Pilates three times per week, yoga twice and soon Tai Chi once per week. All live on Zoom. But this Saturday I will be outside at a 5k walk as part of an HMR weight management program. I am looking forward to being with people again. Life is good and my heart pumps away eager for each moment of the day. Hope the same for you, or will be soon.
In our backyard, up-turned mounds of fresh snow reflected the sunlight in mid-afternoon. A white glaring after-image peeked through my steamy, darkened eyeglasses. The brightness darkened the path which needed to be shoveled. Too bright to look ahead to see where to shovel so I looked beneath the lower frame of my glasses to decide where to begin. I could see only my dog Pepper's footprints. So I shoveled the snow not knowing where I was going, following only Pepper's trail. Her path led me in a loop from the deck landing along the fence to the evergreen to the birdfeeders and finally returning to the back door. Today is my fifth anniversary of aortic valve replacement surgery. This website, HeartValveSurgery, has guided me from pre-surgery to the day of surgery and to today. The early days were one shovel full at a time. Thanks to all who shared posts, where I learned I was not alone. Now I look forward to writing a post on my anniversary each year. I hope you enjoy each step along the way, even if it's through the snow.
FOUR YEARS AFTER
Chronic gray clouds hid today’s pinkish sunrise display. An extra-large bright yellow banana seemed to enjoy being breakfasted upon with an assortment of meds. Even the deep dark strong coffee seemed to know today was a special day—my fourth anniversary after aortic valve replacement surgery. Outside the sparrows, awaiting spring, warbled and chirped until I smiled. And I wondered about those waiting for surgery. I wondered if they hear the birds who are also singing for them—coaxing a smile. Have a great day today and tomorrow.
This morning, just before sunrise, winter-rains bent over my backyard and absorbed the trees within its ice. Dark blackish brown branches of a pine tree caged the sparrows until the sun stirred the wind and crackled the frozen limbs. The sparrows escaped. That was my first view of my neighborhood on the third anniversary of my aortic-valve replacement surgery of 2016. Even though it is now raining tonight, temperatures should remain above freezing. The sparrows will be free to fly as early as they choose tomorrow. It’s been another good day. I tell myself, “Enjoy the best part of each day--when the sun, or the promise of it, warms the heart.” May you do the same.
This morning, with below zero temperatures (F), I'm reminded of how I felt right after surgery and how I feel two years afterwards. Today, I peered out my kitchen sliding door into the early morning darkness and saw 2" of flaky snow on the stairs where my dog would soon step. So I shoveled it and laid down ice-melt. Minutes later when my dog, Pepper, ran outside into the frigid cold, her paws were firm on the steps; she did not slip. But she was cold, too cold to stop and return to the warmth herself. After 2 minutes I whistled for her; she stopped, turned and ran back to the house. In the same manner 2 years ago I had prepared for heart surgery, with the same willfulness that I employed today for Pepper, and like my dog, I hurried outside into the cold to shovel the snow and listened to my heart beat in anticipation of a peaceful spring, and soon I returned home for some warm coffee and hug from my wife.
For the last 40 years I've had a practice of keeping a mini-log of personal major events during the calendar year. The space for each year is a mere 2" by 4" so only the most important items are listed; maybe, a new car or a Job change. In January I looked back to check what I had written during 2016. When I looked, only one thing had been entered: heart surgery Feb. 5th. I was floored. How could that be? Hadn't anything else of major importance happened? They had, Only I had not appreciated them at the time. So here's my list for 2016: walked ten steps at home Feb 9th; walked up and down steps Feb 10th; slept in my own bed; walked a block outside; completed cardiac rehab II & III; took a train into Chicago; walked 5k; maintained weight; started weight training; resumed Tai Chi; resumed Pilates; shoveled snow for 30 feet; completed 12 weeks biofeedback & breathing training; resumed mediation; went golfing once; went to 2 school re-union gatherings; joined a stamp club; visited a seriously ill relative; rejoiced with my wife's & kids' successes; and walked the dog. Actually this is too many events to cram into the tiny space in my log, but they are all important to me. Probably more important than past years. My next step is to sharpen a pencil and to squeeze as many of these as possible into my 2"x4" 2016 box.
