My PACs are still happening. Some days are worse than others. I’m not sure what triggered them or what caused them. I’ve been trying to rest a lot to see if I overexerted myself. I’m not sure if it can be caused by what I eat or how much I eat. They’re really annoying. I’m trying to not focus on my ECG on my Apple Watch thinking that the readings are causing my anxiety to act up. Either way, it’s been 8 straight days of having these palpitations and they’re annoying. They make me feel like not doing anything for fear of making them worse or more frequent. That’s not doing a whole lot for my confidence.
My Thursday stats were 129/83/75 and my weight was 191.0.
My Friday stats were 129/90/77 and my weight was 191.8.
My Saturday stats were 127/80/75 and my weight was 191.4.
My Sunday stats were 111/87/76 and my weight was 190.6.
During my Friday rehab session 7, I did more of the same. Unfortunately, I was feeling palpitations during my rehab and they even noticed them on the monitors.
Exercise 1: Treadmill for 20 minutes at 3.0 MPH and a 4.5% incline.
Exercise 2: Elliptical for 12 minutes at level 1 generating 23 watts.
Exercise 3: 2 sets of 15 with 6 lb weights.
Overall, rehab is doing well. Physically, I feel like I’m progressing well and the difficulty isn’t too bad. My endurance feels like it’s getting better. The biggest issue with my rehab recovery is psychological and emotional. The palpitations that I’m feeling really messes with my head and kills any confidence and hits my morale. I start to worry that something is wrong with my heart and that I’m regressing. I’ll be upping the difficulty a bit during my next rehab session, so lets see how this goes.
I finally got the results from my full echocardiogram. Based on the results, my LV systolic function is mildly to moderately reduced and my EF was estimated in the range of 35% - 45%. This is lower than the limited echo that showed 45% - 50%, but better than my echo on day 0/4 which was 25% - 30%. The wall thickness was mildly increased and I have grade 1 diastolic dysfunction. My LA is also dilated. Everything else appears to be normal. Normal size of RA, RV, and aorta. No signs of stenosis and trivial regurgitation in the mitral, tricuspid, aortic, and pulmonic valves. My biggest takeaway is that I’m seeing some small gains in my heart function. I don’t have the previous measurements, so I’m not sure how my heart remodeling is going. It’s a little disappointing that the EF scoring wasn’t confirmed to be as good as my limited echo a couple of weeks ago. However, it’d only been 35 days post op and I understand these things take time. Next echo is scheduled to be around 6 months, I believe.
My cardiologist and surgeon aren’t too concerned with my palpitations. They tell me to continue to perform activities as tolerated. They feel that my BP and HR are in good ranges. The biggest issue I’m having right now is that my cardiologist said that they normally prescribe metoprolol to help with arrhythmias. However, I was looking at starting an allergy immunotherapy. I’ve recently found out that you can’t take beta-blockers, like metoprolol, while doing immunotherapy due to the risk of severe anaphylaxis. I guess that it beta-blockers interfere with the effectiveness of epinephrine when dealing with severe allergic reactions. We’ll see how this goes. Not sure if they’ll allow me to do both at the same time. However, if I had to pick between the two, I’d prioritize my heart functionality over my allergies.
My glasses are ready, so I’ll be picking them up tomorrow. I’m wondering if the new prescription will help with the vision issues that I’ve been having. We’ll see how it goes.
I'm still having palpitations in the evening. I showed one of the nurses at rehab my Apple Watch ECG and she said that I'm experiencing PACs. I hope that they go away soon as they're annoying and messing with my confidence. My cardiologist is saying that the PACs could be activity related and to check with my surgical team. Surgeon said that there's no need to limit activity and to do stuff as tolerated. I should also look at limiting the amount of caffeine and alcohol that I intake and to get plenty of sleep. They told me to follow-up with my cardiologist. Both are saying that I'm progressing well and that the early beat shouldn't be a problem. I haven't been drinking any caffeinated and I don't drink alcohol. What little caffeine I may have gotten would be from some white chocolate I had these past few days.
My Tuesday stats were 129/79/72 and my weight was 193.6.
My Wednesday stats were 120/89/76 and my weight was 191.4.
I've been focusing more on my diet and trying to rest more. I'm hoping that the rest will help calm down my heart and reduce or make my palpitations go away.
On Tuesday, I worked from home for half a day and then rode my bike with the boys for about 20 minutes. It wasn't very strenuous. We only went about 1.66 miles in 22:13 at an average speed of 4.5 MPH. My average heart rate was 98. Even with that relatively light exercise, I still felt my PACs in the evening.
On Wednesday, I skipped my morning walk. I worked for half a day and then went to session 6 of my cardiac rehab. I was glad to see that they increased my difficulty a little bit.
Exercise 1: Treadmill for 20 minutes at 3.0 MPH and a 4.5% incline.
Exercise 2: Elliptical for 12 minutes at level 1. Target pace was 24 watts.
Exercise 3: 2 sets of 15 with 6 lb barbells.
During my first exercise on the treadmill, they always check in on me to see how I've been feeling. I let them know about my palpitations and they noted them down on my record. My heart rate was a little bit higher than it had been due to the extra 0.5% incline they put me at. After the exercise, I went and spoke with a RN to discuss what I've been feeling and what my Apple Watch ECG looks like. She's the one who told me that I'm experiencing PACs.
Exercises 2 and 3 are still a little bit challenging, but getting easier each time I do them. Not feeling as much burn in my legs or arms when doing those exercises. They didn't notice anything irregular with my EKG while I was working out. However, they always hit me in the evening for some reason.
I still felt some palpitations in the evening when watching the VP debate. I got a pretty bad headache on my left side and my neck was tight. Not sure if it's a tension headache or what. I need to try to get to bed earlier and get more sleep to see if that helps with my headaches and palpitations. My lower back has been sore as well. I'm gonna rest on Thursday and try not to do much over the weekend. Hopefully these palpitations will go away on their own.
Man what a difference a couple of bad days can make. My heart has been reminding me these past few days that it was just worked on, cut open, stitched together, and is figuring out how to work properly again.
My Sunday stats were 119/77/74 and my weight was 193.4.
My Monday stats were 127/79/73 and my weight was 194.6.
My weight is starting to get out of control. I need to focus more on my diet and exercise again. I've been paying close attention to the amount of sodium I've been eating, but have been taking far too many liberties with the other fatty and sugary foods. I was drinking some of the soda I bought for the campfire cookout on Saturday. Loads of sugar and calories that I didn't need, so I ended up tossing it. It was painful to do because I hate to waste, but it needed to be done.
On Sunday, I was a bit tired in the morning and ended up taking a nap for a couple of hours. After waking up, I felt that I needed to be productive, so I went into the backyard and started pulling weeds for about 40 minutes. After that, the boys and I rode our bikes around the neighborhood. It was a casual ride (around 3.0 MPH) because they can't go that fast. In the evening is when I started to feel that uneasy feeling in my chest. It's hard to tell if I'm hungry or if I'm having some palpitations, but I'm pretty sure I was having some palpitations. It wasn't too bad and lasted for a couple of hours before I fell asleep.
On Monday, I woke up a little bit tired, but decided to try to get back into my normal routine. I started the day with a 20:00 minute treadmill walk at 3.0 MPH @ 4% incline. My average heart rate was 109. Working was fine as I spent most of my day in meetings. After having some catfish for lunch, it was time for session 5 of cardiac rehab.
My cardiac rehab sessions have been going well. I feel like the exercises that I'm on could be dialed up a bit. Today was more of the same as the previous days.
Exercise 1: Treadmill for 20 minutes at 3.0 MPH and a 4% incline.
Exercise 2: Elliptical for 12 minutes at level 1. Target pace was 24 watts.
Exercise 3: 2 sets of 15 with 6 lb barbells.
The treadmill is getting easy, since I do that at home. I'll need to see if they can up the incline or duration to make it a bit more challenging. It's interesting to see that my heart rate for this exercise has been coming down each time I've done it.
The elliptical isn't as hard as it was when I first started it. I think my legs are getting used to it. I can probably go a little longer or possibly even go up to level 2. We'll see what they say for Wednesday.
The weights are okay for now. I'm able to get through 15 reps of each movement with some muscle fatigue at the end. I'm wondering if I should try to do 3 sets of 10-15 or increase the weight.
After I got home from rehab, I was really hungry, so I snacked on some food before we headed out for dinner and my younger son's soccer game. When we got the restaurant to pick up our food, I started to feel the palpitations again. It's unsettling and uncomfortable every time I feel them. I ate my salad just fine and started to feel a bit better. Went to the soccer game and kicked the ball around with the boys. I felt fine during the game and didn't notice the palpitations that much. However, when I got home after the game and started to relax, they came back.
Since I've noticed that I've been tired a lot more the past few days and that I've been experiencing heart palpitations, I'm starting to wonder if I've been overdoing the recovery. Have I been doing too much without giving myself time to rest? Could that be triggering my palpitations? I haven't been pushing myself too hard to do more. I'm still being very cautious and watching what I do and limiting what I do. I'm wondering if I need to build in rest days and skip my walks on my off rehab days.
I'm crazy tired right now and want to go to sleep, but my palpitations are keeping me awake and making my mind worry.
The great Salt-Free Seasoning Showdown. Lots of salt-free options out there for low sodium diets. Have you tried any of these or other brands? Which ones are your favorites?
Day 34-36 Recovery Recap/Rehab Day 4
Journal posted on October 4, 2020
Every day, I feel more and more back to normal. I’m still trying to take it easy, but am less worried about what I’m doing.
My Thursday stats were 121/82/73 and my weight was 190.4.
My Friday stats were 123/74/76 and my weight was 190.6.
My Saturday stats were 124/77/77 and my weight was 192.0.
There’s nothing special to report about Thursday. Just more of the same. I worked for about 4 hours and then took the rest of the day off. I need to burn some vacation hours and I wanted to ease my way back to working full days. I wasn’t really able to do much walking because I had a blister that was starting to form on my left heel, so I skipped my walks.
Friday, was busy day. I had two chest x-rays and my full echocardiogram at 09:00. At 10:30, I had a follow-up with my surgeon’s NP. At 13:00, I had session 4 of my cardiac rehab. At 15:30, I had an appointment with my PCP and an allergy test.
I wasn’t able to get my echo results during my 10:30 follow-up, but the NP said that my EF looked like it was around 30%. That wasn’t very reassuring as my last partial echo showed me at 45-50%. I’m going to wait until I get the full results from the radiologist before I start to freak out. Hopefully, I’m showing some forward progress. Anyway, at 30-days post hospital discharge and 35-days post op, I’ve been cleared to do most everything except rigorous activity. She said that I can gradually return to my normal activities like riding my bike, light jogging, mowing my lawn, gardening, and my lifting restriction was removed. She said that playing hockey should wait until 2-months post op.
