So I’m just over 6 months post-op. I like to say I’m doing really well but not as great as I hoped. I have had recurring mild to moderate pericardial effusion and pericarditis. It is impeding my ability to get back to pre-surgery physical condition. When it flares up pretty good; I feel pressure in my chest and doing any physical activity is harder. It was happening, it seemed, any time I tried to increase my workout intensity. Then bang.....I got COVID! Now it feels like I constantly have inflammation. Just walking last night sent my heart rate up to 178....my normal resting heart rate is 64. I live on Motrin to reduce the inflammation. I’m praying this will eventually go away. I see the cardiologist in October for another echo....hope to get some good information then.
Hello all! I hope this finds you all doing well. I am 4 weeks post-op. I can’t believe it....time is flying. I had my first rehab/assessment yesterday. Everyone is amazed at how well I am doing.....mostly me ! Lol. Don’t get me wrong; I still have bad days and today is one of them. Not sure I should qualify it as bad...just not great. I didn’t sleep last night and felt puny this morning.
After reading Skippers awesome detailed post; I thought I’d jot down some of my thoughts/memories.
I had to be at the hospital at 6 am. I had my hubby, my son, my parents, and my two best friends with me. I was fairly calm or at least pretended to be for everyone else’s sake. They finally gave me something for nerves when they were strapping my arm to a table to put in the artery line in my wrist. I let them know that was freaking me out a bit. Everything is kind of blurry after that. I vaguely remember my tribe coming in to say their goodbye but it’s not real clear. What I do remember is crying at the sight of my surgeon. I’m sure that made him feel good!!
I dont remember being taken to OR or anything else again until I was in recovery. Some day I plan to ask my hubby for a detailed synopsis of things as I think I was in recovery a loooong time and still didn’t want to wake up although the nurse kept telling me to. The worst for me was that darn breathing tube. I knew it would be. I recall them telling me to breathe and I could hear an alarm go off if I wasn’t. I tried to tell myself to stay calm but would panic at times and choke. I wanted that tube out so bad. I tried breathing deeply but would doze off again. Finally the tube came out but not before they stuck one up my nose! No idea what that was about.
Was finally put in ICU around 6 that evening I believe. Again; I want to ask my family about this.
I had massive migraines in ICU and was having difficulty thinking of words so they called in neurology for fear I had a stroke. They ruled that out and attributed them to my low blood count and blood pressure. Thanks the lord. My ICU nurse was very thorough and perhaps obsessive compulsive but can’t fault her care. She was in my room almost constantly. They tried to get me out of bed but that only lasted 10 minutes then the fear of my migraines/stroke had them rushing me back into bed. My husband was able to stay with me 24/7 both in ICU and cardiac unit. I was so thankful for this.
I was moved to cardiac unit the next day in the evening. I was a bit scared but it actually was better as I could have as many visitors as I wanted and I still got great care.
Tubes tubes everywhere——I had an IV in my wrist, and artery line in my other wrist, one in my groin, one in my stomach and one in my neck. Oh and pacing wires somewhere and a catheter. Getting the one in my stomach out was the most painful as they pushed it in a bit further before pulling it out. Not sure if that was to ensure everything was drained out or what. My mom was most freaked out about seeing the one in my neck. Thankfully I never really saw all these.
Rest??? What’s that? I was poked and prodded every hour on the hour. There was finger pricks almost hourly to check for diabetes. Blood drawn every morning. Shot of blood thinner daily. Vitals every 4 hours. Chest X-rays daily. EKG daily. Echocardiogram done twice. Don’t recall what else.
Mobility techs came to walk me 4 times a day and I would take additional walks with my hubby. One night they came at 10:00 after I was already sleeping and woke me to ask if I wanted to walk. My husband was not so pleased with them for that.
My biggest struggle as I have posted before was the unbearable back spasms and pain in my shoulder. I give them credit for trying to make me.comfortable. They gave me a water heating pad, an egg crate thing to go on my mattress and then finally muscle relaxers. Most nights I would wake half way thru the night in pain and so miserable at not being able to get comfy and lack of sleep that I would just cry. I never cried over any other pain....just that. I did give up the heating pad after two nights as I broke out in a heat rash. I felt like a mess but yet they all said I was doing great. For the most part; I was and I was impressed with myself. I honestly expected this whole thing to be way worse than it has been. I am a big baby when it comes to anything like this. I generally faint when I get an IV....I get woozy at the sight of incisions or drainage tubes or anything like that.
