I am sorry that I have been remiss in not posting for so long. I have been progressing well and feel I have made a good recovery.
I send best wishes to those facing surgery, and wish those who are post op a speedy and trouble free recovery.
A major concern for me as i waited for my surgery to be scheduled was whether or not I would be able to go on an overseas trip due to begin next week. I have been given the OK to travel and so I see this trip as the final stage of my recovery.
I will write again on our return to Melbourne early in October and will endeavour to be a more active contributor in the community thereafter.
Hi all, sorry not to have posted for a couple of weeks. I am 5 weeks post op now. Recovery is on track now, and I am glad to report the persistant chest cough is a distant memory. Since that improved every day has been an improvement though there was a day recently when I felt very tired all day for no apparent reason. Guess recovery is like that, good days and then some not so good😊. Have begun cardiac rehab (1st of 7 weekly sessions) and that went OK. Wishing speedy recoveries to all here, best wishes, Roger
Hello everyone, I am delighted to say that in the last couple of days my cough has finally subsided and as a result Iam feeling my recovery is right on track. Thanks to all who have sent me messages.
I am about to start 7 weeks of rehab and believe I am already exceeding the exercise targets for just 4 weks post op. My wife and I walk about 4 kms each morning and unless another activity takes precedence we do another walk in the aftrnoon. Fortunately our winter in Melbourne has been good, withnothing worse tha a few chilly mornings.
I am currently just a few pounds below my pre surgery weight and, thanks to the easing of my cough, am off all pain meds now. All up I am pleased with my progress. I look forward to being able to drive and ride my bike again! Best wishes to all, Roger
Hi everyone, sorry not to have posted a lot lately.
Today is my 3 week mark and by and large things are going well. I am having a major problem with a persistant unproductive cough which is resulting in a lot of chest pain, within the chest rather than along the incision line. I had a cardiology clinic appointment today and the Doctor felt it was most likely a viral infection and could last a while. This is disappointing but it is what it is!
Apart from the sore chest and resulting disturbed nights I am pleased with my progress, being able to manage a couple of slow walks a day and I definitely benefit from being active. Last Saturday I made a mistake remaining in my chair all afternoon watching motor racing on TV and by nightfall I felt absolutely awful. A lot of chest pain and a wretched cough that would not ease. Since then, days have been better, I think because I have not sat about too much. Of course I get tired easily and have to keep a check on how much I try to do.
Here in Melbourne it is mid winter and so I don't have to combat heat when exercising, that would be difficult I am sure. Mornings are chilly but no worse than that.
Best wishes to all and a big thank you to all those who send messages,
Hi everyone, just checking in after 2 weeks, 1 week since I got home. Initially I had a very bad chest cough and by end of 2nd full day at home I felt awful with a very sore chest. Since then a couple of much better days lifted spirits and progress seems to be on track. For the last 24 hrs the chest has again been very sore, maybe because I have started the exercises and aggravated the broken bones!
Managing 2 walks a day, about 2 kms each, but speed is nothing to rave about!
Best wishes to all here, Roger
It is Thursday 29th June and time i updated my journal having been home for 3 days. I was very happy to be discharged around lunchtime on Monday and it felt good getting home. I had felt quite well while in hospital but by Monday afternoon I felt as though I was developing a chest cough, the last thing I wanted.
Monday night passed fairly well although I did not sleep for long at a time.
Pain levels were reasonable for the first few hours but were soon to rampup considerably as the chest cough became more and more aggravating. Things got progressively worse through to Wednesday night by which time the pain in the chest was constant and severe because of the persistant tight chest and cough.
Mercifully this morning has started much better after a reasonable night and the cough has begun to subside leaving me to think things are finally on the mend. I have managed a couple of short walks a day and will increase the duration as soon as I can. More updates to follow in due course, best wishes to all especialy those facing surgery in the next few days.
Seeing posts about problems uploading photos on the My Journal page, I have tried twice with no success.
I am not sure I did anything different the times it worked!
Update: It appears there is a problem with communication between my device (Samsung Tab A tablet) and the website. When I clicked Add Photos the tablet camera opened but when I 'took' the photo nothing happened, yet when I took a normal photo from the camera app it responded with ok or something. This photo was saved in Images under DCIM and I could then upload it on My Journal page as a photo from my files. Not sure this helps at all!
Since the last message I have been doing well, with just a single speedhump to negotiate. It all went wrong about 11.00pm a couple of nights ago. I settled for the night with no apparent problems and out of the blue my heart decided to race at 160bpm. (I was later told this is fairly common and that patients who experience this seldom have a second episode.)
I was surrounded by 9 assorted doctors and nurses all acting very concerned while saying 'dont worry, she'll be right'. The plan was to reset my heartbeat with chemicals but they couldn't get a line in to administer by intravenous drip. Everybody and his wife tried to get a vein! Then the guy from OR said 'keep him fasted from midnight in case we need to operate again' - Great!
The electrolytes they did manage to get in worked a bit and they gave me a sleeping pill and when I woke the next day I drank the balance, yuk! At least I escaped a return to theatre and from that time on, once the sleeping pill wore off, I have been good as gold.
I am now free of attachments, having had the pacer wires withdrawn from my chest and dressings removed so it looks like I am going home tomorrow. Hooray.
