I saw my cardiologist yesterday for the first time since failing a stress echo test 3 months ago and did a new echo to check on the heart. She was pleased with my AVR and overall surgery recovery. She prescribed a couple of new meds for systemic heart health. I also have to continue cardiac rehab for a few more weeks. I rate myself at about 45% of pre op shape with weakness still in the upper chest area. I am trying to add about 8 pounds from fluid loss. My appetite, food and drink, is excellent but it seems like my body burns a ton of energy. I also returned to the office today. I had a very good day and it is good to catch up with everyone. I know change is constant for most folks and it is certainly true going back to work. Kids go to college and life happens. The good news for those awaiting or undergoing AVR is that the body is resilient and if you have faith in God and believe prayer will help you, you can turn a mountain into a molehill. Take care.
For all the open heart patients I can guarantee everyone your 30th day will be better than the first 29 post op. I feel like I have been stuck between life and death. I know I am alive and OK but I understand I cannot do anything about speeding up the healing timetable. I walk with an awareness of weakness and just praying my conditioning promotes me through this time of no strength. God is God and I am not. I have an appointment with my cardiologist for the first time on October 3. I have an echo scheduled and hope this clears me for return to work. I am sleeping better and completely off any pain medications. I never really took much even immediately after surgery because I did not need pain meds. I have said from CICU I was more uncomfortable than in pain. I hope this review helps those of you still facing surgery and lets those who are enjoying posting in my guestbook that I will be back and I know who you are. I am not laughing. Well, I am kinda smiling while I write this. Take care.
I met with Dr. Jones last Friday and he says I am progressing. He added a beta blocker medication but nothing major. I am clear for more exercise and this includes my 3x's a week PT. I have begun walking outside which is a first and feels good now that the weather is below 100. I am still low on energy but slowly progressing. I am not needing to nap several times a day and I am actually close to my old sleep schedule. I can sleep horizontal which is a major accomplishment. My chest wound feels weak but it is stronger relative to the past couple of weeks. I can see from here most of your lives quickened with school starting and all the associated activities. I hope you enjoy your kids and take time to appreciate what matters in life. Take care.
I completed my PT assessment and I start PT 3 times a week beginning tomorrow at Doctors' Hospital in Lakewood. The good news is that I am not going to need a pacemaker. My heart rhythm is slowly reasserting itself and I am healing naturally. Thank you, Lord! I continue to plod along, some moments are fine and others are challenging. This is all normal and to be expected. I am sleeping on a lower incline now and I am enjoying that. My appetite is getting stronger and I appreciate friends who are taking good care of us with food. I take about 3 naps a day and sometimes at night I am ready to crash. My Carpentier-Edwards Perimount Magna Ease Pericardial bio-prosthesis is very quiet and I cannot even tell I have a new heart part. No new sound or feeling. Thanks for your prayers and support. You made a difference in my ongoing recovery.
I have been home two days from the hospital. I posted some photos from Paula that give some idea of this experience. Extubation photo is not for the weak of heart! One word describes the overall recovery process: slow. Food tastes different, especially meats but fruit is good; sleep is OK if you find the right way to sleep; exercise is really slow because you have to wait on the wounded heart and new parts; breathing is a labor with many targeted exercises; but the main thing is moving forward and keeping small goals in front of you. I have decent energy the morning but the energy starts dropping as the day goes on. Evening sleep is welcome relief from the days' activities. Thanks for all your prayers and notes. I read all of them!
I leave the hospital with a mixed report. My heart ryhtym responds to wallking and tries to keep an acceptable rhythm (junctional versus sinus bradycardia). Over the last two days the sinus rhythm
was trying to establish itself as Dr. Jones believes it will as the tissue swelling around the aortic valve decreases and the rhytmn becomes more stable. I follow up with him in two weeks. Paula brought me home and I give her my highest respect because she demonstrated sacrificial love before, during, and after the ordeal. I begin cardio PT next week and try to leave this behind. Thanks to your prayers as Ronnie and Leslie said for "complete healing." You made a difference as Rom 8:26-27 describes!
Moving upstairs to Cardiac Stepdown Unit. Pacemaker off yet leads remain intact. Continues in an Accelerated Junctional rhythm but not symptomatic. This move will allow more mobility and hopefully better rest. May go home tomorrow. (This note courtesy of private duty nurse).
