Diagnosed with Mitral Regurgitation in 2010 at the Cleveland Clinic. It was mild and I only have a slight click murmur. They told me to follow up on this in Canada.
I went back to Canada, and the Canadian Family Doctor refused to send me to see a cardiologist, and did not follow up, typical of socialist health care .......... She made it sound like I was abusing the socialist system.
In 2015, I had symptoms, and the family doctor still refused to refer me to a cardiologist! She said she thinks its not serious enough. At that point i’ve had enough.
In 2017, I switched to private health care (Medcan). My palpitations and shortness of breath continued. My new family doctor was not happy that nobody followed up, he said I should be seeing a cardiologist a long ago time ago. He insisted on a heart echo and discovered that I have Grade 4+ severe regurgitation, and referred me to an excellent Cardiologist.
I was informed by the Canadian Cardiologist that Canada offers Full sternotomy, and likely a valve replacement. But they will "try" to do a repair. They only do very few minimally invasive procedures a year, and it will not be offered someone 46 yrs old.
I decided to do the surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, with Dr. Marc Gillinov.
At 4 am on Friday April the 13th, I took a shower with the medicated soap and got myself ready for surgery appointment at 5 am.
I arrived on time and was quickly prepared for surgery. They wheeled me into the surgery room and started an IV on my arm. There was a bit of numbing as they started a second IV catheter line. At that point it all went dark.
Surgery was completed at 11 am and I woke up sometime in the afternoon at ICU. I was in a lot of pain and felt like a truck had ran over me. My body was trembling so they started the Fentynl pump which made me feel much better. I know there was a drain tube coming out of my chest somewhere but I was still too drugged up. Everything went normal until around 5 pm when I started bleeding somewhere. The chest tube drainage had 2x normal volume so they called Dr Malas (2nd surgeon in the operating room).
Dr Malas felt like an Angel and explained to me what was happening. He said if the bleeding doesn’t stop they may have to open me up again.
They infused me with multiple units of plasma, cryo, and blood products. Dr Malas stood by my bedside to physical compress the wound for an hour.
Thankfully it worked and my drainage slowly went down. A wonderful nurse stood by my bedside all night (Becky), she was Angel. I owe my life to these two people.
On Late Saturday, a different nurse was attending and I was ready to step down to the regular ward. I reminded her many times that because I was in bad pain, do not let the Fentynl drip run out. Despite multiple warnings, they let it ran out!
My body went into trembling, shaking and chills. I was sure I was going to die. 15 mins later they brought another Fentynl IV and that stabilized me.
The lesson here, don’t do your surgery on Friday. Always do it on a Monday so you get the regular nurse team.
The majority of the pain came from the drain tube. On a scale of 1-10 I give it a 10. It is very bad. They make you get up, take X Ray with that tube in, and it hurts with every breath or movement.
On Monday they told me my drainage has slowed so the tube is ready to come out. Katie, Dr Gillinov’s nurse came to help me remove the tube - cold turkey. I told them there is no way in hell you’re taking away the Fentynl pump until after the tube is gone. And I took 2 Oxy pills 1/2 hr prior to the torture. This time I made sure all the pain meds were timed well.
One Two Three hold your breath - and she pulled it out ! Pain scale 20 / 10 !!!
When it was out everything became 3x easier. I was a different person. Pain decreased to 3/10 almost instantly and I feel like myself again.
I was discharged on Tuesday.
It is now 6 days post surgery and I am still slowly recovering.