While watching "Everest," I connected with the words of a character who was feeling tired at the foot of his long climb to the top. He said, "I thought I would acclimate sooner." Today, the 5 a.m. outdoor temperature is minus 12 degrees F. When my aging dog returned after only a few minutes outside, she barely made it up the 3 stairs back into our warm house. But Pepper persisted on 3 legs. Quickly I wrapped her in my sweater to share my body heat. She stood very still and breathed in the heat, as if it were warm air. This is my first active winter after my surgery, Feb. 2016 . In Nov. when the temperature dropped to the 40s, I was startled at how I slowed down--from exercising 6 days per week to 3. I no longer had the energy. But I am back to 4 days-- all indoors. But even though I feel I should have acclimated to the cold sooner, it doesn't really matter. There is a Warmth like a body-heated sweater that refreshes me. Off to Pilates this afternoon.
Nine months following aortic valve replacement, I find myself healthier but in constant need of medical tweaking. Two months after surgery, I started Cardiac Rehab, but my cardiologist did not like the stress test results and decided to follow me more closely. Three months following surgery my Primary Care Physician sent me to a Urologist to check out my bladder. I did it but not very willingly. Everything check-out, sort of. Four months after surgery I made my final visit to a weight loss program that I had attended successfully for over a year. Because of a change in meds, I lost confidence and extended my Cardiac Rehab into Phase III. This was a good decision. But I forgot to stop taking the dropped meds, until I visited my cardiologist. He said that was OK because my blood pressure was getting too high. So he recommended I take tests to explore my kidneys. Done that, A-ok results. Long story short, my health psychologist suggested biofeedback as a way to meet my lifelong goal of being self-aware and in self-control, so I spent three very productive months with a biofeedback therapists. He showed me how to improve my breathing, my sleep and relaxation. Over the last 9 months I've going from ground zero to daily exercising, to working on eBay selling, to writing, and to socializing. I'v joined a group of neighbors who have just decided to do Fitbit activities "together." In hindsight, my first six months was putting my life back together. The last 3 were focussed on adding more activities and increasing my stamina. Next will be increasing what I've learned to think of as a polygon of of various exercises, practices, and lifestyle changes designed to tweak my progress toward being more self-aware and more useful to those around me. I've decided to start revisiting this web-site regularly to see what I can learn from your posts. Thanks for sharing.
Eight months ago I had open heart surgery. It was unexpected. It was overwhelming. Today when I read many of your posts, tears welled up. Your stories tug and tear at my feelings. Many stories uplift and give hope, evoking a teeth-showing smile. When I write, I invite you to share in my experience. And in the same way, you invite us to share in your pains and your joys. And this sharing is a good and comforting thing. Glad I'm a part of this community. Hope you are glad too.
For the last week, I've been looking forward to to-day, as if it were my birthday, the seventh-month-versary of my open heart surgery. But something happened in a moment while I waited expectantly. I simply lost motivation to push myself physically. I am meeting my weekly activity goals : six days of cardio exercises, two strength training, and one pilates session. Added to my exercise program were weekly bio-feedback therapy sessions, with thrice-a-day breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation. Also I took steps to find out when I can resume Tai Chi classes. This Friday I will play golf (52nd high school re-union event), and so I've been practicing at the driving range during the past two weeks. I diligently combined my newly acquired breathing and muscle control techniques with my swinging techniques. Then in a moment, I lost my drive to walk the fastest 5K I could. And when I lost that drive I noticed a stray dog whimpering as I walked toward it. I saw rain-drop seeds fall from a monster sun flower. I heard a gnat buzzing near my ear. And then there were what I call God driven moments. Strong impulses to do something kind and loving: an impulse to hand some money to a stranger who was looking for work, or to lend my smile to a pulmonary rehab patient on the treadmill next to me, or to accurately give directions to a middle aged woman getting exercise on the neighborhood bike trail. These kinds of free-flowing, loving moments are my motivational for me. So this month I'll use the memory of them to motivate me to do activities that strengthen my heart, expand my lungs and stretch my mind-body connection. What are some of the things that motivate you to exercise and take care of yourself in other ways? Please share. I'm interested in knowing.
After looking at a list of my daily activities my light bulb went from dim & flickery to bright and steady. That's because I realize that I've reached the point when I'm actually doing more than I had been able to do for months before the surgery (AVR). But now I'm looking to upgrade. Today I begin some biofeedback sessions to learn how to relax and to conserve energy. Lights out, for now.
