Hi Lori and Bill
I was thinking it must be soon time to hear from you. Congratulations. I'm so glad you are feeling so great and have all oars in the water. Guess you are looking forward to summer and will no doubt hit that mark a little before us. Stay well.
The year has flown by, hasn't it? I remember you had the late in the morning surgery slot. I was finishing up my testing and getting ready to finally meet Dr Gillinov after he finished with you. Glad you didn't wear him out too much! Remember January 2010 as we compared notes waiting for our CC packet to arrive? Seems like you are living life to its' fullest (remember I follow you on FB). Wishing you both many more healthy, happy years. Don't forget to get in touch if you're ever in the Bonita, Naples part of FL.
Top of the morning to you, Captain Bill & Lori! Congratulations on reaching your 1-year mark! So glad to know you are doing great in every way!!! We've all been through a lot together. Our best to you both!
What a really nice surprise to see your journal posting. I haven't been at HVJ a whole lot just lately as I've had to end up replacing my laptop and now have spent the last week getting it up to speed and figuring out the keyboard. We Canadians (other than from Quebec) have to remember to choose US English where we have to concede to your US spelling of some words as opposed to winding up fighting accents etc. Anyway, I`m working at it.
You are sounding fit with drugs. I too have some fuzzy moments now and then and sometimes end up answering the door in a haze. The doctor assures me it is the result of my drug induced athletic low heart rate. The answer is to get up slower! You just be careful and make sure Lori harnesses you to the side rails for fear of you falling overboard. Gillinov may not think to bark if you go awol.
Peter and I try to make sure we get a nightly walk in, even after he returns home from a full day of golf and wants nothing more than to sit back with a cigar and water the lawn. I do feel well except for the plague of palpitations I still endure (worse now than before surgery) but I`m not complaining really. Life is good and Ièm blessed to be here. See - Iève no damned idea what button on this keyboard I pushed!
You guys take care and careful of that heat. Wow. That is hot.
Good Morning Capt'n
So nice to read your witty posts again. Sounds like you've made a great recovery. I am also ending rehab on Friday (my 30th session). I am eligible for 36 but have our grandson coming for a week and I would miss those days so decided to end. It has been amazing how well it has helped me. I will continue to work at the fitness center here in our neighborhood. There is also a water aerobics class 2 mornings a week, so will be there with all the ladies and their noodles. Come September-October I plan to resume my early morning outside walks. Heck, I'll be healthier than I was a few years ago.
Still planning to get down to your high school weight and take Lori to the prom? Your ejection rate is excellent. A "normal" heart's rate is 70% and you've achieved that. I'll get my results at my 6 month echo and cardio appt in September. Since my heart is enlarged mine may not be that high. But it will definatly be an improvement of pre-op
Lastly, love the name of our favorite doctor for your new puppy. And yes, he must be very smart. The famous Dr G has had a few new patients from the HVJ. Keep smiling and enjoying life, not that you need my encouragemnt. Oops, almost forgot, I still get the wacky vision episodes every so often.
Hi Bill (Captain),
I just wanted to thank you for writing in my, and my son Danny's guest book. You were right about your journals being humourous. I think eveyone involved with these open heart surgeries could use a good laugh. Thank you for MORE than doing your part. Danny is almost two weeks post op and is doing well. He is experiencing soreness in his neck, shoulders and arms but probably from doing too much. He dresses himself, including putting on socks & shoes, was sleeping in bed (often on his side), walking four blocks in our neighborhood etc. All this LESS than 2 wks post surgery. I guess I should be glad he is holding off on the 500 push ups and sit ups. He looks VERY longinly at the basket ball hoop, though. I'm going to have to tie him down for the first six weeks. I just wish I was that young again. I'm glad to hear your recovery is progressing well. Continued good health to you and thank you once again for your humor. Mary James
Hi...good to hear you are improving..I have a strange problem with my favourite racehorse...when he races at the 900m mark he just stops almost to a trot and byt he time he comes back to scale he is breathing fine and is fine. Someone suggested that a valve in his heart may be closing....as a person who had heart valve problems could you exercise for a one minute vigorously and then just have to stop ?
Wasn't it great that Adam featured our super surgeon (and us) on his blog. Shortly after my surgery i went into Adam's database and put in my note about Dr. G and I'm encouraging you to do the same (unless you've already sent him a magnum of Don Perignon (sp)). Even then, I'd still encourage you. With all my setbacks early on am happy I'm progressing in rehab and feeling stronger. Enjoy being on the water, nothing quite as peaceful.