Saturday was a nice day. Watched Trolls 2 World Tour with the kids in the morning, went to my younger son’s soccer game in the afternoon, and then met up with another family for a campfire cookout. Weather was great. In the evening, we went for a 2.5 mile night hike. Eating the hot dogs and sausages weren’t the best for my low-sodium diet. Neither was the liquid calories and sodium I was drinking with the soda. Good thing that this isn’t the norm and only a rare exception.
Now that most of my restrictions have been lifted, I have to do a lot more around the house. Gotta do some weed pulling and mow the lawn. Been putting that off for a month. No more excuses for me.
Not much to report on my off rehab day. Feeling more normal each day to the point where I have to remind myself that I had heart surgery about a month ago. I can’t believe that it’s already been 33 days since my surgery.
My Tuesday stats were 110/75/79 and my weight was 191.4.
My Wednesday stats were 115/75/72 and my weight was 190.6.
My BP is starting to stabilize a little bit. Hope it stays this way. My surgeon wants my BP to stay below 120/80. Three days in a row of good BP is a positive sign. I just need to keep up the exercise and the low sodium diet.
On Tuesday, I was able to get three walks in. I’m doing the same intensity that I’m doing at cardiac rehab, just for a longer duration.
Walk 1) 30:00 treadmill walk at 3.0 MPH at 4% incline with a 109 average heart rate.
Walk 2) 30:00 treadmill walk at 3.0 MPH at 4% incline with a 113 average heart rate.
Walk 3) 30:00 treadmill walk at 3.0 MPH at 4% incline with a 120 average heart rate.
Nothing too special to report about Day 32. Felt good during the day. A lot of catching up to do at work. Still having an issue with sleeping through the night though. I keep waking up 3-4 times during the night.
On Wednesday, I got one walk in the morning. I did 30:00 minutes at 3.0 MPH at 4% incline with a 115 average heart rate.
My third day of rehab was more of the same. My pre-exercise BP at first was really high, around 150s/100s. After sitting and resting for a bit, it dropped down to the 120s/80s.
First exercise was the treadmill, walking at 3.0 MPH at a 4% incline for 15 minutes. Since I’m doing basically the same thing at home, this exercise is getting pretty easy.
The second exercise was the elliptical. I’m still at level 1 for 10 minutes. This exercise is getting easier. I’m still feeling the burn, but it’s not as bad. I was able to work a bit faster than Day 2.
The third exercise was the weights. Still doing 2 sets of 15 at 5 lbs. I’m not struggling to complete the 15 reps, but I am starting to fatigue when I get into the teens. I was saying that I could go up a bit in weight, but I’m still waiting to get cleared to do more.
Overall, I feel like I’m making progress in rehab. The exercises are getting easier and my confidence is going up. I’ve been able to hit the 140s in my heart rate during rehab and I haven’t been feeling any adverse side effects. I’m not feeling light headed or dizzy during rehab. For session 4 of rehab, they’re going to make some adjustments to my exercises, so we’ll see how that goes.
I’ve been able to go out and kick a soccer ball with my older son. I’m still making sure to keep it easy and not do too much for too long. The frequency of my episodes of lightheadedness when standing up is going down. There are days that I don’t even remember feeling lightheaded. Hoping that my vision issues get better when I get my new glasses. I’m not getting headaches as frequently. Wondering if my vision and head issues are getting better because my BP is stabilizing a bit.
Friday is a big day for me. I have a full echo and a follow-up with my surgeon’s assistant. I’m hoping to see more progress on my heart function from the echo. Also hoping to get cleared to do more work. My backyard is getting a little out of control and my wife could use some more help around the house.
This weekend was a resting one as my quads were sore and tight from my first rehab session on Friday. Feeling good each day with a good amount of energy. My only setback is that my right elbow is starting to hurt. Not sure if I’m fighting a gout flare or some tendinitis.
My Saturday stats were 119/85/75 and my weight was 190.6.
My Sunday stats were 130/85/74 and my weight was 191.8.
My Monday stats were 110/63/75 and my weight was 192.4.
My BP is still all over the place and my weight is going up. I’m probably feeling a little too good and eating too well over the weekend. Eating a lot, especially carbs, and not walking is a recipe for weight gain. I need to focus on making smarter eating decisions and making sure I get some exercise in to negate some of the calories I’m taking in.
I was able to get one 30-minute walk in this morning before starting work and heading to my 2nd cardiac rehab session in the afternoon. I walked 30:00 minutes at 3.0 MPH and a 3% incline. My average heart rate was 105.
My first day back at working from home was busy. Lots of emails to catch up on. Needed to block off my calendar for all of my rehab sessions and doctor appointments. Lots of work to do, but grateful that my work is willing to support me with my recovery.
My second session of rehab was more of the same. My check in BP is still high in the 140s/90s. Wasn’t rushing today, but I was on a conference call driving down to the clinic. Was told that I need to rest for some time before they take my BP to see if it goes down. My post-exercise BP was pretty good in the 120s/85s.
My treadmill exercise was for 15 minutes at 3.0 MPH and 4% incline. Still pretty easy. The conditioning from my at home treadmill exercises is making this one pretty easy and good warm-up.
The elliptical was still set to level 1, but this time it was for 10 minutes. Still harder with muscle fatigue in my quads. Wasn’t as painful or bad as Friday. Hoping I won’t be as sore tomorrow.
The weight exercises were the same. This time though, I stretched it out to 2 sets of 15 reps at 5 lbs. I think I’ll be stuck at this weight until I get cleared from my surgeon to do more.
I’m still a little tired in the afternoon. My at home BP seems to be low, especially compared to what my pre-exercise BP is on rehab days. Gotta start focusing more on my diet and trying to lose some more weight. Still need to try to get down to 175. I’m hoping to get cleared to do more intense workouts so that I can burn more calories.
Today is the first day of Cardiac Rehab. I’m a bit excited and nervous at the same time. Not quite sure what to expect.
My morning stats are 120/93/77 and my weight is 188.4.
I did one walk in the morning before my rehab in the afternoon. I did 30:00 minutes at 3.0 MPH and a 0% incline with a 101 average heart rate.
I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to drive to my cardiac rehab. I was a little rushed because I was running a little bit late. When I got there, I went back to the rehab center to check in. When I check in, I’m given a portable, three lead heart monitor to put on and a clipboard with the exercises that I’m supposed to do. After cleaning my contact points and applying the leads, I was given my clipboard. On the clipboard, I’m supposed to track my pre- and post-exercise HR and BP. It also lists the three exercises that I’m supposed to work on that day. After each exercise, I’m supposed to check in to the main desk to get my heart rate and report how difficult each exercise was.
My pre-exercise BP was really high. I believe that it was in the 140s/100s. This could have been due to some nerves and me rushing to get to the rehab clinic on time. Anyway, they wanted me to rest and see if my BP went down.
My first exercise of the day was a walk on the treadmill. They had me going for 12 minutes at 3.0 MPH and a 3% incline. Since I’ve been doing 3.0 MPH at 0% incline at home, this wasn’t too challenging. I was able to complete it with not much difficulty. On the difficulty scale, I ranked this an 11, which is like a casual stroll.
My second exercise was on the elliptical. They had me do 10 minutes at level 1 without using the push/pull arm bars. This one was a bit more difficult as I rated it a 15, which is strenuous. I’ll have to take a picture of the scale the next time I’m there. Anyway, I’m not sure if it’s how I use and elliptical, but my quads were firing constantly and I was working to finish the 10 minutes. I just think I’m that out of shape and my muscles aren’t conditioned for this.
My third set of exercises were weights. They had me to 5 lbs at 2 sets of 10 reps. Using 5 lb dumbbells, I did bicep curls, overhead press, shoulder shrugs, tricep extensions, and front arm raises. I think I ranked this a 12. Some of the exercises, were harder to do with the 5 lb weights than others. I could feel my incisions a bit when I did the overhead press. They weren’t painful, but I could feel the incisions pulling a bit.
My final exercise of the day, which I didn’t track, was stretching. They had us do forward and backward arm circles, forward and backward shoulder rolls, calf stretch, quad stretch, and hamstring stretch.
After all my exercises were done, they tracked my BP and HR again after resting for a bit. My post-exercise BP was much better. I believe that it was in the 110s/80s. After the final reading, I have to take off my monitor and they review the difficulty of each exercise and adjust according to how difficult it was and how I felt. I told them that I could probably do a little more difficult on the treadmill, to keep the elliptical the same, and a couple of more reps to my strength exercises.
Overall, my rehab session was good. I got my heart rate up into the 140s on the elliptical. They said that my surgeon is the one who will decide when it’s okay to remove my lifting restrictions and give me the okay to do more. I have an follow-up appointment with my surgeon’s PA on Friday, so I’ll get more clarification then. I felt good going in to rehab, but my legs were a little rubbery from the elliptical. Hopefully I’ll get better with a few more sessions and more leg conditioning.
One thing I noticed after getting home is that I was really tired again after dinner. Not sure if it’s because of the rehab or something else. I’ll see if this trend continues on Monday.
Overall, today was a pretty good day, with the exception of my tiredness after dinner. I’d rate today a 9 and my energy an 8. I’ve been feeling pretty good these past few days, so my confidence is high. I’m going to try and enjoy the weekend before I go back to work on Monday.
Well my heart recovery staycation is coming to an end. I’ve been cleared to go back to work on Monday. I’m going back on a modified part time schedule due to my cardiac rehab appointments. Since there hasn’t been much day-to-day changes in how I feel lately, I’ll probably stop posting daily and just post on my rehab days to show what my progression is and what they’re having me do.
My morning stats today were 134/87/76 and my weight was 190.6. Still going up on the scale. Wonder if its the rice I’ve been eating lately. We had Japanese curry with rice for dinner Tuesday night and then I had it for leftovers yesterday night. Hopefully my weight comes down a bit the next few days.
I’m going to have to start mixing it up a bit for my daily exercise routines, especially on the days that I don’t have rehab and will be working. It’s going to be much harder to get 20-30 minute walks in multiple times a day. I’m going to try, and I emphasize the word try, to get up early so that I can get a 30-minute walk in before I start work. Luckily I’m working from home until the end of the year, so I won’t have to worry about commute time. On my non-rehab days, I’ll try to fit in two 15-minute walks during the day and possibly another 30-minute walk in the evening. We’ll see how things go.