Almost 5 months since aortic valve surgery, and I Just finished a 36 session Cardiac Rehab program this week. Its photo-copied "graduation certificate" has a lot more value to me than I had thought it would. When I started Cardiac Rehab I did 10 minutes each on three different exercise machines. Each week the duration increased by 1 minute per machine. The final week each session was 21 minutes or 63 minutes total. Cardiac Rehab was 3 days per week and for the last month I did the same regimen at a local fitness center for another 3 days--combining for 6 days. I was feeling confident until my meds were changed this week and my pulse rate increased, as expected, but my confidence took a nosedive. So I enrolled in Phase III of Cardiac Rehab where I'll exercise at the same hospital gym but without a heart monitor. I'll do this for 3 months twice a week and 4 times at my local fitness center. My hope is to condition my heart with its now faster (but OK) heart rate. The major benefits of Cardiac Rehab, for me, were confidence building, self-awareness of my body's limitations and capabilities, and a greater empathy for people who have heart problems. Next steps for me are to return to doing Pilates once I transition making 6 days of exercising per week a solid habit, and my "bucket list" plan is to go the next step in Tai Chi. I highly recommend Cardiac Rehab as one way to improve stamina and endurance. Besides that I met a lot of supportive & encouraging people.
I finished my jig saw puzzle today. Finished in-home physical therapy. Drove my car around the block. Now I'm focussing on getting back into my pre-heart problem daily routines. So I'll still be posting, but not every day. My hope is that everyone who posts and comments on this more-than-wonderful web-site will have whatever their heart desires.
I was driven to downtown Chicago to see my cardiologist & surgery Nurse Practitioner. I woke at 4 a.m., left at 5:30 a.m., arrived @ 6:45, took chest x-ray 1 hour ahead of time, saw my N.P. 1 & half hours early, saw my cardiologist 15 min. Early. EKG was ok. Chest x-ray was good. Blood pressure was ok. Incision is healing. Ok'd to drive. Cardiac rehab recommended. Drive home was smooth. Got home, coughed & I felt like my sternum would totally split. My eyes teared. I muffled a vulgarity. Tomorrow I hope to drive my car around the neighborhood to celebrate 29 days of post-op recovery.
Icy sidewalks, that made outdoor walking out of the question for me today, made my working on a 1,000 piece jig saw puzzle interesting, today. A few puzzles back, I learned that once I find then place a piece, enjoyment fades.. It has vanished into the picture or the design. When I look for it, I can't find it. It's as if the hard found piece is no longer interesting, no longer does its odd shape or color combination, delight me. I wonder why it took so long to find, but almost immediately I forget it once it has fit into its place. This has left me with a question. Can I compare what we go through after heart surgery to finding a jig saw puzzle piece? All the effort that we might go through to walk a short distance no longer interests me, now that I can walk a few blocks. Yet now there's another piece I'm looking for: to walk a half mile. Won't that be fun? Until a mile is in sight. And than a 5-K fast walk. And than Pilates again, someday. And so this heart journey is a jig saw puzzle, of a sort. But each step learned and well placed doesn't simply blend into the puzzle. Each step remains vibrant and stronger only because I relearned how to step again after getting out of the hospital bed. And so if I now take a 1,000 steps, I choose to remember the first step. I remember the joy then and even now feel it, but not as vividly. I don't want it to become like a vanishing puzzle piece ... .
All three walks were outside today; 11 min.; 24 min. and 28 min. I felt so happy, I couldn't help talking as I was passed by. One young mother had a first grader on a scooter, an infant in a baby-carriage plus a high strung 40 pound mix-breed dog. The dog didn't notice me until about 30 feet ahead of me. He turned and eyed me, barked then dismissed me as he followed his mistress and his family. Another dog pulled her master aside for me as a walked slowly behind them. She studied me as if I were a bird who was unaware that a dog was at hand. I smiled and told her master that she most likely smelled my dogs. The dog thought, almost out-loud, "No you are a bird. Perhaps a pigeon or a duck." Tonight, a 4 to 6 inch snowstorm is forecast. Right now, according to our dog, Pepper, it's raining ice. Probably there won't be many dogs outside tomorrow. At least I won't see them because my walking-in-the-snow privileges are suspended for now.
I took two 12 min. walks outside today: 4 city blocks. I found a discharge instruction sheet, Home Walking Program, that suggested that I do this 4-6 times per day until I can do 30 minutes per walk. Then to reduce the walks to twice a day. This Wed. I'll need to walk in the hospital parking lot and its vast hallways to see my surgical team. I'm less anxious about that walk because I can see progress in my walking stamina. In mid-April I hope to be walking about 45 minutes per walk.
