But I can tell you that pre-op preparations feel so incredibly surreal. All the check lists and plans felt like we were doing it for someone else! Just take it easy and breathe deep when they come to wheel you away. You CAN do this - as so many people on this site testify to. Look forward to hearing that all has gone well, Georgie
Good Morning Thalia
You are in my prayers for a successful surgery on Tuesday. Hope you are able to be peaceful as you wait for these last couple of days.People have been so kind to me with gifts, cards etc. and I find I am getting emotional about each one.But, have always been an emotional person, but not so weepy. You will be home and well on your way to recovery when I have my surgery. Will wait for your updates. Lots of prayers to "down under". Fran Zilko
My husband doesn't know a thing about the computer so I had to wait for my return to update everyone. We'll all be waiting anxiously to hear your good news.
I pray your surgery goes well and that you are able to be calm and relaxed as possible when the time comes. Just being so prepared as you are will go a long way when it comes to knowing there isn't anything you forgot so you will be abe to keep your mind clear for the chore at hand. You've got home covered as well which is really smart and thank goodness for loved ones and the help they offer.
Find your happy place and get tucked in. The hospital staff will take over the rest. You will be in my prayers for a safe and speedy return. Cheryl, Ontario
I just read your story and appreciate your comment on my guestbook.....I am also 39...I think age is on our side...As far as getting last minute things done, You will lay there while they are hooking in all your IVs, there is something I forgot...Relax, Nothing is more important than getting yourself mentally prepared...Everything else will still be there when you get back...But I do remember laying there thinking that very thing...If I could give you advice for what to get prepared for is having plenty of help when you come home....I have had a great support group outside of my family...Thank God for friends....
Down under, that's a place, including New Zealand that my husband I want to visit some day. Don't know that it will happen, but we can dream, can't we.Sounds like you're all prepared and want you to know I'll be praying for you and waiting to read of your excellent results. Cheryl's idea of a small notebook (or maybe a tape recorder) so you can then take over the computer when you're able and know what happened when you were in your drug induced fog. Be peaceful as you wait.
Was just thinking you were next up on the docket and wanted to write and wish you a good weekend before your surgery. You will no doubt be busy tidying up all those little details that need doing. Just wanted to mention you might want to take a journal along with you so you could keep track of your recovery, symptoms,visitors and make any notes you may need answers for. Sometimes you and your husband will be sitting there discussing and when the nursing team or doctors come in, may just forget all what you had on your mind. Also it is handy to write down notes of ideas the nurses might tend to give. Take care. Cheryl, Ontario
All of the advice that has been posted by your guests is great - it helps all of us who are still pre surgery. Also read Joe's past journal entry about advice for family. I printed it off for my husband and daughter as a reminder. I'm signed up for your updates so will be in touch again next week. All the best for now.
I used to get to the Land of Oz a couple of times a year. Worked as a Tour Mgr for 18 yrs and used to visit Ballarat with my tour groups. Great place there for delicious pasties! Yummy! Will be thinking of you on this side of the globe and wishing you and your family the very best. I'll be having mitral valve surgery on 4/1 ... April Fools Day!
Boy, you are really getting your ducks in a row. Way to go. You are obviously a very organized person and all of this will go a long way in how you manage your recovery.
Three of my girlfriends, my youngest son who lives closeby and several of our closest male friends all met my husband at the hospital and waited out the surgery with him. They were party central. That was okay because it must have helped calm my husband and son and girlfriend.
My husband, son, girlfriend (sister for ICU purposes) and one male friend visited me in ICU and that was it. I specifically requested my 84 year old mother to not even come to the hospital. My brother was away and my other son lives a long ways away so I requested they not bother coming either.
Once I got to my room I did have quite a few visitors but really and truly, I got tired and they had to visit with my husband. Too many visitors aren't at all a good idea. You will be busy with nursing staff, busy with your napping, exercises and walking and if you have too much company, they get in the way of getting all that done. If visitors can wait until you return home, I really think it best.
Your nurse friend below is right about the hospital gown. I had to wait until the catheter was removed and once it was - Pete helped me into my pj bottoms immediately and eventually the tops. And I too took some socks to keep my feet warm. I was freezing.
Looks like you've received some good info and it will also help me with my surgery on the 18th. Have already purchased some pajama bottoms. Am also bringing socks as my feet get cold. But I am certainly bring the prayer quilt that I wrote about in my journal. Are you nervous yet? Prayers going your way.
Hi Thalia, Wow, you must be getting a bit nervous but you will be FINE! I will tell you what I can from a nurses perspective (although it has been 12 yrs since I worked in ICU). Brad will be allowed to come and go from ICU. Normally it will be immediate family only allowed in and often not children. I think you will find Brad will freak out a bit and if he says nothing it will be because he like many men won't cope well with seeing blood, catheters, drips and you not being your usual efficent self. I know he can be selfish at times but I think he will actually be very worried about you but just is not good at showing it. If you ask the nurses in hospital to wash your hair they will be only too happy. Hair can also be washed if very necssary whilst someone is bed ridden. Dont worry about your hair for the first week. you will have other thing to worry about and mum can wash it for you when you get home and Courtney afterwards if need be. From a pyjama perspective I highly recommend PJ top(preferably with buttons for access to wound) and bottom. The nurses will need to check the dressing over the sternum hourly at first. It is easier to thread the IV through just a top and also less likely to be subjected from getting pressure sores from lying on a crinkled nightie underneath you. Also it id a lot easier to just change one or the other in case of soiling etc.. However I would go with just a hospital gown (or nighty) for the first 24 hrs post surgery. You will likely have a IDC (catheter) and it is difficult to wear any PJ bottoms when that is insitu.I have been thinking of you!I will post more info as I think of it
I see Heather had good luck with short nighties but it doesn't sound as if she had the sternotomy. It was my experience that with a sternotomy you couldn't use your arms or hands to lift yourself up to tidy your nightie before getting out of bed so I highly recommend pj bottoms and tops that have buttons. With the pj's you are always covered for getting in and out of bed and aren't always laying exposed when the nurses and doctors do come to poke around.
