Had surgery on January 20th, had the aortic valve replaced with an Edwards Pericardial Tissue valve.
The surgeon kept me in the hospital for a week due to my prosthetic leg and the question of whether or not I would be safe at home. Physical therapy reviewed, and passed with flying colors and allowed to go home.
The biggest difficulty I have had is not pushing, pulling, extreme reaching, etc. to prevent tearing out the sternum stitches. It takes a while to get used to not using your arms when getting up or sitting down.
The first two nights at home I tried to sleep on my bed bolstered with a wedge beneath me. This didn't work well for me. Since I am tall, my recliner seemed out of the question because I couldn't get out of it without using my chest muscles. Solution: Temporarily raise the recliner 4" with a wooden frame. I now get out of it with ease and sleep great!
Due to my previous paralysis to my left diaphragm, I have purposely quarantined myself from crowds and young children due to the flu season. So far, so good.
Well, the time has finally come for surgery to replace my aortic valve with an artificial "pig" valve. Monday, January 20th at 5:30 AM. Medical Center of the Rockies, part of Colorado University Medical. A well-respected surgeon, Dr. Guadagnoli, will be doing the procedure.
I have been fighting off getting the cold or flu and have been exposed to numerous airport crowds in the last 2 weeks.
If you read my story, you can see that I have been through a lot four years ago that ultimately paralyzed my left diaphragm. Since then, I have had a pulmonary embolism, which nearly killed me. I had a transient stroke (TIA) 1 year ago. I am actually looking forward to the surgery, with my main concern being potential damage to the nerve that controls the right diaphragm.
The phrenic nerve that controls the diaphragm is right next to the heart's surgery site and can be compromised by the cold fluid that is used to stop the heart during surgery. There have been cases where there has been permanent damage to this nerve.