I walked outside today and when my body barked, "Enough, for now." I stopped turned around and went home to rest, and watched little Ollie growl at me.It was a fine growl from such a tiny dog. Later, at home, I walked down the stairs into my basement where I've been working on a 1,000 piece jig saw puzzle. While sitting on a bar stool, I found a few pieces. Then I stood and looked through my library to choose a book, DANCE WHILE YOU CAN. Tomorrow I'll list on eBay. Then I climbed the stairs into the living room and rested again. When I do things that require walking outside or climbing stairs, I count it as exercise, but it is so much more than exercise. It's almost like dancing or singing in a choir: the movement is the means to something, not the end in itself. So day by day, step by step I"ll enjoy this journey. From your posts, I see that many are doing the same, with some moving inch by inch and others going from mountain to mountain.
Today I borrowed an oxygen finger meter & my reading was 97%. I took a nap, without using my C-Pap machine, & when I woke up my reading was 90%. Tonight I will use my C-Pap machine, & I will take a reading when I wake up. My prediction is that it will be in the high 90s. Any predictions?
All morning I've been thinking about a desert near Tucson and how once I saw it bloom after a thunderstorm. It teemed with colorful flowery shapes and long, crawling things. To mark that experience I had purchased a desert scene lithograph and a paperweight with a scorpion suspended inside it. Later today, when my physical therapist challenged me to stop dwelling on having had surgery but to begin doing what I really like to do (repairing old books, doing Tai Chi, walking outside; writing), At first I felt like I didn't want to change what I'm getting used to. I sorta like the limitations of post-op life. I felt comfortable being like the scorpion in my see-thru paperweight: always appearing ready to move but never moving. So I asked myself, what do i want to do now? That simple question broke my mental barrier, so I went to the basement and found an old book that needed its accompanying map repaired. And I repaired it with document repair tape. And I feel real good.
Today was a reflection of yesterday: same events, same feelings. Except today it snowed. I felt alone, like a cross county skier, inside a snow globe, waiting for a gentle shake. Then your notes & emails moved me and the snow whirled & twirled. I am happy.
Another good day. The rhythm of the day is beginning to resemble my old ways. Whenever I add something new, I get tired very fast. During daytime naps I fall into deeply disturbing trance-like states (perhaps pain killer residual effects from 1st two days of hospital stay). I'm starting to realize the toll surgery took on my body; so I'm trying to be extra kind to it by listening to it before it throws a tantrum. I'm very blessed by God in that I have had very little pain, good mobility, and a loving family & friends.
I feel really happy, because tonight I was able to do a Tai Chi short form. By no means a master, I have been learning this movement for about 4 years. Since the surgery I've been practicing the moves in my imagination. My physical therapist suggested I try to do something I enjoy. So she gave me some restrictions on the movements, which actually didn't apply. I feel like the geese I saw the other day: from the ice pond to the horizon. And back.
Watching Geese in the Melting Pond at Wolf Forest Preserve
Journal posted on February 20, 2016
Four Canadian Geese ruffle feathers. Each lounge on the wafer thin ice which rings the warm water of the placid pond. One, while on the ice, sips water; the others snuggle the rim where the ice meets the pond water. It seems they're aware that the ice might dissolve in the sun, but they ruffle their feathers, then another sips water until they all seem refreshed and fly away beyond the horizon. Soon the healing sun will warm the ice that I feel that I'm sitting. Once and awhile I sip the water. Now I wait for the ice to fully melt: the ice of aches & stiffness. Maybe tomorrow I'll enter the water & float awhile while looking forward to flying after a full life again.
Two weeks ago, today, I had open heart surgery. Today I walked around Hobby Lobby for 20 minutes and bought some acid free paper. I felt slightly wobbly. Walked in straight lines to conserve energy. Vowed never, ever to go back there because there were no overhead department signs indicating what aisles things were in. Felt angry at the register person who complained about their being no scholarships for middle class parents such as her. Felt peeved at the one who waited on us and said, "I won't ask you if you want me to bag these items because we no longer carry the large bags." Felt really, really happy when we got back home where I walked to the mailbox for the first time in over 2 weeks. It was a great day of shopping, everything considered. Tomorrow, maybe will go to the Forest Preserve and walk in concentric (happy faces) circles in the parking lot.