Thanks for all the messages and best wishes to all here, Roger
Thanks everyone for the kind messages, they are a real morale booster. Today has been quite good, still taking the painkillers when offered but decreasing doses I think. My heart is slow still so relying on pacer, and this is restricting movement out of bed but hoping to be more mobile tomorrow. With best wishes to all, Roger
Hi everybody, it is now 48hrs since surgery and I am progressing well. Pre surgery it was not clear whether my mitral valve could be repaired. In fact it was successfully repaired and I am recovering well. Initially there was some concern because my heart would not restart and it was connected to an external pacer which decided to shut down during the night. Prompt action prevented any major damage and my heart is beginning to show activity now.
More news to follow in the next day or two, Good Luck to all who face theatre in the coming days.
Surgery cancelled! To be rescheduled, I know not when....
Journal posted on June 15, 2017
My surgery scheduled for today, 15th June, was cancelled, doh!,
In a nutshell, after fasting from midnight Wednesday and getting up at 4am, my wife and I spent the day sitting in the Admissions waiting room at The Alfred Hospital, only to be told at 5pm to go home!
We got to the hospital at 6.15am and it was 3pm before anyone told us of a delay. It turns out that the patient ahead of me was having endless complications and when we left at 5pm was (I think) still in theatre! I just hope he or she has a good outcome, the surgery team has certainly worked hard to achieve that! By the time we left, I was starving and dehydrated.
The day was made worse thanks to the endless daytime TV playing at high volume. I detest daytime TV, especially the pillocks who present the breakfast TV programs, and the thought of sitting through all that again is the worst part of having to go back and do it all again.
I have no idea when the surgery will be rescheduled, but hopefully it will not be a long wait.
Until next time, life goes on as usual, best wishes to all,
Wow, after what has seemed to be an interminable time, I have finally been notified of my surgery date, the day after tomorrow June 15th. It came in a phone call from the hospital at lunchtime and all of a sudden it is real, and actually going to to happen.
Thanks to the many encouraging messages and stories on this website I am going to the hospital confident that all will go well. Thanks to Adam for creating this site and to all contributers for their positive stories ,
$250 to send a heart pillow to Australia! I enquired about the cost of posting a Shumsky Therapeutic Pillow to Australia and this is the result! The quoted charge is for shipment by UPS or FEDEX. Looks like I will rely on a rolled up towel, 😊
Is there not a postal service in USA these days
Prayers and good wishes go out to Melbourne heart and lung surgeon Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann, cruelly attacked in a Melbourne hospital and now fighting for life in The Alfred Hospital. A senseless and unprovoked attack. Get well soon
Sorry for not gettting back sooner to add more details!
Thanks to the many kind people who have welcomed me into this community and for their messages of support.
To expand on my first post, the damage to the mitral valve is to the chordae tendineae, which have broken. I should not have Googled this subject as all was good until a scientific paper stated "In contrast to patients with the usual form of rheumatic mitral regurgitation, those with ruptured chordae tendineae usually die within a year, although a few cases of pro-longed survival have been reported."
I have not told my wife I read this online, and I do not propose to raise the matter with my surgeon. (I know the medical people hate patients searching the internet for information!) It is a bit of a worry nonetheless.
Prior to the day I was admitted to hospital, 23rd April, I was fit and healthy (for a 70yo) and bike riding and walking regularly so it came as a huge shock I must admit.
Since leaving hospital I have not experienced any pain or discomfort though I do notice I tire quite quickly if I try to do too much. This helps me to view the future with more optimism than the above quote suggests I should.
Is there anyone in here who has had ruptured chordae tendineae repaired? If so, I would really like to hear from you if you'd be happy to talk about it. My surgeon hopes to repair the damage but will not know until I am opened up if it will be possible, so Plan B will be a replacement animal valve.
I am really hoping for an early date for surgery as we have planned overseas travel for later in the year. We already missed out on a cruise when I was in hospital last month - we should have sailed 2 days after I was admitted 😥 'Still, better to be in strife on land than 2000 kilometers off-shore!
I have found many inspiring threads here that give me cause for optimism and they are a great comfort. I will not deny however that I am quite anxious, especially when awake at night lol.
With best wishes to all who are awaiting their date with the OR, I am sure we'll all make it through.
I am a newbie here and a month ago had no idea I would be in the predicament in which I now find myself.
It was about 1am on 23rd April (a Sunday) that I woke with pain in the upper chest. I got up and moved gently around the house and the pain subsided a bit until I returned to my bed, when it became quite severe again. This pattern was repeated until about 4am when I finally settled in bed.
About 7am my wife woke and I told her what I had experienced in the night. With a career as a nurse and midwife she told me how stupid I had been to ignore the symptoms and we set off for the local Emergency Dept.
I was seen immediately by an ED doctor who checked me quite thoroughly and was not happy with what he saw. The Sandringham Hospital is part of the Alfred Hospital in central Melbourne and I was shipped off there by ambulance without delay.
Initially it was thought I had pericarditis which I believe is inflamation of the sac surrounding the heart and pain killers soon made me comfortable. This was not the end of my problems as further tests over 3 days revealed I had a mitral valve problem.
Eventually I was discharged late on the Wednesday with a return planned for later the next week for a valve repair or replacement if necessary.
This prediction was way off the mark and now, a month later, I am still waiting for a date for my surgery.