Friday, December 19, 2014

OH, NO! It's just my luck....

When I went to the cardiologist on Thursday, he said I am healing well and look terrific. And then he dropped a bomb. He is moving across the country to Washington State. He said his wife needs to move there so she can take care of her parents. I heartily applaud the reason for going, but I am so sad to see him go. I will see him again in March, but he leaves in April.

Our loss is Washington's gain. He is an excellent cardiologist and a research scientist as well. He already has a new position in a hospital near Seattle. I can only hope that he will be as happy there as he has been here.

He says I can have my choice of any doc in the practice, but the one I want is the head of cardiology and it is hard to get an appointment with him. Maybe I"ll get lucky. 

Meanwhile, the scar
 is healing and most of the glue has fallen off now, which helps with itching. I still don't have much energy, but that will come, I am told, with movement. Since I will start cardiac rehab in a week or so, I'm sure my energy level will go waaaaaay down before it goes higher again. This is certainly  long process.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Can you handle another?

Another whine, that is.

Tomorrow is one month since the surgery. My legs have not been shaved for a month either, and now that I am taking blood thinners, I am cautioned against using a razor. My daughter lent me her electric razor, but I have yet to use it. I think that had better be added to my agenda for today.

The soreness seems to abate a little bit each day, but now the skin over the wound feels as though someone rubbed it with sandpaper. The lightest touch - of fabric or bed covers - is painful. I was told that light massage over the area of the incision would help to break up scar tissue, and I have tried that a few times. It never dawned on me before, that I would have to deal with scar tissue too. It adds insult to injury. 

I am going to try hard not to whine any more, no matter how I feel. I'm sure you are happy to hear that.   LOL

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Some Things I've Learned Recently

Being under deep anesthesia for nearly 6 hours removes some of your powers of concentration and patience. I have a hard time reading anything longer than a few paragraphs and almost no patience for playing my word games, which have been a large part of my life.  It has gotten better over the last few weeks, though, so I expect to be back to playing well in the  near future.

Scars itch. They hurt too, but itch more. And I was told not to put any lotions or balms on it. I had 4 open IV's in my neck. a chest drain under the scar, 2 pacing wires going into my heart. They all itch.

The shiny stuff is glue. My breast bone is wired shut, and the glue will dissapate eventually and flake off. It can't happen too soon for me.  I have enough brown spots and imperfections already.  A surgical nurse told me that my scar was very neat. I will have to take her word for it, since I've never seen another one.

My  three children and my son-in-law have all risen well to the occasion of caring for me and Jim too. They have all been very solicitous and helpful. I never thought it would be otherwise, but they have all surprised me, especially in the face of numerous doc and lab appointments. I want to publicly thank all four of them: Shannon, Aliza, Darren and Ed.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

One would think 'Id have had my fill of the hospital, and I have, but we visited there today.....

I had to have some blood drawn this morning and get a script filled at the hospital pharmacy. While we were waiting,  I got wheeled back to the 3rd floor, from which I had been discharged last Sunday. I saw 2-3 nurses and aides, who all greeted me warmly.  I also met a volunteer who had his surgery one year ago. He meets with people who are having heart surgery and tells them what to expect afterwards. My daughter suggested that I may want to join that volunteer group, but I said I'd be too negative for that right now. I will have to get beyond the terrible soreness before I would be of any help to a prospective patient. I'd scare them to death.

After the hospital, we stopped by the NC Governor's Mansion for a short visit. Mel's crew started decorating yesterday, and it is killing me not to be with them this year. We were graciously asked to join the decor crew for lunch. You may recall how I have lauded their meals in the past, and today was no exception. Tasty catfish, Asparagus, cheese grits and corn-bread, with strawberry cake for dssert. It was all excellent. I ALSO ENJOYED SEEING THE PEOPLE with whom I usually work and I have been missing them this fall. I took a few photos, and I will publish them soon. It is looking beautiful there already.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

I sincerely believe that if anyone knew the aftermath of mitral valve surgery, in advance,

They wouldn't agree to have it. Imagine, if you can, that somone picks up a concrete beam about 4" square and broadsides you with it in the chest and then the back. The resultant soreness is terrible and every movement brings pain. There re many restrictions; such as you an't lift your arms over your head, can't  bend over, have to sleep on your back. If you cough or sneeze, you must hold a firm pillow over your chest to support your incision.

However, I do expect to be much better off after a period of healing; and my hope is that my stamina and shortness of breath will be much better then they have been for the last 10 months or so. I was promised they would. At this point, it is hard to tell, since deep breaths bring a twinge of pain and soreness.

I have to walk some each day, as well as do a series of exercises proscribed by the physical therapist. Exercise has never  been my strong suite, but I have 3-4 people pushing me to do them. My meds have changed too, and I have to have two shots a day in my stomach (Yikes!) My nurse daughter taught her sister and bro-in-law how to do them, and they tke turns and neither does badly at it, suprisingly. The TIA I had last Sunday seems not to have left any after effects, although all week, when I type, it seems like the keys have moved position (when they have not.)

We are both staying at our daughter and son-in-law's in Cary, and receiving excellent care and great food. Thanks giving was terrific, full of good food, lots of family and a few friends.  For me, the best part of the Thanksgiving holiday is the toasted turkey andwiches in thedays after. I have almost had my fill of them. 2-3 more should  do it.....LOL

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

aFTER 11 DAYS IN THE HOSPITAL, i CANNOT TELL HOW HAPPY IAM TO BE GOING HOME THIS AFTERNOON!!

i HAD A BIT OF A SET=BACK ON sUNDAY; A tia, KNOWN AS A TRANSIENT ISCHEMIC ATTACK - OR MINI=STROKE FOILED PLANS TO SEND ME HOME. tHERE HAVE BEEN NO LONG LASTING EFFECTS FROM IT, BUT IT MEANS THAT i WILL HAVE TO STAY ON BLOOD THINNERS FOR 6 MONTHS.  wE WERE EXCEPTIONALLY LUCKY THAT MY DAUGHTER THE CARDIAC NURSE WAS WITH ME WHEN IT HAPPENED. shE KNEW IMMEDIATELY WHAT WAS GOING ON AND CALLED THE PROPER PEOPLE IMMEDIATELY.

pPPARENTLY, A STROKE/MINI-STROKE IS ONE OF THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF MITRAIL VALVE pROLASPSE REPAIR, SO IT WAS NOT OFF THE RADAR. i JUST WISH i HADN'T HAD ONE.

i COULD N OT HAVE ASKED FOR BETTER DOCTORS, OR NURSES, OR CHILDREN, ALLHAVE ALL BEEN SUPER ATTTENTIVE AND CARING. tHREE OF MY  GRANDS HAVE VISITED TOO.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sheeesh.....I Remember when...

hospitals brought you in the day before your surgery and did all the prep and pre-op work, questions, testing, etc. while you were in the hospital  (not as an outpatient.) 

I suppose that insurance companies don't want to pay for that extra night in the hospital if they can help it. I asked a nurse today and she said it cuts down on cancellations, but I don't see how. 

My daughter drove me there this morning. I had a chest x-ray, blood drawn twice, and EKG, BP, temperature and urinalysis. A patient educator came in and talked to us for almost an hour about what to expect during the surgery, in the ICU and afterward. I appreciated that, and she answered all our questions. 

Now I am showered and cleaned from neck to toe with special wipes containing a strong disinfectant. I have to be at the hospital in the morning by 5:15 a.m. I'll be back as soon as possible, but it may be 3-5 days before I am able. Wish me luck, and if you are a praying person, I'd appreciate a few on my behalf.