Outside my window, steady, pressing winds hold tightly the winter treetops: a nighttime veneer of mixed wood. And so are my days after surgery: aches, sadness, joy, sleep, laugher, trying, & giving up. All these days reach up, in their own time, like treetops eager for the healing hand of the wind to press them into a distant memory, to make them feel smooth to the touch & beautiful to the eye like that of fine wood veneer.
Yesterday's experiment was to figure out if I could stop losing weight too quickly. Yep (burp) I can. Today's experiment was to increase my stamina very quickly. Nope. Can't do. I fell fast asleep deeply, like Rip Van Winkle, and awoke totally tired and druggy. Third experiment was a grand success. How could I use what I've learned about breathing to increase my breathe level on my Incentive Spirometer? Instead of paying only attention to my inhale to see how deep a can breath, I took a deeper breathe by do this. First inhale deeply, next release all the air, relaxing your "belly," finally quickly insert the mouthpiece of the Incentive Spirometer, and let your body do the work of inhaling, and you just may take the biggest breathe yet. Serendipitously, while waking up from my over exertion, I saw sunlight teasing me with floating dust & dog hairs resting on the end-table. Too tired to get the dust rag, I thought, "how nice, when I see the dust tomorrow, I'll remember the sunshine. I don't mind the dust, for now."
Today I was reminded of my childhood obsession of trying to explain the meaning of the universe from the perspective of my palm size pet turtle, who lived in a plastic turtle bowl which was decorated with a plastic palm tree, a recessed area for fresh water and a view of the outside. No matter how fresh the water, how warm the sunlight, or how clean the side-walss, he always, it seemed, pressed his nose against the wall. I still can see him, in my mind's eye, stepping and stepping, without making progress, yet moving. Sometimes, I feel like when I take tiny steps ... .
Reflecting on the snow falling outside my window saddened me, then brought a smile. I thought that each snowflake is like a posting on this website. Many postings sadden me. Yet after reading posted comments that encourage, that guide and cheer on, I smile in joy. And as we know snowflakes come together in a blanket of snow; sometimes a neighborhood kid scoops, out of the snow blanket, a glove full of chilly snow to whiz past passer-bys. And so the feelings in the postings whiz by me with a snowball mixture of sad & happy snowflakes.
I remember how special I felt getting a few Valentine Day cards some 60 years ago. On Feb 5th, In the grand entranceway of the hospital the receptionist smiled warmly while ... . The Registration clerk offered a chair to me and to my wife a place to wait. The transporter wheel-chaired me unexpectedly away from my wife, to a floor we were never told about. Completely separated I was in the operating preparation room. Not much later my wife stepped around the curtain while I heard the transporter say, "He is right there." She smiled with love. And then my daughter arrived at the wrong place in the hospital, but the transporter found her & guided her into our waiting room. She smiled confidently at me. This was an early Valentine's Day for me for I saw love ( in the transporter's proactively finding my wife and daughter who brought smiles for me, just for me. It was better than my first Valentine Cards.
It's been about a week since outdoor temperature has any direct effect on me. Of course, I don't miss the chilling winds, but I do miss the variety of such things as taking shelter behind a building or parking the car in a spot that will stay in the sunshine whenever possible. I do't miss the road salt splattering on the car windshield, but I do enjoy looking over the wetlands blanketed with snow. Two more weeks before I can get outside into the rear car seat. I'm looking forward to the ride to the doctors' offices. Although there are no warm feelings outside, there are cold both outside and inside.
For 2+ years before surgery I have slowly rid myself of addictive foods. Those with ingredients that not only are unhealthy, but have ingredients that are known to cause drug-like cravings for not only more of itself but for others: sugar, salt & oils/fats. I know I'm hungry if after eating a banana, I want another banana. I know I being lead into addictive eating if I eat some hospital soup and then look for soda crackers and pudding or even jello. Hospital food was good, but now I'm home while I am taking time to heal with unhealthy thoughts of chocolate and cookies that are not heart healthy, at least for me. Anyone else dealing with this? Thanks.
Today was a bad day, not a terrible day, just icky. That's OK. I learned that there's a good way to open our sliding door and a bad way. My body said, "ouch." I listened. Yesterday I was high energy,; today recovery was longer. Legs & hands still slightly swollen. Yesterday the dogs were wildly excited to welcome me home. Today, they said, "feed us; let us out; move over." Yesterday I had more patience ... . Taking a shower by myself is a chore, but with prudent movement & help drying my upper back, it's OK. Nighttime sleeping is still unrestful, but less painful. I decided to wear larger size button shirts with an INCISION SHIELD. Both my visiting nurse & physical therapist were pleased to learn of it. Guide meditation & TM helps unbalance the foe of depression just spectacularly.
