I have been home for 8 days now, I believe. Each day, I have made progress, from stamina to healing to gaining the ability to do smaller things for myself.
The pain from OHS is not terrible on this side. The chest “wrap” or “garter” I have to wear most of the time can sometimes get a little uncomfortable. I look forward to showering to take it off but then want it back on because it’s also oddly comforting.
My scar has surgical glue and so it’s hard to see it very well but it does look good, from what we can see, and is healing well. The hole from my chest tube has filled in and is also healing nicely.
The parts of my chest closest to my incision are numb, so that feels a little weird but I expect to regain sensation there with time.
I left the hospital with a number of bruises from the different catheters and ivs placed. These are almost fully healed and gone. I do have one smallish scab left on my neck where the central line went in. It gets smaller each day.
My appetite is finally returning. I’ve lost 17 pounds when my home health nurse checked the other day. I gained 9 pounds post op from fluids, etc and seem to have lost that plus another eight pounds. I was overweight going in so it’s not a terrible loss. I am working on eating more balanced meals and will see how my INR is affected on Monday when I go in for another check.
So far, the noise of the On-X valve has not been terrible. After I woke from surgery, I could hear it occasionally and briefly in my head while in the ICU. Since then, I have heard it occasionally. Last night, I began to hear it more consistently but it’s not a terrible thing at all and is now more centered in my chest. If the room is absolutely quiet, I might hear it but it’s not distressing nor frustrating. Since this has changed for me, I don’t expect this to be consistent but time will tell.
In regards to caretakers, I am so grateful my mother is staying with us to help. My husband had to return to work after 12 days, so he’s not here at night with us. I still can’t get up by myself from a laying down position so I need help with that but also, I’m redirected on pushing, pulling, lifting so there is a lot I can’t do and need support with. We have learned to change some things in the house temporarily to help me be a bit more independent and that has happened more as we see what is helpful and what isn’t. I don’t know how I would have been able to do this on my own.
We have had great support from our church family, friends, and extended family. We are being provided with meals and will continue to be supported in that way through the end of the month. That has been a huge blessing as my mom and husband can focus on supporting me while being able to rest themselves and not so worried about dinner, clean up, getting supplies. Before my surgery, I did a Sams run of cleaning supplies and other needed items for six weeks. This has been a great way to cut down on errands for my caretakers.
I try to maintain a good routine of walking, breathing exercises, PT, personal hygiene, and small activity each day. This helps pass the time and I’m sure is supportive of recovery.
All in all, by the grace of God, this has been a great experience and I’m looking forward to full sustained recovery in a few more weeks time! What a turn around from just two weeks ago when I opened my eyes in the ICU!
Keeping you all in prayer and so grateful for this community!
I will post a lengthier update on my progress when I’m feeling a tad bit better. I’m officially on day 4 since they’re not counting my surgery date. My surgeon, nurses, and staff have been phenomenal. My procedure took a bit longer than expected. When they got in there, the surgeon realized my aorta was too small and replacing the valve would have left me symptomatic. He had to enlarge the sorts with a Dacron graft before stitching in the on-x valve. He said it was fortuitous I chose open heart as he would have had to open me up anyway and that I went with a mechanical as my anatomy would have made placement of a biological valve difficult. All in all, I saw Gods hands in everything from our consult through today. It’s been tough at times, but when the pain is managed well I feel like my old self, if not better. I’m following all the directives of my medical team and progressing quickly. I hope they don’t send me home soon; I just don’t feel ready yet. My anxiety at night, when my husband leaves, is difficult. And I’m exhausted. I can’t sleep a whole lot even though the floor is very quiet and the nurses do their best not to wake me.
Gearing up for surgery in less than a full week now and feeling the weight of it.
There are so many to-dos to get ready for this and I've been so preoccupied with it. My son reminded me that there's always time for that but that right now we need to spend time together as a family. Grateful for each moment and trying desperately to gain courage before next Friday.
Hi, everyone! I’m scheduled for OHS to replace my bicuspid aortic valve in less than three weeks. I’m 40 years old and would love to hear how others are making decisions in regards to what type of valve to use. I’m leaving towards a mechanical valve due to my age but am open to hearing others experiences or ideas on this.