Today marks one year out, and I'm pleased to say everything is going well. Off all medications, completed cardiac rehab, my scar is fading, and my cardiologist says that compared to what it was doing before surgery, my heart sounds boring and ordinary when she listens to it. But that's OK. I can live with boring and ordinary - literally.
My best wishes to all who are on this crazy journey, and my thanks to Adam and everyone in this community for their support.
I had my six weeks post- op conference with Dr Couper, my surgeon, yesterday, and everything looks fine to him. He gave me the OK to drive (three cheers!) and to go back to work (one, one and a half cheers, tops). Ten pounds lifting limit for another six weeks.
I see my cardiologist next week, and maybe start to eliminate the metoprolol. Haven't heard back from the cardiac rehab people, but I hope to start that soon.
This was last week, but at the rate it's healing it won't be much use for Halloween.
So far, so good
Journal posted on October 3, 2014
I almost hate to say this out loud, lest I jinx things, but my recovery seems to be progressing very smoothly. Surgery was 4 weeks ago next Monday, and I'm actually feeling pretty good. I'm able to walk a little further each day - today I made it as far as the nearest center of civilization (library branch, pizza place). It's only a little more than a quarter of a mile from home, but it's all downhill going there, and all uphill coming back. Broke no speed records, to be sure. My scar is healing nicely, though it would probably still frighten small children. Tylenol is doing an excellent job with the pain.
In short, much as I might like to, I really can't complain. I wish similarly smooth sailing to everybody else who is on this crazy trip.
Add me to the Yes column if the question is" Do you find a reclining chair helpful?" I am writing this from its comfy 4AM embrace, when my mind is just too active to let me keep on sleeping.
I was a skeptic for a long time, and indeed we could probably have made our existing furniture work, with big pillows. But the recliner we wound up getting at the last minute is SO much better! I can count on a few hours of comfortable reading, dozing etc without constantly readjusting. And it's very easy to get out of.
Way more expensive than pillows, of course, but if we hadn't put off serious shopping until the Saturday before my Monday surgery, we might have been able to find something comparable for less.
My mitral and tricuspid valves were successfully repaired by Dr Couper and his team on Monday. A liitle trickier than some, because they had to replace a couple of chordae that were ambiguous on the echocardiogram - another reason to go to a high volume center.
I'll post more when I have real keyboard, but for now my gratitude for being alive and for having a group like this,and to my amazing wife, and my friends and family.
One of the visualization audios I've been listening to (by Belleruth Naparstek) has the image of a "helpful band of allies" with me in the operating room. You folks are all in that band, and I thank you for being there. I'll talk to you on the other side.
I did the pre-op conference and the cardio angiogram yesterday.
Regarding the latter, you were all correct: I did not need to have an overnight bag. My wife and I were home by 3:30 in the afternoon. They were able to insert the catheter through a wrist artery, which they told me makes for a speedier recovery. My right forearm was a little puffy and tender the rest of the day, but when I woke up this morning it felt fine. There's a little bruise, but it's not even particularly colorful.
Dr Couper's office called this afternoon to confirm my bright and early appointment Monday morning: arrive at 5:30 AM for 7:30 surgery. I am hoping that Dr. C and the surgical team keep a different workday clock than I do - I'm not sure I would trust myself with sharp objects before about 9 on a Monday morning ;-)
OK, this is starting to get serious. I have a pre-op conference and catheterization on Thursday. I have a few questions I know I want to ask about anesthesia, but I'm curious if other people had questions that they'd wished they had asked pre-op.
Also, the standard patient instruction letter the hospital sent said that some patients wind up staying overnight, which surprised me a little based on what the surgeon had told me. (Which was something along the lines of "Expect it to screw up your whole day.") What have been people's experiences with this?
The phone just rang, and it was not, for once, a politician seeking money and/or a vote. It was the surgical scheduler from Brigham and Women's: if you're not busy on September 8, drop by and have your mitral valve repaired.
So I've got a date, and along with it a serious case of jitters. But I'm going on vacation tomorrow for two weeks, which should help some. That should leave just enough time to shop for a reclining chair ;-)
Well, I finally pulled the trigger about a month ago and said "Let's do this thing," only to find that the trigger has a long slow action: I'm still waiting to get a date for surgery. I'm hoping for early September at Brigham and Women's in Boston, since I'd like to be doing most of my re-hab before the weather gets awful here.
I've been trying to get myself in good shape in the meantime - more mental shape than physical, although I still have hopes of dropping a pound or two. On various people's recommendations I've been listening to Peggy Huddleston's CD. I'm frankly finding her a little irritating to listen to, so I'm shopping around for other guided meditations (recommendations welcome). This may well be just a personal thing - others may find Huddleston just the ticket, so don't let me steer you away, since she does this specifically for surgery prep.