My central line was removed and a
small IV took it's place. I still
have the pacemaker wires but I am cautiously optimistic about not needing a pacemaker. Time will tell quickly on that. I am walking a lot more and glad my room looks outside. I know about ICU psychosis and so glad to have this nursing staff and room. Pacing study in the morning to define some electrical issuses. I have been weak and dragging all day but coming around a little bit better . Rom 8:26-27
I am back from the shadow world of post op surgery. I am recovering fast but I am battling occasional nausea and overall fatigue. I had scripted my lines for getting the breathing tube removed and I was able to get the tubes out first try. Best advice for surgery from Shelby: don't make a mountain out of a molehill. Our imaginations try to make this experience worse than it is. Get as fit as you can before surgery and your confidence will increase. Choose a reputable surgeon and trust the Lord's plan for your life.
Dr Jones came in this morning and removed both chest tubes. Matt said it did not hurt, took a deep breath and they were gone. Praise God his temporary pacemaker is off. The plan is to leave the pacemaker wires connected until in the morning in case they need it. Hopefully will go home Monday. The high dollar bed has been really uncomfortable so the plan is to move another bed in so he can rest tonight. The nursing care, perspective from myself, has been the best I have ever experienced! ( I can be, well, critical about that ). Next update will come from the patient.
Up in the chair was better than expected. The main complaint appears to be chest pressure when in bed but feeling better when sitting up. He stayed in the chair for two hours. Still registering a low grade temp on the urinary foley catheter temperature probe. He remains tethered to two chest tubes and his temporary pacemaker continues to atrial pace. Dr Jones checked the underlying rhythm at noon and it remains the same. When he got back into his bed he was literally exhausted and his oxygen saturation on room air was 88-90%. It quickly came back up once his nasal cannula was back on. He will be receiving a certified bill for my services in updating this blog.
Good Morning from Texas Regional Hospital. Matt is sitting up in bed this morning and just had a little jello and juice, sounds like a song. Swan Ganz Cath used to measure Rt heart pressures was removed yesterday but the right IJ central line remains. The temperature probe on his foley registered 100 F so his nurse gave two ES Tylenol. Urinary output slowed this morning so he was given lasix to get his volume stable. He remains atrially paced via his temporary pacing leads because his underlying rhythm is atrial bigeminy. The surgeon held his beta blocker and felt like it would be resolved by tomorrow. The sliding scale insulin drip has been discontinued. The nurses were getting hourly fingerstick blood sugars to keep his blood sugar within a certain range ( some literature says this promotes healing). Will plan on sitting up in chair for lunch. Sleeping now.
Matt is awake and was able to be extubated. All lab values and blood gases are currently within normal limits. He was able to cough and deep breathe and speak with a very raspy voice. His main concern was that I journal on his heart blog! He was also very thirsty. At this point, post surgery, they don't want him to drink to much because he may become nauseated. His pain level is a 4 or 5 out of 10, but he has said it was tolerable. He will have the majority of his lines removed tonight, and we will update further tomorrow.
Good morning, this is Paula, Matt's wife. We arrived at 5:45 this morning. The heart team picked him up at 7:15. Only two attempts for IV access this morning. He is currently underway for a new valve. Thank you to everyone who stopped by and for the many prayers.
You know it is going to be interesting when the anesthesiologist is asked to come draw your blood! My arms have been "strip mined" because of chemotherapy. It is hard to get blood. Anyhow he was a great guy and happened to be a tennis player on top of that. He deadened my arm and drilled down into a "pipe" and got what they needed. I am so thankful for the flood of prayers and kind thoughts I have received. Rom. 8:26-27 is my battle cry throughout this journey. I am feeling good about tomorrow because my cardio-thoracic surgeon, Dr. William "Jerry" Jones, is outstanding and so is his team. My wife is a cardiac nurse and her best buds are going to take good care of me. I am having this done at Texas Regional Medical Center in Sunnyvale. My wife will update this tomorrow after the surgery.
I read a devo where the writer expressed his spiritual condition as feeling as though he were a condemned man awaiting execution. I too feel that way. It is a helpless feeling. But what is really bad about this is the fact that I am preoccupied with myself in the first place. Lord help me to see others with your eyes in this ordeal.