A year ago tonight, I was preparing for the visit to the hospital in the morning that many on this site are dealing with today. Anticipation is much worse than reality. I spent my one year out celebration having a picnic with my wife and daughter and hiking in the beautiful hills of Tennessee. Other than the scar on my chest, the monthly pt checks, and the ticking when it's quiet, I have no reminders I'm a heart valve patient. I feel great and God has blessed me for no known reason to myself!
Thanks to those who were there through it all!
Best wishes for God's healing for those who are facing it now!
Finally reached the number that unlocks the hospital door. My daughter pulled in the driveway just in time for me to catch the weekly trash pick-up. To her amazement, the trash receptacle doesn't magically deliver itself to the curb on Thursday night and return itself on Friday after I get off work. She thought that this occurred in the same way the grass automatically resets to 4" once a week between spring and fall. It's a good feeling that not all goes normally when you're not there. Have to go back in a couple of weeks for another ECG and surgical drainage may still be necessary. Guess that's part of it. I felt guilty being so healthy in C.O.U. when those around me were so soon out of surgery. Wishing everyone God's healing!
It's bad enough being in the hospital when you're recovering after surgery, but, it's worse when you now feel fine and they won't let you go. I've already been here longer than the week I had my valve replaced. My INR is still at 1.4 and Dr. Briggs says the risk of a pulmonary embolism is too great to take me off of heparin IV. I've been visiting my neighbors who are just now recovering after surgery to help pass the time. My next door neighbor had the same procedure as me at 82. He looks great for the day after, but, no wonder as he had Dr. Briggs as well. Maybe Friday wll bring the number I need.
They tell me my INR is not cooperating with the plan. My early release for good behavior has been revoked until I get to 2.5. Right now I'm going backwards from a 1.4 last night to a 1.1 last blood draw. I told the nurse to bring me another coumadin and a big glass of cranberry juice and I could take care of that real quick. She said if I didn't behave I'd be on room arrest. Right now I'd be grateful for a shower pass. I'm just thankful, as most of my HVJ buddies have endured much more than this minor setback. God's healing for those who just had surgery and are about to!
Dr. Brigg's just visited. He said I'm responding well to the steroids and the anitbiotics. He says the swelling and fluid are reducing and he doesn't think that draining surgically will be necessary. He's going to let me out of jail tomorrow with oral steroids and lovenox injections. He says they'll teach me to inject myself in the stomach. Anything to avoid further surgery and get back to normal. Hopefully, all goes well I'll be back to work Thursday morning like normal. Says I'll need to repeat an echocardiagram in a few weeks. Once again loved ones prayers have brought God's healing.
After an unbelievably quick and easy recovery, I thought I was hitting ten weeks post surgery and cruising. Then on Saturday I woke up and felt like my left shoulder was in a vice. By Sunday morning my entire upper back and neck were involved and a low grade fever had begun. At my doctor's advice I went to the ER. CT revealed pericharditis. Was transferred to Mercy main where a cardiothoracic unit is available. They stopped the warfarin and are administering heparin, ibuprofen, vancomycin and steroids. Currently scheduled for echocardiagram on Tuesday to determine if surgical intervention will be necessary to remove the excess fluid. Just when you think this is all behind you! Feeling much better today.
It's hard to believe it's been six weeks already. I've been released by my surgeon with no restrictions and go back to work in the morning. I have to admit that I will miss seeing my retired friends I've met at the health club since I was going during the day. It's been a wild ride from pre-surgery to now and I've found there's a lot of caring people in an uncaring world through this website.
Thanks to everyone for the support over the last few months and best wishes for continued recovery to my HVJ buddies! Thanks to Adam for providing this media for all of us in the zipper club to connect!!
Three weeks ago yesterday I got my new valve. I can officially call myself part Italian now because my implant was made in Italy by Sorin Biomedica. I got my registration card in the mail on Friday. INR has come back down to 1.8 & my fairy godmother (surgeon's right hand lady) told me to add back in the baby aspirin every morning. Went by to visit my other family at work today. It was great to see them and I'm actually looking forward to going back. Feel great! Wish I'd had a valve job a long time ago.
Best wishes for continuing recovery to all of my fellow heart valve surgery journal buddies!!
Two units of plasma and about a half dozen blood draws later I'm a free man again. It was just in time for my daughter's 21st birthday. They've told me they want my INR between 2.5 & 3.0. On Tuesday it was 7.5 and they stopped the warfarin. The next day it was 8.2. I didn't realize until they gave me more information on warfarin in the hospital that it is the main ingredient in D-CON rat killer. The nurses in the COU were shocked to see me back but they treated me like a VIP last night. They are some special people. Thanks everyone for the messages and I hope all are well!
After such a great recovery it seems the warfarin is working too well. They're making me check back into the hospital for plasma to thicken the blood and monitoring. Guess this afternoon's walk is off.
It's hard to believe that it was only two weeks ago today that I had open heart surgery! The worst pain I'm feeling right now is blisters on my feet. Too much walking trying to get well quick. The aggravating numbness in my left hand won't go away either. Going to see the surgeon for the first time post-surgery on Thursday. Wayne, I'm ready to go to lunch, but, I don't think Tracy's is on the heart healthy menu. Missing everyone at work! I spend more time with you guys than I do with my family. Must admit though, we've gotten to be a closer family through all of this. Colleen got us new fishing rods today. Hope she doesn't mind taking them off the hook. Makes you smell like fish.