Today I did two 30-minute treadmill walks at 3.0 MPH with 0% incline. My average heart rate was 101 for my first walk and 108 for my second walk. No issues so far, so I’ll keep it going and adjust based on what they have me do at rehab.
I ordered my new glasses today. Should take a few weeks to get them in. Hopefully they help a bit with my vision issues and my eyes being tired.
I’m still getting that tingling sensation down my left arm. It hasn’t been as frequent or noticeable, so hopefully it’s getting better. My cardiologist said that it’s probably nervous system related and to continue to monitor for the next month or so.
My vision issues seem to be getting better each day. I’m not getting that nauseous feeling anymore and my headaches aren’t as strong. My neck still feels kind of tight and sore, so may be I’m getting tension headaches. Hopefully it was just a bad couple of days.
My younger son wants to rebuild one of his big LEGO sets. The problem is that they destroyed the original build and mixed all the pieces from EVERY set they’ve ever gotten with all of my old LEGO sets that I gave them. I’ve been trying to sort through the thousands of pieces to sort out the ones that he needs to build the set he wants to build. This is a massive undertaking and it doesn’t help that my boys keep wanting to build other stuff while I’m trying to sort pieces. This could possibly be a wasted exercise, but it’s given me something to do the past few days.
Overall today was a good day. I’d say that today was a 9 and my energy was an 8. Looking forward to see what they have me do on my first day of rehab tomorrow.
This update is getting posted really late today. Just lost track of time and got out of my rhythm.
My morning stats were 127/82/80 and my weight was 190.2. I ate a lot of food yesterday and I didn’t really walk, so that could explain the weight gain. I need to get back to eating smaller portions and exercising more to get my weight back down.
I walked outside for the first time in a while. I felt pretty good and I didn’t experience any issues with nausea or headaches, so I think that those issues are starting to ease up a bit. Since my cardiac rehab is going to be more treadmill work, I figured I’d still walk a bit more on the treadmill to get my muscles used to what they might put me through.
Walk 1) 1.46 miles walked in 27:59 with a 106 average heart rate
Walk 2) 20:00 minutes on the treadmill at 3.0 MPH with a 109 average heart rate
Walk 3) 20:00 minutes on the treadmill at 3.0 MPH with a 110 average heart rate
I went to see my optometrist today. It’s been a while since I’ve had my prescription changed. My new measured vision is different from what my glasses currently are. Not sure by how much though. Opted to order some new glasses and a dedicated pair of sunglasses. My current glasses have transition lenses, but they don’t offer that much tint, especially when driving. Hoping the dedicated sunglasses will help cut down my eye strain from being outside in the sun. It’ll take a while to get them, but my vision issues seem to be getting better. Other than my prescription change, my eyes look good and healthy.
I’m trying to get my return to work disability stuff cleared with my work. Cardiac rehab is something that I fully intend on taking full advantage of, but it’s demanding. Three days a week for an hour each day. Tack on commute time to and from the clinic and I’m looking at close to three hours of time that I need to take off of work. I’m hoping to be able to work part time while I’m going through rehab. I need to get a new note from my cardiologist that specifies how many hours a day I need to work, when I’m cleared to return to work, and when my modified schedule would end.
Overall, I’ve been feeling better and better each day. I’d say that today was an 8 and my energy level is 8. My confidence is getting better. I just need to temper my enthusiasm and not get too overconfident. Looking forward to see what they have me do at cardiac rehab on Friday.
Today was a busy, but exciting day. Lots to be optimistic about.
My morning stats today were 119/89/79 and my weight was 188.0.
Today was my cardiac rehab orientation, so I didn’t do any additional walks or exercising. My morning started early as I had my orientation at 09:00. I went in a met with the nurse and she explained everything that was going on, what to expect, and review my intake form. There was a lot of questions regarding where I’m currently at, how I’m currently feeling, and where I want to get to. I had to watch a safety training video on how to use the treadmills safely. She explained to me how to attach the three leads for the portable EKG that I wear while in rehab.
Once he intake and evaluation were done, they took me out to a treadmill to get a baseline for me. They started me off at 0% incline and 3.0 MPH. At first, 3.0 MPH seemed a bit fast as I usually only do about 2.5 MPH, but I was soon able to catch up and get adjusted. At each level, they asked for where I feel on a scale from 1-20. If I remember correctly, they want you to stay in the 11-15 zone which goes from I’m comfortable to this is slightly difficult. I think a 1 was like you’re sitting there doing nothing and a 20 was something like “I’m dying, get me off this thing”.
Anyway, a 0% and 3.0 MPH, I told them I was around an 11. It was a bit faster than I was used to, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I would stay on this setting for 2 minutes and they would take my BP each time the ramped me up. Every 2 minutes, they would ramp me up. Started at 0% at 3.0 MPH, then to 5% at 3.0 MPH, then to 7.5% at 3.0 MPH, and finally 10% at 3.0 MPH. I stopped at 10% and 3.0 MPH because I was really starting to feel it in my legs. Usually when I ramp up the incline, I reduce the speed. They kept the speed the same, so I was working my legs much harder. At the end, I wasn’t really breathing that hard, but they were tracking my BP and heart rate.
After the treadmill, they had me sit down while they monitored my HR to see it recovery. They did a pulse oximeter to check my oxygen levels. After that, I was done. I’m scheduled to do cardiac rehab every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the next 12 weeks.
After rehab, I ran some errands and grabbed some lunch. After picking up lunch, I went home. I ate way too much for lunch, which made me a bit tired. I took a quick 15 minute nap before I had to head to my cardiology appointment.
My cardiologist was able to give me a bit of positive news. My EF back in June was 60%. Right after surgery and day 4, my echos showed that my EF dropped down to 25-30%. My limited echo last Friday, 21-days post op, showed that my EF was 45-50%. I have to admit that I would have been happy with a 35-40% reading, so hearing 45-50% was really good news. He was also happy with my HR and BP, but a little worried about my lightheadedness, headaches, and dizziness. We’re going to continue to monitor my HR and BP. He’s moving my daily does of Losartan to the evening to see if that helps lower my morning BP. Follow-up in a month.
After my appointment and having some dinner with the family, I got really tired. I mean I couldn’t stay awake no matter how hard I tried. I hit horizontal and I was out within a few seconds and woke up 15-30 minutes later. It’s been a long time since I’ve been that tired. I’m wondering if it was the amount of food I ate all day or the cardiac rehab that I did. We’ll see how I feel after my next cardiac rehab session on Friday.
During the day, I feel good (8) and not that tired (8). However, after dinner, I dropped down to about a 6 and my energy was a 3.
Imagine that you’re having a “conversation” with the most stubborn person you can think of. You try as hard as you can to get them to see things from your point of view. You present all of the evidence and facts, but they refuse to budge or listen to you. That’s how I feel my recovery is going. I know that my heart is in a better shape now than it was before my surgery. It’s working the way that it’s supposed to and I shouldn’t be worried about every little thing I do or feel. However, every time my heart rate goes up, I worry. Every time I cough or a muscle hurts or I get a headache, I’m concerned. The mental battle is just as hard, if not harder, than the physical one.
My morning stats today were 120/81/75 and my weight was 187.6.
I did three walks on the treadmill today for 20 minutes at 2.5 MPH. My average heart rate was 92, 101, and 104. I’m a little concerned that my heart rate is above 100, but I don’t know what’s good or bad. Can’t wait to get some feedback from cardiac rehab.
I saw my PCP’s nurse practitioner today. She did some tests for vertigo. They were inconclusive. She seems to think that they may be related to my heart and wants to know to what my cardiologist thinks before doing anything else. She gave me an EKG which was normal. She did say that I have some fluid in my ears, but no infection or anything like that. Since I haven’t been taking my allergy meds, she recommended that I start that back up and see if that may help.
After my appointment, I ran some errands. Driving around is still fine with no issues. Walking around is also fine. I haven’t experienced another dizzy spell like I had a week ago, which is good. My headaches, nausea, and other head issues seem to be getting better. Not sure if it’s because I’ve been walking on the treadmill or not.
I went and scheduled myself an eye doctor appointment for Wednesday. It’s been two years since I’ve seen them. Wondering if my prescription has changed enough to be causing me these eye/head issues I’ve been having.
Tomorrow is a big day. I have my cardiac rehab orientation in the morning and then I see my cardiologist in the afternoon. Hopefully I’ll be able to get all of my questions and concerns answered.
Overall, today was a 7 and my energy was a 7. I’m feeling relatively good physically, which in turn makes me feel better emotionally.
Today was an okay day. I didn’t really have any nausea or major headaches, but after lunch, I did feel like I was having some heart palpitations. I’d get this sinking feeling in my chest for no reason and then I would feel a really heavy heart beat. Never know what to expect or what triggers these abnormal symptoms, I’m still very cautious about what I do.
My morning stats were 124/86/77 and my weight was 188.4. I did two 20 minute walks on the treadmill today. The first one was at 2.0 MPH and my average heart rate was 91. My second walk was from 2.0-2.5 MPH and my average heart rate was 100. I’ve been avoiding walking outside the past couple of days to see if my vision and head issues get better. It seems to be working as I haven’t been as nauseous and my headaches haven’t been that bad.
Not much going on today. Drove around to check out a new shopping area and grab some lunch. My boys have been wanting to ride their bikes, but because I haven’t gotten clearance to do so, I’ve been following them around the neighborhood in my car.
I was able to finish up the Pikachu building kit that my boys started. I happened to find all the missing pieces in a red gift bag. Not sure who put them there or why they were there, but I was happy that I was able to complete the set. Unfortunately, I was sitting on the floor building the kit, so after a while, my back started to really hurt. The pressure from hunching over probably wasn’t the best thing for my chest discomfort either.
Overall, it was a good day with the family. I’d say today was a 6 and my energy was a 5.
Tomorrow I see my primary care doctor’s assistant. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some advice on what’s going on with my head and eyes. Looking forward to Tuesday as I start my cardiac rehab orientation and see my cardiologist. I could really use some positive news. All this unknowing and second guessing can really wear on you.
The way that my recovery is going reminds of a famous movie quote. “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Each day is different as I never know how I’m going to feel.
My morning stats today were 127/86/77 and my weight was 187.8. My BP in the morning is consistently higher than in the evening. My morning average over the past week or so has been around 127/85/76, while my evening average is around 112/78/83. We’ll see what my cardiologist says on Tuesday.
Today got off to an early start as my older son had a 10:00 soccer game. I’m still apprehensive and concerned about my vision and head issues, so I’m walking slow, steady, and deliberate.