With a sternotomy you roll over onto your side and then use your elbows to lift your body weight so as not to move the sternum. You cannot lift by one elbow and push with the opposite hand either - elbow and swing the legs over the side of the bed to get out. It helps when your body is "covered" especially when you or a possible roommate has guests.
I found lifting my arms over my head difficult for several weeks so I went to the hairdressers on the second day I got out of the hospital. I took my little cling pillow and a little baby type blanket. We put the little blanket behind my shoulders(a towel would have sufficed) and two girls lowered my head back into the sink while I hugged my pillow. Same for getting up. It was easy.
Hope some of this helps. It will be interesting to see what other answers you receive. Cheryl, Ontario
Good question, Thalia. My surgery was Wednesday afternoon and I was in the shower Saturday night with the shampoo and got into my own pajamas at the hospsital before being send home Sunday early afternoon. I felt like a million dollars!!
I live in Melbourne. I have had 2 lots of mitral valve surgery, both in Brisbane and neither were replacements. The didn't enter via the sternum either time (had to leave it open for later surgery). I am in my mid 40s, so still consider myself quite young.
I find out my next steps though on Thursday, and for the first time in many many years I am anxious.
I wish you well with your surgery. If you need the support of someone who has been through something similar please feel free to ask, and I would be happy to visit you. It is only a tram ride away.
Things I found out and wish I knew before hand.
I needed someone close for support who understood that I didn't necessarily mean everything I said. I was very fortunate, my mum sat by my bed and helped me through. It was only after she passed away that I understood how difficult I had been.
Magazines are good - something light that you can flick and don't require much concentration. I went in with great intentions for reading, etc - but it just doesn't happen.
Take it easy (easier said than done), I over did it when I came out and this made recovery a lengthier process.
Laughter is good but one night the head nurse had send all guests home because we were all laughing so hard they were concerned about the pain that might follow (a good thing, I thought), don't be scared to say 'no' to guests (it is your time, not theirs).
I made sure that I had nighties with buttons down the front to allow easy access to the doctors for testing / check up, this is not easy to find but was worth the effort, particularly because your chest area can be quite tender depending on how they go in. It can get quite difficult to lift a knee or fuller length nightie if you are in pain and sleepy.
You sound like you have given yourself a treat, I went to a concert the night before I went in so that I was concentrating on something fun and different.
I also made sure I had a full wax, I didn't want to risk having to put up with prickly legs while I was recovering (however, I think they may have relaxed that part of the preparation - my last surgery was in 1994). Sometimes I think that the full leg wax before the surgery in 1987 was worse than the surgery - but both are things that I am very happy I did. This is a very personal thing, and really depends on what is important to you.
Again, I don't know if this is still the case, but mum warned me that women often have their periods after they have been on anesthetic. I was grateful that I was prepared for this. There are so many advancements in this area, so it may not happen; but I was grateful to know so that I was prepared in my head space.
I also found having one of those triangle pillows when I returned home was very useful. I don't use them normally. I have also wondered whether the full body pillow would be helpful to sleep when I get home.
One other thing I would have found useful to know before hand is - if you have a physio, go and talk to them. I don't know if they still do it, but I started physio (very gentle) the day after the surgery. I wasn't really ready for it. I think if I had understood the types of exercises that they were going to ask and how to do them before hand it would have better prepared me when I got in.
Good luck, it is much better afterwards. I hope I haven't overwhelmed you - none of these are essential, just things that you may like to consider or ask a family member to help out with.
My thoughts will be with you even though I have never met you.
I am about 35-45 minutes from the hospital - all highway driving. I took a regular bed pillow and put it between the seatbelt and me. I wasn't the least bit uncomfortable - not anymore than it was to sit elsewhere. It helps if hubby could miss the bumps though. I used a regular bed pillow for the first couple of days and that got to be a headache so I converted to a breakfast pillow which was a little sturdier, you know, one of those little decorator pillows you put on your bed.
You are going to be surprised at how fast the sternum heals. Sure, you are going to have some uncomfortable feelings but you aren't going to be wandering around in extreme out of this world pain. Just hug that pillow to your chest and you'll be fine.
I'm due for my MV replacement next Wednesday. I do feel prepared and have done so much research, often guided by the journals on this site. I don't feel nervous yet, maybe the day before - maybe not. I have absolute trust in my surgeon and while this op would never be of my choosing, if it means I have the possibility of getting my active life back, then lead me to OR! I found most of Adam's book helpful (I live in UK)but I have found his website invaluable because of the pen pals that I have now. I have signed up for your updates and wish you a calm and peaceful lead in to H-Day!
Thalia, I just came across your journal. Have you considered getting some meditation tapes you can listen to prior to your surgery and perhaps afterwards for your pain management? My surgery is March 18th (I had my date given to me Jan 3rd), so it's been a long time. The tapes have helped me. Look into it if you can. Will say a prayer for you on surgery day.
No doubt you are tense and nervous as a kitten and rightly so. While it isn't a pleasant experience, take Barbara's pointer and try and relax. Get some music, a book, a puzzle book or something that you enjoy doing and keep at it until it's time. You will get through this. Think positive thoughts. Cheryl, Ontario