The almost 4 hour ride home was arduous. I couldn’t recline my seat at all as we had luggage in my cargo area. We stopped once for a restroom break. I was so happy to see my home, my cats and that beautiful (ugly really) recliner sitting there waiting for me.
My parentts have been here this entire time but leave on Tuesday. They were a help but I have to admit that I didn’t need them too awfully much. I was doing light housework, cooking, laundry, etc just after being home a week.
Pain control....they sent me home with Tylenol with codeine. I tried my best not to take it. I relied just on extra strength Tylenol until I was absolutely miserable one day. My husband yelled at me to not be a hero and that no one would judge if I needed pain meds. I was generally fine throughout the day but the nights were rough as I am a side sleeper. So I was in pain at night and woke up miserable until I got moving. Everything was being crunched together it felt like. So needless to say....I started to take the pain meds at night so I could sleep and wake up in a good place.
I’m sorry if this bored you to tears or made some of you more anxious about your own impending surgery. Please know that it’s not as bad as you make it in your own mind. Positive thinking truly does help. I believe in it.
Now go enjoy another glorious day on this earth and be grateful for each moment. Hugs to all
Hoping all the best for this scar to heal nicely! I’m headed home tomorrow!
Update posted on...
February 10, 2020
Just logged on and realized half of my post didn’t make it last time. This is day 4 post op and am still doing well. My medical team is top notch. So thankful for Dr. Lawrie, Boris and their entire team. My biggest struggle has been major back and shoulder ache. I’m not used to all this lying and sitting and only limited positions. Hoping to be released Wednesday at the latest. Ill post pics of my scar. Boris made a smaller incision and closed me with plastic surgery stitches. Thank you all for your well wishes. Now time for me to spread the love to others.
Well folks....heres a pic to go with my post from the other day. This was taken as soon as I got in my regular room. So far recovering hasn't been too bad. Dont get me wrong....I've had moments of crying on my husband's shoulder mostly because I was get
Two days out.....still holding it together. Trying not to focus on it and staying busy. Yesterday was my last day of work. I’m home cleaning the house one more time. My parents fly in tonight from Pittsburgh then heading to Houston in the morning.
I had one last night out with “my tribe”. Had a wonderful time and got lots of hugs.
As I posted before....still afraid of getting sick at the 11th hour....so far so good!
Hard to believe that next week at this time, my surgery will be done and I will be in ICU and starting my long journey of recovering.
My new power lift recliner got delivered today. I’m excited to get it assembled. It’s the little things!
I went out for a drink with a couple of friends after work today to toast to a successful surgery. Saturday my friends have planned one last outing before my surgery. It’s so nice to be surrounded by love and friendship during this time but I have to admit though that I worry about catching a cold or the flu while being out around people. I went to my primary doctor the other day and was surrounded by sick people. I panicked and left the waiting room for a bit. When I returned I donned one of those fashionable surgical masks. And hand sanitizer has become my new best friend!
for those of you with surgery behind you and had to travel by car to your chosen place of surgery....were you able to drive back as soon as you were released from the hospital? we have a 3-4 hour commute and I'm nervous as heck.
I had another question for you all but can't think of it right now....will try again later.
Waiting.....I hate waiting. I had my TEE on the 7th. It confirmed my status as severe and time for surgery. I hadn't given up hope that perhaps things weren't as bad as we thought, but there ya go. I am now waiting to go back to my regular cardiologist on the 14th to discuss next steps and get his referral to a surgeon (was supposed to be on the 20th but I called and moved it up---did I mention that I'm impatient????). Not sure who he has in mind but I've been doing research and I'm hoping it's Dr. Gerald Lawrie at Methodist in Houston. He did Barbara Bush's AVR so if he's good enough for her.....I'm thinking he's good enough for little ole me. In the meantime, I'm reading Adam's book for a second time and am almost done. I read it over 12 years ago so I thought a reread was in order. :-) I ordered a personalized blanket with pics of my family and friends to snuggle with during my recovery. Now I'm just waiting....