My reaction to the painkiller, Narco, was bad: lightheadedness, sweating, disturbing thoughts. Yet a change toTylenol was the remedy. Emotions ranged from depression: is my Do Not Resuscitate form on file? to "Look here comes the sun. tThere are Chicago buildings and Chicagoans outside my window. How wonderfully cool." One day a standing bath was worth a grand; the next a helpful hand to help me out of bed led to my muted scream. I couldn't scream because of shortness of breath. Angry visitors and gleeful kids disturbed my peace along with dozens of pills. Gallons of water and urinal refillings, measure in millimeters. Weigh ins; physical therapy, occupational therapy; transporters; x-rays in bed; pace makers wired in; catheters and draining tubes waiting to be removed. Friendly staff and nurses and surgeons, and fellows, and cardiologist etc etc. But this is my first day home and some have followed me home: a visiting nurse and a physical therapist. That's good; that's a healing feeling, and I'll see them Friday, and a friend or two. By the way my dogs gave me a special greeting along with a canine scolding for just seeming to just walk away without saying goodbye. I love dogs; don't you?.
Aortic valve replacement completed Friday. The pain was not as anticipated. It felt like my chest was very heavy and stiff Friday night. Sat a.m. I learned that after taking oral pain medicine I had much more flexibility, like leaning forward while sitting in a chair. Movement is enjoyable. I had my first meal at 9:30 am: orange jello, tea and chicken broth.-- pure burst of energy. Thanks for all the support & prayers.
We're at the Hyatt on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. This is literally across the street from Northwestern Memorial Hospital. We arrived at 2 pm. At 2:08 pm the nurse practitioner called with the time to report in and for surgery. Friday we will look at the sun rise then go to the 5th floor registration desk at 6:45 am. Surgery is at 8:15 am. Today we took a dry run through the hospital. We discovered that our building, The Galter, is massive. The ground floor has a Walgreens, a bookstore and entrances to at least 2 restaurants. We report to the 5th floor & go to the surgery registration desk. The receptionist readily understood our desire to do a practice walk thru. I learned that pajamas were not needed, that a bathroom is suggested, in short a bare bones wardrobe will meet my needs. There are two or three waiting rooms for family to saunter between. One pre-op, one during surgery and one during recovery, where the surgery will meet with them. In the surgery waiting area patients are assigned a number that is given to visitors. Like an airport there's a progress board. After our self-tour, we ate at The Corner Bakery and returned to the security of our room to relax and watch the the news.
So when I think about surgery, I call that type of thinking, "musing or pondering." Others, when I think about surgery, call it "ruminating." My mind says, "go for it whole heartedly; it will be good for you." My imagination says, "Whoa, wait a minute. Hold on there little buddy." The facts about the success rate are reassuring and calming; other people's experiences are heart warming and relaxing; and the prayers and thoughts of others bring inner peace and confidence.
Today my physical movement exercises were really hard to get done. Pepper woke me up at 4:45 am. No big deal but she hopped into my bed, and I didn't have the will to get her off it, nor the heart to disturb the nest she had arranged for herself. She waited for me to do some stretching & then Tai Chi. Instead I went down stairs to make breakfast. And the rest of the day was out of sorts-- both mood & movement. Everything was done, not out of enjoyment, not even to gain a sense of completion. The irony is that I've been strategizing & planning & ruminating about how quickly I'll be able to recover after surgery, so that I can do these very same things. Yet other things like listenIng to Gregorian chant and to THE POLKA MASS vinyl brought me great peace & deep spiritual contentment. I listened whole heartedly.
This is the second morning in a row in which morning activities were done as planned. This is significant progress thanks to figuring out how to recognize when I need to fend off anxiety by meditating & redirecting anxious feelings into something I've been wanting to do. focussing on life. Thanks HeartValveSurgery people. Fitbit, heart rate monitor, considered my worshipping at church this am as a cardio workout with BPM peaking at 138 without symptoms (pretty high while being on beta blockers). Enjoyable activities this am were a 7 out of 10 (10 being pure joy). Slept last night: 7.18 hrs (OK+); fasting glucose level: 116 (OK). Nutrition so far today has been as planned yesterday. Based on feedback/comments from yesterday, FLEXIBILITY will be my go to attitude in the coming weeks. I'll be focusing on progress goals not out come goals (based on what I'm able to do physically). All prayers & comments welcomed.
