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North Olmsted, Ohio,
The Patient's Guide
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My new valve is registered!I received a letter from my heart surgeon explaining that my new St. Jude Medical Trifecta Pericardial Bovine Heart Valve bioprosthesis #25 (whew) is a registered prosthetic device and is considered an “implanted device”.
Fun With ReHabKinda fun I guess. Today was my second visit to rehab at Fairview Hospital, a Cleveland Clinic system hospital. The routine is 20 minutes on the most boring exercise machine in the world - the treadmill, then 20 minutes on the really most boring exercise machine in world history - the stationary bicycle and finally 5 minutes using both arms yanking on wall pulleys. I guess I'm forever spoiled from hiking up Colorado mountains and bicycling up to all the highest mountain peaks east of the Mississippi...sigh.
4 Week Maintenance CheckCardiologist says I’m doing ok; my new heart valve is working perfectly but I’m still in the seriously healing stage with a high heart rate and low blood pressure. Doctor says to stay on my current dose of beta-blocker which helps lower the heart rate. My heart muscle is still screaming in protest from being violated during surgery….this is normal. Climbing simple stairs finally isn’t causing me to double over from breathlessness. And my chest bone (sternum) is healing nicely so the Doctor declared it stabilized and gave me permission to drive (Donna is so happy, happy); who wants to drive around a crotchety old guy!
2-Week Post Op Check-UpVisited the Cleveland Clinic yesterday for a post valve-job inspection. Had some blood-letting, still-hairless chest X-Ray, an EKG and an up close and personal meeting with a Nurse Practitioner (CNP & MSN & MPH). The results of all the tests were immediately available to the CNP, the Cleveland Clinic is very efficient. This level of nurse substitutes for my heart surgeon and is able to interpret and diagnose all of the tests and can write prescriptions. She reported that I’m doing very well considering and my healing is progressing as expected. She also had every one of my whining irritations covered with an immediate explanation and mitigation recommendation; I couldn’t stump her so I gave up trying.
Surgery went well, to be released soonGot my new St. Jude Trifecta Paricardial Bovine, 25mm aortic valve. I also had my ascending aorta repaired with a Dacron shield. D-Day, the day my of surgery was blur! I can remember very little....thank goodness.
It's Donna againCheck out Tom's bedside photo in the My Photos picture...any of you who know him will wonder IF he really had surgery...he looks great.
Almost!Got a call yesterday, Tuesday, from Dr. Pettersson's office at the Cleveland Clinic, the scheduling guy said they had a cancellation for today, Wednesday, and wanted to know if I could show up today for surgery!! YIKES!
Holy Bicuspid!After a full day yesterday at the Cleveland Clinic submitting myself to a full battery of pre-operation tests I found out today while talking to my surgeon Dr. Pettersson that my severe stenosis aortic valve is also bicuspid! This means that the valve has only two of the three leaflets of a normal heart valve, Its a congenital condition - I was born with it and means the valve never opened all the way, and got worse as I aged.
Surgical Packet arrives...D Day getting closer.Yes, my valve job is scheduled for D-Day 2012, June 6th.
The Date is SET!The Cleveland Clinic called today as promised last week. My aortic valve replacement surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, June 6, 2012! Dr. Pettersson had reviewed my medical history yesterday and will have me scheduled soon for an aortic CAT Scan, Breathing test, blood test.....and a few others before the pre-op test. Now I wait again for the call for me to come in for these tests. No decision can be made as to surgery technique (mini-sternotomy or full sterno job) and new valve material until these tests are analyzed....makes sense.
The next step.....My heart doctor fedexed all my test results to Dr. Pettersson at the Cleveland Clinic yesterday. I talked to the CC patient contact nurse who told me that the doctor would exam my records and his office would contact me. In the mean time I was instructed to obtain a 'letter of clearance' from my Dentist along with dental x-rays. These are required before open heart surgery..
Meeting with my heart doctor Friday 4/27/12.Since I was advised to limit my exercising to a maximum heart rate of 135bpm I am really anxious to get the ball rolling.
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