Hey, how is Mr. PH doing? That is what I call Richard - PH. He is still having issues with his memory and just seeming in a daze at times and trouble with his vision and focusing as well. All and all he is getting better every day. You must be out on the boat with summer in full swing!!
Hope all is going well.
Richard's Wife, Susan
I just looked back on your guestbook entries and I see I didn't sign my May 17th entry, Bill, Bill, Bill. Anyway, glad to see you are progressing and hope you and Lori are super enjoying your boat this year. Stay well.
Hi Bill & Lori
Thanks for the note. Are you going to therapy 3 times a week and hope you're not bringing donuts each time. I know you're just passing them out and not eating them, right? I've only gone once but have had some weird sharp "stabby" feelings along my incision area. I have to believe I'm stretching some muscles in that area. Will ask the exercise physiologist when I see him tomorrow. Fancy title, Huh? How many times have you gone and how many times do you plan to go? Take care and I agree, time has gone by quickly. So glad it's all behind me and wouldn't want to go through it again. Happy boating, now that the weather is great you must really look forward to the weekends.
Oh Capt. Bill, you are the one that enlightened Richard to what he is "a pump head." He keeps up with the journals and told me about the pump head/20% impairment, etc., and now I feel that you could be called Dr. Bill instead of Capt. Bill because you have given him more answers than the doctors have. Richard definitely is a PH. He will start a conversation and then just stop in the middle of it and say "its gone, my thought just left the building." I noticed that he occasionally has a bit of a blank stare - again he is not like that - unlike his wife he is tarp as a shack! I tease him now and say "welcome to my world." Although there isn't room for two of us forgetting things or not remembering.
Great that you are 89%. You might even be 90% by now. I think Richard is about the same!
Richard's wife Susan
Hi Capt'n Bill,
I just googled pumphead as I figured it was another of your jokes - yikes it really is true! You are a mine of information but I still think you're funny. C'mmon you know you ARE feeling better! Stay up there, love to Peggy. Warmest wishes Penny.
Always enjoy reading your journal updates. Glad to hear your improving every day. Funny you should mention "pumphead." My wife and I were just joking about this very subject this weekend when I first came across the terminology. We both agree we both suffer from this malady already and neither of us have as yet been on the heart lung machine. My surgery at the CC with Dr. Gillinov is exactly five weeks from today. Can't say that I'm looking forward to it, but it is what it is and what must be. Keep in touch.
I just finished reading your journal and it definitely put a smile on my face! I love your sense of humor and positive attitude! I had all my dental work done last Thursday, so that was especially interesting since I ended back at the dentist today for dry socket...WoW is it a lot of work to prepare for heart surgery. I have 17 days left...feels like forever and yet right around the corner at the same time.
Thanks for sharing and hope your recovery continues smoothly!
Hope Lori has returned and is doing okay. Thanks for the message on FB. Did you just realize you have this throat problem or has it been in the background for the past 2 months. I am happy to say I didn't have that problem. Remember Cheryl saying she had a constant cough for months before it finally went away. When you realize what they do to us during surgery, it's amazing we don't have more problems. Will find out about the amount of fluid in my lungs on Monday when I see my cardio. Am using my spirometer 8-10 times a day. Still have pain in my left shoulder blade area and wish I could get to the cause of that. Hope the weather is beautiful this weekend so you can enjoy your boat. Can't imagine the cost of 300 gallons of fuel!! Stay well and post every now and then, I will too,
Hey, CC buddy! You are doing great. I know that light at the end of the tunnel is not a train. That's the big neon sign that says "you made it". Your humor is back and no complaints, so know you are better. What is the script your doctor has given you for relaxation? Were you a good sleeper before surgery? Hope the 4-5 hour stuff ends soon. My road to recovery has had a lot of detours as you know if you read my posts. My internist this morning says she still hears fluid in my lung sacs but doesn't seem to be getting worse, so God willing, no more draining. She also says a year before I'm back to normal!!!! Enjoy the weather and your boat.
Sounds like you are making progress. My tequila level is very low but all the Drs. say give it a couple of weeks. I have been walking at 1.5 on my treadmill at home for two 20 minute intervals. The weather turned warm but with that came the winds.