After the game, we did quite a bit of driving as we went to a friend’s house to drop something off and then drove to go get some lunch. I’m not having any issues driving, so that’s good.
Towards the afternoon, my eyes felt a bit tired, but I wasn’t experiencing any headaches or nausea, so I’ll take it. Tried to watch Ice Age: Collision Course with the kids, but I fell asleep in the middle for a little bit. After the movie, I worked on some LEGOs with the kids. Got a bit frustrated because I couldn’t find some pieces needed to put together the giant Pikachu set that my older son opened up. There’s nothing worse than trying to put something together and have missing pieces.
After dinner, we had a nice Zoom chat with my family. It’s nice to get to see everyone once a month or so and catch up. Thanks to my wife, Stacey, for setting these meetings up.
I got one walk in today. Because of my eye and head issues I’ve had the past few days, I decided to try walking on the treadmill to see how I feel. Since I’m pretty much just staring at the wall or the treadmill, I won’t have to change my focus much. I only did a 15:00 minute walk at 2.0 MPH. My average heart rate was a bit high at 97. I felt fine during and after the walk.
Overall, today wasn’t too bad. No major headaches and no real nausea. I still have that tingling on the left side of my body and what feels like a lump in my chest. Not sure what is causing the tingling, but the lump feels like when my anxiety is pretty bad. I’d say that today was a 7 and my energy was a 5. A slightly better day today than the day before.
I’m looking forward to meeting with my PCP on Monday afternoon to discuss what’s been going on. Hopefully it’s nothing too concerning or serious. My cardiac rehab orientation is on Tuesday morning and I meet with my cardiologist on Tuesday afternoon. Hoping to get some good guidelines on how much activity I can do from cardiac rehab. I also hope to see some improvement in my numbers from the limited echo I had on Friday.
Today was a pretty busy day. I didn’t really have the time or energy for too many dedicated walks. I’m really worried about my vision and head issues. I’m still not sure what’s going on, so I’m worried about doing much of anything.
My morning stats were 124/87/72 and my weight was 187.4.
Walk 1) 0.39 miles walked in 8:57 with a 86 average heart rate
This morning I had my limited echo. I believe that they were just checking to see what me EF is now. I’m hoping that it has gotten a little better. I probably won’t get the results until next week though, so this will be a long weekend waiting.
After the echo, I had to run some errands. Had to go to an art supply store and make a Target run. The big thing is that I haven’t had any issues driving. Walking around the stores and everything is fine as well. The only issue that I noticed was when I was looking around the medicine isle for some more all natural Dramamine. The rapid eye movement of looking for something started to give me a headache.
When I was driving, I noticed that I was squinting a lot. Like it was too bright outside. When I got home, I had a sharp pain behind my right eye for a minute or so. I felt a bit better after taking some Tylenol. I spent the rest of the afternoon just resting. I even took a little nap.
Other than my eye and head issues, I’ve been experiencing a weird tingling sensation that I feel on the left side of my head and down my left shoulder. It doesn’t last very long. It’s kind of like a chill. It’s just a feeling that I have.
The cardiologist hasn’t responded to my email yet. I sent a similar message to my primary care doctor and he wants me to go and see him or his physicians assistant next week for an evaluation. I was able to get an appointment with his PA on Monday, so we’ll see what they say.
I worked on some more LEGOS today, so my back and shoulder starting to feel tight and tense, so I decided to take a Tylenol and the muscle relaxer again for bed. I’m still nervous about going to sleep because I’m afraid I’m going to wake up in the middle of the night. I went to bed later today because I wanted to be more tired. I didn’t go to bed until 00:30 and woke up around 06:57. I fell asleep again and woke up for the day around 08:00.
Today wasn’t too bad, with the exception of my eye and head issues. I’d say that today was a 6 and my energy was a 5. I’m just really apprehensive about doing too much or walking outside due to how I’ve been feeling.
Not feeling much better today. I’m still having some “chest” discomfort. Not sure if I’m hungry or nauseous. Have a mild headache and don’t like looking at bright objects, aka outside. It felt better to close my eyes. I took some all natural Dramamine and a Tylenol to see if that helped my nausea and headache around 12:30. Towards the afternoon, I did start feeling a bit better.
My morning stats today are 117/89/74 with a weight of 187.4. My weight has really plateaued and stabilized as I’ve bounced between 187.8 and 187.0 these past five days.
I tried to mix it up today with my walks to see if it made me feel any better. I opted to go for shorter, more frequent walks. The walks themselves weren’t too bad. On some of them, I still had that disconnected feeling where I can see myself walking and moving my arms and legs, but it doesn’t really feel like I’m walking or moving my arms and legs. It’s kind of a weird feeling.
Walk 1) 0.40 mile walk in 9:14 with a 87 average heart rate
Walk 2) 0.40 mile walk in 9:12 with a 91 average heart rate
Walk 3) 0.39 mile walk in 9:12 with a 89 average heart rate
I still wasn’t feeling too great and rested most of the day. I’ve also been spending more time helping my wife with the virtual learning. My younger son has been really bad the past few days. He’s been absolutely refusing to do some relatively simple assignments and we’ve been having to deal with these meltdowns. Of all the years to have him do virtual learning, it was his first year of kindergarten at public school. The year that they kind of lay the foundation of how to act in school, focus, pay attention, and listen to teachers. Our older son is doing okay in virtual second grade. He has had some attention and focus issues, but for the most part does what he needs to do.
I wasn’t feeling too hungry at lunch, but forced myself to eat. For dinner, you’d think that I hadn’t eaten in days as I devoured my salad. I was able to drive the family to go pick-up dinner and over to my older son’s soccer game with no issues.
I’m starting to wonder if there’s something wrong with my heart since I notice all these vision issues when I walk and not when I’m sitting there driving. I’m hoping that my headaches, chest discomfort, and nausea are from some issues with my vision and vertigo and has nothing to do with my heart. These feelings that I’m having are probably kicking up my anxiety which would only make the feelings worse. I’m starting to feel that lump in the middle of my chest. I usually get this feeling when I’m really anxious.
I tried to go bed at a little early again. I’m worried about falling asleep because I’m afraid that I’m going to wake up in the middle of the night. After going to bed around 23:45, I suddenly woke up around 00:37. My heart rate shot up to 117 and I had some numbness in my left arm. There was no pain or discomfort, it just felt like my left arm fell asleep. I was able to fall back asleep relatively quickly and woke up again around 06:37. After taking my morning stats I was able to fall asleep again until 08:30.
I have a partial echo on day 21 to check my EF%. I’m really hoping to get some good news when I get the results. Pre-op, my EF was recorded as 60% with severe regurgitation. However day 0 and day 4 echos showed that my EF dropped down to 25-30%. It wasn’t very comforting when I’m trying to stay positive and the PA keeps saying that I have heart failure. The electrophysiologist was concerned with low EF% and was thinking of sending me home with a life vest, but my surgeon said that he wasn’t concerned at all. My surgeon’s thought process is that my EF is closer to 35% because the regurgitation has been fixed and all the blood is flowing in the right direction.
I still haven’t heard back from my cardiologist regarding my concerns with dizziness and vertigo.
The morning was probably a 4, but the afternoon was a 6. Energy wise, I was being very cautious and rested as much as possible, so I’d rate today as a 4.
The way that I’ve been feeling the past couple of days is really starting to get to me. I’m guessing that it has something to do with my eyes and head because I’m feeling somewhat similar to after I get off of a roller coaster or sit as a passenger on a windy road. However, my mind is worrying that it has something to do with my heart and that it’s failing me. Logically, I know that my heart is in a better place after my MV repair, but I’m worried because of how I’ve been feeling these past few days.
My morning stats were pretty high at 130/88/79 with a weight 187.8.
I did two walks today. I’m being very cautious and deliberate now because I don’t want to make how I’m feeling any worse. I’m trying to focus on objects far away and to not turn my head too much.
Walk 1) 0.90 mile walk in 27:50 with a 86 average heart rate
Walk 2) 1.40 mile walk in 30:50 with a 98 average heart rate
My first walk was interrupted because I ran into one of my co-workers who lives nearby. We caught up for a little bit before I continued on my walk.
When I move my head a lot or change my point of focus, whether I’m walking or sitting down, I start feeling a little nauseous and start getting a headache. I feel better when I’m able to sit and rest and focus my sight on a specific area. This is just annoying. I was able to drive my car to go get dinner. I didn’t have any issues with my vision while driving, so that’s good. It’s probably because when I’m driving, I’m focused on the cars in front of me that don’t really move all that much in relation to where I’m at since we’re all moving at the same speed in the same direction.
I have been noticing that I get this little tingling feeling down the left side of my body. That’s kind of annoying as well. Not sure what’s going on there. I experienced this when I had the AV block in the hospital, but it went away for a bit. I seem to be noticing it more lately.
I sent an email to my cardiologist reporting my vision, nausea, and dizzy issues. Waiting to hear back from them soon to see what they say. I don’t think that it’s anything to do with my heart and that it’s all in my head. Hopefully I’m right.
I stopped taking my evening dose of muscle relaxers and Tylenol. I was just taking it as a precaution the past week or so. Since I’ve been without pain or muscle tightness, I thought I should probably stop. Not sure if this had any impact, but I didn’t sleep very well at all tonight.
I thought that I’d get to bed earlier than normal today because of how I’ve been feeling. May be I haven’t been getting enough rest and that’s why my eyes are acting the way they are. Anyway, I went to bed around 23:30, but woke up suddenly around 00:30. I was able to go back to sleep relatively quickly, but woke up again around 01:30. This time I wasn’t able to go back to sleep as easily and got up for an hour or so to make myself tired. My mind is racing and I’m worried about my heart. Around 02:30, I manage to fall back asleep, only to wake up again around 04:00. After calming myself down and falling back to sleep for the third time, I woke up for the day around 08:30. Here’s to hoping that day 20 is better than I slept on day 19.
Overall, today was a 5 and my energy was a 5. I’m gonna try and switch it up a bit on day 20 to see if it helps me any.
Today wasn’t a very good day. They say that there’s ups and downs in your recovery from heart surgery and this was one of the downs. The good news is that I didn’t notice any arrhythmia or palpitations.
It all kind of started last night after dinner. I wasn’t feeling too great after dinner. Since I’d been feeling pretty good, I was guessing that it was just some indigestion. However, any uneasy feeling or discomfort with my chest area gets me worrying about my heart.
After going to bed, my chest and stomach felt better. However, I was a bit light headed when standing up in the morning. My bad morning started when I first took my BP. My first reading around 08:28 was 147/91/77. This had me concerned a bit. My second reading about 10 minutes later was 127/72/79. My weight today was 187.4.
