By Adam Pick on January 3, 2007
I recently received an email that asked, “Adam, what was the most challenging aspect of your heart valve surgery?”
It’s a really good question – one that I do not answer quickly given the ups, downs, ups and downs of dealing with heart valve surgery.
However, I would say the hardest part of heart valve surgery was the recovery. It’s unfortunate but I found that the health care specialists failed to properly manage my expectations following my aortic valve replacement.
I was in the hospital for five days. Then, I was discharged. There was very little guidance as to what to do and what not to do. I did receive a 15-page handout but the only pre-planned events were a follow-up appointment with my cardiologist (2 weeks) and my surgeon (3 weeks). It was quite troubling. Besides that, there was no structure to my recovery. Ultimately, this led to several challenges in my recovery – pain medication dependency, cardiac depression, etc.
That was not fun.
Ultimately, my family and I took it upon ourselves to advance my recovery in the seventh week post-operation. We learned a number of post-operative strategies to enhance the recovery process.
To be honest, that is the key reason, I wrote my book. The patient needs to know what might happen at each phase of the operation. Personally, I felt like I was ‘left out in the cold’ following my aortic valve replacement.
I do not want you or anyone you know to have that experience.
The physical discomfort was one thing but the mental discomfort was completely unexpected and quite dislocating.
I believe a lot of those challenges could have been avoided had my cardiologist and surgeon structured my recovery a little bit better.
I hope that helps!
If you have any questions, please email me.
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on December 19, 2006
Good news! Good news!
I am very happy to report that earlier today I saw my cardiologist (Ben Rosin, Torrance Memorial) for my one year check-up. The echocardiogram came back very positive.
Dr. Rosin said, “I’m very delighted with this. Now, get out of here!!! I don’t need to see you for two years!” Even though Dr. Rosin was a USC football player, he’s a great guy. FYI, I went to Michigan and our two teams are playing each other at the Rose Bowl this year.
I’m in shock!!! I’ve reread the echo report three times. I still can’t believe what has transpired over the past twelve months. My official surgery date is December 21. I think I’m going to take the day off work and relax.
Today, I’m going to see Dr. Starnes at USC, my cardiac surgeon, for the follow-up visit. Hopefully everything will go well there too.
If you have never seen a picture of Dr. Starnes, the guru of heart valve replacement surgery. Here is a picture of him on your left.
Keep on tickin!
By Adam Pick on December 17, 2006
Well, here it is! My first blog at my website www.heart-valve-surgery.com!!!
I have to admit. I never thought this would be happening. As some of you know, I had a very challenging time before, during and, most importantly, after my aortic and pulmonary valve replacements.
My recovery was filled with ups and downs. Lately, however, there has been a whole lot more ups than downs! I guess that old cliche, “Nothing that’s worth it, is easy” really applies to heart valve surgery.
And to think… I just got engaged (see picture), I’m back to work and I just spent two weeks in Europe!!!
That said, I want thank all of you for your support – with the book, with the website, with your endless support and cheerleading for me.
I would not be as happy and healthy if it wasn’t for you.
Looking forward, I am going to use this blog to post my thoughts and ideas about my personal experience with heart valve surgery. If you have any special thoughts or questions you would like me to address, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will get to them as soon as possible.
Until then, have a great holidays!!!