Part B: Six Days Ahead Schedule AV Replacement Feb 5th
Journal posted on January 30, 2016
There were late morning, afternoon & evening activities that gave be enjoyment: read 50 pages of novel; completed daily games onlomisity.com; played Wii-Fit balance games; watched adventure & Sy-fy TV shows; received 2015 steps total from Fitbit.com, i.e. 1,367,532 steps. To stay ahead of anxiety attacks, I did another 20 minutes of T.M. and 30 of guided meditation aimed at complete body relaxation. Both were successful. While walking the dog with my wife, I developed symptoms of chest discomfort (burning sensation) after 1 block and pre-fainting/nausea after 1 1/2 blocks. The second made me anxious, so I really slowed down wand the symptoms went away. It seems that listening to what my heart wants is a good thing. We continued walking for 20 minutes without any more problems. Glucose level 1 1/2 hours after fish & potatoes (processed) was at 178 (OK). Spend time searching for any local Cardiac Rehab programs with Pilates or Tai Chi emphasis. Found that my hospital has one with Pilates (Phase IV of rehab) about 30 miles from me. Organized DVDs to bring to hospital with emphasis on easy level exercises. I'll watch them until I'm cleared to do them as a way to motivate me to move. I hope to build rapport with P.T. staff so they are motivated to make me move around. I want to move around so that I can be discharged asap. I was told that for every day in the hospital it takes 3 days to recover to previous levels.
5:15 am Awoke with 7.4 hours with C-Pap Therapy (for Sleep Apnea). Making progress to maintaining 7 plus hours of sleep per night. Weight in at 197 lbs (OK) with 25.7% body fat (on the rise). Accepting this as a consequence of stopping exercise whenever symptoms occur as instructed by Northwestern Memorial cardiologist.
5:30 am Enjoyed 20 min. of Transcendental Meditation (first time in a week due to high stress)
6:00 am Enjoyed 5 min stretching & short form Tai Chi.
7:00 am. Took blood sample for glucose level of Diabetes, type 2: 119 (Happy about that). Doubled checked that meds were reduced per Nurse Practitioner. Can no longer take 325 mg aspirin or vitamins until after surgery. Ate breakfast of whole grain bread with almond butter (unsalted, unprocessed). Drank a large mug of black coffee (5+ cups of water). Feed Pepper, our dog and let her out into the backyard. She didn't bark. That was nice. Turned TV news on.
8:00 am Showered. Mentally planned hospital personal hygiene bring with kit: toothbrush, ttoth paste blah, blah, blah. Dressed for another leisurely day.
8:30 am. Tied to use my I-Pad Mini to cancel some eBay auctions. Not luck there. Tried to the the same on my I-Mac. I'll have to wait and check back to see if want I wanted worked. Yesterday I closed my eBay store for 2 months. Shopped on Amazon and ordered a portable DVD to bring to the hospital to watch Tai Chi instructional tape and to listen to hospital provided guided meditation CD.
9 am Began new ointment prescription for prep-op prep of eliminating bacteria before being admitted to the hospital. (Mupirocin). Directions were to apply both both nostrils twice daily for 5 days. It felt like I was sniffing glue. Anxiety has gone from 1 to a 5. That's a clue for me to redirect my activity. Now I'm going to the basement to play some Wii-Fit Plus balancing games. Just thinking about this fun activity has reduced by anxiety from a 5 to a 3 and dropping.
Things to do today: Go to Target for meds, 96% fat free ground beef. Spend some time with my jigsaw puzzle. If weather improves walk Pepper. Walk slowly at the park district in-door track. Do my research on cardiac rehab programs that have staff familiar with Pilates and Tai Chi. Continue reading James Patterson's novel CROSS MY HEART (Alex Cross series). Check in out HeartValveSurgery once or twice.
The surgeon's office called me this morning to move up surgery up from Feb 5th to Feb 2nd. After praying, consulting with family, checking calendars, creating an Action List (changing hotel & limo reservations, meds etc), I left a message with the Dr.'s office that I am willing to move up surgery. They called back & apologetically said the Dr. was fine with keeping me scheduled for the original date. It was a good practice run. Now I have an action plan just in case the original date is postponed. DEEP BREATHING and listening to guided meditation are taking priority today.