I still wasn’t feeling too good, so I was planning on resting today. However, my younger son wanted to go out and ride his bike around 10:00, so I decided to try and go for a walk. I only did about 0.67 miles in 15:44 with a 90 average heart rate before I decided to cut it short. I wasn’t feeling all that great during my walk, a little bit nauseous.
After my walk, I decided to have some breakfast. After lunch, I still wasn’t feeling that great and I was feeling a bit tired, so I tried to take a nap. I woke myself up and decided to check my BP again around 13:30. My BP this time was 100/66/84. My BP is not normally this low, so it has me worried. I’m wondering if my nausea and not feeling well is due to the low BP or something else. My anxiety is growing.
The day took a scary turn after dinner. My boys wanted to go ride their bikes after dinner, so I decided to drive to the local middle school because they wanted to ride their bikes in the parking lot and around the track. Since I was feeling better than I was in the morning, I decided to try and get another walk in today. During the walk, I felt fine. I was able to 1.38 miles in 32:00 with a 97 average heart rate. It was after the walk that really scared me. I was finishing my final lap around the track and went to step on the start/stop line. When I stepped on the line, I took a quick 180 turn to my left and started to walk back to the car. While I was walking back, I was looking down at my phone. When I was getting close to the parking lot, I looked up to step off the curb and got really dizzy. I was able to walk the 30 feet or so back to my car like a drunken sailor. After sitting in my car for a minute or so, I started to feel better. I’ve never had a dizzy spell like this before and it scared me a bit. I’m wondering if it was caused by my spinning really quickly, my vision focus while walking, or if something’s wrong with my heart. My anxiety is growing even more.
Whenever you talk to doctors or nurses, they always tell you to look out for symptoms like feeling lightheaded, dizzy, or chest pressure. At what point do you call the nurse line or go to the hospital when experiencing one of these symptoms? Do you call when it occurs frequently, lasts for a long time, or when you’re resting? I’ve been getting lightheaded more frequently after standing up, but the nurse said that it is common and not to worry.
Another thing that I’ve noticed is that I haven’t been feeling right in the head ever since my surgery two and half weeks ago. I feel like my vision is taking a split second to catch up and focus when I move my head. It’s almost like my vision changed after surgery. I suffer from motion sickness and am wondering if my minor bouts of nausea are caused by my vision and head issues or if it’s something to do with my heart. Has anyone else experience these vision or head issues after surgery?
Overall, today was probably a 5 and my energy was a 4. Here’s to hoping that tomorrow is better.
Today was another decent day. It wasn’t perfect, but still pretty good.
My morning stats today were 113/69/76 and my weight was 187.0. I’m happy to see my BP and weight stabilize. Let’s hope I can keep it up for the long term.
Based on how I’ve felt the past couple of days, I decided to try and up my walk duration and distance today. I’m not sure if it’s what I had for lunch or if I was pushing myself a bit too much, but I didn’t feel too great during my second walk. I had a little bit of stomach discomfort, my heart rate was pretty high, and it was a bit warmer.
Walk 1) 1.33 miles walked in 28:24 with a 93 average heart rate
Walk 2) 1.41 miles walked in 30:10 with a 103 average heart rate
Walk 3) 1.67 miles walked in 36.14 with a 98 average heart rate
I haven’t been waking up as early as I have the past couple of weeks. If I did wake up early, then I was able to go to sleep again. Today I felt a little tired in the afternoon, but didn’t take a nap. I don’t want to throw off my sleep cycle too much. I pretty much just stayed home, took my walks, and rested. Nothing exciting happened today. Overall, I’d say today was a 7 and my energy was a 7.
Everyday is getting better. With each good day comes a more positive outlook and more confidence. Still being cautious to not do too much, but feeling good to try to do more.
My morning stats were 122/80/78 and my weight was 187.6. I’m glad to see that my blood pressure is staying close to normal. My evening BP is better than my morning BP though.
Due to my lack of walks on Saturday, I walked a bit more today. I even walked around Target today. I tracked about 0.34 miles walked in Target, but there’s a lot of stopping and looking around at stuff. My third walk of the day was different because I ran into an old friend of mine. We were talking about it and we met in the second grade and went to school together for all but one or two years all the way through high school. We lost touch for years after high school, but re-connected about three years ago when I moved to Texas. Turns out that we live in the same housing track. Anyway, I pretty much just paced back and forth to get more steps in while we caught up a little bit and my boys rode their bikes around the track.
Walk 1) 1.03 miles walked in 21:21 with a 93 average heart rate
Walk 2) 1.03 miles walked in 22:49 with a 94 average heart rate
Walk 3) 1.33 miles walked in 41:39 with a 94 average heart rate
We just ran some errands today to get some lunch and try some new recipes. A fairly relaxing day with the family. Overall, today was a 9 and my energy was an 8.
Feeling better with each passing day. Dreading the day I have a setback, but I can’t let that stop me. Just gotta keep going forward, one step at a time. Keeping it really slow as well as I don’t want to overdo it.
My morning stats were 121/91/72 and my weight was 188.8. I was only able to get one dedicated walk in today because today is Saturday and the first games of the soccer season are here. My walk was a little different as well because I walked to and from my friend’s house to sign a farewell card for one of our teammates. I paused the tracking when I got there and started it up again when I left.
Walk 1) 1.07 miles walked in about 24:12 with a 96 average heart rate
We made Costco run in the morning to pick up supplies and return some stuff. Once again, I rode around in the little electric shopping card. Not as quick as Target’s carts, but good enough. So when I was in the hospital, they wouldn’t let me order tilapia because I said that I had a salmon allergy. Even though the two types of fish are completely different, they wouldn’t let me order the tilapia. So I ended up getting some tilapia from Costco to cook at home. Still a little bitter about that for some reason. Lol. It amazes me that it’s almost impossible to leave Costco without spending at least $100. We went there to buy some milk, fruit, and veggies. Ended up leaving with some clothes, fruits, veggies, fish, milk, cereal, snacks, and a bunch of other stuff we weren’t intending on getting.
Ended up cooking the tilapia at home for both lunch and dinner. Tried two different recipes that were both pretty good. It’s not restaurant quality, but probably has a lot less sodium.
My younger son had his game at 14:45 and my older son had his game at 16:00. I was intending to just sit there and watch the game, but it’s so hard to not get involved and cheer on the team and root for your kids. I think the wife may leave me in the car for the next game. Lol. I made sure to just sit there and watch the games and I brought an umbrella to keep a little cooler. My wife got to experience my pain when she had to pull the wagon loaded with about 110 lbs worth of kids, water, and chairs through grass to the game fields. I felt really bad because I just carried my umbrella and one folding chair, but I have that 10 lb lift/push/pull limitation.
After the game, we made a run to Wal-mart to return a present that my younger son got for his birthday. The electric carts at Wal-mart are by far the slowest. He wasn’t able to find anything that he wanted to exchange it for, so we ended up getting some jello, pudding, toothpaste, and bubble bath for the boys. Okay, fine. Some of the jello and pudding was for me. ;)
The surgical glue and the scabs are starting to fall off of my chest incisions. The one in the groin is still there though. The bruising is getting a little better each day. I’m able to more comfortably sleep on my right side at night now.
Each day is getting better. I’m starting to feel more normal each day. Overall, today is 8 and my energy was about an 8.
Happy 2-week heartiversary to me! Each day without any issues brings more confidence and positive emotions that go a long way to feeling better.
My morning stats were 124/82/79 and my weight was 188.8. My weight is starting to stabilize a bit. Can’t wait to get cleared for more rigorous exercise to try to lose some weight. Ideally, I should be around 175, but I’d be happy with 180.
Walk 1) 0.86 miles walked in 19:48 with a 91 average heart rate
Walk 2) 0.85 miles walked in 19:16 with a 93 average heart rate
Walk 3) 0.86 miles walked in 19:46 with a 97 average heart rate
Walk 4) 0.52 miles walked
My fourth walk of the day was to walk to a local park for my younger son’s first soccer practice of the season. I forgot to shut off my tracking to see what my heart rate and time was. Just sat and watched the practice and helped to some administration stuff for the team. I was supposed to be the head coach this season, but with my recovery, I’m an assistant coach at the most. Waiting to get medical clearance before I try to do anything more.
Today was more of the same, just resting and walking. Right leg incision is still sore, but it seems to be getting a little better each day.
Overall, today was probably an 8 and my energy was about a 7.
Today wasn’t too bad. Better than yesterday. I’m still taking it cautious though and focusing on not overdoing it. Mentally was much better. Gaining some more confidence after yesterday.
My morning stats are 114/81/75 and my weight was 188.2.
Walk 1) 0.86 miles walked in 18:59 with a 87 average heart rate
Walk 2) 0.86 miles walked in 20:42 with a 94 average heart rate
Walk 3) 0.86 miles walked in 18:48 with a 95 average heart rate
I’ve been focusing more on resting each day. However, I’m also spending more time each day sitting at our dinner table. I do this to force myself to sit more upright instead of leaning back against something. This is causing my back and shoulders to be a bit tighter by the end of the day, but it’s also forcing me to gradually go back to normal.
Today was my younger son’s 6th birthday, so I got up a little earlier than I wanted to. I was a little tired after my morning walk, so I decided to try and take a nap. Ended up sleeping for about an hour.
After my boys virtual school was done for the day, my younger son went through and opened all of the presents that friends and family sent or gave him. He got a lot of good presents that he really likes (LEGO sets, a bow and arrow set, electronic ninja sword set, books, and games). He ended up with a duplicate LEGO set, so he wanted to go exchange it at Target.
Did our Target run to exchange his toy. I didn’t want to overdo it, so I rode around in one of those electric shopping carts. Like most Target runs, we ended up staying there for about an hour and buying a bunch of groceries and stuff we didn’t originally plan to get.
The groin incision is still sore though. Mostly due to the bruising moving down my leg. All the other incisions are fine, just a bit itchy. There’s a pretty big bump underneath the three that went though muscle. That’ll be interested to try and work out later once the incisions have healed.
Energy wise, I’d say I was at a 6 today. Today was a good day though mentally and physically.
Overall today was okay. It wasn’t really a good day and it wasn’t a bad day. All day today, I was being very cautious with what I did and how I felt. I woke up really early this morning (06:00) due to my mind racing and cardiac depression episode. As the morning and day went on, I started to feel better and gain a little confidence. That confidence and peace of mind really helps.
