Wow, I had open-heart surgery!

I can’t believe it. I keep walking around the house thinking “wow, I had open-heart surgery. I can’t believe it!” Then I move wrong and I believe it, alright. It’s funny, the doctors and nurses keep saying “You’re not allowed to drive for four weeks! Don’t even think about it!” And I’m thinking I’d rather DIE than drive right now, so I can’t imagine what idiots decide to get behind the wheel like this, but there must be some or they wouldn’t give that warning.

For our Anniversary, David and Garrett made us Chicken Florentine with angel hair pasta in a clam sauce, and an excellent salad. Garrett came over and served dinner for us. It was sweet and amazing and I have to say it’s too bad that they don’t have their own restaurant, because I’d totally go there all the time.

They switched my drugs from vicodin to darvocet, and the freaky nightmares went away. I’m still getting used to sleeping on my back, though, which is not what I’m used to, so I’m having trouble sleeping. It’s getting better. It’s a long story about why, but Kathy helped switch my mattresses around and she built me a platform to help me get into bed. It’s so much more comfortable.

I’ve been watching the first (only) season of the TV show Wonderfalls. I bought it a couple of months ago and saved it for this occasion. I also watched part of the Incredibles, but I did that in the middle of the night when I didn’t want to go back to sleep because of the nightmares, so I need to re-watch it because I’m sure my ideas about it are skewed. But the premise of that film is really interesting. I’m not sure I agree with all of their message. I kind of want to talk to Andy about it sometime, because he loved it so much and identified with the movie so he saw it twice.

I haven’t played Xbox because it’s a bit too much moving yet. This is the most typing I’ve done in a while, because that’s not fun, either.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Sabrina Napier

    Hi. I will be getting my mitral valve repaired soon – the Drs found the problem due to my grade 3 heart murmur, which you said you had also!! I wish my medical provider would hurry up the entire process though – it will be 2.5 months since my diagnosis till I get surgery. I have also given up exercising while I am waiting for surgery – it wears me out more than relaxes me now. I had a left breast mastectomy 4 years ago so they will be giving me a new set of scars to add to my existing scars. I thought I was in excellent health for being 50. oh well.

    My question: Re: open heart surgery cutting through the sternum vs. minimally invasive heart surgery – was minimally invasive discussed as an option? I wasn’t sure if the catherization you mentioned was the same as minimally invasive surgery. Or because they needed to fix your pulmonary valve as well, they couldn’t do minimally invasive surgery? Thank you for your blog. It is hard to find anything written about the patient’s personal experience with this surgery. And since the average heart patient is maybe 75, usually the medical stuff gives me worse statistics than what my age group would have?

    I hope you are continuing to feel well. Do you feel that you are totally back to your normal activities, weight-lifting (if applicable), aerobics after a year after the surgery? Thank you.

  2. Steph Mineart

    I discussed minimally invasive surgery with the surgeon, because he had performed that on some of his male patients. But because women tend to have too much breast tissue, it makes it too hard to do a laparoscopic procedure — the doctor just can’t navigate to where he needs to go, and see enough to get it done. There were some concerns about my pulmonary valve also, but it turned out once he was inside, I didn’t need to have it worked on.

    You’re definitely right that the statistics are worse because most heart patients are much older. Talk to the doctor about it, because some of what I was reading freaked me out also, but my doctor was very reassuring about the mortality rates and about the “cognitive decline” stats that I was reading. Those are much higher risk with older patients.
    I’m definitely 100% back to normal now, although I’d say it took a little longer than a year. And it’s shocking how much upper body strength I lost during the recovery — I used to have very strong shoulders, upper back and arms, and I’m now having to do a lot to build that back.

    One thing you might try while waiting for the surgery is very low stress yoga — no one suggested it to me before, but I’ve since heard some people discuss about how it helped keep them flexible and keep muscle tone.

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