I know what you mean about the sleeping. My friends suggested taking Valerian Root (supplement) tastes like shit and does seem to work, sometime. I will be going to Rehab next week for my evaluation before I start the program. It will be 4 week post op next week.
I know when I do too much because it catches up with me the next day. Looking forward to be normal (?) again.
Hope the weather holds up so you can get the boat out.
Hi Capt. Bill, it is great to hear that you can drive both on land and sea, at least I think it is great - keep it down there a little Captain, that's all!
It has been a while since I have read the journals of all you guys and it is intersting to see how everyone progresses, yet still has their setbacks, but I do see that all and all - the ones of you that pretty much had surgery within weeks of one another are still doing well considering every one is an individual with differences in age, circumstances, etc., and as the country and western song goes "I'm alive, and well." Ohhh thank the Lord - Aye Duane? (I threw in the Canadian there for Cheryl (ha-ha)).
I am touched by the continued comradery of all that have been through this - it still reminds me of what a "big deal" this Heart Valve Surgery really is.
Keep up the good work and progress.
Great to hear that you're back behind the wheel and back on the water again. Cheryl's post about notifying the Grand Lake police is hysterical! And, yes, I recall early driving and realizing you feel it in your sternum and in your atrophed upper body muscles. Builds back quickly, though.
Feeling middle of the road is okay at your stage. Better than under the road, eh?!
Are you really thinking of a Florida trip soon? Do come. Would love to see you. Make sure you allow some time to have dinner at our place! We have a conference in Dallas in July 2011, so you never know if we just might make it to Oklahoma and take you up on your offer. What a blast that would be!
So, rehab this week. That's great. You'll love it. Let's talk soon. I'm off to rehab now.
Hi Capt'n Bill,
It must be a great feeling to get out on the water again, have a lovely weekend!
It wasn't until my 6 week mark that I felt I had finally turned a corner and started feeling normal. At 9 weeks I still get days when I feel wiped out or my lungs feel full of gunge but most days I am feeling 90%. I expect to feel 100% at the 6 month mark and I do have to keep reminding myself that it was a HUGE operation and that my body, including my nervous system has gone through so much trauma. Also the amount of drugs that we have to take has their own special effects too. We are all survivors - keep smiling!
I graduated to the front seat and did take a short (10 min) drive to get my hair cut. Smaller car, power steering, no problem. Was up most all last night with continual coughing with lots of phlegm. Also have laryngitis, so went to see my PCP and am on an antibiotic and have to lay low for a few days. Glad you are seeing progress, I agree, if I look back at last week, I see an improvement, but not day to day. Wishing you the best weekend on your boat, rain or shine. The change of scenery has to work magic. As for me, my link has always been with the ocean. The salt water smell, the waves and the general peace it gives. Keep healing, I'm aways behind you but one of these days I know we will look back and say "how did we do it?
You are progressing. Gary is back to work, but I have so much going on that we will not get to the lake until late Saturday.(Maybe in time for dinner) This is graduation weekend for me. It will be windy and maybe stormy, so maybe you better not take See Wippett out this weekend.
So nice to hear from you and reading between the lines, you are actually sounding better, so there! The pain part of the surgery becomes such a small part of the recovery because all of the other junk kicks in and renders us next to being disabled. The heart is like dealing with a stubborn kid.
I'll be doing a non-rain dance for you this weekend so you get to really enjoy your time on the boat and I'll be listening for your shout.
I retained fluid for a while afterwards as well and had to keep putting my legs up and now it's pretty much a habit that when I sit I've got my feet up. I was notorious for sitting on my feet. Our family room couch is puffy and I'm short, my legs don't reach the floor, so I look like the star of The Big Comphy Couch. It ends up being legs under or legs outstretched to the coffee table. Do keep an eye on the swelling though. You'll not want to be boating with special kneesocks!
My regards to Lori. Your summer has to be a little quicker than ours in coming so I'm wishing you both a very happy boating this weekend. We're busy with the grandkids and lacrosse games and a family golf outting so the weather better be good.
Hey Cap'n! Are you doing your rehab @ Saint Francis? If so, I'm there from 4 to 5pm on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. The classes are pretty useless (they harp on heart healthy diets, stress reduction, etc.) but the workouts are actually doing me good. And, you can join us in giving the nurses heck!
