I hung out all weekend taking my pulse. Was getting concerned when it seemed creep up 8-10 beats each day. Started Saturday morning at 115 and it was 138 before bed on Monday night. It'll be fine, I get to see the doc on Tuesday.
Woke up Tuesday morning and my HR was 73...wait, what? That can't be right. Double check, 71. Put my fingers on the carotid and I get a nice steady beat. Woo hoo!!!!
Going to the doc was like going to the auto mechanic and trying to explain what WAS happening. They said it was just probably inflammation and only be concerned if there are symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath. Today (Wednesday) I've stayed in the low 60s where I belong.
A cool side-note. I also got my Alere protime monitor. It makes me a very happy, happy boy. I sure hope insurance picks this thing up after the 90 day trial.
I mentioned a few days back that I developed a bit of a nasty rash. They took me off the amiodarone and the rash went away about 2 days later. Yea! I was a bit apprehensive because that was the medication helping my heart keep it's rhythm.
Yesterday I woke-up, made some coffee and while enjoying email, I broke out into a horrendous hot flash. This was roughly an hour after waking. I got up to heat my coffee. and while waiting, I "noticed" my heart. I'm like, uh-oh. Side note, when I had my bovine valve put in 12 years ago, I had heart rhythm issues. Plus, there was the issue on the second day post-op previously noted. I sat down and began using several methods to measure my pulse. Blood Pressure device, finger on carotid, iPhone app, etc. Looks like I now had a nice steady beat at 115/min. Off to ER I go...
I got monitored, x-rayed, CT scanned, blood work, 2 bags of fluid, and 5 hours later, no know cause. I was sent home with a HR of 120/min, but in sinus rhythm. Today I sit with a HR of 130 with no highlighted symptoms. I continue to relax and monitor until Tuesday when I have my first follow-up with surgeon's office.
So, is it too much to ask to go thru a surgery such as this, come home and heal, then, move on with your life? I just want to be done!
then maybe a couple of notes on how the warafin was coming along and word on the post op visits and release. I may have been a bit optimistic. First the story...
On 8/17, 2 days post-op, around 7 pm, I had been sitting in a chair quietly for most of the day. I finished dinner and called the nurse to help me get back to bed for the night. I decided to use the "urinal" (it's really just a bottle) while standing since that is so much easier. Everything was fine and she helped me get situated in bed, when bells started dinging (also not uncommon when moving, pulling wires, etc). She looked at me and asked if I was ok while her phone and pager started to go bonkers. She went to the door of my room and yelled that she needed help. I looked back at the monitor and my heart rate was in the 240s. The room filled with equipment and people (I'd guess 25ish) and was emptied of any furniture not bolted down to make room. The worst part was the bit of chaos, with one young nurse in particular. She grabbed me by the shoulders and said, look at him, he's terrified. I only looked like that because SHE looked terrified and I was concerned what she might do by overreacting since I was "feeling" fine. She wasn't even my nurse. She kept talking like I wasn't there even though I was answering her questions/comments in a very firm and clear manner. Like, is he lucid? Yes, I'm right here looking at you. What's his name? I told her. Does he have any family here right now? No, they went home. Then my guardian angel came. The charge nurse from the Surgery Intensive Care Unit came in, walked up next to me looked at me, looked at the monitor, calmly started telling people what to do, get out of the room, get me Dr. So and so on the phone, etc. That calmed me down immediately. Later that night, I was telling my night nurse what I had experienced and she replied that even though she didn't care for that charge nurse personally, it's who she would have wanted there if she was in my shoes. That meant a lot since my night nurse had gone thru 5 open heart surgeries herself. She was my favorite. I got lots of perspective from her.
Bottom line is that they pumped me full of amiodarone and cardizem to bring my heart rate down and into sinus rhythm. Atrial Fribrilation? Probably.
At the risk of repeating, I thought some of the community members might like my story...at least, find it interesting.
On 8/15, I received an Aortic Valve Replacement. I haven't been able to confirm beyond doubt, but I think I received the the On-X Aortic Heart Valve with Anatomic Sewing Ring (http://www.onxlti.com/product-divisions/heart-valve-products/aortic-heart-valve-with-anatomic-sewing-ring/) with the TRITIUM™ SCP Cardiothoracic: Plating System (http://pioneer.rtix.com/cardiothoracic/plating-system/tritium--scp/).
In January of 2002, I had my original valve replaced by a bovine tissue valve. There was no real diagnosis, but the surgeon indicated that it looked diseased. Having that for 12 years classifies it for "average" for what I am told.
Side note: I didn't really know at the time, but the general consensus seems to be tissue valves for 65 and older and mechanical for 65 and under. I know there are many nuances to the final decision, but I didn't have any of those. I could have gone either way, but the surgeon just said, "that if you were my brother, I'd recommend the tissue". Well, if I ever had doubts, I was faced with them many times over that 12 years by almost every health professional asking me why in the world did I get a tissue valve at my age...didn't I know I'd have to have it replaced? Water under the bridge now!
This afternoon marks one week home from the hospital.
Journal posted on August 27, 2014
Some random thoughts, feelings and observations...
Sleep sporadic (have to be careful going from one side to the other), but not sleeping a lot. A nap is a rare occurrence. I've been using a recliner. I tried the bed the second night home and it wasn't really better or worse. I can only describe the bed as making me feel like a turtle that's rolled over onto it's back. I feel trapped a bit.
I'd still like to know what is different about this time than last. I have no real pain or discomfort. If I move a direction and it starts to hurt, then I quit moving in that direction. No pain meds since being out.
I think the meds are messing with me a bit. First several days I had no appetite and lots of nausea. Eating was/is a chore. It's getting better though.
I did breakout into a nasty rash yesterday afternoon. That kept me up most of last night with discomfort and itching. Benadryl isn't really helping, so another call to the Doc's office here in a few. I did drop 2 more medications after yesterday, so I think that can only help.
I really want to go back and capture my experience . Unfortunately, I'm tiring of the whole process. It's all that gets thought or talked about it seems. On the other hand, I'm afraid I'll start to forget some of the nuances. Thanks for listening.
Made it home thru the hospital red tape. It's hard not to overdo it. Big nap was to be expected. Last night was fair, slept in 2 hour shifts, but not awake long in-between. Appetite seems pretty hosed. It was good the second day postop, but has gotten to the point where all food makes me nauseas. Looking forward to my first shower.
Pretty good night over all. I sat in the chair for 40 min this morning. Eyes don't feel as heavy but blood pressure is fluctuating. Nothing serious. Pain is getting a bit worse as everything starts to wear off. Also getting uncomfortable if I stay in one position too long. Ice is extra good today!
The fun has started. All hair above the waist has been removed (except arms).
Haircut makes me look like an oncology patient.
Not looking towards the anti-microbial wipes before bed and again in the morning. Oh, I almost forgot the internal "cleansing" I get to look forward to tonight.