My stats this morning are 124/83/77 and my weight was 189.2. My surgeon wants me to watch my BP pretty closely. If it trends to stay high in the 130 range, they want me to up my BP meds. They didn’t seem overly concerned with my arrhythmia, especially since I was asymptomatic.
Walk 1) 0.78 miles walked in 21:52 with a 93 average heart rate
Walk 2) 0.86 miles walked in 23:01 with a 95 average heart rate
Walk 3) 22:00 minutes walked at 2.0 mph on the treadmill with a 97 average heart rate
During each walk, I was very self conscious about everything that I was feeling. The walks themselves weren’t too bad. I took it really slow because I didn’t want to over exert myself and trigger an arrhythmia. All day today, I took it pretty easy as I didn’t want another setback.
Incisions are healing well. Some of the surgical glue is starting to come off. The biggest issue I’m having is the incision near my groin. This one by far is the worst. The incision itself isn’t bad. It’s the severe bruising around it that’s bad. I have some slight numbness to the touch near the incision and some slight pain that’s starting to move down my upper thigh. I can really feel it when I take a step forward with my left foot and my right quad starts to stretch as my right leg extends backwards. On the pain scale, it’s only a 2 or so. It’s not debilitating, it’s more annoying.
Finished my second LEGO project of my recovery. Helped my boys put together their own sets. They’re not allowed to play with or touch my sets. Lol. The older one is working on a 12-inch tall Pikachu while the younger one is working on some Spider-Man sets he got for his birthday.
I spent most of the day just resting and playing on my iPad and phone. Got some time in on the new Avengers game in as well.
The sucky part of all this worry about heart arrhythmia is that I start second guessing every little thing. If you’re hungry, you’re worrying about your heart. If you have some indigestion and need to burp, you’re worried about your heart. Everything is so closely packed in there that sometimes it’s hard to tell. That makes you worry more, which in turn aggravates your stomach. It’s a viscous mental cycle.
I did get really tired around 18:00 after dinner. Not sure if it’s because I woke up really early or didn’t take a nap. Trying not to think too much into it. Energy wise, I’d say today was a 6.
My Day 11 bout with arrhythmia and an episode of aFib have left me in a diminished mental state.
When I was in the hospital the first few days after surgery, I remember having similar thoughts, especially when I had the AV block on post op days 3-5. I remember having this feeling of helplessness. I was worried that may be something went wrong during surgery, that the repair failed. Being at the hospital and constantly monitored 24/7 was reassuring though. It allowed me to ask questions of the medical professionals as to what they see and if they think I’m getting better.
Having these thoughts at home is a lot tougher to deal with though. When I developed the arrhythmia and especially when I went into aFib, my mind started to race. Those same worries and anxieties came flooding back. I had these feelings of impending doom. I had this sense that my heart was just sinking into my chest and all the blood flow was going with it. I was afraid to go to sleep because I was afraid that I wouldn’t wake up.
I went to bed around 00:00 and didn’t have too hard a time going to sleep. However, I woke up this morning around 06:00 and I couldn’t shut my mind off. My mind is hyper aware of any kind of feeling in my chest. My mind wants to second guess every reading that I get. The obsession over constantly checking my numbers to see if there’s something wrong is starting to get to me. Before day 10, I was fine. After that setback though, I feel like I’m questioning everything. When I’m walking, I’m wondering what lightheadedness or dizziness feels like and if I’ve experience mild forms of it. I wonder if certain feelings are cause for alarm. I know that I’m totally overthinking things and over analyzing things.
This depression is very difficult for me and my wife to deal with. I know that she’s concerned and wants to help and fix what I’m feeling. However, it gets frustrating to me when I tell her how I feel and she gives me a bunch of suggestions and reasons why I shouldn’t feel this way. I know that she has the best intentions and that she wants to help, but sometimes it feels like it’s making it worse. The worst part of it is is that I can see the pain, frustration, and helplessness in her face and it kills me to see her that way. I want to make her frustrations go away. She just has a very hard time understanding and relating to how I feel.
The worse part of this is that mentally and logically, I know that I’m in a better place after my surgery. I know that my heart is functioning better than it was before because the regurgitation is now gone. Physically, I feel fine. I don’t feel any heart palpitations or anything this morning. However, emotionally it’s not as easy to deal with. This morning, I was really anxious just taking my blood pressure, afraid to see what numbers show up. This is hard to deal with because it has to do with my heart and I can’t see what’s going on in there. I’m trying to stay positive. I’m looking forward to the day where I get cleared to do more. I’m looking forward to the day that my echocardiogram comes back with signs of improvement. It’s the helplessness I feel that even after I feel like I’m doing all the right things, that my body will not respond they way I want it to.
This was a bad day with with lots of ups and downs. This was the worse day I’ve had since I’ve been home. My morning issues with arrhythmia and especially the bout of aFib have really messed me up. By around 14:00 or so, I believe that my arrhythmia had stopped, but that still didn’t leave me feeling all that great. I felt like I was back in day 2 of my recovery where I was really cautious about everything that I did. I didn’t want to do anything to cause my heart to have another arrhythmia.
I was able to force myself to do three walks today. Because of how I was feeling today, I slowed myself way down and scaled everything back.
Walk 1) 0.78 miles walked in 17:24 with a 91 average heart rate
Walk 2) 0.39 miles walked in 9:13 with a 93 average heart rate
Walk 3) 0.65 miles walked in 20:34 with a 92 average heart rate
My third walk was much different because I just paced up and down my back alley while my youngest one tried to learn how to skateboard. About 5 minutes in, he fell of his board pretty hard and scraped his knee. I had to call the wife to come get him and console him as I’m not supposed to pick him up due to my lifting restriction. I felt really bad as I felt powerless to help him in his time of need. After my wife took him in to take care of him, the older one jumped at the chance to ride the skateboard. The skateboard is the first thing that the younger one has gotten that the older one doesn’t have and the younger one doesn’t like to share that often. Needless to say, after my day 10 skateboard mishap, I avoided the skateboard and tried to socially distance myself from it.
I didn’t have much appetite for lunch as I was worried about my heart. By dinner, I was hungry and had a better appetite. Energy wise, today was a 3.
Man, what a morning today was. I woke up a little more tired than I have been these past few days. I went about and did my normal routine. When it came time to check my blood pressure, that’s when things got interesting. When I first took it at 08:06, it was 124/83/72. Pretty decent and normal. However, there was a new little indicator that I’ve never seen before. It said that it detected an irregular heart beat. This scared me as I haven’t noticed anything since Days 3-4 when I was in the hospital with the AV block. I took my blood pressure again at 08:10 and my reading was now 152/99/78 with an irregular heart beat.
I’ve been trying to calm myself down all morning and trying to relax. However, my mind is starting to worry and my anxiety is starting to pick up. I had this lumpy feeling in the middle of my chest. My heart feels like it’s beating harder. I’m feeling kind of disconnected or numb. I feel blah. It’s a really weird sensation that’s hard to describe.
I went for a little walk this morning and I just didn’t feel normal. I was almost like I can see my arms and legs moving, but I couldn’t feel them. I mean I can feel them because I felt every step I took, but it just didn’t feel right. It was hard to not think about my heart rate and whether everything was okay. When you feel this way in the hospital, it’s calming to know that you’re hooked up to monitors and they’re checking everything. At home, it’s a completely different experience. You start second guessing everything you feel. You start feeling for any little thing that may be wrong.
I called the nurse line for some help and guidance. They told me to continue to monitor my blood pressure and that if it trends too high that I need to change the dosage of Losartan that I’m taking. So far, my blood pressure seems to want to come down, but every time I take it, I get anxious wondering what my numbers will be. As of 10:30, my blood pressure is much better at 116/69/79. But now I’m wondering if it’s too low. Ugh. The overthinking this stuff is too much sometimes.
Today’s stats were 116/80/73 and my weight was 188.0.
Walk 1) 1.45 miles walked in 31:03 with a 95 average heart rate
Walk 2) 1.37 miles walked in 25:27 with a 98 average heart rate
My second walk of the day was with my boys. The older one was riding his bike, while the younger one was trying to learn how to ride his new skateboard that he got for his birthday a couple of days ago. Due to this, I was doing a lot of back and forth walking and stopping to help the little one. On the way home, I had the bone headed idea to try and show my older son how to ride the skateboard. It wasn’t pretty. I ended up falling and rolling onto my left side and eventually on my back when the board stopped and I didn’t. I’ll probably feel this one tomorrow.
Other than the two walks, I played frisbee with the kids for about 10 minutes outside. I pretty much just stood there. Whenever they had a bad throw, I would have to walk over and bend down to pick up the frisbee. Probably not the best idea, but I managed. It was still pretty hot, so we didn’t stay out very long.
I’m glad that it’ll start cooling down later this week. Yesterday, my smart switch that controlled my ceiling fan died. I was able to disconnect the power supply in the wall, but I’m not able to go get a replacement and I’m not really wanting to deal with electrical issues in my current state of being.
With the boys back in school again tomorrow after a four-day weekend, I’ll be staying in all day and resting, except for my walks. Thank you everyone who commented on driving restrictions. I’m not planning on driving until I have to go to my limited echocardiogram on September 18th. It’ll be 24 miles or so round trip and I plan on taking local streets the entire way.
Overall, I was a little tired in the afternoon. I’d say my energy level today was about a 6. The past few days it was closer to an 8.
Today was a pretty relaxing, family hang out day. My morning stats were 121/82/76 and my weight was 188.2. I’m putting on a little weight that I lost from my surgery. Mostly due to eating more full meals and a lot of fruit versus what I had in the hospital. Appetite is back with a vengeance. Lol. Trying balance my meals out at home. It’s hard to get a gauge on how much sodium is put into foods. Trying to make healthier selections overall.
Sleep wise was good. I really think that I’m getting better sleep now than I did before. I’m waking up more rested and not feeling like I want to go back to sleep. I’m also noticing that I’m not waking up in the middle of the night. When I do wake up the first time, I have a little bit of dread looking at my watch because I’m afraid that it’s only going to be like 02:00. I’m pleasantly surprised that it’s usually around 07:00.
We drove around a bit today, just to get out of the house. I’m sitting around being a passenger. Went and grabbed some In-and-Out for the boys and the wife and I got some Chipotle. I’ve been getting into the habit of making two meals out of everything, so I only ate half and will eat the other half for lunch tomorrow.
So a big question that I’ve been trying to get answers to is when are we allowed to drive again. Most of the information I’ve found says that you can drive after 4-6 weeks, but I’m not sure if that’s for people who have had a sternotomy or for all of us due to the potential stress and shock of driving.
