I know what you mean about the time flying by. Can't believe that its 10 days for me already. Like you, I tire very easy, and find myself getting a little out of breath, but feel I'm not drinking enough, so will take a page out of your book and start drinking more. To be honest, I didn't have an appetite or want to drink anything, and I realize that I must make myself do so. Otherwise, I'm doing really great. I see my family doctor for a followup on Monday.
It was good to read your latest entry. Kimberly has been home for two days now, and is still in quite abit of pain. It was good to know that there is some light at the end and I believe your writing will give us both some insight of what to expect over the next two weeks.
It's good to know that things are getting better, and thankfully, you had a good caretaker in your husband.
David and Kimberly
Good Morning Ricki
Was about to write to you as we haven't had a post for awhile. Such good news that you are doing so well. Keep up the good work. I know what you mean about the size of the potassium pills as I have been on them for years along with my daily diuretic. Keep up the good work.
I really appreciate your info. I am going to get more aggressive with my doctor. I really resent having to get upset to get what is rightfully mine, but that is life!
Did you have to have cd's of your tests? Also, who is your Doctor at the Cleveland Clinic? My doctor's office made the comment that the list of what they want is quite extensive, so I felt giving them a little time was fair, but they have had over two weeks to deal with it.
Can you elaborate on the consultation when you first went to the Clinic. I would really like to know what will happen. Thanks Linda S.
I am glad to hear you are doing well. I had alot of fatigue at first myself, but Cheryl is right, listen to your body and don't overdo it. It will get better and better each week. I continue to pray for you and your family during your recovery!
Great Ricki. Guess I don't need to weigh in on fluid retention as it seems you have the opposite. The most important suggestions I believe are to use your spirometer and move. Walk for 10 minutes or so a few times a day in your home if necessary, especially if you're a little leery about walking outside without your husband.In the begining I always felt more secure walking outside with Pete, especially as I became more short of breath. Keep healing and doing so well.
I'm glad to hear you're home and that you're catching up with your internist. You're such an active person I know it'll be hard to rest, but you can do it, and the end of summer will be here before we know it! You go girl!
Great to hear you are progressing but I just thought I'd dash off a quick note about the exhaustion. Keep a watchful eye on your weight just in case you are building up fluid. If you are you should eventually feel pressure in your chest. I would think Fran will be weighing in on this one because she is certainly the queen of fluid retention and exhaustion. If you don't hear from her soon, you might write in her guestbook and ask. You've been through a lot so maybe you are just expecting too much. Be cautious.
It's good to be home! Sleeping on your side, that's a real big step. It's hard to gauge what makes us tired and how often. This is going to take time and you will find there is no set pattern. Somedays you will feel great, rested and looking forward to the next day at the same level. Forget it. Let your body tell you either to get going or to relax. Are you sleeping through the night? I am having a hard time getting more than a good 5 hrs. which is affecting my mood and stamina. Trying all kinds of otc sleep aids and hopefully a good nights sleeps is in my future. Your strength will come back but at your bodies timetable. So, take it easy and listen to your body. A good afternoon nap maybe all you need to fuel the next day.
Oh, I'm so happy to hear from you. Sounds like your doing great strides. Even tho I haven't had my surgery yet, I have had numerous other surgeries. Just remember, your body has gone through a tremendous ordeal. Not to mention your trip back home, puts a great deal of stress on your body. It will bounce back, just take one day at a time and try to increase a little each day. Listen to your body, it will tell you when its had enough. It hasn't even been 2 weeks yet. I think your doing wonderful in a very short amount of time. Give your body a chance to regroup. Your strength will come back. Each day will get better.
You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Keep up the good work.
Thanks for telling me about the breathing tube. That's the only thing that really terrifies me. The rest I can handle. Silly isn't it? But, if you could do it, I can too!
Don't think the fatigue is not all that unusual. Just remember, you are now out of the "safety net" of the hospital and emotions enter into it also. I think now that you're home and you have less distractions you are able to thought process more than you could in the hospital and the enormity of it all may hit like a ton of bricks. You know that even though you don't feel like it you do need to walk a few times a day. Just start off doing it in your home and time yourself. You'll then know how much you're progressing. Can't stress using the spirometer also! Prayers for continued healing.
Sounds to us like you're doing really well! Please don't hesitate to call on us, if we can do anything for you when you get back home. In the meantime, I picked up some champagne today and we're chilling it for you and Ron when you are ready.
I think the pain you experience has much to do with your pain tolerance and fear of pain. I have a high pain tolerance so on the third day after surgery switched right over to Tylenol Extra Strength and that's what I used at home. Bear in mind that going without pain meds when you are having pain isn't going to help you heal faster because you won't want to do your exercises and walking. I recommend buying whatever you think would normally handle the pain. What would you take for a dandy headache? I found percocet made me feel sick and weak. Good luck.
Good Morning Ricki,
In answer to your question, maybe if you tried taking 1/2 the dose of percocet, that might help with the wooziness. And that way, instead of taking it every 4 hours, you will be able to take it every 2 hours, because you have cut the dose. Anything would be better than nothing at all, right now. Or, maybe take 1/2 the dose with extra strength tylenol. Check with your doctor to make sure that would be ok. Let me know how you make out.
Heading home today, that is fabulous! Way to go! I'm beginning my countdown, 1 week from today, I pray! I really hope so because making the bed is a chore now, and have to sit down and let the pain and breathlessness subside.
Keep up the good work, girl, your doing a great job.
