Today marks 6 weeks since my surgery and, while I’m not ready to run a marathon, I am at a point where there is no pain, my fatigue level is much improved (just one short nap in the afternoon, some days no nap!) and I’m beginning to see a slow return to normal activities. Six weeks means the no lifting-no twisting-no reaching-no pushing-no pulling-no driving restrictions have been lifted -- a kind of freedom.
A sudden arrhythmia a week ago reminded us that we have a way to go to complete recovery. A change in meds has this under control and the cardiologists have given us the OK to take a trip to our home in Michigan. What a wonderful change of scenery that will be! There’s nothing more soothing than watching the waves and hearing the lapping of the water. Can hardly wait!
These weeks at home have provided time for reflection on how incredibly blessed I am. I have a loving husband who is a wonderful caregiver. We will celebrate our 45th anniversary next week -- something else to look forward to. Jim and I have been richly blessed with a caring supportive family who are always there ready to give a helping hand.
I feel fortunate to have been led to very capable, talented physicians. The skill and care shown by the surgeon was amazing. We always looked forward to having him stop in my room to check on me and to chat. He handed me over to a very competent cardiologist -- I love his low key style and the thoughtful care he gives.
We have benefited from the support of many friends -- many old friends and new friends, some of whom we have yet to meet. The prayers, positive thoughts, cards and calls have been comforting and uplifting and sustained us thru the more difficult days.
Jim and I send our heartfelt thanks to all of you for taking part in this journal. It has been a comfort to re-read your comments. May God bless each one of you and keep you in his care.
We had the post operative appointment with Dr. Sullivan's office during this week. Actually, he was tied up on a case and unavailable, but I was seen by his PA who had only positive things to say. My incision is closed and the steri strips removed. Most pleasant of all in the hot summer weather ... no more Ted Hose.
Also, and a surprise to me, we were told that absent some kind of unexpected problem there'll be no need for additional office visits with him. Truth is, I was looking forward to seeing him and giving him a big hug ... the man who held my heart in his hands.
I've been home for 6 days now. My first real venture out was to see my cardiologist. (One of the first times in my life I've looked forward to seeing a doctor!). The good news is he's pleased with my progress so far and I won't need to see him again for 3 weeks. A little tweaking of medications and we're all set for now.
The past few days have been up and down - the first 2 or 3 days I was very weak and fatigued. The last few days have brought positive changes in amount of sleep needed and in spite of the heat and humidity I've been able to add short walks to each day indoors on a treadmill that no longer serves as a coat rack! Looking forward to cooler weather so we can walk outdoors.
What has kept me going has been the love and support of family and friends. Keep me in your thoughts as I continue what I know will be a long healing process.
It is for sure a joy to have June home after some 22 days of inpatient care during three different periods of hospitalization.
Now our challenge is to find the proper balance between the absolutely necessary periods of exercise (walking mainly) and the also vital periods of rest. We'll work on it, together as always, and get it right.
Your steady support surely has meant a great deal. Thank you seems so inadequate.
We are home. Jim and I arrived here about 8 PM.My cardiac surgeon began this day at 7:30 AM when he told me he would start the discharge process. Successive visits from doctors and staff went on all day until 6;30 PM when we were given the final go ahead. Happy day but ever so tiring for me. Hard to believe I'm so easily tired. We're told that's to be expected.
As for this weekend I intend to "veg" out, do whatever I want and just enjoy being home.
Meanwhile I want to express my gratitude for all the love, support, prayers that have been sent my way. We've been a great team.
After 8 days in CVICU I've been transferred to a regular cardiac unit room. Here I'll be evaluated by physical therapy, occupational therapy and cardiac rehab. Their goal is get the patient back to doing what they did before their cardiac episode. I don't think this will be a problem for me --hope not anyway. So taking it all into consideration,I could possibly be home by this Saturday,surely by Monday.
Meanwhile as much as I felt truly cared for and safe In CVICU it is soooo good to be on the way to complete healing. We understand it may take six weeks or more to heal but that's OK.
We're about to move on up to a regular room. The specialist in charge of electrophisiogrqphics has studied yesterday's tests and we have his clearance to move although the final call is made by the surgeon. In preparation I've taken 2 walks here in CVICU. Amazing how weak a little heart surgery and 7 days in bed will make you. I'm ready to start the next phase and get back home soon. Your prayers and good thoughts have brought me so far. Keeping this journal has been such a good thing for us. Thank you. .
We had planned to relocate to a regular room today but a couple of electrical problems, revealed by the always present heart monitor, have dictated the need for a bit of additional testing. That testing was done this afternoon and we're awaiting word from cardiology as to how the situation will be resolved. It may be tomorrow before we have that answer and, until we have it, I'll be right here in Intensive Care. Sorry we let a day pass without an update but we had hoped to have real news. Thank you for all your expressions of love and support. June
Better appetite better voice all in all a good day. All 7 of us visited in my room today. Lucky to have a hospital that's so liberal with visitors. And Allen flew in from California - great. Moving on up tomorrow.to the next step. Hooray!
Today, day 3, brought REAL improvement. At one time we had counted, we believe, 12 IV's running. Today that number was reduced to 4 as the day moved along.
More and more time in the chair and more people were able to understand what I was saying to them as the drugs began to lose their grip. I even had three short telephone conversations. Tomorrow should be the last in intensive care, "moving on up" as they used to say on TV.
Amazing ... the early morning call to the IV nurses really was amazing. June was sitting in a real chair preparing to have breakfast, real food too. Today will surely feature the first walk since surgery and the withdrawal of more of the post operative support equipment. Praise the Lord!!
Two additional areas of progress today, day two. Hospital beds these days have lots of flexibility which permit the patient to remain seated as if in a recliner chair. Ohhh how good if feels not to be lying down.
Dinner was served in a cup with straw... beef bullion, chicken broth, and a popsicle. Not bad at all, everything considered.
Much importance is attached to the removal of the breathing tube used during surgery and its a delicate process. For June that task was accomplished over a period of nearly 6 hours this morning. She's breathing on her own, still sleeping a great deal, but making excellent progress.
Next major milestone, staff says, is to get out of bed to sit in a chair. Probably tomorrow.
That's what the nurse, Minnie, said when I called just after 5 AM to see how things were going. Vital signs ... normal, condition ... excellent.
This will be a day of major accomplishment as the breathing tube comes out, probably by late morning, and she is awakened from the deep sleep that has protected her since surgery. Hopefully she'll have no recall of yesterday. We'll tell her about it when the time is right.
Well, they finally have her in the CVICU, new valve in place, and what seems like a dozen IV's running...
The surgeon told us that the valve was in very bad shape, and really needed to be replaced, but she came through it well. There was a bit of a delay in finishing up the procedure to make sure there was no bleeding. We are incredibly impressed with and grateful for the quality of care she is receiving!
She will remain asleep and on the ventilator until early tomorrow morning at the earliest, at which point they will start removing machines and monitors as her condition allows.
Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers this evening, as she rests and begins healing. Thank you for your support as we walk through this!
Tomorrow there will be some information about my surgery. Jim will be writing the next few journal entries to keep you posted on my progress.
For today it's pack a few things to take to the hospital, clean up a few odds and ends in the house -- and most important we're off to Taco Bell for a final bad-for-me-lunch! And I'll enjoy every bite.
We're due at the hospital at 5:30 AM so we'll hope for a good night's sleep to get us started.