Ok - 10 months out from surgery and all has been going well. Still a little discomfort when I sneeze or cough but nothing terrible. Recently however, I've started to have an odd squishy feeling around my incision. It feels like it's between the sternum and my skin but I can't really tell. It's odd and it is definitely new.
Can anyone else relate to this? I'm thinking it's something to bring up to my cardiologist just to be sure.
Hey all. It's almost been 8 months since my open heart surgery to replace a defective aortic valve. I'm 42 and am recovering well. I wanted to see what the consensus from the community regarding ongoing sternal discomfort when stretching, coughing, sneezing, etc.
When I sneeze or cough, I'm not sure if I can say it's painful, but I'm very aware of my sternum. Certain movements can cause discomfort.
Is this normal at this stage of recovery? What are others feeling?
I can't believe that 12 weeks has passed since surgery day. I'm back at work, back driving, still working out at cardiac rehab. It still hurts to cough, and sometimes a hearty laugh reminds me that I'm still healing.
I can go on walks with my family and feel great doing it, yet sometimes getting out of my chair and going out to the car, I get short of breath (again the reminder that open heart surgery is still in my near-time rear view mirror!).
My scar is healing nicely (although I still have a slight lump at the top). I'm certainly not back to being a normal 41 year old, and still feel a bit... frail.
This, too, will pass and still I feel like there are improvements daily.
I enjoy reading about everyone's progress and appreciate the insight it gives me to hear about the recovery journey of my fellow heart valve zipper club members!
First session of Cardiac Rehab completed this evening. I was impressed at the program and the level of attention that I received at the Bremerton Medical Center. I think I'm going to enjoy doing it and am hoping that it really gives me plenty of stamina!
At 9 weeks since surgery, I just had my follow-up appointment with my cardiologist and.... (drumroll) - I can drive again!!! Yay! He said that I shouldn't worry about the LBBB and that I don't need to see him again for 3 months! I'm very happy!
Just had my baseline echo (9 weeks since surgery) and it looks like I have a Left Bundle Branch Block. I'm not sure yet if it's persistent and will need something done to correct it (pacemaker) or if it will go away on its own. I understand that somewhere around 50% of LBBBs that show up after valve replacement go away. I haven't had a conversation with my cardiologist yet so will have to wait until Friday to get the "next steps".
I'm disappointed that something has turned up, and not particularly happy that there's a possibility that a pacemaker may be needed but I'm just going to let things take their course.
Has anyone else been through a LBBB after valve replacement?
Back to work exactly 6 weeks to the day since the operation. The first couple of days has been great albeit feeling a little tired at the end of each of the days. I'm signed up for cardio rehab now, and have my baseline echo in early Feb.
I'm wondering if anyone has had any issues with home-based blood pressure monitors after having a mechanical valve replacement.... My two monitors (both Omron) are reading significantly higher than any office visit that I've had. Anyone else had anything like that?
Drainage tube and Foley Catheter out about 4 hours ago. Feels so much better. Had some scrambled egg this morning for breakfast and chocolate protein shake for lunch. Just walked another 770 ft and feeling great. I'm currently in overflow status for PCU so I'm still in ICU but am not having to be prodded and jostled every few minutes. Hoping that a room will become available later today.
Well, I showed up to the hospital at 5am on Monday and was processed through the preoperative steps smoothly without too much fuss. Luckily I'm not a gorilla in the body hair department (sorry if TMI) so the nurse made easy business getting me slick as an Olympic swimmer. I met with the pump operator, the Physicians Assistant, the surgeon, and the anesthesiologist. We covered the risks of the operation and the anesthesiologist put in my aretrial line. I was wheeled into the operating room and before I knew it, ths anesthesiologist placed the mask over my face, said something that I didn't hear and in the blink of an eye, I woke up in my room in ICU with a breathing tube in my mouth.
To say that it was uncomfortable would be an understatement but I read so much about this step in the various books, I knew what was going on and I stayed calm. The thing that really bothered me was the breathing tube was making me gag, but the caregivers thought that I was trying to cough
I had a few waking/falling asleep cycles until they pulled out the breathing tube. I felt weird coming out but it was such a relief! I coughed once and inhaled a clean, full lung of air!
The was some minor cleanup and my wife was invited back into the room (she was excused just before to spare her seeing the breathing tube coming out). The respiratory therapist handed me the Incentive Spirometer which I aced in a single inhalation all the way to the top (and a little more beyond)! He laughed and threw it to the of the bed!
All went fine until about midnight when my ventricular rhythm completely stopped and the pacer had to kick in. From then until about 8am, I was reliant on the pacer at which time my heart decided that it would start working again! For the last 12 hours, my heart's own rhythm has been humming along nicely.
The only real discomfort that I'm still experiencing is the drain tube has been left in and it is pretty uncomfortable. It's being left in so that it can drain any fluids once the pacer wires can be safely removed. The drain tube might be able to removed as early as tomorrow if the surgeon is OK with not having a drain for the paer wires.
On the evening of the surgery day I was already up on my feet and today (day after) I've done 5 tours around the nurses station and spent 6 hours in the chair next to my bed. I've seen the Respiratory Therapist the Occupational Therapist, the Physical Therapist, and the Cardiac Therapist.
Because of the rhythm issues (and that the Fentanyl which is the only thing that help with the drain tube pain is only available here), I'm staying another night in ICU.
I'm so blessed to have a wonderful team of nurses, therapists and other medical professionals tending to my every need. Hoping for a few more hours of sleep tonight because I'm off most of my IV meds (swan and A line have been removed) the deliver and management of which which caused most of the first night to be sleepless.
I've decided that I'm not going to try to be a hero. When I need pain meds, I'm going to ask for them!