I am just back from a 12-day trip to Ecuador/The Galapagos Islands, one which I postponed from last summer due to my urgent valve repair last July. It was a great trip, with a very busy schedule of sea kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking every day while at sea, and some hiking at 9,000 feet near Quito. I did great. Baring my chest to put on a wetsuit had me telling my heart story (and also claiming the scar was from a close call with a shark...), and, as usual, finding people who know others facing heart valve problems. I'm always happy to de-stress the process of diagnosis and treatment for others. One other vacationer pulled me aside to tell of her heart problems (cardiac arrest and some stents 2 years ago), which she didn't want to share publicly; but she was glad I talked about my heart recovery so openly. So 9 months after surgery, I "cashed in" the rain check on my vacation of a lifetime and did great. Thank you to this site for all the support!
Today is 8 months from my OHS for mitral valve repair. Doing great. Tomorrow I fly to Montana with my wife and 13-year-old boy for my third ski trip out west this winter. I'm not a great skier, but it's great fun, and I love I'm able to spend with my son before he gets too busy for dear old dad. Feel better than ever, no limitations skiing (other than my poor athletic ability). So for those in the pre-surgery or immediate post-surgery stage, it gets better fast.
I got the results of my 8 week post-surgery echo. Looks good. My mitral valve shows "no" regurgitation, so that's good! The annular ring they implanted is well seated, of course. I'm interested in the left atrium size, because my mitral valve failure had my left atrium severely enlarged: pre-surgery, it was 65 mL/m2 in Feb of 2017, then 91.5 mL/m2 in May 2018! Post-surgery, it was 47 two days after surgery, and 46.8 eight weeks after. Those are still larger than normal, but I'm happy with coming down to HALF my pre-surgery size! My right ventricle was getting mildly dilated pre-surgery, but it is back to normal. Ejection fraction is 58%.
Does anybody else have any weird recollections about anesthesia? I woke up from a nap yesterday, sitting in a chair at home, and I could see the ceiling but I felt paralyzed for a second. Then I was fine. But it was weird, like my mind recalling feeling paralyzed (which is was 4 days before). Just curious.
I've also been having tons of vivid dreams, mostly just bizarre, some funny (one made me wake up laughing, which hurt, of course), lots of long lost names and friends from my past making cameos.
OK, I am doing really well on day three after my open heart mitral valve repair. I was awake in the ICU when they pulled my breathing tube. The less you remember about that the better. By about 24 hours after the surgery, I was having a hard time with pain (I said eight out of 10). They gave me a Toradol, which is an opiate, and that solved my problem for a while. I think we only use one of those, then moved down to tramadol. That is another opiate.
I was simultaneously on Tylenol by then, because the tramadol made me feel so exhausted and flaky, my last tramadol was about 48 hours after surgery. I have been on Tylenol since, managing the pain adequately.
Getting tubes out as a real highlight. Some, like the breathing tube and the chest Drainage tubes are kind of a big deal and don’t so much hurt as just freak you out. The catheter in your neck just slides out, and the pain pump at the incision just slides out. I just got my temporary diagnostic pacemaker leads taken out also so at this point I’m not connected to anything anymore. Just wireless EKG leads that get displayed on a monitor.
So I will be discharged this afternoon on the third full day after surgery. I’m looking forward to sleeping at home tonight.
My open heart mitral valve repair was a complete success yesterday morning! The rest of yesterday and the night was occupied with pain management. This morning I had chicken soup and Jell-O and some juice for breakfast, and just walk down the hallway for a while. Thank you all for your support!
I have a pre-surgery angiogram scheduled for Friday 6/29. I guess they'll map the mitral valve flows and also check for any coronary arteries that need touching up. I hope it all looks good so the repair surgery can be simple -- but if there are borderline blockages, they might as well fix them while they're in there. From some studies, it looks like maybe 1/3 of valve surgeries also have some coronary artery bypass work done. I assume that increases surgery length a lot, and recovery time as well. I don't see people here talking a lot about that. Have others had bypasses done during valve surgeries?