Wanda Mroz posted a note for Melinda that says:
Best wishes on Thur Melinda. You'll do great. I had mitral valve, tricuspid valve repair and a maze procedure in Aug last year. I'm doing pretty well. I'll be thinking of you on Thurs. hugs..
Artie Rubin posted a note for Melinda that says:
I can understand your being nervous, even scared, but I can tell you from my own experience (mitral valve repaired, aortic valve replaced in one, "full cut" operation) that there's nothing to be scared about. The mortality rate is a whopping TWO PERCENT (and even less, according to some sources). And those were invariably older patients with other major health problems.
As for your angiogram, you'll be in a twilight state. if not knocked out completely. One of those, "When are we going to get started on this?"--when it's already been done! The biggest "pain" (no, it doesn't hurt) is that afterwards, you have to lie very still for about 4-6 hours so the entry point (a main artery) can clot over.
Same thing with the TEE if you have to have that done too. That's where they stick a camera down your throat. I said, "No way, I'll gag." But sure enough, another "When are they going to get started on this?"--and it was already a done deal. They'd knocked me out completely.
Here's one more example. After my operation, there was fluid in or around my lungs for several days. They tried diuretics (pills) to get it out, but no luck. Finally they said, "We're going to tap it out." I said, "What's that?" They said they were going to stick a long needle between my ribs and into the lung area and tap the fluid out.
Naturally I thought, this is going to be horrible--probably just what you're thinking about the things you're facing yourself now. So I'm leaning over in my bed (that's where they do it) and the technician says, "I'm going to put some lidocaine (anesthetic) in first." I feel a slight injection, and I think, "Yeah, lot of good that'll do." After all, they're going to stick a long needle between my ribs and into my lungs!
So I'm waiting and gritting my teeth and holding on to something for dear life against that needle. A couple of minutes go by, and the technician says, "I'm done."
I say, "WHAT???" I look around at him and he's holding this big jar of really ugly-looking fluid. And when he came in the next day to do the same thing with my other lung, I just yawned and said, "Go for it."
I'm telling you, they've got these things down pat (including your and my operation themselves). And you're going, as I'm sure you know, to one of the very highest rated hospitals in the country. You are going to do FINE. Are you having it done minimally invasively rather than full-cut? Then you'll do even finer. Let me know.
A big Heart Hug to you! Artie
P.S. - I used to live in North Carolina (Asheville). I wish they'd change that license plate, "First in Flight." They've had it forever! I wrote the Department of Licensing and strongly suggested they change it to "Birthplace of Ava Gardner," but I never heard back.
Linda Hillman posted a note for Melinda that says:
Hi Melinda, My daughter Stephanie Spencer had her surgery at Cleveland Clinic a year last November. Cle Clinic is huge and beautiful. They took real good care of her. Her doctor was Dr Stephanie Mick. But Dr Gillinov is the best. He is on top and you will find him right here on HVJ. You will be in the number one hospital in the world. Good luck to you.
Billy G posted a note for Melinda that says:
Hi Melinda, I saw you post on Enrique's pic, "This may be silly but I am so scared of having chest tubes and all that other stuff after surgery and being awake when those are removed, how bad is it?"
First, of course that's not silly. This type of surgery is a major surgery, so it's natural to be anxious about things. Immediately before my surgery 5 weeks ago, my surgeon asked me, "Are you ready?" He interrupted before I could even start to answer, and he said, "Of course you're not ready; you never can be fully ready for this. But I'm ready to fix you, and you'll do great." He was right.
Second, I had my tubes removed surprisingly fast. I came out of surgery at 6 PM on a Friday night, and the tubes were out by noon or 1 the next day! Thus, maybe I did not have them in long enough for them to bother me, but I really did not even notice they were there. With them in, I ate 2 meals, got out of bed, sat around in a chair, and walked 2 slow laps around the ICU. As many others had said, none of the things that scare you before surgery, such as the drainage tubes, breathing tubes, etc. are problematic. Maybe it's all the drugs you're on (and were on). Maybe it's just because I was so happy to have made it through. Or maybe it's because the pain, although not unbearable, distracted me from all the other things that may be annoying.
I was definitely a bit anxious about the removal process. Ultimately, it felt weird. I didn't like the feeling, but it was quick and did not hurt. It was just weird.