Exercise wise, I only walked twice today. Based on a lot of the feedback that I’ve been receiving on previous posts, I was wondering if I was pushing it a bit too fast. Walk 1) 1.05 miles walked in 19:39 with a 93 average heart rate. Walk 2) 1.28 miles walked in 24:46 with a 99 average heart rate. On my second walk, I did feel like I was walking at a pretty fast pace. This was obviously causing my heart rate to be a bit faster than I’d like. I decided to slow it down. When you’re listening to music and you’re in the groove, it’s kind of hard to slow it down sometimes. The only think that I noticed was that towards the end of my second walk, my hands felt like they were getting a little bit swollen. When I got back from the hospital, I switched back to my metal ring because the silicone one I wore was too loose. I wasn’t swollen enough that I couldn’t get my metal ring off my finger, but it was a little harder to get off.
For the next couple of days, I think I’m going to cut down to two longer walks. It’s still pretty warm here in Frisco, TX. Monday is forecasted to be 93 and Tuesday is 91. Thunderstorms and rain in the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, so I may need to walk on the treadmill those two days. From Friday on, the weather is going to drop down to the upper-70s to mid-80s. I think I’ll up my walks next weekend.
I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to my cardiac rehab. This unknowing of if I’m pushing it too hard or not is hard for me. I’m desperately trying to find the balance between being helpful and hurtful. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to come out of my first few rehab sessions with some idea of how long I can walk and what a good heart rate is. My cardiac rehab orientation is scheduled for Tuesday, September 22nd.
I have a limited echocardiogram scheduled for Friday, September 18th. I have my two week follow-up with my cardiologist on Tuesday, September 22nd. I’m really hoping that my heart shows some signs of positive remodeling and that my EF% is getting better. Like others have said, there’s some anxiety and anticipation when you have these tests scheduled.
I really appreciate all the feedback that I’ve been given. The fact that some of you read my journal and comment on it is humbling.
So after lunch and stuff, I really took it easy. In total, I only did 3 walks today. Walk 1) 0.73 miles walked in 14:57 with a 89 average heart rate. Walk 2) 0.74 miles walked in 14:26 with a 96 average heart rate. Walk 3) 0.74 miles walked in 14:34 with a 99 average heart rate.
I need to make sure that I take it really slow when standing up. That’s when I notice I get lightheaded for a few seconds.
Pain is still 0-1. It feels a lot better to talk. I don’t have to take deliberate breaths when talking like I did in the hospital. My voice still sounds a bit funny to me though.
So here’s where it gets interesting. I was told that everyday, I should walk multiple times a day. I should slowly ramp up my walking time and distance as tolerable. I was told that time is better than distance and to walk at a conversation pace. The first day at home, I was doing 0.38 mile walks four times a day, which took me 9-10 minutes to complete. The second day, I increased my walk to 0.53 mile walks four times a day, which took me 11-12 minutes to complete. The third day, I increased my walk to 0.74 mile walks three-four times a day, which takes me 14-15 minutes to complete. My average heart rate has gone above 100 only once. I’m not short of breath and I’m by no means walking fast. I’m walking what I would describe as my normal pace. The route that I take is flat with may be a 6 ft elevation change. I honestly feel like I’m not even pushing myself and could go twice as long. I’m shutting it down early because I feel that I should so that I don’t overdo it. Here’s my dilemma, do I continue to increase my distance or time walked each day or cap it? I was going to try to increase my route one more time tomorrow and see how far that is. My guess is that it’ll be close to 1 mile and take me about 19-20 minutes or so to complete.
There was a lot going on at home today. Woke up around 07:00. Did my normal morning routine. Blood pressure was 119/80 with a pulse of 78. Morning weight was 187.6 lbs.
After getting dressed, I went outside to help the wife decorate the house for a surprise drive-by birthday celebration for our soon to be 6-year old son. I basically just setup some of those folding camping chairs and some umbrellas. I also helped tie some balloons to our mailbox for decorations.
Before everyone showed up for the parade, I decided to get my walk in. This time I did 0.73 miles in 14:57 with an 89 average heart rate.
The parade started around 10:05 when the fire truck came roaring through with their sirens on. That definitely woke up the neighbors. Soon afterwards, the parade drove by, escorted by two police cruisers with their sirens on. All told, there were only about 5 cars in the parade. It was pretty small. Thought out the next hour though, a bunch of our son’s friends drove by and gave presents and said hi.
Some of my coworkers came by to wish my son a happy birthday and to see how I was doing. This is where I probably did a little too much. I ended up standing around for about 20-30 minutes in the sun chatting. It was about 88 degrees at the time with little breeze and no cloud cover, so the sun was hot. I was making sure to drink a bunch of water, but eventually I thought it was in my best interest to sit down and chat. I noticed that my heart rate was in the mid-90s before hitting a high around 104. I was probably out in the sun for a bout 2 hours before everyone went home and I went back in side.
I didn’t feel light headed or dizzy. It just took a lot out of me. The transition from the hot outside to the cold inside made me feel cold. I took a cool shower to cool off and wash all the sweat off of me. After about 30 minutes, I just wanted to lay down and relax. Ended up dozing off for a couple of hours. This is just a reminder that I’m only 8 days from having a major heart operation and need to do things a bit differently.
Do to this morning’s activities, I’m only planning on walking three times today.
Overall, I felt good today. Been really full these past few days since I’ve been at home. Too much good food to eat. Been making sure that I eat all three meals each day. Eating a lot more fruit in between for snacks.
I did four walks today. Did a slightly longer route today just to see how I felt. Walk 1) 0.53 miles walked in 11:20 with a 91 average heart rate. Walk 2) 0.53 miles walked in 11:12 with a 94 average heart rate. Walk 3) 0.52 miles walked in 10:47 with a 102 average heart rate. Walk 4) 0.48 in 10:55 with a 93 average heart rate.
We’re getting ready to do a COVID drive by birthday party for my soon to be 6 year old. Blew up some balloons with no real difficulty.
I received an Edible Arrangement today. That was nice. Thank you to Kenny and Helen Lee for that. It came with cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple, strawberries, and grapes.
Today was the worse I’ve felt since I’ve been home. Not a huge sample size to work with. I was full most of the day. In the evening, I started to feel some discomfort in my left side and stomach area. It’s probably all the acidic fruit that I was eating. I’m also feeling good, so I’m probably doing more than I should be doing. Going up and down the stairs more. Walking around more. No naps today either. I’d say that today is a 1-2 on the pain scale. Definitely feel like I need to take the muscle relaxer and Tylenol to help me sleep.
It’s my one week mitral valve repair heart anniversary!!! My ‘heartiversary’? My ‘valversary’? My ‘mivarepiversary’? Hmm. Needs some work.
The biggest change that I’ve been noticing is that when I wake up in the morning, I’m not as tired and have a hard time falling back asleep. We’re talking like in the morning after 7-8 hours of sleep. Pre-op, I would wake up still feeling tired and not wanting to get up. I either recovered all of my sleep in recovery or I’m not as tired due to my heart working more efficiently. Went to bead around 00:00 last night. Initially woke up around 06:30 or so. I tried to fall asleep for a while, but I guess I was able to because the next time I woke up, it was 08:20 or so.
My morning blood pressure was 117/84/84. My morning weight was 187.4. Heart rate overnight was between 70-80.
I decided to up my walking route a bit today. This morning around 09:00, I walked 0.53 miles in 11:20 with a 91 average heart rate. The biggest thing I noticed is that I was a bit warmer and little sweaty.
I never thought I would ever say this, but the hardest and most painful thing that I did today, was try to put together a LEGO set. I couldn’t even complete the set and was only able to work on them for about 15 minutes before my back and shoulders started hurting and I had to sit down on the couch and relax them. I haven’t been taking any of the Tylenol or muscle relaxers that they gave me because I haven’t really been in any pain at all. I still take the muscle relaxers before I go to bed to help me sleep.
Overall, I went on four walks today. I did the same route each time, starting my app and watch from the same point and stopping it at the same point. Not sure why the distance was never the same, but oh well. Here’s what I did. Walk 1) 0.40 miles walked in 10:01 with a 95 average BPM. Walk 2) 0.38 miles walked in 9:51 with a 96 average BPM. Walk 3) 0.37 miles walked in 9:35 with a 94 average BPM. Walk 4) 0.38 miles walked in 8:08 with a 93 average BPM. The only difference was that I forgot my 24 oz water bottle on walk 4.
No issues showering, using the restroom, brushing my teeth, feeding or dressing myself. The incisions are sore, but only when you massage them when I wash. They’re definitely raised and puffy. The worse one is the groin incision by far. Took the last bandage off, so I only have five incisions with surgical glue.
On the spirometer, I was able to max out around 3150. I’m hitting 3000 pretty consistently. Doesn’t hurt as bad when I inhale.
I ate all three meals today plus a peach and apple in the afternoon. I still like my sweets and ate some fruit snacks and chocolate pudding.
Woke up around 07:00. Will probably go to sleep around 22:30. Only took a couple of small 10 minute naps.
I got light headed a couple of times because I was standing up too fast. Gotta remember to take everything slow.
It’s amazing at how comfortable a hospital bed can be. I have a hard time sleeping flat on my back. I’m usually sleep on my right side, but all my incisions are over there. Went to bed around 22:30 or so. I didn’t sleep too bad. I don’t remember waking up all that much. When I did wake up, I was afraid to look at my watch to see that it was only like 02:00 or so. To my surprise, it was 06:56. I was actually able to sleep all the way through the night.
My heart rate overnight ranged from about 73-82. My blood pressure this morning was 123/82. My nude weight was 185.6 lbs. This is my new at home baseline for future comparisons.
Made myself some cereal for breakfast and went for a walk around 09:00. Was able to do 0.40 miles in about 10:01. My average pulse rate was 95 BPM. I’m gonna do this little path down the street and back for today and work my way up a bit tomorrow.
Made some calls to schedule my cardiac rehab orientation and make sure all my billing and disability stuff gets processed fine. Answered some calls from the doctors office and insurance with some questions. Took a little 5-10 minute nap around 10:45. Kids keep checking up on me and want to do stuff with me.
I just got back from my second walk of the day after my lunch around 12:00. I did the same path as this morning. This time I registered 0.38 mi walk in 9:51. My average pulse rate was 96 BPM.
I’m currently using the Map My Fitness app to track distance walked and my Apple Watch series 4 for my heart rate.
After getting picked up, we had to drive to the pharmacy to get a new prescription for muscle relaxers. After that, we needed to go to Target to get some baby Aspirin and some chocolate pudding, since I didn’t get to eat anymore at the hospital. By the time we got home, I had a headache and my neck and my shoulders were tight and sore. All of that muscle compensation that we do to keep our heads stable when moving in a car took a toll on me.
