On this post I want to relay one more complication that I had and ask if anyone has had a similar experience. I previously posted about nausea and not being able to eat as a result of anesthesia. One other delay I had in an otherwise healthy recovery was an extreme reaction to the beta blocker, Metoprolol. About day 2 or 3 days post op I found that Metoprolol caused me to be exremely fatigued, foggy and completely unable to focus attention. While others were walking the hallways, I could barely stand with my eyes open. My wife says I was like a "zombie". Once it was determined it was the Metoprolol (I was getting enough nutrition and my blood pressure was good), they began to wean me off and wow what a difference it made! I could finally focus again and get on with recovery. I lost a couple of days while that was being ironed out, but now I am 6-1/2 weeks post and looking forward to rehab! I am going to note Metoprolol in my list of allergies from now on.
Going through my photos on my phone I thought about the one on the left. That is the last picture taken of me "pre-scar". My wife loves my new scar. She has been a rock and I could not have done this without her!
What Was The Most Uncomfortable?
Journal posted on November 5, 2017
What was most uncomfortable? Surprisingly it was not the pain. I had prepared for the pain. I listened to mediation tracks and was most concerned about the pain. However the pain did not bother me as much as the nausea and the feeling that I never wanted to eat again. A day or two after my surgery I started pushing all food away. Every time I looked at food I was filled with nausea and accompanied by a balled up pit of a feeling deep in my stomach. I didn't eat for about 6 days or so. I just couldn't eat and I was so weak, and it was so hard to do anything when you have constant nausea. This was one thing I just didn't expect. I don't know what caused it but the best explanation I got was that anesthesia can affect the digestive system. I began drinking high calorie Boost and chocolate shakes. It took until +4 weeks to finally get my full appetite back. I certainly did not prepare for that!
As soon as I scheduled my surgery, I was very curious about what the valves looked like. Not just the look but the feel and shape, I just wanted to touch one. Luckily the Cleveland Clinic had some valves and prosthetics on hand for me to play with. It really helped me in my preparation. I am no valve expert by any means but I uploaded a few photos from my "hands-on" visit.
various tissue valves, I actually ended up with the Edwards bovine tissue valve
Journal posted on November 2, 2017
I will always remember when I knew it was time to have aortic valve replacement surgery. I was in such denial. I have been keeping myself in good shape over years as my cardiologist, Dr. Braverman was monitoring my condition. My wife and I had joined Fleetfeet, a local running club last year and that's when the first warning signs appeared. One day I found that I couldn't keep up with my pace group. And one day led into another and soon I was just gasping to run 400 meters. And then I noticed climbing stairs caused me to be winded. Then Dr. Braverman gave me the news - I was surprised to learn that as the valve deteriorates the heart cannot get the oxygen rich blood to the body so that it can perform as you like - thus all the shortness of breath. I was doing so well and really thought I was still years away from surgery. The valve had deteriorated severely since last year's measurements. The effects were subtle at first but the reality was it was decision time. As I said I went into denial, and for several weeks tired to convince myself it wasn't so, but in the end the decision was easy. My surgery was 9/21/17.
When I had my stent installed for my coarctation, the need was immediate and I did not have to time to learn much about it. In fact I really didn't know where they were putting the stent! Eight years passed before my AVR and aneurysm replacement surgery and I was determined to know everything I could about the procedure. Your site Adam was one of, if not the most valuable resources for me and my family. The articles and videos and testimonials were just what I needed to fully understand what was about to happen to me. I can't thank you enough! I am six-weeks post surgery and (although a little late) just beginning to journal my story. Thanks Adam for the opportunity!