Enrique K posted a note for Melinda that says:
Dear Melinda, what happens when you wake up from surgery. I know you are terrified about the chest tubes and IV but let me give you an honest overview on my experience. You need general anesthesia for this surgery. When you wake up in the ICU you may feel confused and scared that is normal. You will have a tube in your throat for breathing try to relax and breathe slowly and deeply. (Some people don't remember this at all. You will not be able to talk until the tube is removed. This tube will be removed as soon as you are breathing on your own. Your throat might be sore for a couple of days after the breathing tube is removed. I experienced that when I got discharged from the hospital only for 1 day. You will have multiple IV Lines inserted before surgery so that they can monitor your condition during and after surgery ( this is the normal process). You will have an IV in your neck and one in your arm to monitor fluid intake and blood pressure. (Didn't experience discomfort or pain after they pulled them out). You will also have tubes in your chest to drain excess fluid after surgery. The chest tubes were very uncomfortable and that was the most painful for me especially when I stood up to walk. Some other don't experience these kind of feelings but that is what bothered me the most. Also, you will have a catheter in your bladder as well. (This was painful when they pulled it but then the pain stopped). All my tubes and lines where removed in 2 days since I was progressing well. If those tubes are left longer it doesn't mean that you are doing there is always a reason for everything that is done. I had a temporary pacemaker (small blue wires in your chest after surgery) this are hooked to a pacemaker. During the surgery, the manipulation of your heart can affect your heart and rhythm (I never experienced Atrial Fibrillation but 60% of the patients do get this after surgery. If you get this a surgeon will prescribe medication). They removed this wire after 3 days of surgery. I was given medication through and IV until my breathing tube was removed. Once I was able to drink fluid I was given pills for the pain control. Whenever I had pain i reported immediately to the nurse. Don't be afraid to ask your nurse for pain medication. I was given pain medication every 4 hours but you MUST ask for it ( it will not be given automatically). When I woke up from surgery I was in bed and moved to a recliner for the rest of the day. My nurse helped me reposition me for comfort. To help my circulation I moved my feet up and down like waving hello with my feet. I also had to wear a nasal cannula which provides oxygen for 2-3 days until I had enough oxygen in the body and use the Incentive Spirometer (this is extremely important to prevent pneumonia) . I was extremely thirsty when I woke up from surgery but the doctor told me not to drink a lot of water the first few days. A good suggestion is to have ice chips to keep your mouth moist, then the diet is advanced to solid foods. The first two day after surgery was my most exciting and challenging days. All the lines and tubes were removed and got out of bed. The surgery part was easy because I was sleeping and everyone was working for me! After I was doing the work. There was so many activities that I needed to do to prevent complications and be able to return to my normal routine. I had a physical therapist each day while I was in the hospital. When I went home the physical therapist gave me a routine to follow. My cardiologist/surgeon didn't recommend cardiac rehab but most do attend these sessions. I had a recliner in my house ( this one is a MUST) since you need to be in a chair most of the day and not lying in bed to prevent blood clots. I had trouble sleeping the first few days at home but this is normal because of the anesthesia, medications and being in the hospital. Staying in a chair is very good for the lungs and enabled me to sleep better at night. I have heard that some patience become aggressive and confused after surgery (that was not the case for me) this usually goes away after a few days. Since I had a minimal invasive surgery procedure I had less physical limitations after surgery. I couldn't lift more than 20 pounds for 2 weeks and no driving within 4 weeks. The first 4 weeks after surgery I didn't consider starting a diet since the body needs calories and nutrition to heal. I restricted my fluids to 1500cc a day. This is approximately 6 glasses of fluid in one day. I started eating a well balanced diet with poultry, Dairy products, Vegetables, high fiber, fish, and fruit. I did however reduced salt intake in my diet since you retain fluid and will cause extra unneeded stress in the heart. I'm 9 weeks post-up, walking 3 miles a day with 5 pounds weights, sleep well, I have never felt better in my life.
There are many things that can happen after heart surgery, arrhythmias, atrial flutter, low hemoglobin levels or blood issues, and many more that could warrant a longer stay, but your attitude during any setbacks can make a huge difference in everything.
Stay positive because once you get home your real recovery work begins.
Hope this helps you Melinda and everyone else in this community who will undergo heart surgery now or in the future!
Jacqueline Cook posted a note for Melinda that says:
Hi Melinda. Thanks for the note in my journal. My mother will be here for the next two week to keep and eye on me so it will be difficult to talk by phone. However, please feel free to email me with any questions you have about CC and the process. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I still have a hard time being on the computer for very long but please know I will respond to your email...it may just take me a bit longer...I did a lot of research before I selected a surgeon and hospital and am willing to share anything that may be helpful for you.
Your heart sister, Jacqueline
Thomas Wayton Sr. posted a note for Melinda that says:
Melinda, It's always better to be scared then not to be scared, trust the Lord Jesus and he will give you strength. I had Aortic Valve Replacement using a Cow Valve on January 30, 2015 and feel good. I'm 70 and a Cow Valve is suppose to last for 25 years. God Bless You, TW