First thing I did after getting home was take a shower. I really wanted to wash some of the hospital off of me and properly wash my face and hair. I’m finding that I’m very sticky in certain areas where all the various adhesives were.
Ate my first meal at home with the family. I feel like my appetite is relatively back to normal. I’m really going to focus on portion control and watching what I eat. I know that my wife is going to help me with that as well.
They changed up some of my medications, so I went through them all to make sure I knew what to take when. They had me stop taking amlodipine and cut my dosage of losartan in 1/2. Wanted me to add baby aspirin daily and finish off my prednisone pack. Muscle relaxer and Tylenol as needed for pain.
Trying to setup my own bed and get everything for myself. It’s amazing how much energy little tasks take. I wouldn’t say that I’ve had to take a break and rest because I’m short of breath or tired. It’s just that my muscles are getting sore.
I noticed that my body looks more flabby and deflated. Like there’s a lot of loose skin hanging around. I lost about 10 pounds from pre-op to today. I’m wondering if I was retaining that much fluid as they were giving me a lot of diuretics at the hospital.
My first trip up the stairs wasn’t bad. Made it all the way up in one shot. Only major difference is that every step I take is deliberate.
So far so good. I’ll let you know how I feel tomorrow.
Well it looks like I went back into normal sinus rhythm this morning. Apparently my surgeon feels that my EF is closer to 40%, so I won’t need a life vest. My electrophysiologist was saying that I went into first degree yesterday and that I’ve stabilized in sinus since about 05:00. I’m thinking that the beta blocker that they tried to put me on a couple of days ago contributed to the AV block when my heart rate dropped below 50 BPM. Now that I’m normal, they’re comfortable with discharging me, especially with the progress that I’ve been making with my heart rate, blood pressure, and how I’m feeling.
They started my discharge paperwork. Took out the main IV line in my shoulder. I’ve started to clean up my room and pack things up. Kind of sad that I have to put shorts back on. Lol. Glad to be going home though. However, the level of service and care that I’ve been given here has been phenomenal. I could have easily had stayed another night if needed, especially since I actually started figuring out the TV and discovered that there were free on demand movies I could watch.
I’ll update more later on the changes to meds and follow-up appointments. Gotta start changing and packing.
Last night wasn’t too bad. Didn’t sleep that much though. Just not that tired. Tried to go to sleep around 22:30, but was woken up sometime around 00:30 when they put my blood pressure cuff and pulse ox back on. Woke up again around 03:00 and had a hard time falling back asleep.
Good news is that my heart rhythm appears to be getting better and it wants to drop back into normal sinus. Before, if you looked at the heart monitor, it would appear to skip every third beat or so. Spike. Spike. Pause... Spike. Spike. Pause... My pulse now looks more normal now. There’s a steady track of spikes with no pauses. I was told that I’m now in first degree type 1 AV block instead of second degree type 1. Hoping that means I’m making progress.
I’m feeling more itchy is places. Probably because of all of the skin irritation from the adhesives. I can change into more normal clothes if I feel like it, but the comfort and convenience of the hospital gown is just too much. They still want me to pee in the jar so that they can measure the volume. There’s no modesty around here. “Come on in. Who wants to see my butt?” Lol.
This morning I was able to consistently hit about 2000 on the spirometer. Waiting for 07:00 so I can order breakfast and then I’ll go on my first walk of the day. Debating on if I should do 2 laps x 400 ft and 1 lap x 240 ft or just push it and do 3 laps x 400 ft. Trying to ramp my way up each day and not walk until exhaustion.
Post op day 5 battle scars. They removed all of the gauze and tape so I could get a clear shot of all the incisions. There’s one additional incision in my right groin that I won’t post due to its sensitive location. Lol.
Day 4 Post Op Evening Report
Journal posted on September 2, 2020
Overall, I’m feeling well. I wasn’t as tired today as I only took a couple of small naps. I don’t feel light headed or dizzy at all. I just don’t feel “right”. I’ve been getting a lot of weird tingling in my left shoulder that radiates up my neck and down my arm a bit. Nothing painful or too worrying. Just a bit annoying at times.
Pain is almost non-existent if I’m just sitting here. There’s still some right shoulder tightness, but that’s about it. Able to hit 1750 pretty consistently on the spirometer. Walked five different times today, so I knocked out 10 laps x 400 feet or so. Was fully disconnected to IV and they got the portable heart monitor working again, so I feel I have a lot more freedom. I can transfer to and from the bed with no issue. Standing and walking unassisted. Still need to walk with a nurse just in case, but they’re not using the gait belt anymore. Got fully cleared from PT and OT.
They had issues all day taking my BP. The machine was having issues reading my pulse, possibly due to the AV block. Machine tested okay with both the tech and the simulator, so it’s an issue with me and my pulse that the machine has a hard time reading. It just squeezes and doesn’t deflate. Sometimes it even times out. That’s probably the most painful part of my day right now.
Everything with my recovery is right on track. Everything except my AV block.
Pain is almost a non issue at this time. They’re still giving me Tylenol and muscle relaxers, so that could be why. There’s still some chest discomfort when I take a deep breath. I was able to max out my spirometer today at around 1900.
Blood pressure and pulse seem reasonable. My new normal resting pulse is around 61 and my BP is around 117/64. It’s hard to see the screen from where they have me sitting though.
My appetite is fine. Had breakfast and lunch today. I think it’s kind of funny how they celebrate the fact that you had a bowel movement.
Got up and walked 2 long laps today (about 800 feet each). My plan is to walk every two hours.
Met with a electrophysiologist today. Sounds like he thinks I may not need a pacemaker. That’s good. However, he was suggesting that I may want to get a life vest for when I’m at home in the event that something happens to me. If you haven’t heard of a life vest before, it’s kind of like wearing a portable automatic defibrillator.
They’re going to continue to monitor me. They say that I may be making some improvements. Day to day for now.
Was able to meet with my surgeon today. He’s said that there were no major complications with my repair. My MV was pretty shredded and he had to use a bit more chords to tie it down. Installed and annuloplasty ring around the valve. He noted that I had significant LV enlargement. Hoping that my heart enlargement will go down over time, but a lot of that depends on me. I need to watch my blood pressure and salt intake.
Still need to stay at the hospital until I get this AV block issue resolved. Seems to have stabilized at second degree type 1. Not sure what the treatment plan is just yet. The only newish symptom that I have is that I occasionally get this tingling sensation in my left shoulder that radiates down my arm a bit. Almost like a chill that goes down just the left side of my body.
Surgeon wants to me get up and walk as much as I can. I did a full lap and an extended lap around the nurse’s station before getting in bed. They say one lap around the nurse’s station is about 240-250 feet. So I’m guessing I did about 600 feet or so.
Well I still have this second degree type 1 and type 1 AV block going on. They put me on meds to increase my heart rate from 45 or so to 55. Waiting to see what the doctors say later. Hopefully they’ll pay me a visit.
Due to my heart rate and AV block, I haven’t been able to do any PT or OT work today. Just a whole lot of sitting and waiting. I’m able to sit up pretty straight now, so that helps when I need to pee. I have this lovely plastic jar that I get to go in. Not sure how you ladies do it, but more power to you.
The biggest issue that I’m having right now is that I can really feel my heartbeat. It’s kind of uncomfortable. Not painfully uncomfortable, just uncomfortable. Kind of like when I try to sleep and the fire alarm chirps telling me that I need to change the battery. Then I have to move from room to room and wait for it to chirp again. More annoying than anything. On the flip side, at least my heart is beating.
The level of care that I have been given has been outstanding. Everyone who comes in is wearing a mask and they use hand sanitizer before coming in and when leaving. The staff here go through so many gloves.
For my hospital, Baylor Heart Hospital in Plano, they have a one guest policy. Only one guest is allowed your entire stay. It needs to be the same person your entire stay and they are only allowed in the hospital once each day. No in and out privileges during the same day. Visiting hours are from 05:00-19:00 I believe.
In my room, I don’t have to wear a mask. I was on oxygen for the first few days post op. I’m no longer on oxygen now. However, when I do my walking outside of my room, I have to wear a mask. My wife has to wear a mask when in the hospital.
A huge shout out to my brother from another mother Ty and his wife Renee for volunteering to watch our boys for a few hours each day so that my wife can come visit me. It has been a tremendous help and my boys have been having a blast with them. They’ve gone swimming and fed some goats and got to ride around in their golf cart. They’ve been dying to go fishing with Uncle Ty, but it’s been too hot here lately.
It helps being able to FaceTime with family and the kids. I make sure to snuggle with the blankets that they sent to me each night and they’re happy to see me and ask how I’m feeling.
I hope that my journaling has helped some of you. It has helped me get things off my chest and document what I’m going through. Your words of encouragement and the stories you’ve all shared has been a tremendous blessing.
Slept a lot last night. Was able to turn a bit and get more comfortable with the chest tube out. Chest pain is slowly going away. Still a lot of muscle soreness on the right side, but that’s understandable since I just got cut open.
Was able to get my spirometer up to about 1200 today. Went for a walk around the wing with no problems.
Got my arm and urinary catheters taken out today. That’s a relief. It was pretty uncomfortable. I now have a little bottle that I can pee in.
Doctors are saying that I’m doing well and right on track. They’re messing with my meds to help balance out my blood pressure.
The food here is pretty good. You basically order whatever you want from room service. It’s taking me a lot of will power to order actual food and not a bunch of stuff from the sweets menu. Lol.
Here’s a view of my hospital room. Got a corner room on the 5th floor. Room 518.
Day 1 Post Op Afternoon
Journal posted on August 29, 2020
Had an omelette for lunch with some fruit. Didn’t have any issues eating. However my chest started hurting for a bit after eating. First real solid food in a couple of days.
Met with the PA and a doctor today to discuss my recovery. I was a little concerned that my EF pre-op in late June was 60%, but the echocardiogram post op was only 25-30%. Was told that my heart enlargement with take longer than expected to remodel itself to the new blood volume. Hopefully my numbers will improve, but only time will tell.
Bit of good news today as I was able to get my chest tube removed. Everyone has been telling me that I’ll fee much better after it’s removed. So far so good, but my chest is still sore. I am definitely able to breathe easier with less discomfort.
I was able to get to about 750 on my spirometer today. We’ll see how I progress each day.
Signing off for now. Stacey is visiting me right now. She was kind enough to give me a little shoulder massage to ease my shoulder and back pain.