I am writing on behalf on mom, who is happily recovering away from emails and texts. Her surgery this past Monday the 14th was a success!!! She is making a great recovery!!! :-)
On the 15th, she was out of ICU and returned home on the 17th. No complications except for a strange immunity to most pain medications, which caused her pain in the first few days from the chest tubes. Once the chest tubes were taken out, it was smooth sailing.
My advice: Have your surgeon prescribe a Plan B pain medication in case you have side effects or immunity. Specifically, Dilaudid did not work and caused her nausea but Toradol worked much better. Wish we had known that before. The first night in ICU was the hardest figuring this out, but it was sorted out in due time.
Also, I can't tell you how valuable the rental electric recliner chair has been, much more so than the wedge pillow or husband pillow...Yet every case is different, which we learned many times through this process.
It has been 6 days since the surgery, and on her second day at home, she is walking, slowly going up and down stairs, taking showers by herself, doing minor chores, and simply relaxing. All is well!
My daughter started this journal, and as the patient and Mom, I'm adding to it. My surgery is July 14th. I have done all the tests, starting with an echocardiogram to check on a suspect murmur, followed by a stress test and a cardiac cath, all leading to the same conclusion: aortic stenosis and the need to find a surgeon. Fortunately we live near a great hospital, Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute, where I located a great surgeon. Next week is the final check-in/check-up with his office and then with the hospital. I have benefited from reading others' journals and recommendations, so I have my little bag packed, an electric recliner ordered, and home pretty much prepared, including dog and cat arrangements. I will have a tissue valve, since I am 68 and that's the surgeon's recommendation as well as my preference. Not sure whether porcine or bovine, as surgeon's office says he decides once he is "in". I will ask how that decision is made, and will let you know.
On July 14, my mom will have her aortic valve replaced at Fairfax INova by one of the best surgeons. We are leaning toward tissue/organic valve replacement but not completely confirmed. Any thoughts about tissue versus mechanical?
Also, I have read "The Patient's Guide to Heart Valve Surgery" but still a little scared. As the time draws near, I am feeling a bit of insomnia and loneliness...Are there any caregivers here that have been through this?