Do I assume correctly that you have horses? If so, I used to have a horse - actually I am still listed as legal owner. She's now being loved by an 11 year-old girl. My horse is a registered Paint mare named Patches (registered name is Sonny's Baby Jay). I love horses! I also have a collection (1000+) of Breyer model horses.
I can understand about wanting to be on the boat. Soon, my friend, soon.
Hang in there & I look forward to seeing you at rehab!
Hey Capt'n Bill,
Lecture time from an old hand who is all of 8 weeks post op. Instead of your heart, if this was a mechanical issue with your boat - you would follow the repair/running in instructions to the letter - you wouldn't risk further damage to such an expensive piece of kit now would you? So - no alcohol, no caffeine, no salt, prescribed breathing and walking daily and YES you will go to rehab! You need educating! You know it's because I care...
love and hugs Penny
You are just expecting too much from yourself so lighten up a bit. It's hard to keep a good man down and eventually one day you are going to be waiting for the "not feeling so well signs" and you are going to wait a long time. I am praying that is real soon, for your sake and Lori's.
Bill you and Fran Z have been my inspiration and I am greatful to have all your valuable input. I am sorry you are having a difficult recovery and feel guilty - so far - for having an easier time. My legs never got swollen and if you read my updates, the procedure was minimally invasive. Even with all my bad, really bad habits, I guess I live a good life.
Stay strong and positive. I will be keeping you in my thoughts.
You WILL need cardiac rehab and it's one of the best things you could do for your recovery. I am 14 wks post op (1/4/10 Mitral replacement) and I have been to 32 sessions and will continue past my 36 because it's SO IMPORTANT! Please do your heart a favor and go to rehab. I live in Hood River Oregon and my boyfriend is a marine mechanic...if we lived closer I would send him out to clean your bilge.
I hope you are on the water soon!
Take good care and please keep us posted on your progress!
Thanks for the update, you're doing great. Did you go off the Lasix on your own or doctor's orders? I do sense that you may not be the most compliant patient?? Read Sandy's journal about our doctor and the CC. Guess he thought the OR was like Star wars, also. Guess I never had that image. Continue to do well. I will be a few weeks behind you.
Good morning Bill
Am finally getting around to answering your great posts to me. You always make me laugh (the umbrella incident). Can't think of you without picturing you with 2 watermelons on you feet, a hysterical thought! Bill, in spite of things not going as smoothly as possible, from my point of view, you're doing great! Working half days at the office and then at home, walking a mile, etc.I just don't have anywhere that type of stamina. But, now that they took off over a quart of fluid and I am breathing better I am back to walking, not too far, but will get further each day. What diuretic are you on and do you track your weight daily to see if you are losing? I presume you have cut your salt intake to zero. My cardio gave me a script for Ambien last week but have been reluctant to take it after reading all the info on it. Guess you haven't had any of them. But, really, sleep walking, sleep driving, sleep eating, sleep sex (still trying to figure that one out!). Can't wait to feel better, it's just taking a lot longer than I thought it would. Read all of Adam's book when I got it, but will go back and read the recovery section again as you did. I do remember he suffered with depression and Vicodan addiction. I have a dear niece getting married in MA tomorrow followed by a sibling family reunion. Knew there would be no way we could attend but am trying not to feel too sorry for myself. There will be lots of family gatherings in the future. I am one of 8 children (2 are deceased) so have lots of family members and we are close although we live in FL, GA and MA. have a great weekend and won't be long before you're back on board your boat. By the way, do you still use your spirometer? Have used mine daily and am now using 4-5 times a day instead of twice. Write again when you can. Hello to Lori.
I can just tell your house rocks with love and laughter and there is just no better way to pass through life. The first thing I relate to my husband and myself is the laughter we share - he's such a card.
I was reading your guestbook message to Fran and you too are experiencing a build-up of fluid? Some of the recoveries are so laden with detours here and there - things we could never have guessed at - but in the end they do seem to get fixed so keep your eye on the prize.
Take care you two. And Lori, don't give him anything with moving parts!
Hiya Capt'n Bill,
You have not lost your sense of fun, even with the pain. After reading your 3 week update which I could totally relate to (except the testosterone guy thing)I only realised in the last few days that I had suddenly turned a corner. My recovery was up and down for 5 weeks and then slowly keeping 'up' then suddenly last week I was there. You will be back on your boat before you know it, love and gentle hugs. Penny