Looking forward to life being back to normal soon!
Came home from the hospital a week ago today. I don't think you're supposed to feel this good this soon. The newly arrived sunshine and warm temperatures help a lot! Tommorrow's forecast is for 85. Last Monday when I went to surgery it was snowing. If you don't like the weather in Knoxville just wait a day. The only noticeable effects of the surgery are my left hand is numb, when I sneeze I discover my chest incision, and I can fall asleep sitting up. My nurse wife says the numbness will resolve itself, but, even she can't believe how I've progressed. My incision has almost disappeared. Looking forward to beating all of the expectations for recovery after this procedure.
It's hard to believe that last Monday this time I was laying in recovery and my family was waiting anxiously to see how I'd do. A week later they know I'm better than I was before my new valve. The only difference is now I tick, out loud. My daughter thinks it's gross. I take Adam's approach. Yes, I really did hike up the neighborhood on Saturday. It was too pretty a day to waste and my favorite nurse was there to watch that I didn't overdo. Caught up a little with me yesterday, but, I'm ready to do it again. Just don't tell my mother.
Thanks To Everyone With All My Heart, Even The Metal Part!
Journal posted on March 26, 2010
Thanks to everyone for your support and prayers, obviously they worked! My first morning back home I got up at 08:00, fixed my own breakfast, and then cleaned the kitchen and ran the dishwasher. Colleen was still asleep after spending so many hours at the hospital and trying to work too. She didn't realize I was up. I feel like a new man even this soon following surgery. I think Dr. Briggs put a turbo-charger on my new valve. The anticipation before is so many times worse than the reality, at least in my case. I look forward to being there for all of those who have effected my success. Please accept my sincerest thanks for the power of healing you have caused in me. I know I didn't do it on my own.
It is unbelieveable - - Open heart surgery on Monday 22nd. Released to go home on Thursday 25th. Dr. Briggs cautioned that Michael is improving rapidly, but needs much rest and few visitors for awhile until his immune system gets stronger. In the hearts weakened state he is susceptible to bacterial infection and valve failure. Thanks for keeping him in your prayers.
We visited Michael this morning. He had a typical third day after surgery-some pain. Despite the discomfort he was in good spirits and took a long walk down two halls with his son and dad. The remaining tubes were removed today. He feels like a free man and is looking forward to going home in the near future. He enjoys your messages in his journal, cards, phone calls, and visits. He cherishes your prayers.
Genna and I went to the hospital this morning to visit Michael. We were a little apprehensive about how his condition would be the day after surgery. When we walked in he was sitting up in bed, had his usual big smile, strong voice, and his color was excellant. He asked Colleen to assist him in moving to a chair. He planned to walk in the hall this afternoon. We were amazed and thankful to witness the miracle that with God's guidance Dr. Briggs and his medical team had performed. Michael was already hoping to leave the hospital earlier than planned. He enjoys and appreciates the many calls, contacts from friends and family, and messages in his Heart Valve Journal. Most of all he appreciates the many prayers offered to God for him and his recovery.
Kickoff was at 6:40AM today. Mike was placed on the Heart Bypass machine at 8:05. Everything proceeded as planned. A Titaniium Aortic Valve was put into place by 9AM. The closing procedure began and was to take an hour and a half. At 10:20 Mike came off of the Bypass machine and his chest was closed and he was prepared to leave the surgery. The breathing tube was removed at 2:45PM and by 3PM he was fed some chipped ice. Amazing!
Pre-game activities begin tomorrow at 05:15. Kick-off is scheduled for 07:30. The starting quarterback is Dr. Richard Briggs. He recently returned from a humanitarian trip to Haiti. Apart from being a cardio-thoracic surgeon, he is also on the city council. I know he'll do a good job because I'm an active registered voter. Guest commentator giving the play by play will be my father, Allan. My wife says she'll be too busy making sure I don't bother her friends she works with at the hospital.
Thanks to all for your support! Looking forward to the surgery being in the past and not the future.
Back to the real world from vacation. Off to work this morning and then pre-admission lab & testing. Listened to several hospital staff describe the events of next Monday in detail. Thanks to Adam, I was already mentally prepared to discuss each issue with complete aware of what will occur. The words of those who have written in support and kindness have been more appreciated and helpful these past few weeks than I can describe.
What a beautiful day in Cape San Blas. Just got through with a nice walk by the beach. My wife and daughter are with me. I feel so good, it's hard to imagine I need a doctor for anything. Never seen so many dolphins. Wish my son & the rest of our family and friends were all here with us!
Never knew I was anything but healthy until 8/09. At a company annual physical a PA heard something unusual. Now scheduled for aortic valve replacement on 3/22/10. Always enjoyed bodybuilding and cardio, never smoked, ate healthy and not overweight. Guess it was in the genetic cards! Seems that turbulent blood flow over the leaflets caused scarring. Born 10/59, happily married to the same beautiful woman since 1984, son 23 and daughter 20.