When I was in the hospital I was on morphine than percocet. Couldn't tolerate the percocet as I broke out in sweats. The medicine was than changed to dilaudid (generic hydromorphone). This helped taked the edge off the pain.
Glad you are awaiting discharge. Each day does get better.
In the hospital they were giving me oxycodone and a perscription for that when I was released from the hospital. I only took one of the pills from the script, the morning of my first day at home. I switched to Extra Strength Tylenol and it worked well for me. I took 2, 3 times a day. I realize everyone's pain tolerance is different. Thankfully, I wasn't in much pain.
I too liked that torandol and they did the same with me. I did get very nauseous the first morning in step down when they gave me my pain meds way before breakfast. That stopped real fast when I found out you shouldn't take that stuff on an empty stomach. I did the same routine at home; eat first before your first pain med.
Fran is right about the doctor/patient thing. Dr. Gillinov put me on Oxycodone. I was concerned about the addiction and everyone said to discount that and deal with the pain. Take the meds before the pain gets out of hand. I was prescribed two Oxy every 4 hrs. and I took them, last two before bed. I did renew the scrip when I got home. I took them for about 2 1/2 weeks with skipping and prolonging the time until I quite.
This must have worked for me since I can't recall serious or long periods of pain. Then again my pain tolerance could be different.
Toradol is great, but it is six injections and done. Toradol is a high powered Ibuprofen, so it is really a potent anti inflammatory more than a pain releiver. I started it in ICU, so was done early on day 3. When I went to Percocet, two pills at a time made me loopy, so I went to one pill every four hours and did fine. I felt Percocet was easier to adjust to than Vicodin (which I have never had, but wanted to avoid it on reputation).
I was able to discontinue Percocet by day nine post up as my pain was minimal, even with a median sternotomy. I was (am) taking three Ibuprofen 3X a day to deal with Pericardial Effusion, so that is probably helping the inflammation as a whole. Each individual is different, so keep working with it till you find the relief you need. I hit my three week post op anniversay tomorrow.
Hope all is going well on J6. Say hello to Theresa and Lauren if they are your nurses, they were wonderful for me.
Even though we were both at the Cleveland Clinic, different doctors order different pain meds. Dr Gillinov ordered Vicodan for me. I only used one, 2 or 3 times a day and definatly took one at bedtime. Because I take Coumadin I was not able to use any of the ibuprofen type drugs and Tyenol didn't seem to do much. After a couple of weeks I no longer had any pain and just took the Vicodan for sleep.If you read Adam's book, do you remember that he became addicted to Vicodan? My cardiologist switched me to Tylenol with codeine which I again take for sleep. Still have pain in my left shoulder blade area and that takes the edge off so I can fall asleep. One day soon I plan on needing nothing for pain. It's different for everyone and it may be that taking the Percocet with food and plenty of water will help if you're not already doing that and with time our bodies do adjust. Hope it works out and so glad you are being discharged.
Have been enjoying reading your journal entries. I can well imagine how frightened you were when you hit that wall. You are probably going to find that once you get home and the pain from the incision subsides, you're going to start noticing pain everywhere else big time. There are a lot of little physical feelings that are going to be new so try and embrace them and know that is just you healing. I think you are doing amazing.
I was going to ask you if you felt any difference after surgery with the shortness of breath, the tightness in the chest and the pain. I'm glad to hear that it passed for you. I know that its scary. Your doing so well, you have to remember that your body went through an enormous amount of stress recently. It all takes time. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Wow, what a scare! When we're feeling well (or okay) it is easy to forget the trauma our bodies have been through with our valve surgeries. Maybe you will need to consider taking your pain medication a little more frequently and possibly before boarding your plane so you will be as comfortable as possible. Do you have a direct flight from Cleveland? Hope you will use the wheelchair at the airport. You'll get VIP treatment there, they are so used to heart patients from the CC. I carried my heart pillow on board with me and it helped with the couple of coughs that I had. You have been brave and have done well. Can't get over the fact that the lasix took off so much fluid so quickly. It took 3 weeks (even with a double dose of my diuretic) before I was at pre-op weight. Praying for you to have a smooth recovery going forward. Any idea when you're being discharged?
Glad to hear that you are doing better day by day. Sounds as if your doctors are making all the necessary medication adjustments in response to your input, and that is a very good thing. Just take it slow and take your rest seriously. Pub Board will celebrate your recovery in style you can be sure.
We love hearing from you and knowing that things are going well and that you are being such a good patient. Bob approves of what he reads from you and Ron. We have been in Philly, DC, and New Haven, CT these past 2 weeks but have been keeping track of you postings. And we are thrilled with your progress. All the gitchell's, Mumford/Gitchell; and Dorfman/Gitchell's send their love and good wishes to you.
Love, Debbie and Bob
Great to hear, Ricki!
Yes, recliners are wonderful.
I also recommend adjustable beds--(I have them at both houses) that allow you to sit up, fully supported, and watch TV, read, etc. You can also sleep with legs elevated (or other body parts as needed!!).
Keep on improving! Thanks for updates.
You don't know this but your posts have been my rock. My husband, who is 39 will be having an aortic bicuspid valve replaced in 3 days. We are originally from Cleveland and I SO wanted him to go to the clinic and recover with our family that still lives there. He wouldn't hear of it. So, we are having this done in AZ. My husband is of the mind set that ignorance is bliss, I am of the Knowledge is power pursuasion. I am so glad you are doing well. You have been in my prayers.