Update posted on...

January 28, 2016

Question about handling anxiety: what are some effective ways of pre-empting or deflecting pre-op anxiety so that it doesn't interfere with everyday life? My hospital has provided a CD of guided meditations that is helping me. I've adopted from the Will Smith movie, AFTER EARTH, the "Danger is real. Fear is a choice" technique, and the Bible quote, "peace I leave with you ..." This are helpful but reactive in nature.
Post-op Lifestyle Change Question
Journal posted on January 28, 2016
I've read about the Ornish Diet, a research based nutrition plan that can reduce plaque build up in the arteries. It requires authentic lifestyle change. Has anybody adopted the Ornish diet to prevent build up of valve calcification? What type of diet recommendations might I get after Aortic Valve Replacement? Thanks.
Day of Surgery Question
Journal posted on January 27, 2016
What tips do you have on how family members (adults) can live through the day of surgery with the least amount of anxiety and stress? Thanks for sharing.
Robert Frederick  It is good if they have someone with them. My wife and daughter stayed together.

They also accidentally got into the wrong waiting room. By the time ... Read more
  The nurse called my husband every hour while I was in surgery with updates. Some of the updates were more helpful. I know one of the updates said, "I can't ... Read more
Eddie Patton  For me things happened so fast that morning. So much going on and so much running through my mind. I wish I would have called a timeout before they ran everyone ... Read more
Ed Miskovic  Thanks for sharing these tips.
The Story of My Second Angiogram and Lessons Learned
Journal posted on January 27, 2016
"I do not want any anesthesia nor 'twilight' type drug administered to me for my angiogram," I had told my cardiologist when he had ordered the procedure. On Dec. 23rd, I told everybody the same message: the prep-team members, the doctor intern, the nurse who escorted me into the procedure room, the teaching doctor who guided the intern who guided the catheter thru my wrist toward my heart. Why not each asked. "Four years ago, at another hospital, I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia and apparently during the procedure I started thrashing about. I woke up in the recovery room with bruises on my right shoulder and arm from being held down on the table." With my eyes wide open for my recent angiogram, I learned some bad things and some good things. I learned that my body became a sort of table for the doctors to place items on. Before the most recent procedure a heavy radiation protection blanket was placed over my chest and lower body. This would serve as the table-top. But it needed to be adjusted just right. Patricia, the x-ray tech, introduced herself to me and said that she would say "expose" just before blah blah blah. Which meant whenever they lifted the blanket and momentarily "exposed" me. Later I wondered if that was an intentional pun. During the procedure I learned that the Intern was being advised by the teaching doctor to take long smooth strokes with the wire as he moved it into position near my heart. The intern's stroke had been too short and staccato-like when he sleeved the wire through my body. Luckily I was not too embarrassed for I had not eaten for hours. The best news was when the teaching doctor said, "There's no need for by-pass surgery." (Aortic Valve Replacement is still needed). I was very happy to hear that and wanted to say that I feel alive. But I said, "I'm alive." The team looked at each other and me and someone commented in a wry understatement, "That's good."
Gnats Can Be My Friend, Too
Journal posted on January 26, 2016
So yesterday's gnat returned during breakfast while I read the newspaper. It seemed to land on the very spot I was reading, so triumphantly I smashed it between the pages, but it was so tiny that I could not find its remains between the columns of the many black ink letters of print. That's how I almost felt after visiting my new local cardiologist this morning when he enthusiastically told me that I was lucky to be going to a surgeon who does minimally invasive surgery. Ah, I tried to catch that gnat of happiness in the pages of my mind. I finally "get it." But as I drove from the doctor's office to home, I lost that happy feeling. It was driven away by red lights and snowy clouds. Drawing on my breakfast gnat experience, I tried hard not to search for that happy feeling. Maybe a new gnat will visit me again and give me a gift of happiness. I know I won't try to smash it, & that will make me smile.
Wanda Mroz  I love your posts... You really have a gift of writing!
Mary K  Minimally invasive heart surgery is an oxymoron. Emphasis on moron. I had a Minimally invasive AVR in June. I am grateful to have only a three inch scar. But heart surgery is heart surgery.
Where are the gnats?
Journal posted on January 25, 2016
Yesterday our dog, Pepper, bothered me all day long by barking out the window at passerbys. Today I'm paying attention to her whenever she barks. She likes the attention and barks less frequently and in a lower pitch. This afternoon we "talked" as she explained in her muted way how things went for her today and how she feels now that I'm listening. This conversation reminds me of my need to listen to my heart when I'm walking or just moving around. There is a reason for listening to my heart. Listening makes us all feel better. Yesterday, the gnats were also annoying. But today I had wanted to enjoy them too, but they haven't visited yet. I wonder what they would have said in their own way; what lessons they have for me.
  Well said!
Of Barking Dogs & Broken Furnaces
Journal posted on January 24, 2016
Today trivial things, like my insanely barking dog, rattle my cage. And yet major things, like my furnace braking down a few hours later, seem of little consequence. It's as if a gnat buzzing overhead has more impact on my emotions then my squeaky car brakes. I'm OK with things I can take action on like calling the furnace guy or taking the car into the brake repair place. But those little nuisances get under my skin. On Feb. 5th, surgery is scheduled; I can deal with that: like the furnace and the brakes. I'm telling myself that "I can handle it." But I notice that sudden noise deeply bother me. It's as if I'm concentrating too much on everything I want to do. Maybe my heart enjoys listening to barking dogs and pesky gnats. Maybe tomorrow I'll listen to what my heart aches to hear: the sounds of the small things in life.
Anna Jones  You have the soul of a poet. This is a beautiful post. Wishing you an easy surgery on Feb, 5, and patience to deal with the large and the small as you wait.
  Thinking of you, Ed. Sometimes the little things take away our focus from the big things. Someone told me today that sometimes we experience the things we are ... Read more
Wanda Mroz  Emotions run hot & cold during this time.best of luck... Wishing you a smooth surgery and recovery.
A Good Talk
Journal posted on January 23, 2016
My wife and I drove 35 miles this morning to visit someone who is helping us through our roller coaster ride of emotions. His questions were simple, aimed at both our hearts: what is it that you need during this time as you both prepare for Ed's open-heart surgery? What do you expect from your partner? The answers were simple: a warm hug with the assurance that things are OK; a word of recognition and encouragement. Then there was the heart throbbing question: What could you partner stop doing this time to relieve your stress?
  Glad you had a good talk. Worth the drive it seems. The roller coaster with this is so hard. Best wishes to you. Sending thoughts of peace your way.
Here's my newest picture!
January 23, 2016   Like
Looking beyond the fence into the woodlands ... .