It is now a week and a half after the operation. I was admitted to the Wesley hospital in Brisbane, QLD on Sunday the 26th of August. The Cardiac ward was already full so I had to spend that first afternoon and night in Intensive Care Unit where I would be prepared for my Aortic Valve replacement surgery, which was scheduled to happen at approximately 7.00AM the next morning. After spending the afternoon with Amy and the kids, (Anthony & Jessica) it was time for them to leave and me to prepare for one of the biggest moments of my life. I spent a few hours that evening talking with a wonderful nurse in the ICU team, Bridgette. I also got to chat with my Surgeon, Dr Bruce Garlick and the many other specialists who would help Dr Garlick perform my operation. Bridgette assured me that Dr Garlick and his team of merry men were one of the best teams around and that I had nothing to worry about. By this stage I was not worried at all, however I knew that Amy, the kids and the rest of the family were worried. With many Facebook posts and text messages I kept in contact with Amy and friends until bedtime came around. They gave me 2 sleeping tablets at about 9.30p, and while I managed to watch and enjoy the second part to the Kerry Packer series "Howzat", my mind was elsewhere. They said that they would wake me at 6.00am and give me 4 sleeping tablets to calm me before going to theater, where they would give me the anaesthetic and then perform the operation.
On Monday the 27th of August, the day started at 5.00am (they said 6.00 but obviously cant tell the bloody time), I was given 4 sleeping tablets and another tablet, dont know what it was for but oh well down she went. After that more preparation from the nurses, I dont remember much as those 4 tablets worked bloody quickly and really well. My last recollection was at 6.45AM Amy, Anthony and Jessica rubbing my arm and saying see you soon hun,Dad and good luck. Then being wheeled off from the ICU to theater.
My next and only other recollection for the day was sometime in the evening well after the operation when Amy and my dad where in the ICU and Amy rubbed my arm to say good bye for today and see you tomorrow. That was it back too sleep. Boy what good drugs they give you.
It is now 6.00pm on the 24th of August 2012, only one more day until going into hospital. I have to be in at the Wesley by 11.00am on Sunday the 26th. I rang my surgeon's office (Dr Bruce Garlick) this morning to find out what time the surgery would be, I spoke to June (lovely lady) and she said that I was second on the roster for the day and that I would probably be in mid to late morning. Probably around 11.00-11.30, ok I said and continued on with my day.
About 10 minutes later I recieved a phone call, it was June again, "Hi Brad, I've just been informed that you're now first on the list which means that they will start taking you to pre-op at 7.00 and then in to theater at about 7.30", "Ok".
I am happy about that. Means when I wake up in the morning, shower and away we go. No waiting, no getting hungrier, over and done as early as it can be.
But I am still going to enjoy my next 2 days. As I know there will be some (a lot of) pain afterwards, and there will be a lot that I wont be able to do.
Time will heal that pain and I will be able to have a nice healthy heart again. YAY.
It is May the 28th 2012, I had my angiogram one week ago now, last Monday the 21st at 5.00pm eventually. After having to endure the nurse taking 4 goes to get the canula in to my arm and being an hour late for the procedure, I was in and out of theatre in 45 minutes. It was a weird experience, not just having the dye going in but being able to see what is actually happening. The feeling that occurs when the dye goes through is something difficult to describe, but i will give it a go. They told me that it would feel like I was wetting myself but I wouldn't be (glad about that). But it didnt feel like that to me, it felt like everything had gone through and was sitting just above my other exit point (anus). Really weird sensation.
Anyhow, the procedure itself went well from all reports and the doctors gave me a clean bill of health as far as that was concerned, all arteries were clear. No blockages at all. Good to hear.
But following the procedure, rolled back into the ward at 5.45pm and was told by the nurse that I would have to lie completely flat for 2 hours, I could move my arms and my head side to side but nothing else. I was absolutely starving and dieing for a drink by this stage after having to fast since 10.00am this morning. Thanks to my wonderful wife Amy who fed me when my meal arrived and held the drinks while I drank and drank and drank.
Feeling much better for the feed and drink thinking that I only had to wait until 7.45 to sit up and then move I watched the TV. The nurse came in and said to me that if I needed to go to the toilet to buzz and she would get a bottle (dont think so love, well not if I can help it). I said "no I should be right until 7.45." To my displeasure she said "your chart says that you cant move until 8.30pm, and then you can only move the top half of your body for another 2 hours." Oh crap ithought to myself and then said to the nurse, "you might need to get that bottle then." But to my surprise I didnt need it.
However I will say that laying prone like that for such a long time (for me anyway) made my lower back so sore. In fact it hurt like hell.
The night was a long and restless one, with a very sore and tender groin where they had gone in through the femeril artery, as well as a room mate who snored like a bloody steam train and 2 hourly and then 4 hourly obs not a lot of sleep was had.
Eventually we got through and Amy arrived bright and early at 6.30am on the Tuesday with an iced coffee an paper in hand ready to see the Cardio-Thoracic surgeon for the first time. He arrived just after 7.00, Dr Bruce Garlick. A very pleasant man about my own age I would guess, maybe a couple of years older. We chatted for about half to three quarters of an hour about what needed to be done and about the options.
He made both of us (Amy and I) feel at ease. We chatted about the timeframe of when the operation needed to be done and gave him the date that Amy & I had already pretty much decided on. The 27th of August.
A week on now and I am still feeling the effects of the Angiogram, groin is still sore and back is aching from walking with a limp to compensate for the sore groin. It is slowly getting better but. And it didnt stop me playing golf on the week end. (didnt play all that well however)
We recieved the paper work from the Hospital and surgeon yesterday confirming that we are booked with arrival times and what we are required to bring. It is really starting to sink in now.
It wont take long to get here. I am looking forward to feeling better again.
It is Monday the 14th of May 2012, one week out from the angiogram. I have seen my cardiologist twice this year already after having an echo each time. I have been noticing some chest discomfort over the last week and also noted that my heart feels "different". There are times when it feels as though it is beating faster, harder, out of rythm or a combination of all.
I am actually looking forward to the angiogram as this will allow me to discuss with both the cardiologist and the cardio-thoracic surgeon what is truelly happening with my heart, and how bad it really is. This will give me the best indication as to when I will need the surgery, sooner, later or now. I am feeling a little apprehensive I guess. But when it is done I will feel so much better.